LYS - Winner of the AXA Health Tech & You 2019 Sleep Tech Challenge

13 June 2019

Wearable button helps track light intake for healthier sleep

Everybody has a circadian rhythm; it’s the mechanism in your body which lets you know when to wake up, and when you need to go to sleep. However, when this body clock is interrupted, it can impact your sleep quality and could impact both mental and physical health.

The winner of the AXA Health Tech & You Sleep Tech Challenge category, London-based company LYS Technologies, recognised that light exposure through the day and night influences the body clock, therefore influencing the quality of sleep. This realisation began the journey towards the development of their innovation.

Solving a new problem

LYS started when founders Christina Blach Petersen and Hugo Starrsjö were studying together at Imperial College, London and were challenged with finding a solution to a future challenge in urban environments. 

“We realised during our studies that we spend 90% of our time indoors, meaning we aren’t able to get any daylight, and we wanted to find out more about how light can impact our health and wellbeing,” says Christina.

“We saw a need for an innovation that could help people to understand the implications on light exposure and our health and what they could do about it.”

Changing behaviour towards light intake

Christina and Hugo began development for a solution to this growing population of urban dwellers who spend most of their time indoors, at home or in the workplace. After a three-week case study with 100 test participants, LYS proved to boost the users’ energy levels by three-fold and the average time to fall asleep decreased by 20%.

LYS takes the form of a light-sensing button which clips easily onto clothes, connecting via Bluetooth to a smartphone app. Starting off as a seven-day programme, the app will initially ask questions about sleep-wake habits, lifestyle and general wellbeing to get a better understanding of the user’s circadian rhythm.

After the first week, a full report is sent to your smartphone, which provides tangible and actionable feedback to help people to get the right light at the right time.

Christina says: “The LYS button is intended as a short-term programme, so you don’t need to wear the sensor for the rest of your life. We provide tangible feedback to help users stay engaged in the programme and encourage them to make adjustments to their behaviour when it comes to light exposure.” 

Being an AXA Health Tech & You Awards winner

When asked how they felt to be winners of the AXA Health Tech & You Sleep Tech Challenge, Christina said: “The LYS Team was thrilled to win the Sleep Tech Challenge category. We certainly weren’t expecting it and we were humbled to be recognised by such a prestigious organisation as AXA. 

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with the AXA teams and, together, bringing innovative solutions to all those facing sleep challenges.”

The Sleep Tech Challenge category was looking for affordable solutions that are proven to change sleep behaviour and deliver better sleeping patterns in everyday life. Head judge Dr Chris Tomkins, Head of Proactive Health at AXA PPP healthcare, tells us why LYS was a worthy winner.

“I and the fellow judges of the Sleep Tech Challenge felt that LYS was outstanding in this category – in terms of what we were looking for, it was the freshness of an innovative idea for tackling a problem by looking at people’s consumption of light during the day, and addressing this behaviour in order to get a good night’s sleep.”