Company: Brainwave Enterprises

Price: $29.95 per module, $49.95 for both modules

Everybody loves to sleep. Really, what is not to like? It makes you feel refreshed, you get free entertainment in the form of dreams, and it works like time travel on a long journey!

Which makes a lack of sleep all the more irritating. Sometimes it can’t be helped – you have to work late, the kids are sick – but there are other times when, as tired as you are, you can’t sleep at all.

I’d never considered that my Mac might be of help with insomnia – but then I heard about Pzizz. Developed using psychological techniques like Neuro Linguistic programming, Pzizz is a software package that can create unique and customized soundtracks to help you sleep.

The base software is available for free, and you buy licenses for modules that can be loaded in to it. The modules I looked at provide an Energiser nap to help you recharge and a Sleep assist when suffering from insomnia or trying to sleep in difficult surroundings.

Once you have selected your module and clicked the PLUS button, you get a dialog box allowing you to customize your nap – you can choose between stereo and pseudo 3D sound effects, include or remove a voiceover, a running time and specify a shut down of your computer at completion. You can also balance the volume of the voiceover against the music, and for the shorter Energiser power naps, set an alarm to stop you sleeping for hours!

At all points, there are links to the Pzizz web site or Wikipedia that pop up as you do things and explain some of the science and concepts behind Pzizz.

Once you have set your sleep settings, they are stored in a list in the application. You can, of course, export the files instead of playing them from the application – plain audio export and iTunes export are provided.

When you actually use one of the files, what you hear is gentle music, natural sounds like gentle waves, rustling trees, and if selected a voiceover gently encouraging you to sleep deeply, feel refreshed and the like.

I tried Pzizz on a transatlantic flight from the US to the UK. It was a night flight, and when I arrived early in the morning I was going to have to go straight to work, so it was important I got some sleep. I often struggle to sleep in these circumstances, so Pzizz was going to get a good workout. I generated a two hour Sleep Pzizz and placed it on my iPod, and after the meal I settled down with my earphones in.

When I first started using Pzizz, I felt a little self-conscious – but after around fifteen minutes I relaxed a bit and I did fall asleep. While I was awoken on occasion by noise in the airplane cabin, I simply restarted the iPod track and soon I was back in slumber. I ended up getting around 4 and a half hours in all, which is better than I normally manage on a transatlantic flight.

On arriving back home, I felt pretty good, and I went to work and got through the day. Later in the afternoon when I got in the car I did feel pretty tired again, so before I left I tried a fifteen minute Energiser nap. This was really good – I quickly entered a semi-sleep state and when it was finished I felt refreshed enough to drive home.

The makers of Pzizz state that regular use of the software trains you to sleep better. Of course, the advantage of the software generated files that Pzizz creates is that they are different every time – up to 40,000 individual variations are available.

I found that Pzizz can do what it claims – it will help you sleep better. I would imagine for most people the Energiser module will make more sense for the sleep training effect in regular use – you could build a short nap in to your daily routine, and provide for extra Energisers when traveling or if extra tired. And if you do suffer from insomnia, I would imagine the Sleep module would be a great help.

This is a great product – it could really improve your life! I rate the Energiser module slightly higher than the Sleep module, just because in my opinion the Energiser module has a slightly wider appeal.

MyMac.com rating: Energiser module 4 out of 5, Sleep module 3.5 out of 5

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