Muse S Review: The brain sensing headband

Muse S
(Image: © Nicolette Roux / iMore)

iMore Verdict

Bottom line: The Muse S makes meditation accessible to everyone and offers a variety of exercises to suit various personalities. It monitors and tracks your sleep so you can get a better understanding of your rest and how it affects your day to day.


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    Sleep and meditation tool

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    Monitors mind, heart, body, and breath

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    Lots of variety

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    Soft/comfortable to wear

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    Great battery life


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    Can shift during sleep

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Being well rested is a must if you're looking to put your best foot forward in all that you do. Lack of sleep greatly effects your mood, ability to focus and operate, memory and overall health. If you want to get anything done, a good night's rest is the best way to start. Meditation has been proven to reduce stress, control anxiety, promote emotional health, enhance self-awareness, lengthen attention span, reduce age-related memory loss, improve sleep, and even help control pain.

That being said, I think all of us could greatly benefit from better sleep and a consistent meditation practice. I often have a really difficult time shutting my brain off at night and a consistent, seated meditation practice is something I've tried, but have never succeeded in. Muse S, the brain sensing headband, has helped me monitor and track my sleep as well as find a meditation practice that works for me. It's comfortable and easy to use. I'd recommend this product to anyone interested in meditation, getting better sleep, and improving their overall mental and physical health.

Muse S review: What I like

Muse S

Muse S (Image credit: Nicolette Roux / iMore)

Muse S is an excellent sleep and meditation assistant.

Well let's start with the obvious, I love that Muse S is a sleep and meditation assistant. I suffer from bad anxiety and I've found that getting better sleep and a consistent meditation practice helps immensely. I love to practice and teach yoga and consider yoga to be a sort of moving meditation. However, I've never been able to develop a consistent seated meditation practice. Muse S has made seated (or non-moving) meditation more accessible to me than ever before.

There are tons of different meditations to choose from. Muse offers different medication exercises in six categories: mind meditation, heart meditation, body meditation, breath meditation, guided meditation, and timed meditation. They also add to their meditation library all of the time. For example, I just did a new self-care, guided meditation on Being Kind to Yourself, which is so important!

Birds are delightful to hear.

You're able to track and measure your meditation progress. After each session, you'll see how you responded to your meditation with simple and easy to understand post-session reporting. Muse will break down your session into three categories: Muse Points, Recoveries, and Birds. Muse Points are awarded for every second you meditate in a neutral and calm state. You receive one point per second spent in neutral and three points per second spent in calm.

Recoveries from active to neutral represent effort spent noticing your distractions – this helps with the ability to focus. Birds are awarded when you've been calm for a long time within the session. They are delightful to hear, but sometimes they can be distracting. I'll get so excited about a bird chiming in, that my brain starts going haywire. Then I just have to focus on calming my mind, recovering, and coming back to my calm state.

Muse S

Muse S (Image credit: Nicolette Roux / iMore)

Before you begin a meditation exercise, the Muse app will give you specific meditation instructions pertaining to that exercise. You can choose a session length from anywhere between five to 45 minutes. I'm definitely a meditation beginner and am still on five to 10-minute meditations. Anything beyond that, and I start to get fidgety. I recommend starting with five minutes and working your way up. The more consistent you are, the longer you'll be able to meditate.

Muse S has provided wonderful stress relief and has curbed my anxiety.

Performing these simple meditations every day has provided wonderful stress relief and has really helped curb my anxiety. I also find that I have more energy throughout my day and get better sleep if I meditate. I love that Muse offers so much variety within their meditation exercises. Whether you're into soundscapes or guided meditations, anyone and everyone can find a meditation practice that works for them within Muse's extensive library.

I love that the Muse S headband itself is soft, adjustable, and extremely comfortable to wear. It monitors your brain activity and tailors the meditation or sleep exercise you choose specifically to you. The headband connects to the Muse app via Bluetooth. The headband has six sensors located on the inside of the band that monitor your heart, mind, body, and breath. Before you begin a sleep or meditation exercise, make sure that your headband is charged and connected.

Muse S Sensor Check

Muse S Sensor Check (Image credit: Nicolette Roux / iMore)

The headband will perform an automatic sensor check to make sure that everything is connected and good to go before your exercise starts. Because Muse S is a sleep tracker, it's designed to be worn to bed. It really is super comfy to sleep in — I hardly even notice that it's there. You'll want to fit it snuggly to your head before bed. If you're a wild sleeper, it can shift out of place while you're snoozing, but I move around a lot while I sleep, and mine stays in place well enough to give me accurate readings throughout the night.

I love the sleep tracking.

I love the sleep tracking aspect of this device. I've always been so curious about my sleep patterns. Muse S uses EEG-powered sleep tracking to deliver insights on how long you spend in each sleep stage and position, your heart rate throughout the night, and your stillness percentage. Muse puts all of these insights on a timeline within your app and will give you an overall sleep score out of 100 for that particular night. An average sleep score is 75, so anything above that is considered restful, and anything below indicates that you could use more shut eye.

