Tired of tossing and turning? Fragrance and flavor giant IFF and SleepScore Labs, a sleep science and improvement company, are cozy bedfellows. The two firms have partnered to develop a scent that will help consumers get a better night’s sleep based on science and data and creativity.
The project falls under IFF’s The Science of Wellness. A program for an holistic wellness approach, Science builds on the company’s more than 40 years of research in fragrance and its impact on emotions and wellbeing.
Through a combination of neuroscience and consumer perception data, a fragrance palette, and its in-house artificial intelligence tool created in 2006, IFF perfumers design scents that can be used in consumer goods in the wellness space.
There’s a big market for sleep aids. According to SleepScore’s calculations, about 4 billion people around the world wake up tired every week. “Many years ago, society didn’t understand how important sleep was and why it mattered,” said Colin Lawlor, CEO of SleepScore Labs.
Lawlor noted that lack of sleep increases the risk of traffic accidents, lowers performance at work, reduces creativity and makes relationships more difficult to manage. “When people repeat that night after night, it pretty much causes every major chronic disease. It’s staggering. Sleep in some ways has been in the dark.
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SleepScore is shedding light on the problem through research. The company collects data to understand sleep issues and works with other firms to develop effective solutions. SleepScore executives were introduced to IFF at the massive CES show in Las Vegas several years ago and the fragrance firm decided to team up and illuminate the subject.
The scent wellness solution debuted at the recent CES show, which began on January 5 and ended on Saturday.
“We came across IFF around the time we were scaling up our big data,” Lawlor said. “We’ve collected more than 85 million hours of sleep data and the technology we use is the most advanced in the world.” SleepScore was spun out of ResMed, a global leader in sleep medical devices. Lawlor said more than $50 million has been invested in the measurement of sleep technology.
“There are many different verticals that touch sleep,” Lawlor added. “Think of ResMed
“Then you have verticals around drug therapies for sleep disorders and huge verticals around food supplements,” Lawlor said. “You have verticals around mattresses and bedding, from Sleep Number
To develop a fragrance to help consumers get a better night of Z’s, IFF first had to understand the problem. SleepScore uses biometric data captured through a device that sits by your bed and uses radio frequency waves to measure the movement of your respiratory pattern and bio motion.
“IFF has always been a pioneer when it comes to creating scent solutions to improve people’s lives,” said Christophe de Villeplée, IFF’s scent division president. “The first two years of our partnership with SleepScore Labs were used by our perfumers and innovation teams to develop scents using our data science and SleepScore Labs biometric measures to improve sleep quality.”
Asked how IFF and SleepScore’s solution differs from aromatherapy, Matthias Tabbert, who is spearheading the project for IFF as neurotechnology leader, said aromatherapy is solely based on natural ingredients. “We’re very big on naturals, but we also have a very broad palette of materials that are in the synthetic realm. We can combine those two together and that pushes us beyond aromatherapy. These synthetic materials are incredibly powerful.”
Tabbert said the partnership has enabled IFF to unlock a new area of interest – sleep. “Very quickly, we could see new olfactory directions arising that really were having a major impact on sleep that we would not be able to guess based on everything we knew. We’re driving new cognitive benefits of sleep. That’s what SleepScore brought to us.”
The first product to come out of the partnership will be a mist that’s sprayed on a pillow case. “We’re looking at a full range of additional applications,” Tabbert said. “We’ll use the feedback from consumers through an app-based approach. We can tailor it more and more specifically based on the data we’re getting and interviewing consumers who are experiencing this.
“Ultimately, what we’re really harnessing here is new technologies,” Tabbert added, referring to an algorithm and artificial intelligence. “The algorithm can personalize the delivery. The potential is enormous. We can continue to tailor the results not only to various demographics, but very specific sub-groups, and then ultimately to the individual.”
Eventually, Tabbert envisions disseminating the fragrance digitally. “What we’re looking at is building the sense of scent into the Metaverse and understanding and partnering with digital technology experts to awaken emotions to make connections through scent.
“The vision is a fully digital environment based on your individual needs,” he said. “These are awakened connections. There’s content and it becomes a key aspect of a solution that can be applied in many different ways. There’s so many ways that we can tailor the solution, which is what makes it super exciting.”