Bottom line: Muse S (Gen 2) is a brain sensing headband designed to help you understand and track how well you focus, sleep, and recharge so you can refocus during the day and recover at night.
Lightweight and comfortable
Easy to use app
Digital sleeping pills
10-hour battery life
Sensors need skin contact
Can shift during sleep
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Muse S (Gen1) helped me develop a seated meditation practice and up my sleeping game last year. When I heard Muse S (Gen 2) had launched and introduced digital sleeping pills, I was curious and eager to try it out. This brain sensing headband not only balances the heart, body, breath, and mind through various guided meditations, but also provides soothing soundscapes and digital sleeping pills to help maximize your rest. Incorporating Muse S (Gen 2) into my daily routine has helped me reduce anxiety, stress less, fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. Though pricey, I highly recommend this high-tech health tool if you're interested in meditation and quality sleep.
Muse S (Gen2): Price and availability
Currently, Muse S (Gen 2) is only available on the Choose Muse website for $400. It comes with the Muse S (Gen 2) rechargeable pod, headband, MicroUSB charger, and quick start guide.
Muse S (Gen2): What's good
I have spent a large portion of my adult life working on a seated meditation practice. I have countless meditation books and have tried multiple approaches. Muse S (Gen 1) was the first thing to make consistent meditation accessible for me. Muse S (Gen 2) keeps that trend going. It offers guided meditation and soundscapes that focus on balancing breath, body, heart, and mind.
You can set your session length anywhere from one to 45 minutes. I recommend starting with a three-minute session. This length is accessible for everyone and gives enough time to really understand what's going on and get a firm handle on how Muse works. There are many soundscape options to choose from, making it easy to find one that resonates with you. Soundscape categories include desert, gentle rain, river, and beach to give you an idea of what you'll be working with.
Before each meditation begins, you'll get exercise instructions via the app. Listen to these, or you'll be very confused as to what you're hearing. Once your session is complete, you'll be prompted to write a journal entry if you choose, then the app displays your meditation stats on a line graph. You'll see how many minutes were spent active, neutral, and calm.
You'll see your Muse Points — points awarded for every second you meditate in a natural and calm state. You receive one point per second spent in neutral and three points per second spent in calm. Your recoveries and birds are also displayed. Recoveries represent effort spent noticing your distractions — this builds focus. Birds land nearby when you're calm for a long time. It's soothing to hear them sing.
Prior to using Muse S, a 45-minute meditation session seemed impossibly long to me. However, support from the app, gentle notification reminders to meditate, and clear instructions have me well on my way to accomplishing that goal. Weekly targets and leveled challenges help beginning to advanced meditators reach their goals.
Why should you meditate? There are a plethora of health benefits associated with meditating such as reduced stress, improved memory, increased attention, enhanced will power, better sleep, less pain, lower blood pressure, less anxiety, less depression, greater compassion. A consistent mediation practice has improved my overall wellbeing tenfold. I feel less anxiety, more energized, and focused throughout the day, and get better sleep when I'm consistently meditating.
The most notable difference between Muse S (Gen 1) and (Gen 2) are digital sleeping pills. Digital Sleep Pills (DSPs) are responsive sleep experiences designed to put you to sleep and help you get back to sleep if you've woken up during the night. You can choose between sleep stories and meditations and music and nature biofeedback. I'm into DSPs. I've tried sessions in both categories; both have lulled me to sleep like a baby. On top of digital sleeping pills, Muse S (Gen 2) has a variety of other sleep experiences to offer such as sleep journeys, soundscapes, and guided sleep meditations.
Whether you choose to use a sleep experience or not, Muse S (Gen2) tracks and records your sleep when worn and synced with the app. It generates an overall sleep score the next morning based off your stats. Sleep stats are displayed on color coded line graphs and include sleep stages, deep sleep intensity, sleep position, heart rate, stillness, and how these categories fluctuated throughout the night.