Muse S has a plethora of offerings to put you to sleep. You can choose from soundscapes (my personal favorite) or guidances (which are also great). There are a bunch of different categories and guided sleep meditations to choose from within these two umbrella categories. Soundscapes include categories such as underwater, stillness, soothing piano, and sound bath, and guidances include options like Still the Spinning Mind, Lavender Field Journey, and At the End of the Rainbow.

Muse S

Muse S (Image credit: Nicolette Roux / iMore)

Both soundscape and voice guidance sleep exercises are wonderful.

I've done both soundscape and guidance sleep exercises, and all have been wonderful. Once you choose your sleep exercise, it acts as a catalyst to put you to sleep faster (and deeper) and begin your sleep monitoring. I also love that you don't have to leave the app open on your phone. You can choose your sleep meditation, put your iPhone to sleep, and the sleep exercise will continue to play.

Muse S features a 10-hour battery life which is impressive as is, but I think mine has lasted even longer. I think mine has been able to go almost 12 hours without needing a charge. With a battery life like this, you can safely monitor a full night's rest without worrying about it running out of battery and not being able to record your sleep stats.

Muse S review: What I don't like

Muse S

Muse S (Image credit: Nicolette Roux / iMore)

The truth of the matter is that the Muse S is very pricey, but it's hard to put a price on your overall mental and physical health am I right? Ok, so this unit is expensive, but it's a high-tech piece of equipment that monitors your brainwaves. I do feel it's a little overpriced, but it is an excellent sleep and meditation assistant. If you're interested in meditating and want better rest, I've found it to be very effective and a worthy investment.

Another bummer about this device being a headband is that it can slide out of place. Not while you're meditating (obviously), because you're supposed to be still; but certainly, while you sleep. I will say that I am a crazy sleeper – just ask my husband, and Muse S has managed to hold on tight while I'm catching Z's. At least enough to deliver accurate and consistent sleep tracking. If it does shift out of place, there will be flat lines in your data where it wasn't connected or it shifted, but overall, it monitors your sleep throughout the night quite well.

The competition

Urgonight Case

Urgonight Case (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

The URGOnight is similar to the Muse S in the sense that it's an EEG-powered sleep trainer. It monitors your brainwaves and tracks your sleep habits to ultimately help you get better rest. It's a little different though, because it's solely a sleep trainer, not a meditation assistant, and the URGOnight headband is not designed to be worn all night — only while you're training. The URGOnight training sessions are all capped at 20 minutes and there is a countdown of 12 hours after each session before you can do another.

You choose the theme of your session and URGO night will provide a number of different visual and audio cues (via the app) to monitor your SMR brainwaves. It's very pricey, but has been proven to be effective in achieving better sleep. I would pick the Muse S over the URGOnight because it's significantly less expensive and it's both a meditation and sleep assistant - more bang for your buck! Ultimately, it depends on what your personal goals and preferences are when it comes to choosing one of these products.

If you're someone who is not interested in meditation assistance, and doesn't want to wear an EEG tracking headband all night long, the URGOnight is the right choice for you. It features short 20 minute sleep training sessions to help you achieve better rest. If you're someone that's interested in both meditation and sleep tracking, the Muse S is the way to go. It comes at a lower price point and you can pick session lengths between five and 45 minutes. It features an enormous library of all different kinds of exercises.

Muse S review: Should you buy

Muse S

Muse S (Image credit: Nicolette Roux / iMore)

You should buy this if ...

You're curious about meditation, but don't know where to start

Muse S makes meditation accessible to everyone! The Muse app offers tons of different meditation exercises within six categories: mind meditation, heart meditation, body meditation, breath meditation, guided meditation, and timed meditation. These exercises are timed between five and 45 minutes and because Muse S is monitoring your brainwaves, they are tailored specifically for you. It's a great tool to find a personalized meditation practice that works best for you.

You want to monitor your sleep

Muse S paired with the affiliated Muse app will deliver EEG-powered sleep tracking insights including sleep stage visualization, sleep position and stillness tracking, your heart rate throughout the night, and a personalized sleep efficiency score. Muse S helps you understand and track how well you sleep and recharge so you can refocus during the day and recover each night.

You want lots of variety

The Muse library offers a plethora of different sleep and meditation exercises within an impressive number of categories - all tailored specifically to you.

You should not buy this if ...

You're on a budget

Muse S is very expensive. However, if you're interested in meditating and getting better sleep, it's a sound investment.

You're a particularly wild sleeper

If you're a crazy, gymnastics in bed kind of sleeper, you run the risk of the headband sliding out of place and not being able to effectively monitor your sleep.

Muse S is a highly effective sleep and meditation assistant. It monitors your mind, heart, body, and breath to tailor your sleep and meditation exercises specifically to you. It has excellent battery life and is comfortable to wear all night long. The Muse app offers an impressive amount of sleep and meditation exercises taught by renowned experts, and they're adding to its library all of the time. On the downside, it's pricey and it can slide out of place while you snooze, but like I said before, it's tough to put a price on your overall mental and physical well-being. I'd highly recommend this product to anyone interested in meditation, sleep monitoring, and improving their overall mental and physical health.

Nicolette Roux

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.