Since I was a child, I have had insomnia and have tried a great many products to help me sleep. Everything from custom moulded earplugs to luxury pillows. Nothing really helped much one way or the other. So it was a bit of a long shot when I purchased SleepPhones.
With the hefty price tag of $99.95 I considered it worth the gamble to find out. Even though, due to health and safety concerns, you cannot return the product if you are unhappy with it. No Money Back Guarantee / Satisfaction Guaranteed type scenario here I’m afraid.
WHAT ARE THEY
SleepPhones are soft, slightly stretchy,material headbands which come with headphones embedded inside. The headphones are small, square and wrapped in fabric. Also inside the headband is the receiver module / control unit – with a Start/Stop button and Volume Control.
The product slogan is “pajamas for your ears”, while also playrelaxing music or anything you like, to help you swiftly drift off to dreamland. I purchased SleepPhones Wireless with Bluetooth in the Breeze Fabric, Pitch Black, Extra Small.
As I live in a warm climate, I chose the Breeze fabric which is a lightweight, breathable fabric. However, I do get quite cold in winter and so considered getting the Fleece fabric, but I thought this would limit the usability of the product to winter only.
After following the step by step instructions on how, exactly, to ascertain one’s size, I landed smack bang on a size cut off, meaning I could have swung either way.
As per the Official sizing guide (https://www.sleepphones.com/customer-support/sizing) the recommendation for this situation is you should opt for the slightly smaller size as there is a bit of stretch to the material. When it arrived and put it on for the first time, it felt very uncomfortable – a strong pressure, pushing on my head.
I ended up stretching the headband over a throw cushion for a couple of days before I could handle wearing them again. This helped somewhat, the cushion did all the hard, stretching work for me.
HOW TO WEAR:
SleepPhones are designed to be worn with the headphones over the ears and the Module at the back of the headband, at the base of your head. I have a small head and the length of the module is nearly the same as the length of my neck, so it was dreadfully uncomfortable.
As a workaround, I wore them back to front, so the module now rests on my forehead. Which is all well and good when I’m laying on my back or my side but if I fancy flipping around to sleep on my tummy (and the insomniac me does a lot of flipping) then the bulky module is in the way.
The module bends somewhat but you don’t want to push on the controls with your forehead. Wearing them this way means the gap in the headphones does not stay closed, and so, in the dark of my room, I can sometimes see the little red light flashing from my forehead when the product is on. Because all the components can be moved around, you can adjust the positioning to whatever works best for you.
The package comes with an instruction manual on how to connect to Bluetooth to get the headphones to work wirelessly. They work great if the phone is with me, or in the room next to me, but I can’t roam around the house far from my phone.
The website says “5 – 10 metres for easy connectivity”, but I’d add this depends if walls get in the way. I’ve had SleepPhones for nearly five months now and never had any problems with connectivity. Once I switch them on, they automatically sync to my phone and stay synced until I switch them off.
There is a USB charging cord that comes with purchase, but no actual plug, which is a real shame. You can plug the USB cord into a computer, or I found an old cameracharger that works fine enough.
I charge mine every morning as the guide recommends charging them without waiting for them to go flat. Pulling the module out every day to charge it is a bit fiddly.
The main reason I wanted to get SleepPhones was for their claim to “mask ambient noise, conversations, traffic, and even snoring”. There is quite a lot of noise outside my room, which I’ve always been hyper sensitive to and so, I really was hoping this would be the answer to my prayers. But sadly, no.
I also have Tinnitus quite badly and the Hearing Specialist advised me to do Sound Therapy, which I thought SleepPhones could also help me with. However, in order to really mask the noise outside my room, I have to turn the SleepPhones up quite loudly. Loud music of any kind, blasting away in my ear, I don’t really find to be conducive for sleep. Not only this, once I switch them off, I always find the Tinnitus to be worse as a response to the loud music.
However, some of the reviews online do say that SleepPhones have helped with noise, like a partner snoring, so again, this is something only you can know for sure by trying them out for yourself.
There is an app you can download which has some sleep music tracks on them. The tracks are rather ordinary though. The headband is fully washable, once you remove the electronic component.
Once you get used to wearing them, the SleepPhones are comfortable enough, especially lying on your back, although, over time, I have got used to them when lying on my side. If you wish to listen to Binaural Beats or some meditation tracks while lying in bed, often the recommendation for these types of tracks is to wear headphones while listening.
SleepPhones are the much better alternative to do this with, rather than wearing bulky headphones or firm in-ear headphones in bed. The absence of cords to get tangled up in is quite the delight.
The high price means it is quite the gamble making the purchase. If you don’t like them, you’re stuck with them. If your sole aim is for them to help you sleep, and if it doesn’t work, then you may be bitterly disappointed.
However, there are many other applications for the product outside of sleep. I wear them for meditation, for yoga (for my at-home yoga practice which I follow online) and just as wireless headphones while walking etc.
In terms of sleep, currently I wear them for meditating, or listening to relaxing music before I think I’m ready to fall asleep. Then I take them off.
If, on the very rare occasion I doze off with them still on, I wake up throughout the night and then take them off. My personal opinion re comfort is that I prefer sleeping without them.
SleepPhones haven’t made a huge difference in my ability to sleep. It wouldn’t be realistic to think one purchase was going to work like a Magic Wand and wave away years of chronic sleep problems. But they do help with winding down and relaxing before bed and are a much more comfortable alternative to regular headphones. In my case, I found them to be overpriced for how much they actually help me with sleep and how much I use them otherwise.
After having the product for about six months, I was sick of the ongoing problem I was having with charging. In order to charge, I would have to push the cord into the module very firmly and ever so gently place it back down, in order to keep the red light on and to keep the product charging. Sometimes I would have to do this half a dozen times to get the item to charge properly.
I sent the product back, thinking it must be faulty, surely it couldn’t be so hard to charge the product. I was told that in order for the product to charge easily, (i.e. not have to re-plug it in over and over to get the charging light to come on), I had to purchase the official SleepPhones charger or buy a charger elsewhere which would charge at more than 1 Amp – seeing as I wasn’t supplied with a proper wall charger with my purchase, only a USB cord. I looked at all of my plugs which I could insert my USB cord into, including all my phone and camera chargers and none of them charged at more than this.
Ultimately, the technician told me on the phone this is why it wasn’t charging properly and I should go and buy a proper plug to connect the USB cord to. I should be able to just plug the cord I was supplied into the module, easily and just once, and into any USB charger and it should charge. If all the chargers I have are good enough for my phone and camera etc then they should be good enough for a small module.