Sleep used to be like the weather; everybody talked about it, but nobody did anything to make it better. Sure, we had tips for good “sleep hygiene” but aside from white noise machines to drown out distractions, there were not many technology solutions designed to help. Fortunately, that has all changed. We have smart beds that automatically adjust temperature and pressure in response to your position and sleep stage. Bedside devices change the room lighting to response to your sleep status. But a new set of earbuds have raised the stakes in sleep technology.
We first wrote about Kokoon six years ago when their first headset was the focus of a Kickstarter campaign. The company has now launched their Nightbuds product which takes a novel approach to improving your sleep. The product starts with a pair of familiar-looking earbuds designed to fit snugly in your ears. Unlike other buds that can be as much as 20 mm thick, the Nightbuds are only 6 mm thick, making them more comfortable to wear, even if you sleep on your side.
The buds are connected to a controller by flexible, serpentine wires, so that the controller fits unobtrusively behind your neck. The controller connects to an app running on your smartphone or table (iOS or Android) via a Bluetooth connection. The system uses intelligent noise masking to help your brain deal with disturbances in the night. It uses white noise to smooth out the peaks of sound that might occur from street noise or a snoring partner.
You can stream music or other content; the system will detect when you fall asleep and gently fade the music out. Kokoon also provides their own audio streams that you can use. And while you’re sleeping, the Nightbuds monitor your sleep quality by tracking your heart rate (using PPG technology from Valencell) and movements, to help you understand and manage your sleep. The device is rated to run 14 hours on a charge, and you can recharge it using a standard USB-C cable.
No longer do we have to settle for being told how well we slept last night. Technology now allows us to take proactive steps to improve our sleep.