While there’s a wide selection of truly wireless earbuds on the market today, none is quite like the Bose Sleepbuds II. They are designed specifically to help you enjoy a deep, restful night’s sleep by making sound and playing soothing sounds in your ears that help lull you to slumber.
As the name implies, the Sleepbuds II are the second iteration of the product. The first had a faulty battery that led to Bose eventually issuing a recall for them. There was a secondary issue discovered with the charging case after the initial release, but Bose has since rectified that as well. Bottom line: Bose solved the issues and released these new buds to accomplish what the company originally set out to do.
Do they work and are they worth buying? I was excited to try these out because I often have trouble falling asleep. As a daily Fitbit wearer, I am also obsessed with checking my sleep data in the app every morning to see not only how many total hours of sleep I get each night but also the quality of sleep, which my Versa 2 smartwatch breaks down by light, deep, and REM. It also provides a Sleep Score. Being able to track these details about my sleep could provide some meaningful insight into whether or not wearing the Sleepbuds actually made a difference.
But first, let’s go through what they are and how they work.
What are the Bose Sleepbuds II?
The Bose Noise Masking Sleepbuds II look just like any pair of truly wireless earbuds, complete with a convenient and stylish charging case. They come with three sizes of proprietary ear tips (small, medium, and large) to ensure a perfect, snug fit.
Finished in white with a silver case, they work alongside the Bose Sleep app. Pop them in your ears then choose from various pieces of content in the app, from nature sounds to tranquil tones and white noise. Bose says they are “clinically proven” to help you fall asleep faster.
The battery lasts up to 10 hours per charge, which is more than enough for a night’s sleep. But you get three additional charges from the included case, which also doubles for storage.
They work with any mobile device that supports Bluetooth Low Energy, including Apple devices running iOS 11 or later and Android 6.0 devices or later.
Setting up the Bose Sleepbuds II
The first thing I noticed about the Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds II were that they come in a really neat packaging. And the charging case is equally cool, sliding open to reveal the buds inside along with bright LED lights to indicate charging status.
Download the app then follow the simple instructions for set up: the first thing you need to do is charge them up for at least six hours to ensure they are ready to go. Try the buds to ensure that you have the proper fit. They come with the medium-sized tips already attached and these fit perfectly for me so I didn’t have to change them. But the app walks you through how they should look and fit so you can confirm you have the right size before popping them into your ears overnight.
Once set up and fully charged, I got ready for a relaxing night of slumber. Before getting into bed, I popped them into my ears, opened up the app, waited for them to connect, then browsed through the various soothing sounds under the “My Sounds’ tab. They are categorized into Noise Masking (Swell, Warm Static, Rinse, Rustle), Naturescapes (Boardwalk, Outbound, Starboard, Window Seat), and Tranquilities (Ode, Wanderlust, Fabled, and Gilded Dream). At first, I tried one of the Tranquilities, which is like an instrument playing a tune. But I found the repetitive nature and tone irritating after about 10 minutes and switched to Rustle, which mimics the sound of a light breeze and rustling leaves on a beautiful Fall day. That was much more relaxing and effective at what I usually wear earplugs for at night, which is basic noise masking.
You can click on the Sound Library tab to download other sounds as well, so I added a few more, like Campfire, Rumble, and Altitude. Each sound has a detailed description but ideally, just press play to hear a preview before downloading. While you can play a sound without being connected to the earbuds, you need to connect them before you can add the new sound to the buds. In many cases, a lot of them sound similar with just a slight audible difference among them. You can set the sound to play all night or create a sleep timer so it stops after a few hours, for example, once you’re deep in slumber.
A feature I love with these sleep earbuds is that you can also set an alarm that will emit a soothing tone overtop the noise masking sound to help you wake up in the morning. This is great for people who wake up early since only they can hear it versus an alarm clock that might wake up your partner and/or others in the household.
There are a few other settings worth noting in the app. There’s a phone-free mode that lets you use the Sleepbuds II while your phone is off or in another room. Though this disables all alarms, alerts, and sound adjustments, it’s great if you just want to completely shut down for a night and get a full, uninterrupted eight hours (or more!) of sleep. A useful feature if you’re concerned about missing an important or emergency call is Alerts, which you can set up to send a tone to the buds if there’s an incoming call. Finally, there’s an informative bit of information about volume safety, advising you to set an appropriate volume.
Do the Bose Sleepbuds II work?
I tried a different noise each night, sticking mainly with the noise masking options. They were pretty comfortable and never fell out of my ears. I toss and turn a lot in my sleep and they didn’t budge nor did I feel any pain from wearing them in the mornings. But the most important thing is: did I notice a difference in my sleep?
It’s really tough to tell. I had very high hopes after the first night as my sleep score, based on Fitbit data, was 10 points higher than usual, even though I got the same number of hours of sleep as usual. But after that, it went down to typical numbers. Did I feel more refreshed in the morning? Not necessarily. I did, however, feel slightly less stressed and anxious while trying to fall asleep. I did notice, however, that while my hours of sleep and overall sleep scores remained pretty consistent, the time I spent in deep sleep tended to be higher when I wore the earbuds versus when I didn’t. Deep sleep is, of course, when your body and mind is most relaxed, your heartbeat and breathing slows down, and it’s tough to wake you up. It’s an important part of the nightly sleep cycle.
The Sleepbuds II worked effectively for noise masking as well, at a similar level to the standard foam earplugs I usually wear that fit directly into my ear canal and expand to block noise.
Are the Bose Sleepbuds II worth buying?
If you have serious issues with insomnia, have a hard time relaxing at night with your mind constantly racing, experience a lot of stress and anxiety, the Sleepbuds might be worth the investment. The soothing and tranquil sounds might make a difference in helping you alleviate some of that stress, getting to sleep quicker, and feeling more refreshed when you wake up. If you’re just a light sleeper who is easily awoken by even the slightest distracting noise or live in a city where there’s a lot of noise overnight that impedes your sleep, you might be able to get by using just a decent pair of quality foam earplugs that fit securely in your ear canals to block out noise.
It’s worth noting that if you live alone, for safety reasons, it makes more sense to opt for a device like a white noise or sound machine over earbuds, to ensure that you still have a level of situational awareness in the event of an emergency. But if you live with others, especially someone who snores, or if you have to wake up for work at odd hours, these buds can quietly wake you up without disturbing anyone else.
Check out the Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds II at Best Buy Online.