Can Bose’s noise-masking Sleepbuds really help you sleep?

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-[ Snoring ] -Sound familiar? Lots of people lose sleep
because of snoring partners, busy streets, and other
nighttime disturbances. Can a gadget help? I’m “Washington Post”
columnist Geoff Fowler. Tech companies are trying
to get into your bed. Bose, which is best known for those
noise-cancelling headphones you see on
every single flight, is the biggest yet to dive
into sleeping technology. It just debuted
what you might call snore-cancelling headphones. These are Bose Sleepbuds — small, wireless headphones
you wear in your ear while you sleep, to mask sounds
that might wake you up. So, do they work? In the interest of science, I set up a very unfun
experiment on myself. I played this
terrible recording… -[ Snoring ]
-next to my bed all night long, while wearing Sleepbuds, to see
if I could catch some Z’s. Gadget reviewing is not
as glamorous as it might appear. Before we get to the results, a word about
how the Sleepbuds work. They don’t use
the noise-cancelling tech that Bose is famous for. There’s no microphone
actively cancelling out snores or barking dogs. Sleepbuds won’t help you
on an airplane, and you can’t even
play music through it. Instead, Bose is getting into
the science of masking distraction
by sealing your ear canal, like with earplugs,
then playing low-level sound that trains your brain
not to get distracted. It’s like having
two tiny white-noise machines inside your head, playing a low level of babbling
brooks or rustling leaves or any of 10 different
all-night sleep tracks. Their batteries last up to 16
hours and charge in this case. The other thing to know is,
they’re not cheap. A pair of Sleepbuds
runs 250 bucks. A box of earplugs cost $5 but, of course, don’t do
any fancy noise masking. Back to my experiment. Yes, the Sleepbuds did
successfully mask those super-annoying
snoring sounds for both me and my partner, but that doesn’t mean either of
us got a good night’s sleep. My brain was perturbed
just enough by the sound of my own breathing that I never got into
a really deep sleep. My partner’s Sleepbuds
kept falling out of one ear. Getting the fit right is key, and Bose does include
three different sizes of tips. Should you get them? The thing about sleep
is that we’re all different, and noise is just
one of many factors that might be keeping you up. If noise is your main problem, you might have a great
experience with the Sleepbuds. Bose says I might have a great
experience with them, too, if I kept
using them for a while. Bose says it worked for years
on sleep-masking science in making these things
comfortable and that it has many
happy customers already. There just isn’t
any scientific proof, yet Bose says
it’s planning a study. Bottom line — the theory
behind Sleepbuds makes sense, but since there’s so little
proof they’ll work for you, I recommend starting with
the cheapest option — earplugs then
working up from there. If you do buy Sleepbuds
from the Bose store, you can return them
within 20 days. Now, if they could only make
a gadget to turn off the noises
inside your head when you’re trying to fall
asleep.

 

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