Do you live on a busy street? Have noisy neighbors? Do you have a housemate who snores in an adjoining room? All of these things may be no big deal during the day, but at night, when you need to sleep, they aren’t exactly conducive to a solid 8+ hours, are they? You need the Nightingale Smart Home Sleep System.
Nightingale, made by Cambridge Sound Management, masks noises that keep you from being able to sleep by using customized sound blankets that you control from its app. It’s portable, so you can bring it when you travel, but it’s also perfect for using in your bedroom, your baby’s nursery, or even in your office if you need to block out distracting sounds while you work.
Cambridge Sound Management was founded in 1999 by an MIT PhD in acoustics and is the global leader in commercial sound-masking systems. Our patented direct-field sound masking solutions revolutionized the industry by delivering better quality noise reduction, while our focus on ease of installation helped customers deploy sound masking systems with less cost and construction. We’ve applied our 15 years of expertise in acoustics, product design, and manufacturing to our first consumer-focused product: Nightingale.
There are two versions available; the Standard Edition includes one Nightingale unit — which is fine for smaller rooms, and the Premium Edition which includes two Nightingale units for larger rooms. I was sent the Premium Edition, so that will be the one I focus on in this review.
Included in the package are the two Nightingale units, a quick start guide, and a sheet with safety and regulatory notes.
The Nightingale unit is composed of matte white plastic with a metallic silver bezel and perforated silver sides. It resembles a wall outlet in that it has two grounded plug sets built into its front side. This is handy because it will take up the two wall sockets in the plug you place it over; this design allows it to always be powered and connected without taking away the use of any of your plugs.
There are speakers built into the two sides, and there is a slightly camouflaged button built into the right side; otherwise, it just looks like a fancy raised wall outlet.
The Nightingale measures just under 5″ tall by 3″ wide by 1″ thick. The design is nice and unobtrusive; while someone might see it, they aren’t going to really notice it, if that makes sense.
Before you get started using the Nightingale the first time, you should download the Nightingale app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. If you are using one unit, you should plug it in; if you have two, you should plug them into separate wall outlets in the same room. Nightingale says that for the best performance, you should choose outlets on opposite walls, and you shouldn’t plug the units into each other. It’s okay if the plug is behind furniture or if you can’t see it once it’s installed — it will still work.
Nightingale is developed by acoustics experts to immerse your bedroom with customized, comfortable ambient sounds, that we call sound blankets.
The Nightingale Premium uses two units to provide uniform coverage of sound blankets. For smaller rooms, the Nightingale Standard uses one unit, which features two micro-speakers to reflect the sound off the wall for uniform coverage.
The first time you plug the Nightingale unit into the wall, you may or may not hear the following greeting, “Welcome to a better nights rest. Please download the Apple or Android app so you can configure and control your device to enhance your sleep experience.” I heard it on one, but not the other; it’s no big deal if it doesn’t sound, as you can still continue with setup through the app.
Once you’ve got the Nightingale on your network, pinned to a location, and you’ve named the room it’s in, you can adjust how you’ll be using it. Does your room have a lot of carpet and upholstery? Then you should choose Absorptive. Or is your room hardwood with a lot of glass and very little upholstery? Then you should choose Reflective. A bit of both? Choose Neutral. Is there usually someone snoring outside your room? Does someone have Tinnitus? There are options for that. Once you’ve made your selections, your “sleep blanket” will be set.
Choose from 15 sound blankets based on your room’s acoustics. Customized for sleep conditions like tinnitus, and to help block snoring from adjacent rooms.
You can also pick what color you want the light to be — if you’d like to use the Nightingale as a nightlight; if you don’t want much light (but you do want some), turn the intensity down a bit.
You can set what hours you’d like the Nightingale to operate in (and if you want the light to glow at all).
And then, you can decide what sounds you’d like to hear when the Nightingale is doing its thing.
• Lakeshore sounds like its name: house on the edge of a lake. A distant frog, some irregular knocking (perhaps, it’s supposed to be some bird?), running water, rustling through the reeds.
• Crickets has the little electronic critters making their noises with several random chirps in and around the background. It’s oddly hypnotizing; the crickets sound real – like really real — and almost 3D.
• Loons has the warbling of the bird with weird whale-call sounds that I’m guessing are a loon’s cry. It’s spooky; It starts out really strong then gets so calm.
