Do these earbuds really work better than speakers for sleeping?

Technology plays a role in keeping us awake and wired, but also in an effort to help us fall asleep and relax. The role companies want gadgets and gear to play in helping people sleep is a curious one. The innovations surrounding temperature and lighting are interesting, but one of the most popular appears to be using audio.

Innovations in audio for sleep extend from apps and audio content to speakers and earbuds. Both Endel’s AI Soundscape or the Bose Sleepbuds are great examples. And, looking at my inbox, I can tell that companies are increasingly competing to figure out the best way to use audio as a sleep aid.

A new entry in the field of nighttime audio is the Cocoon Nightbuds. The product is a pair of Bluetooth earbuds specifically designed for use while sleeping. The part that goes into your ear is very thin and light. It accomplishes this by moving the electronic components via minimal wiring to a module on the back of your head.

In the name of better sleep, I’m willing to try most things at least once, so I gave the Nightbuds a chance. I’ll admit that when I first saw them, I was incredibly skeptical. She doesn’t seem comfortable with the photos on Cocoon’s website. In the end, cocoon nightbuds are both better and worse than they look.

tl; Dr


  • long battery life
  • Can be used for any type of audio or phone call


  • most discomfort while sleeping
  • impressive companion app
  • poor audio quality

ideal consumer: Nightbuds are ideal for side sleepers who can’t use the speaker for whatever reason.

buy on cocoon,

Why use earbuds for sleeping?

There’s no single reason to consider wearing earbuds during sleep, but perhaps the biggest one is that a spouse or partner sleeping in the same room may not want to hear what you’re listening to at night. It could be a guided relaxation audio or the latest Taylor Swift album. Either way, you’re probably trying to be discreet using the earbuds. I’d appreciate it.

I usually use wireless speakers when I play audio at night. I’m lucky my wife doesn’t mind. I’m not someone who needs to use the earbuds while sleeping, but I was curious whether the Nightbuds would prove comfortable enough that I might prefer to use them over the speaker. If they did, I’d probably start using them on airplanes or on nights that I want a more immersive audio experience to sleep in.

Nightbuds Features

The nightbuds come with a case and multiple ear tips to help fit different ear sizes.
Tyler Hayes

All the amenities included in the Cocoon Nightbuds are in service for using them in bed. For example, the reason for a less than ideal module that resides at the back of the head is because the parts leading to your ears can be as thin and minimal as possible.

Cocoon says the NightBuds’ in-ears are only 5.4 millimeters thick, so they might work well for people sleeping on their side. On the right bud is an infrared light sensor that is used to measure heart rate and heart rate variability. The MyKokoon app will show sleep analytics around efficiency, duration and quality.

Nightbuds have physical volume buttons with microphones so they can be used to make phone calls—during the day. They are also said to have 10 hours of battery life. I found the batteries to be better than this, but at least, they shouldn’t be a problem as long as you want to sleep every night.

A highly talked about feature for the nightbuds is the ability to detect when you fall asleep and automatically fade out the sound or fade into white noise. In practice, I did not see auto fade – which is kind of the point. It also didn’t particularly help me fall asleep. Caregivers of all types want to be aware of issues throughout the night. They could probably still use the nightbuds, but I’d avoid activating the faint white noise.

first night sleeping with earbuds

cocoon nightbuds
I found the module on the back of my head less noticeable than I expected, but it still compromises on comfort.
Tyler Hayes

It was easy enough to slip the earbuds into each ear for the first time. There is a range of silicone ear tips to fit different ear sizes. I opted for one of the smaller ones so that the fit was as unobtrusive as possible. There is a module that connects each side with a thin wire. it’s unfortunate. But, it’s not even its very presence that got me angry – it’s the wire coming out of my ear that was bothering me at night. The module is where the power and volume buttons reside and potentially most of the battery and wireless electronics.

Going into this review, I wasn’t expecting much, as even getting into my bed rest with AirPods in my ears hasn’t really worked for me at all. Those earbuds are very uncomfortable to use over pillows. So I was pleasantly surprised, the first time I put my head down with the Nightbuds in my ears, that they felt mostly invisible. Lying on my side, my ear touched the pillow first instead of the bulbous earbud.

