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- Bose’s $250 Sleepbuds are tiny wireless earbuds that mask external noise for a better sleep.
- They’re smaller than the size of a penny, can play for 16 hours off a single charge, and are comfortable to sleep on – even for side sleepers.
- The Sleepbuds have cons worth considering but are ultimately a good option for better, more consistent sleep.
- You shop Bose Sleepbuds on Amazon and Best Buy for $249.99.
Your partner snores, your AC sounds like an avalanche, and your neighbor’s yappy dog isn’t getting any closer to realizing its reflection isn’t an animated being. No matter which sound is most to blame, at least one of them is probably keeping you awake at night.
Unfortunately, noise is the trickiest sleep complaint to solve. For an environment that’s too bright, buy blackout curtains. For one that’s too hot, change your sheets or add a mini tabletop AC. But if it’s too noisy, you can’t build thicker walls overnight, shut down traffic, or replace your neighbor’s dog with an identical but far more solipsistic cat.
That’s why Bose’s $250 Sleepbuds sound so intriguing. The company largely famous for noise-cancellation technology (think: cult-favorite QuietComfort headphones) has recently designed tiny in-ear buds meant to mask nighttime noise for better, more consistent sleep. The Sleepbuds are smaller than a penny (without their wingtips), and they’re comfortable enough to sleep on – even for side sleepers. After one full charge, they’ll deliver 16 hours of play time. Even the magnetic carrying case was specially designed to be attractive enough for the prime real estate of a nightstand, and it’s slim and portable enough to take on trips.
The Sleepbuds are a good option for those who want a noise solution that can travel easily and inconspicuously, don’t bother a partner, and don’t require any change in sleeping habits.
However, there are some caveats. $250 is a lot of money to spend on earbuds, and the Bose Sleepbuds play 10 preloaded soothing sounds but do not stream music. When asked why the Sleepbuds don’t include the ability, Bose’s Sleepbuds product manager explained to Business Insider that the necessary technology would have pushed the design to something too bulky to sleep on – rendering the end product pretty much useless. So, you can’t play your sleep playlist in your tiny Sleepbuds, but you can sleep on top of them without waking up or affecting your quality of sleep.
Bose sent Insider Picks a set of the Sleepbuds to test, and I’ve been sleeping in them for the last week. All in all, they deliver on their promises – but whether or not they’re worth $250 to you will depend upon your lifestyle and the severity of your noise complaints.
First of all, the Bose Sleepbuds are really tiny. I’ve tried plenty of sleep-friendly headphones in the past, but these are the first in-ear buds that are truly small and unobtrusive enough to go unnoticed by me throughout the night. They deliver on being comfortable enough to sleep on (yes, even on your side) and I never woke up in the middle of the night unconsciously trying to take them out. Some reviews reflect a less comfortable experience, but I didn’t experience pain or annoyance at all. In fact, comfort was likely the Sleepbuds’ best feature for me given how difficult it is to find.
In terms of tech, I was initially disappointed by the fact that the Sleepbuds don’t stream music. In the interest of versatility and value, I suspect many will feel similarly. I nearly always fall asleep to music or audiobooks, and I was reluctant to forgo that the first night I popped them in. Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised by how relaxing I found the soothing sounds, and how well they worked. There are ten tracks total, and some are designed for relaxation while others are focused on lulling you to sleep. I fell asleep quickly, stayed asleep through the night, and woke up feeling refreshed. The next night, I went home actually excited to put them in.
In terms of volume, the Sleepbuds go loud enough to mask the noise of my AC and the honking cars on the busy NYC street outside my window, and they make your own voice sound muffled if properly fitted.
The Bose Sleep app is easy to use, and it offers sparse but helpful features like an alarm. Despite being a notoriously deep sleeper, I woke up on time every morning I used one. This in-ear alarm is another potential benefit for those sleeping with partners that have different schedules.
Now, if you don’t feel like spending $250 on a pair of earbuds, there are other options. There are cheap, universal ear plugs for less than $15. And if you really want a solution that lets you stream music and you don’t mind placing function over form, there are AcousticSheep’s Bluetooth SleepPhones ($100). I found them comfortable to sleep on top of as well, though far less stylish, much warmer to wear, and with a less impressive battery life. (If you don’t mind cords, there’s also a cheaper non-Bluetooth version for $40.)
Overall, though, Bose’s $250 Sleepbuds are a solid option. They’re uniquely comfortable, attractive, easy to travel with, and provide consistent noise-masking that won’t bother a partner.