• Whale Songs has long, mournful, yearning sonar sounds. I laid there with my eyes closed and pictured a huge tank with a Blue Whale frolicking inside. It didn’t make me sleepy, but it kept me entertained.
• Rainstorm is magical; if you like sleeping to the sound of rain, then you will love this facsimile of a steady hard rain. It’s really great for meditating on before falling asleep; light thunder cracks in the background and ripples across the soundscape. It’s eventually just gentle enough to lull you into a fantastic, contented, deep sleep.
Once you have one or both Nightingale units set up in your room, the app looks like this.
The number represents the volume and intensity of the sound blanket. I like to keep it on about 5 or 6; it’s enough to create a blanket of white noise without being too distracting for sleep (or work, if you are using it in your office).
I’ve been sleeping with the Nightingale in our bedroom for the past week. Kev likes to stay up late watching television sometimes, and our living room TV is on our bedroom wall. Even though we had the builder add extra insulation to the wall in anticipation of future problems for the person in the bedroom while the television was on, I can still hear distracting sounds when it’s on — sometimes they keep me from being able to sleep. With the Nightingale on, I have no problem falling asleep as I listen to the sounds of rain falling. It smooths out the noises from the living room, and I am asleep faster than you can say “Can you turn the television down, please?”
I fully expected Kev to object to the Nightingale creating sound, as he’s not one for artificial noises — even white noise — when he tries to sleep. He has had no complaints so far.
Oddly enough, I haven’t been disturbed by Kev’s light snoring since we started using this; I know he’s still doing it, but I am sleeping through it. Bear in mind that his snoring has sometimes sent me to a spare bedroom; because I am typically a light sleeper, and it will wake me up. This is a huge plus. I have no idea if the Nightingale would (or could) make one bit of difference if you have a heavy snorer in the room, but if your partner breathes heavily while sleeping or lightly snores, and those sounds usually disturb you, it can help.
Our bedroom isn’t large (10’x14′), so I set the second Nightingale unit up in my office (also 10’x14′). I have it set to run during business hours playing crickets and serve as a nightlight in the evening; the sounds are peaceful, comforting, and I have found that using the Nightingale helps my concentration, making me feel more serene and focussed as I am trying to write.
If you are a light sleeper, someone who is easily kept awake by outside noises at night, or someone who sleeps with a partner who lightly snores, or if noises in other rooms keep you from being able to settle in and conk out, the Nightingale can help! I find that I wake less often, and I am sleeping much more soundly.
Even better, if you need something to help you create a peaceful place where you can write without distraction, the Nightingale can definitely help with that, too.
I like that you can set up multiple locations with multiple rooms and multiple Nightingale units — the system will grow with you as you need it to. Or you can keep things simple with one room and one unit.
Here are a few more things you should know: You can set Nightingale up to work with IFTTT and your Amazon Alexa device and Google Home.
You don’t have to only use the Nightingale at home, though. If you travel regularly, you can bring a Nightingale unit along with you to set up in a hotel room. You can actually use that button built into the right side of the device to control quite a few of the features, so it’s not even necessary to deal with the app or WiFi networks on your travel unit. These are the controls available to you through that single button :
- Press the button one time to increase the volume level.
- When the maximum volume is reached, press it one time to decrease the volume level.
- When the minimum volume is reached, press it one time to increase the volume level (as before).
- Nightlight: Press the button twice, to toggle the nightlight on/off.
- Sounds: Hold the button to cycle through the designated sleep blanket and all the nature sounds. Release the button to choose a particular sound.
- On/Off: Press and hold for sound on/off; continue to hold for cycling through sound selections
This year, you can give yourself or a loved one the gift of sound, undisturbed sleep with Nightingale. How much is that worth? In my opinion, it’s priceless.
The Nightingale Smart Home Sleep System retails for $149 for the Standard Edition (one unit) and $249 for the Premium Edition (two units); it is available directly from the manufacturer and from other retailers including Amazon [affilate link]. You can read the FAQs here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Easy to set up; Nightingale is controlled through app, but you can also use it while traveling with the button on the side; Multiple units can be joined together to cover larger rooms; A single unit can handle a small room or office; The Nightingale works well anywhere that you need to block out outside, disruptive noises; Creates a peaceful atmosphere for work or sleep; Built-in nightlight; Pass-through plug design doesn’t remove outlets; Attractive and compact design; Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
What Needs Improvement: Nothing — It works as advertised, and I am getting some of the best sleep ever!