FAQs: on science

Welcome to our frequently asked questions doc on all things sofi science

Use the links below to navigate, and let us know if there are any questions not yet answered below that you think we should add! To view the full list of related FAQ topics, click here.

on science

  1. what is the science behind sofi?

  2. what are the sofi labs?

  3. what research with sofi has been done?

  4. do you use any third-party testing?

  5. what is sofi’s “atlas?”

1. what is the science behind sofi?

sofi is built from a team of seasoned entrepreneurs and scientists with a history of multiple start-ups in health technology, data, life sciences, and biochemistry.

Combining expertise from all the the world, there is no corner of sofi that hasn’t been approached and developed using a scientific lens (well…except maybe the cute plant characters you’ll find for each of our formulation in the app - really, there’s no science there, just love!)

For our plants:

We reviewed hundreds of papers to select the best plants known for their scientific + therapeutic potential to naturally improve sleep and calm, and work closely with herbalists, conservationists and botanic gardens to ensure the quality and sustainability of all our plants.

At our labs, we employ a series of highly technical tests that we use to fingerprint every batch (harvest) of our plant extracts - a process known as chemical fingerprinting. This allows us to understand the precise ratio of active compounds within each of our formulations, as well as the inter-variability between harvests, in turn, explaining our understanding of the precise physiological relationship between people and plants.

To access our white papers on plants and sleeplessness/anxiety (developed for internal use) you can click here, and to learn more about our 3rd-party formulation testing click here.

For our sofi pods:

Developed and refined over a series of different generations - each significantly improving on the one before - our sofi pods are designed with built-in Bluetooth connection which allows us to capture time-series data: the information sofi uses to determine which formulations may - or may not - be working for you.

The pod automatically recognises the contents of each plant capsule, once inserted, and communicates all spraying activity with the sofi app.

sofi then analyses the information collected via your pod by constructing mathematical models that describe the relationship between your sleep and mood and updates this with each and every press. sofi communicates your individual results, directly via your sofi app, once the model certainly reaches over 90-95%.

For our app:

The app combines implicit data and explicit data to create a picture of each of us at the unique level of N-of-1.. Rather than using standard methods of questionnaires, we created signature journaling interactions such as our sofi mood “bubbles,” and journals for calm and sleep, which have been developed and refined by our in-house behavioural psychologist and UX experts over time.

This means that sofi has the ability to journal a plurality of states at the same time, many times, without always asking direct questions. This is much richer than standardised sleep and mood questionnaires, which ask individuals to convert a complex sentiment, like how anxious they were over the last two weeks, to a numeric value between x and y - and to repeat that across many variables.

2. what are the sofi labs?

From fingerprinting each and every harvest (batch) of our plants, to the meticulous flavour testing of our final formulations, the sofi labs are where much of the sofi plant magic takes place!

(Of course, the real magic happens in the earth, powered by the sun as the plants grow, and we are simply the beneficiaries) - but our labs are where we truly understand what it is that we are going to deliver in each harvest to you!

In our labs, you’ll find a series of incredible, and highly technical machines that carry out the tasks necessary to create this comprehensive account of each and every harvest of plants. (For some visuals of the sofi labs, click here).

Our machines

Our inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer machine detects any heavy metals present in the crop soil, by generating a plasma from the solution using extremely high heat (around 10,000 degrees). The quality of elements within the sample can then be determined using the intensity of light emitted from plasma at a particular wavelength.

Meanwhile, the high-pressure liquid chromatography machine (or HPLC) that we use harnesses techniques of analytical chemistry to separate, identify, and quantify each component in a mixture!

This divides each extract into a few hundred specific compounds so they can be measured by their molecular weight, providing a comprehensive fingerprint of - not only the entire plant - but each of the hundreds of compounds within the plant itself.

If we haven’t completely lost you yet, you may be interested in learning more about how and why we chemically fingerprint each of our plants here.

3. what research with sofi has been done?

Before launching sofi, we asked our scientists to do some research on all of the ways sleeplessness and anxiety materialise in us, and the plants that have worked for some people some of the time.

These papers are written more for science literature review and are internal documents to us, but we don’t mind sharing them with you if you fancy - at worst, you may find them terribly dry to get through and even helpful with the onset of sleep!!

sofi scientific summary papers:

Part I - The pharmacological pathways of sleeplessness:

Part II - The pharmacological pathways of anxiety:

Part III - Plants for treating sleeplessness:

Part IV - Plants for treating anxiety:

4. Do you use any third-party testing?

We do! The Royal Botanic Gardens, KEW, tests each harvest of our formulations for quality assurance and to verify the right level of active compounds.

5. what is sofi’s “atlas?”

*Please note that this feature is currently coming soon