The Muse app is straightforward and easy to use. It easily pairs via Bluetooth with Muse S (Gen 2) and will automatically pair after you connect for the first time. The app is where you control your meditation and sleep settings. It stores your session history, awards, individual session stats, and stats overall. For the record, the screen doesn't have to be on, and you don't have to be actively in the app to utilize any of the sleep soundscapes, guided meditations, or digital sleeping pills. You can pick your experience and doze off while your phone charges and the app works behind the scenes.
Muse S (Gen 2) is outfitted with many sensors to track your brain waves while you meditate and sleep. It has an accelerometer, gyroscope, pulse oximeter, heart rate monitor, EEG, and PPG sensors. It delivers 10 hours of battery life and takes three hours to get to 100%. It's fully adjustable, lightweight, and comfortable to wear, making it easy to incorporate into your daily and nightly routines.
Muse S (Gen2): What's not good
Muse S (Gen 2) is pricey, thought it's hard to put a price on the benefits of consistent meditation and a good night's rest. This headband is definitely on the higher end of the price spectrum, but if you can expense it, it's worth checking out.
One issue I had with Muse S (Gen 1) that I don't experience as much with (Gen 2), but still struggle with a bit, is my hair getting in the way of the sensors above my ears. This is particularly evident while sleeping when I move around, and the headband gets pushed out of place. If you've got long hair, it must be up and pulled back to get the most out of this headband while you're catching ZZZ's.
If you're anything like me, you move while you sleep. This can disrupt your sleep data if your headband gets knocked out of position. I will say that Gen 2 tracks my sleep much more consistently throughout the night than Gen 1 did. Sleep data disruptions don't happen as often. Make sure your Muse is nice and snug to keep it in place as firmly as possible while you snooze.
Muse S (Gen 2): Competition
Muse S (Gen 1)
The biggest thing that separates Muse S (Gen 1) from (Gen 2) are digital sleeping pills. Other upgrades include improved battery life and accuracy for overnight sessions, and a headband that fits a wider range of head sizes. I feel the fabric on the Gen 2 is a little softer and more comfortable than Gen 1 as well, but both are cozy to sleep in. If you can swing it, I think it's worth the upgrade to Gen 2.
URGONight is an adjustable headband designed for sleep training. Training sessions are short and sweet at only 20 minutes, making it easy to do them anytime throughout the day. This brain sensing headband provides real-time feedback on brainwaves during each session so you can improve sleep over time. This product is similar to Muse S in the sense that it reads your brainwaves, but it's not a meditation assistant and doesn't over digital sleep experiences. It's also more expensive.
Muse S (Gen2): Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You're interested in meditation
- You want to fall asleep faster
- You want to improve focus during the day and get better rest at night
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You're on a budget
You should buy this if you're interested in meditaion. Muse S (Gen2) makes daily meditation accessible to everyone via different lengths, sounds, and experiences. Digital sleeping pills and curated sleep soundscapes and meditations help the user fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and ultimately get better rest. Daily meditation improves focus, leads to less stress and anxiety, and better overall wellbeing. Muse S (Gen2) is pricey, so you should not buy this on a budget.
I really like using Muse S (Gen 2). It's lightweight and comfortable to wear making meditation an easy thing to access and incorporate into any daily routine. I feel less stress, more focused, less anxiety, and better overall when I meditate daily. I've always been interested in sleep data, and the sleep tracking and 10 hours of battery life on Muse S ensures I collect mine every night. Digital Sleeping Pills and sleep experiences help me drift off to dreamland quicker, with less disruptions throughout the night. There are lots of sleep apps out there on the best iPhone, and I consider Muse to be one of the best. If you're interested in meditation, better sleep, and improving your overall wellbeing, Muse S is worth checking out.
Nicolette is a freelance writer for iMore. She's been hooked on Apple products since she got the very first iPhone in 2007 and made the switch from PC to Mac in 2008 after inadvertently dousing her laptop with a hefty dose of water. A dedicated creative, Nicolette has had the pleasure of working with some of the top websites, studios, and brands in the industry throughout her career, and enjoys writing about all things: Apple, health, fitness, audio, and home. With over a decade of high-level experience as a health and fitness professional, Nicolette specializes in tech pertaining to the field. If she’s not working, you can find her sipping a glass of wine, enjoying a concert, or hanging with her family.