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Bose’s Revolutionary Sleepbuds Promise a Better Night’s Sleep

What’s the difference between ‘Sleep-Masking’ and ‘Noise-Canceling’?


The Bose noise-masking Sleepbuds were announced last fall as an Indigogo campaign — but today, they’re finally available to purchase for everyone. Despite their similar appearance, these aren’t noise-canceling in-ear headphones, like the company’s QC30s, nor do they share many really any of the noise-canceling technology that the company is famed for. Instead, the Bose noise-masking Sleepbuds are a breed of their own. And they’re specifically designed to help you sleep better, by drowning out a snoring partner, loud neighbors or other city noises that seep into your apartment.

Compared to Bose’s other in-ear headphones, the Sleepbuds have smaller, lighter and more refined silicone ear tips that are designed to stay in your ears, passively block out sounds, and, more importantly, they’re designed so you hardly notice them while you’re sleeping. The Sleepbuds don’t have any built-in sensors or microphones, so they can’t measure heart rate, monitor your sleep quality, or actively cancel out outside noise. Actually, they can’t even stream music, so you can’t use them as traditional wireless earbuds. Instead, the Sleepbuds rely on a really low-energy Bluetooth connection. This syncs the Sleepbuds to the Bose Sleep app (a completely separate app from the normal Bose Connect app) and allows you to set alarms and choose sounds.

Yes, you choose sounds.

This is the secret sauce that makes the Sleepbuds truly unique. Instead of active noise cancellation to block out sounds, wearers choose (in the app) from specially-engineered sounds to cancel out the sound frequencies that disturb your sleep. These sounds aren’t streamed from a smartphone but are actually stored via the Sleepbuds’ onboard memory. There are ten sounds to choose from — like running water, rustling leaves, ocean waves and blowing wind — and depending on what sounds disturbs your sleep — be it somebody snoozing, outside traffic or the television from the adjacent room — there’s a specific sound designed to cancel that out. It’ll take some trial and error to which sound works best for you, but Bose promises that you’ll find it pretty easily and once you do, you’ll get some of the most restful night sleeps of your life.

As for other specs, each Sleepbud has a battery life of 16-hours — or two full nights of sleep — and they come in a pretty robust aluminum charging case that adds another 16 hours of battery life for each Sleepbud. They are available in two colors, white or black, and come with three sets of silicone tips to make sure you get the perfect fit.

At first glance, Sleepbuds seem like a pretty expensive proposition. You’re paying $250 for truly wireless earbuds that don’t stream music and you can only wear while you’re sleeping. They’re effectively just lighter and better-fitting wireless earbuds that play sounds in your ear while you sleep. But Bose claims that these sounds have been mastered — the love children of Bose’s team of engineers for the last several years — and they promise to give you a better night sleep. So if you’re one of the millions of people who have trouble sleeping, it might be worth giving these a go. There’s nothing else like them on the market, after all.

Buy Now: $250 (Amazon)Buy Now: $250 (Bose)

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