Bottom line: Bose Sleepbuds II simply work. I've been getting more and better sleep than ever thanks to them.
Block out my partner's snoring and other noises
Marked improvement in my sleep
Comfortable to wear
Can only be used with the Bose Sleep app
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Bose Sleepbuds II mask noise by combining two technologies: a snug-fitting eartip that forms a comfortable, gentle seal for passive noise reduction and a library of noise-masking sounds optimized with just the right mix of frequencies to make outside noises less perceptible. These are not headphones: you cannot listen to your own music or sounds. You use Bose Sleepbuds II with the Bose Sleep app. The app has 40 sounds from which to choose, divided into three categories: Noise Masking, Tranquilities, and Naturescapes. The app does have an alarm you can set if you like.
Bose Sleepbuds II: What I like
I'm generally a pretty poor sleeper. I've done a lot of research on sleep hygiene and have created the best sleep environment I can for myself. But what do you do when you have a partner that snores? Short of kicking your partner out of bed, Bose Sleepbuds II are the solution.
I reviewed the original Sleepbuds, but they eventually died and Bose discontinued them due to a persistent charging issue. I loved them so much that I continued to wear them dead (obviously they didn't do much, but they were comfortable and offered a bit of passive noise reduction just due to the precision fit) for months until I got my hands on the new model!
I fell in love with the Bose Sleepbuds II the moment I placed them in my ears, even before I put my head on the pillow. The fit is perfect and comfortable, I can barely feel them when they're in. My favorite sound in the app, "Warm Static," puts me in a sleepy mindset right away. There are 40 sounds in total, including nature sounds, white noise, and musical/tonal sounds.
The new earbuds are flatter than the previous ones, so they don't squeak against the pillow as the old ones did sometimes. They come with a variety of eartips and wings in different sizes, so everyone should be able to find their perfect fit.
I haven't heard my partner snore once in the weeks I've been using the Bose Sleepbuds II. Obviously, he still snores, but I've been sleeping right through it. I live in a quiet suburb so I can't say if they block out city noise, but I did try playing loud music in the next room and the Sleepbuds dampened it quite effectively.
Bose Sleepbuds II: What I don't like
It's important to understand what these are: a sleep product. They are not headphones. You cannot use them to listen to your own music or other sounds. You can only use them with the Bose Sleep app, which has 40 sounds but if you don't like any of the sounds, you're out of luck.
Yes, they are expensive for a product that serves a single purpose. Bose Sleepbuds II are not for everyone, they are specifically for people that need to block out sounds so they can sleep, or perhaps to relax or focus.
For about the same price, you can buy the incredible AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation for blocking unwanted sounds. They can be your everything-headphones, but they are not designed for sleep. Most people will not find them comfortable enough to sleep in.
Kokoon headphones are specifically designed for sleep, relaxation, and blocking out unwanted sounds, but you can still use them as regular headphones. I think they're great for relaxing and general use, but I was unable to sleep in them.
Bose Sleepbuds II: Should you buy
You should buy this if ...
You need to block out sounds so you can sleep
Bose has packed some incredible technology into these tiny earbuds. They work in two different ways. Passive noise blocking is created by the perfect fit and comfortable seal. Noise masking sounds from the Bose Sleep app provide just the right mix of frequencies to make unwanted sounds less perceptible to your brain.
You need to block out sounds in general
With over 40 sounds available in the app including nature sounds, white noise, and musical/tonal sounds, you could use the Bose Sleepbuds II for general relaxation or focus as well as for sleep.
You have found other sleep headphones uncomfortable
I am The Princess and the Pea when it comes to sleep, but I find these incredibly comfortable, definitely comfortable enough to sleep in.
You should not buy this if ...
You are looking for headphones
You cannot listen to your own music with the Bose Sleepbuds II. They are utterly focused on sleep and blocking out unwanted sounds.
You are on a tight budget
They are not cheap. But they are worth every penny if you are desperate for sleep.
If you're looking for the best inexpensive headphones, this is not what you want. But if you have trouble sleeping or relaxing, if your partner snores, if you are often disturbed by unwanted noise while you're trying to sleep, then Bose Sleepbuds II are what you're looking for.
Sleep is incredibly precious to me, and often elusive. Since I started using the Bose Sleepbuds II, I've been getting some amazing sleep. I even slept nearly nine hours one night, which is almost unheard of for me. I haven't been awoken by my partner's snoring, which has allowed me to sleep longer and better than I have in years. Another option to consider if you want to improve your sleep is the URGOnight system, which trains your brain to produce the correct brainwaves that help you sleep.
Bottom line: I've been getting the best sleep I've had in years thanks to the noise-masking Bose Sleepbuds II.
Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at CNET. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, AppAdvice, WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.