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our story   ·   04. May 2022

the S1 Pioneer Program — the first signals of effect

on the data generated by the sofi “brain” throughout the Pioneers’ journey with plants

In March of this year, we officially launched our S1 Pioneer Program. The first formulation we chose to activate on the sofi system was Valerian, a plant that has been extensively studied for its role in targeting insomnia, anxiety, and sleeplessness.

Our initial goal with this program was pretty straightforward: we wanted to see how much of an effect 4 weeks of using our Valerian plant pods could have on you, your sleep, and your overall well-being. Now, almost 60 days later, we are so incredibly delighted to share with you the first signal of the effect of sofi’s S1 Valerian Program captured by sofi with the help of our extraordinary Pioneers.

For the first time in history, we can understand people’s unique responses to plants at the individual level. So the most crucial part of this equation is you.

understanding the effect of the plants: N-of-1

To understand how much Valerian affects your sleep, we build mathematical models that learn to predict your sleep time and quality based on your use of the sofi pod (this is what we refer to as the “sofi brain”).

This mathematical model is also given access to your sleep quality and time in the past (your “baseline”), just in case that’s helpful information for the sofi brain to consider while embarking on this learning adventure.

If the model does sufficiently well, we then ask sofi what she looked at while trying to learn to predict your sleep time and quality. If she “decided” to ignore the spray data and focused on previous sleep patterns to predict future sleep, it means that no useful information could be extracted from the spray data as of yet.

On the other hand, if the sofi brain “decided” to look at your spray data and has learned to predict your sleep time or quality well enough, your pod use directly affects your sleep!

first signals of effect from the S1 Pioneer Program

graph generated by the sofi "brain"

You can see two graphs above; one indicates sleep time and the second of sleep quality. The dotted line in the middle represents the moment each pioneer activated their sofi stick. The data before that represents “baselining data”, so pioneer sleep quality and time without the intervention of Valerian. The space to the right of the dotted line is the number of days after the first sofi spray.

The first observation is the general shift in the average. We know that no single plant will hit all nine pathways of sleeplessness, but we knew Valerian would strike at least two of those nine, so we expected to see a general shift of improvement for the group — of course, what this hides is the individual responses. For some, Valerian was transformative as it addressed directly the pathways that made a difference in their sleeplessness.

It’s important to note that “First Spray” does not represent a particular date — as due to fulfilment challenges to 15 territories, our intrepid Pioneers began their journeys at various times over March. All pioneers would’ve run out of formulation roughly 30 days from the first spray. They would have then had to wait for our refill program (to be created to distribute the excess formulation to participating pioneers). This took another 15 days. And finally, the refill program would have kicked in primarily for pioneers who were showing a response to Valerian. And it’s interesting to see these three phases visible on the “sleep quality”… clearly more pioneers participated in the S1 program than in the refill program, with only those having a response following through with refill. The dramatic lift of the average shows this during the “refill phase”.

We are entirely over the moon with this initial signal from sofi. We are grateful for all the support and love from our pioneers in helping us demonstrate, without a shadow of a doubt, the power of plants in nudging us towards better, calmer, more rested and happier lives.

P.S. For those who like to see more about the sofi brain, we thought of sharing the following on sofi’s “certainty”… how long does it take for sofi to form a view of the effect…

graph generated by the sofi "brain"

Within the first 30 days of your journey with Valerian, sofi was sure of the effect of the plant on 80% of Pioneers who were sleeping better and around 75% of Pioneers who were sleeping longer as a result of the sprays. It only took ten days after Pioneers’ initial spray for half of the effects to be seen — even quicker than anticipated (a scenario only foretold by our medical herbalist @pamelaspence like one of those witches from Macbeth)!

Based on the first build of sofi’s “brain” (version 0.1), sofi needs to analyse a pioneer’s journals for nearly 30 days to be 99% certain of her observations. Whilst around 75% of the effect of the plant could already be teased out by sofi at the 20-day mark, there remained a 25% chance that waiting another ten days could result in further discoveries.

Of course, this is not long when it may take up to 10 days of consistent spraying (the “loading” phase) to get the plant level at an optimal level for a pioneer. This also means that the plant will remain effective for some time after the pioneer has stopped taking it ( referred to as the wash in and wash out phases).

sofi not only accounts for whether your sleep quality goes up when you spray but also analyses whether your sleep quality goes down when you stop or pause. So long as journaling remains consistent, sofi may even realise an effect of the plants, precisely due to a day or two that you didn’t take a spray.

All these factors contribute to sofi’s certainty, i.e. her confidence that what she has discovered for each pioneer is meaningful or “statistically significant”. Hence journaling consistently — with or without the plant pods — is essential in understanding the complete picture of your individual experience. Statistical significance is hugely important, as it’s the claim that a result from data generated via experimentation or testing is likely to result from a specific cause — in this case, reconnecting with Valerian.

Join the conversion in our community hub, the “treehouse” now, or sign-up to participate in our next Pioneer Program at

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