DodowDIY Is A Homebrew Sleep Aid

The Dodow is a consumer device that aims to help users sleep, through biofeedback. The idea is to synchronise one’s breathing with the gentle rhythm of the device’s blue LEDs, which helps slow the heartrate and enables the user to more easily drift off to sleep. Noting that the device is essentially a breathing LED and little more, [Daniel Shiffman] set about building his own from scratch.

An ATTiny85 runs the show; no high-powered microcontrollers are necessary here. It’s hooked up to three 5mm blue LEDs, which are slowly ramped up and down to create a smooth, attractive breathing animation. The LEDs are directed upward so that their glow can be seen on the ceiling, allowing the user to lay on their back when getting ready for sleep. It’s all wrapped up in a 3D printed enclosure that is easily modifiable to suit a variety of battery solutions; [Daniel] chose the DL123A for its convenient voltage and battery life in this case. The design is available on Thingiverse for those looking to spin their own.

It’s a neat example of where DIY can really shine – reproducing a somewhat-expensive gadget that is overpriced for its fundamental simplicity. Now when it comes to waking up again, consider building yourself a nifty smart alarm clock.

17 thoughts on “DodowDIY Is A Homebrew Sleep Aid

  1. Interesting project with a practical use. However, seems like people like blue LEDs, but this from the CDC:
    “Blue light waves come from fluorescent and LED lights and back-lit electronic screens on televisions, computers, tablets, and cell phones. Remember, exposure to these lighted screens during the sensitive period can make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night or can wake you up too early. ” (

    Biofeedback is a valuable tool, so why not help it along consider a different color?

      1. Looks like a great idea and assembly. I don’t know how bright the blue LEDs are, but staring at them likely would have an impact. Switching them to red LEDs (or even green) is easy.

        1. On the Dodow ( FAQ they claim that

          “The color blue was chosen after much testing, based on the generally accepted perception that blue is calming. Blue light in high doses can help wake you up by inhibiting melatonin secretion, but Dodow does not. Being projected on the ceiling, the light signal, at its maximum intensity and for someone who is lying in bed, has a very low intensity”.

          The faint glow on the ceiling fading in and out and gradually slowing down is actually quite soothing in my experience.

      2. The amount of blue light coming out of a phone won’t wipe your melatonin either, but here we are. I’m certain the blue light is optically a problem, not that we have some type of wake me up blue chlorophyll in our skin.

  2. I’m up now cause i can’t fall a sleep, but doesn’t blue light interfere with the sleeping? That’s what i’ve heard anyway.
    Besides, i can’t look at even tinniest amount of light, when trying to falll a sleep, but then again maybe this sort of trick could work. Perhaps i’ll try.

    1. Use the tools you know. At least it’s a small micro not a raspberry pi.

      Plus, are two 555s cheaper or more efficient than a micro that costs about the same as a 555 and doesn’t require external caps?

  3. This is awesome! I hadn’t heard about this sort of sleep aid before.

    I put Shiffman’s code on a digispark clone this morning, and it looks to be running perfectly. I’ll be trying it out for the next few nights, and possibly a lot longer than that if it proves effective for getting me to sleep.

    From the reviews on amazon it looks like dodow is very effective for about half of the people that try it, and less so for the rest. I’m guessing that it works well on certain types of getting to bed issues, and less so for other ones.

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