The Bose Sleepbuds II is probably the unique headphones in a long time. Instead of music, they play relaxing sounds that are supposed to ensure better sleep.
They look like headphones, they fit in the ears – but they can’t play music: The Bose Sleepbuds II are among the most exceptional products you can buy right now. They are wireless in-ear headphones that supposed to provide the best sleep ever, the U.S. manufacturer promises on its website. That’s quite an announcement.
The Bose is not unknown to the headphone market. The company has gained a reputation for itself with its noise-cancelling headphones, which block out annoying outside noise with a touch of a button. In 2017, the company introduced the first generation of Sleepbuds. Bose targeted the millions of people who want nothing more urgently every evening to fall asleep with the mini headphones. To test its demand, the company decided to take a step by crowdfunding for the first generation. In the end, nine times more money was raised than was needed. The demand was obviously high.
Meanwhile, the second generation of mini headphones, the Bose Sleepbuds II, is available.
More noise instead of less
There are many reasons for insomnia. The stress of everyday life at home or work can reverberate into the evening hours. Instead of switching off, your thoughts turn in circles for hours. But mundane things can also keep you from sleeping, such as a too-loud TV in the apartment next door or a snoring neighbour in bed.
Bose wants to defuse all these stress factors with its high-tech. The company takes a different approach with these headphones. Instead of “cancelling out” the source of interference, as is the case with Active Noise Cancelling, it is superimposed with relaxing sounds. The manufacturer calls this principle “noise masking.” More noise instead of less sounds counterproductive at first. But the superimposition with positively occupied noises is supposed to trick the brain.
Coupling with a smartphone app
To play them, at first, you have to pair the headphones with your smartphone (app available for Android and iOS) because the headphones do not have buttons. The Bose Sleep app offers a sound library with a variety of preloaded sounds, including “rain shower”, “wind”, “airplane noise” (although most people try to block this out) and “ocean noise”, as well as unusual sounds like “hoof beats”. To save battery power, the sounds are on the headphones themselves – so there’s no need for a permanent Bluetooth connection to the smartphone. However, transferring new sounds takes a relatively long time, so you should not start when your eyes are already closing.
You can customize the Bose Sleepbuds II to your preferences in the app. For example, you can determine when the automatic sleep function should turn off, from 30 minutes to a whole sleep cycle. An alarm clock is also integrated into the app. So, if you want, you can wake yourself up with a chime that you only hear yourself. Practical if you’re not alone in the bedroom.
The transport tray in which the Sleepbuds are stored is supplied with power via micro-USB and can charge the Sleepbuds three times on a full charge. Per night of about seven hours of sleep, the Buds use about half of the battery. So, they should be charged daily.
Bose Sleepbuds II: Perfect fit
The headphones themselves are barely bigger than a classic earplug and extremely light. They only weigh a few grams, and you won’t feel uncomfortable when lying on your side. The inserts differ in terms of shape and material from the earbuds that are known as in-ear headphones. Three different sizes are included. When they fit correctly, they are virtually unnoticeable in the ear.
Many users complained about the unpleasant noises that the Sleepbuds produced in the first generation, such as touching the pillow. A new coating solved this problem. The battery life has also been improved: Six to seven hours of runtime are definitely possible. They might even last longer, but with two children, I can’t afford to sleep longer.
But do the Sleepbuds II help you fall asleep? That depends very much on the circumstances, i.e. how loud are the disturbing external noises and how sensitive is your own sleep? If the person next to you snores loudly, the headphones have to be very loud to mask the noise – but then you can’t sleep either. They shouldn’t be set too loud; otherwise, you could overhear “important” noises like a baby crying or the smoke alarm.
The Sleepbuds are more recommended for light noises like mosquitoes or rumbling neighbours – or for people who can’t fall asleep when there’s too much silence but don’t want to leave the TV on. Another use is focused work in the office because annoying background noises like keyboard clatter are also masked.
If you check review on the internet, most people with sleep problems have experienced an improvement as a result, but not everyone. In the end, you have no choice but to try out the sleep headphones. At just under $250, the Sleepbuds are no bargain, and your own sleeping conditions are too individual.
Even though Bose has improved many details compared to the first generation, there is still room for improvement in some areas. For example, the Sleepbuds only work with their own app. A connection to other apps that offer similar services (Asana Rebel also offers soothing sound sets) is unfortunately not possible. It is also not possible to use them as “normal” headphones during the day to play Netflix or Spotify, for example. The SleepBuds II can only be used as sleep headphones.
The charging time is also very long: It takes up to six hours to charge the SleepBuds II to 100%. It would be best if you put them away in the good times.
It makes sense that the Soundbuds II does not have any buttons since this prevents accidental volume changes during the night. At the same time, it is not possible to turn down the headphones at night if they are too loud. In that case, the only option is to reach for the smartphone.
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