Apollo Neuro Results

Link post


Two months ago I recommended the Apollo Neuro for sleep/​anxiety/​emotional regulation. A number of people purchased it based on my recommendation- at least 25, according to my referral bonuses. Last week I asked people to fill out a form on their experience.

Take-home messages:

  • If you are similar to people who responded to my first post on the Apollo, there’s a ~4% chance you end up getting a solid benefit from the Apollo.

  • The chance of success goes up if you use it multiple hours per day for 4 weeks without seeing evidence of it working, but unless you’re very motivated you’re not going to do that.

  • The long tail of upside is very, very high; I value the Apollo Neuro more than my antidepressant. But you probably won’t.

  • There’s a ~10% chance the Apollo is actively unpleasant for you; however no one reported cumulative bad effects, only one-time unpleasantness that stopped as soon as they stopped using it.

With Numbers

The following graphs include only people who found the Apollo and the form via my recommendation post. It does not include myself or the superresponders who recommended it to me.

Forms response chart. Question title: What was the outcome of trying the Apollo?. Number of responses: 18 responses.

(that’s one person reporting it definitely helped)

An additional six people filled out an earlier version of the form, none of whom found it helpful, bringing the total to 24 people.

Obviously I was hoping for a higher success rate. OTOH, the effects are supposed to be cumulative and most people gave up quickly (I base this on conversations with a few people, there wasn’t a question for it on the form). Some of that is because using the Apollo wasn’t rewarding, and I’ll bet a lot of the problem stems from the already pretty mediocre app getting an update to be actively antagonistic. It probably is just too much work to use it long enough to see results, unless you are desperate or a super responder.

Of people who weren’t using it regularly: 55% returned it, 20% failed to return it, and the remaining 35% chose to keep it. I think that last group is probably making a mistake; the costs of luck-based medicine add up, so if you’re going to be a serious practitioner you need to get good at cutting your losses. It’s not just about the money, but the space and mental attention.

Forms response chart. Question title: If you didn

Of 6 people in the earlier version of the form, 1-2 found it actively unpleasant.

The downside turned out to be worse than I pictured. I’m fond of saying “anything with a real effect can hurt you”, but I really couldn’t imagine how that would happen in this case. The answer is: nightmares and disrupted sleep. In both cases I know of they only experienced this once and declined to test it again, so it could be bad luck, but I can’t blame them for not collecting more data. No one reported any ill effects after they stopped using it.

I would also like to retract my previous description of the Apollo return policy as “good”. You do get most of your money back, but a 30-day window for a device you’re supposed to test for 28 days before passing judgment is brutal.

It’s surprisingly hard for me to find referral numbers, but I know I spurred at least 25 purchases, and almost certainly less than 30. That implies an 80% response rate to my survey, which is phenomenal. It would still be phenomenal even if I’d missed half the purchasers and it was only a 40% response rate. Thanks guys.

Life as a superresponder

Meanwhile, the Apollo has only gotten better for me. I’ve basically stopped needing naps unless something obvious goes wrong, my happiness has gone up 2 points on a 10 point scale (probably because of the higher quality sleep)1, sometimes my body just feels good in a way it never has before. I stress-tested the Apollo recently with a very grueling temp gig (the first time in 9 years I’ve regularly used a morning alarm. And longer hours than I’ve maybe ever worked), and what would have previously been flat out impossible was merely pretty costly. Even when things got quite hard I was able to stay present and have enough energy to notice problems and work to correct them. The Apollo wasn’t the only contributor to this, but it definitely deserves a plurality of the credit, maybe even a majority.

When I look at the people I know who got a lot out of the Apollo (none of whom were in the sample set because they didn’t hear about it from my blog), the common thread is that they’re fairly somatically aware, but didn’t start that way. I’m not sure how important that second part is: I don’t know anyone who is just naturally embodied. It seems possible that somatic awareness is either necessary to benefit from the Apollo, or necessary to notice the effects before your motivation to fight the terrible app wears off.


The Apollo doesn’t work for most people, you probably shouldn’t buy it unless you’re somatically aware or have severe enough issues with sleep or anxiety that you can push through the warm-up period.

  1. I don’t use a formal mood tracker. But I did have a friend I ask to send me pictures of their baby when I’m stressed or sad. I stopped doing that shortly after getting the Apollo (although due to message retention issues I can’t check how long that took to kick in).