I rolled over on my back, and I could feel the Nightbuds’ module piece, but not as much as I’d hoped. Overall, my first experience with the earbuds was much better than I anticipated. It was definitely a lot better than any picture they looked at.

My experience wearing the NightBuds to bed the first night was very different from only trying them on for a few minutes. After four hours, and waking up several times, I had to take them off. I felt a little pain in each ear from lying on either side. The wire at the back of my head got so stuck on my pillow that I was distracted when I jumped up and turned.

My second night with the Nightbuds wasn’t much better. While I found them so much more comfortable to wear to bed, I still had to take them off by midnight. Frankly, this is a tedious product to try and test.

Nightbuds look pretty comfortable if you can sleep on your side all night. And, while I theoretically prefer to sleep on my side, I tend to toss and turn a lot to keep a device around my head.

I don’t sour on the idea of ​​sleeping earbuds, but after many more tries, these just aren’t the right ones for me. I’m sure they may be perfect for a particular person, but it’s probably someone who doesn’t budge much throughout the night. In general, if you can use the speaker to listen to audio at night, I recommend it.

nightbuds audio

To get the best audio quality out of NightBuds, you have to use rubber ear tips that form a seal in your ears. Doing so can put more pressure on your ears and eventually make you feel less comfortable while sleeping. I recommend forgetting about trying to get the best fidelity and stick with whatever ear tips are most comfortable.

Even with the Seal, there’s a huge lack of bass compared to other similarly priced earbuds. The overall sound is balanced, but it feels narrow in the range. The earbuds don’t sound hollow or low quality, but the bass doesn’t resonate much and the treble doesn’t shine. It may be like I’m down with how the nightbuds sound, but I think they’re fine – for sleeping.

The in-ear part is incredibly thin and lightweight, so it seems like a matter of physics that these earbuds can’t push as much air as the larger earbuds can. At night, listening to soothing voices or even speaking to people, I never considered voice an issue.

cocoon nightbuds
Cocoon is able to keep its earbuds slim by placing electronic devices on the back of the head.
Tyler Hayes

mycoon app

There are two possible uses for Cocoon Nightbuds. The first is to listen to audio to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. Another is using them to analyze sleep. It’s a solid idea, but the execution of the data being shown within the app is mostly messy.

mycoon app
I found it difficult to understand the sleep data graph shown in the MyKokoon app.
Tyler Hayes

The first issue is that it’s unclear when, or if, the earbuds will track data. Will it track my sleep if I take a long afternoon nap with the earbuds on? The instructions indicate keeping the app running to track data, but it’s not clear what that means specifically. For example, does this include not turning off the screen on the iPhone so that the app isn’t paused in the background? Questions about whether it is recording data are fueled by the results appearing at different intervals. When I saw some of the results displayed in the app, it was hard to interpret them. I didn’t find the visualization clear.

Apart from data tracking, the app also provides audio content. The content is sparse, but it’s definitely enough to get you started and potentially use on repeat if you like it. There are musical sounds, guided meditations, coaching and stories. One particular piece of audio that I found interesting was the three shipping forecasts. This included someone reading the weather and sea conditions for seafaring. At first it seemed like a joke. But, after a few minutes, it seemed like content to fall asleep to people turning on the Weather Channel.

The good thing is that you can use the NightBuds to listen to any audio on your phone, be it streaming music, audiobooks or podcasts. If you want multiple audio layers, the MyKokoon app will play ocean waves on top of your other selected audio.

Should you buy Cocoon Nightbuds?

Cocoon Nightbuds will be most useful for those who sleep on their side. But, I wouldn’t generally recommend these to anyone curious about sleeping with personal audio. Despite the technical achievement in making the in-ear buds thinner and lighter, I think the connecting wires and back module are too much of a compromise to recommend them to anyone who blankets them.

However, there is an exception. If you absolutely need earbuds for sleeping, for whatever reason, then these are definitely worth considering. It’s a minor difference, but the Nightbuds’ ability to play any type of audio and longer battery life may suit your circumstances.

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