I’m a very light sleeper. Anything will wake me, from music at the adjacent campsite to a TV in the hotel room next to me, to my partner’s snoring. I also have a hard time relaxing into sleep at night, even in quiet conditions. I’ve been using Bose Sleepbuds for over a year now, and I can honestly say this product has changed my sleep for the better, day in and day out.
I started with the first generation of Sleepbuds, which had some problems. They got glitchy, sometimes had a hard time holding a charge, and would sometimes turn off unexpectedly. Even with these problems, which ultimately caused Bose to discontinue them, they were enough of a lifesaver for me that I bought the Sleepbuds II as soon as they were available.
This version has worked for me flawlessly! I trusted that Bose would rectify the issues, and they did. So here’s how they work:
Bose Sleepbuds use noise masking technology to bring soothing, desireable sound to your ears when you’re sleeping. This is different than noise canceling technology, which you’re probably more familiar with. Noise canceling continuously measures, compares, and reacts to outside noise, then cancels it with the opposite signal. But since no combination of passive and active technologies for reducing the sound entering a user’s ear can make unwanted noises completely inaudible, Sleepbuds masks with its own sounds.
I was skeptical at first, because I really love my noise canceling headphones. But when I thought about it, I realized that no matter how good the noise canceling, I could still hear SOME noise. With the Sleepbuds, ALL outside noise is masked. What’s in its place? Your pick of a variety of ‘white’ and ‘pink’ noise sounds ranging from static to ocean waves to raindrops. You’re probably familiar with these types of offerings, from other apps or white noise machines. You can also choose from meditation sounds.
All of the sound offerings are via the Sleepbuds Sleep app. Unlike with headphones, you CANNOT stream your own music, podcasts, or white noise through the Sleepbuds. You must use the Sleep app. On most occasions, this is fine with me, though my only complaint about my Sleepbuds is that I would love the option of streaming the content from my Calm app for a set amount of time each night, before my Sleepbud noise takes over.
You can set a timer on your Sleepbuds to turn off at a certain point, if you don’t want them to mask sound all night, or you can opt for a full eight hours. I played around with this feature, and realized I woke when they shut off, so I prefer to keep the noise masking on all night. You can also set an alarm through the Sleepbuds, so you’ll be gently woken in the morning right through the buds.
The included storage case can recharge the buds three times before they need to be connected to power, providing a total of up to 40 hours. This has been a great feature when I’m off the grid camping and backpacking or when I travel. Otherwise, you just recharge via a standard USB.
So, are they comfortable to wear all night? YES! And again, this is coming from someone who is a very picky and light sleeper. I forget I have them in, though every once in a while, a bud falls out of my ear at night. I only know this because I can hear my partner snoring. Otherwise, I truly cannot hear anything aside from my soothing noise masking sounds. It’s truly bliss.
Which bring me to one final safety point: I don’t like to wear these to bed at night when I’m alone unless I feel completely secure in my surroundings, because I truly cannot hear a thing. So if you’re caring for a child, or need to stay alert for any reason, you’ll need to turn them down or opt not to wear them. That said, I can usually hear my (external) alarm in the morning (though I prefer to use the Sleepbud alarm) and I can sometimes hear my dog barking (but barely).
The main thing is, if you sleep with a snorer, you will NOT hear them. For me, that alone is worth the $249 price tag for a Bose product. The fact that these allow me to sleep well while I travel is a bonus! Plus, you do get a 90-day trial, which is very generous and more than enough time for you to decide if these work for you. Happy sleeping!