Getting a good night’s sleep is central to your physical and mental health. And unfortunately, most of us at least have some trouble getting to or staying asleep regularly. In the past, I was stuck on the “stay asleep” spectrum, with few problems falling asleep, but a consistent habit of waking up in the middle of the night. But after spending six months wearing Bose Sleepbuds 2, I’m a changed woman.
Bose’s Sleepbuds 2 is specially designed to sit more comfortably in your ears than traditional earphones, blocking noise and providing specialized meditation content instead of your favorite songs. And while $ 249 may seem expensive, the serenity these earphones give me on a nightly basis is well worth the price.
Bose Sleepbuds 2 are the best headphones for sleeping. The most comfortable for the whole night, they seal external noise (even snoring) and have 50 different options for sound and white noise to help you fall asleep and stay there.
What we loved
Although we tested four different sleeping headphones for our best headphones to sleep with, the Bose Sleepbuds 2 was resoundingly my favorite, and they easily surpassed the more feature-rich but less comfortable Amazfit ZenBuds.
Not only do they best suit the competitors for the whole night, but even without the company’s beloved noise reduction function, they also gave me the most reliable seal, keeping outside noise like traffic and our biggest night problem, my husband, out. snoring. Plus, 50 different sound and white noise options are available via the easy-to-use companion app to further mask any turmoil. But unfortunately, if you were hoping to slip off to your favorite podcast or playlist, Sleepbuds 2 will not play other music or personal sound; they are intended for rest only.
The small, smooth earplugs fit comfortably in my ears – in fact, I have not used any other earphone that has come close to being so comfortable in any situation. Wing-like stabilizers help hold Sleepbuds 2 in place, and I only lost an earplug in bed once, and missed it so much that I frantically went for it when I woke up – only to find it under a pillow about the morning .
Sleepbuds 2 is a departure for Bose – not only do they not make any noise reduction, but as mentioned, they do not play music or other content. They only work with the Bose Sleep app. To set up, use the app to connect your Sleepbuds 2 to your phone via Bluetooth and then choose from a range of 50 soothing sounds, grouped into categories like Noise Masking, Naturescapes and Tranquilities.
Simply click the “Add to Sleepbuds” button and load your selection directly onto the headphones themselves – and you can activate a phone-free mode and use them without having a device nearby (though you can not change sounds or use Sleepbuds 2’s wake-up alert mode in this condition). I appreciated this because I am militant in terms of not having my phone in the bedroom at night for better sleep hygiene. And in the end, I did not mind missing these features (the alarm was very subtle and did not wake me up, although your mileage may vary).
When it came to choosing sound, I found that “Swell”, a white-noise-like wave loop, worked for me. I set it to play for 1.5 hours each night, effectively masking external sounds (including snoring) as advertised. The result was finally that I could quickly fall asleep again if and when I woke up during the night. Before Sleepbuds 2, I spent hours reading on my Kindle Oasis with built-in adjustable light when this happened. Now I miraculously even spend some nights completely undisturbed.
A round charging case with a sliding cover is connected via USB-C; Bose says the battery life is about 10 hours on a single charge, but the charging case adds three more charges. In my test, I never ran out of juice, but appreciated the insurance of the extra hours in case I ever forget to plug them in or leave the charger at home for a short trip.
What we did not like
Although Bose Sleep Buds 2 have definitely changed my life, they do have a few quirks.
It might be to my liking, but I found some of the nature-oriented sound clips too active and distracting. Noise Masking sounds like Cascade and Downstream made me want to run to the bathroom, while natural landscapes like Country Road made me feel like someone would pull a pick-up into my bedroom.
But once in a while, if I wanted to relax before going to bed, I would try a Tranquility like Drift, which was like lying on a massage bed. The problem is that when I use phone-free mode, I have to physically turn it off, get up, and put my phone in the other room. What kind of defeats the purpose. In addition, you can never change the sounds or use the wake-up alarm in this mode.
Eventually, I’m crushed on the idea of losing a Sleepbud, because when I asked Bose if they sell single replacements, they said the devices are “paired together during the manufacturing process.” But Bose also told me that if a customer loses a bud, they can contact the service team and will be offered a discount replacement / replacement. So the hope is that you will not have to pay the full $ 249 to replace the entire product.
Amazfit ZenBuds, our second place for best sleep headphones, comes with smaller earphones that sat too far back in my ears and were obviously less comfortable, but they offer some benefits over Sleepbuds. Not only do they come with sleep tracking, something I had to rely on my Apple Watch for with Bose, but the larger library of sleep sounds automatically shuts off when ZenBuds detects that you are sleeping, instead of working for an hour. However, I found that the accompanying app was skewed during my testing, freezing and then shutting down on two different iPhones.
In the end, the Bose Sleepbuds 2 changed the way I sleep and is easily the best sleeping headphones we’ve tested. I no longer have murderous thoughts associated with snoring, and I have been able to fall asleep more often and for longer periods of time – including weekend mornings where a child or a voracious cat might wake me up earlier than I would like. And for me, that kind of peace of mind is worth the price.
How they compare to other sleeping headphones we tested