Sleep Tech: 4 Things You Can Only Learn After Using Sleep Buds for a Week

Say hello to the earplugs of the future.

A friend once told me, “I’ve never achieved REM sleep during my time living in Manhattan.” Even I, a person who once slept through the blaring of their home alarm system have trouble falling asleep.

My surroundings may be in part to blame. A major commuter line, the Long Island Railroad, passes behind my building every hour, and my delightful neighbors seem to be fans of the mid-week rager. My roommates also enjoy playing video games in the living room until the wee hours of the night. So to combat all this ruckus-induced restlessness, I conscripted the help of the futuristic Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds.

Think of these AirPods-esque devices as leveled-up earplugs. They notably don’t play music, instead they comfortably fit in your ear to muffle noise and play relaxing, ambient sounds. It seems like a product that’s made for people who dwell in bustling cities that never seem to pipe down or a noisy open office.

bose sleepbuds
How I'm trying to be in noisy-ass Brooklyn.

So can the Sleepbuds combat all this incessant racket? I plugged my ears with them for a week to find out.

  • Product: Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds
  • Price: $250
  • Perfect for: Lights sleepers in noisy cities.

Monday:

My first sleep with the Sleepbuds was a blissful one, and I passed out almost immediately, even as my roommate exclaimed every time he won a game of Overwatch in the other room. Right away, I realized this makes them 1. ideal for anyone with multiple roommates that blast movies, music, or video games at night.

I will say the set-up took a little longer than I anticipated. I had to download the Bose Sleep app, swipe through multiple slides about how to fit the buds to my ears, and finally pair them to my phone.

bose sleepbuds
A breakdown of the important components inside of the SleepBuds
bose sleepbuds
bose sleepbuds

After trying on a few different sizes I found the perfect fit. I’m a side-sleeper so I was afraid they might make my ears sore, but the SleepBuds’ wing tips are incredibly squishy and perfectly hide in your ear so resting on them for a long time doesn’t hurt.

Bose is known for their noise-canceling tech and while the SleepBuds aren’t don’t provide as much coverage as the company’s over-ear headphones, they didn’t let me down. Once everything was set I popped them in and my roommate’s occasional screeches faded into light squeaks. I made the buds play the soothing sound of leaves rustling the fall breeze and promptly passed out.

Tuesday

Sure, these are great to speed up falling asleep but for $250, I felt like I had to find other use-cases for them. Fortunately this wasn’t that hard, they turned out to be 2. great for peacefully reading during my commute to work.

bose sleepbuds
A perfect fit!

The New York City subway is the polar opposite of quiet, making the buds a helpful way to ensure I could get a little more reading done during what is usually sunk-time for me. The SleepBuds come with a portable charging case that provides roughly 16 hours of battery life so they’re not limited to my bedside table and can accompany you for most of the day.

Wednesday

Like many young professionals, I work in an open-floor office which can get a little noisy. Churning out multiple stories a day requires me to occasionally bunker down in a quiet room to avoid distractions, but the SleepBuds 3. turn my desk into a silent space.

On Wednesday, I had to crank out a beefy list of iPhone predictions all while heated food debates in the office chatroom caused my coworkers to erupt in laughter. I couldn’t help responding with the occasional “LMAO,” until I plugged in the SleepBuds which helped restore my focus. They were like human horse blinders…but for my ears.

Friday

I didn’t get a chance to try the SleepBuds’ best feature until the end of the week, when date night rolled around. I needed to be at the office at 9 a.m., while my date had the day off. I didn’t want to wake her with my phone alarm but, fortunately, 4. The SleepBuds put my morning alarm right in my ear, so you can rouse yourself without disturbing the person I’m sleeping next to.

bose sleepbuds
Penny for scale.

The Bose Sleep app lets you set an alarm so the buds don’t accidentally make you oversleep. At 7 a.m. chiming bells went off in my ears, gently telling it was time to go write this story.

Conclusion

At first, I was skeptical about leaving a pair of $250 earbuds on my nightstand every day. But after trying them outside of the bedroom, I found the SleepBuds useful in a lot of other situations besides catching some zzzs.

They also took the spot as the most comfortable earbuds I’ve ever worn, though they don’t play music. A spokeswoman told me that enabling them to blast tunes would have required making them too bulky to be comfortable, or sapped up the tiny batteries, drastically reducing the device’s helpful 16 hour charge.

That explanation makes sense to me, and it’s not like there’s any shortage of headphones at every imaginable price-point. The SleepBuds then are a different kind of wearable, one for preserving your sense of peace and quiet or, in the case of the in-ear alarm, the piece and quiet of the person sleeping next to you.

Media via Bose, Danny Paez