Kokoon Nightbuds Review: Better Sleep Through Sound

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The Lowdown

The Kokoon Nightbuds are the most comfortable earbuds I’ve ever worn while sleeping. The passive noise blocking works well, and the sound masking fills in much of the gap that would otherwise exist since the Nightbuds lack active noise cancellation. The binaural beats are helpful and soothing, and the audio fading as I fall asleep makes for a more seamless transition from my waking state to deep sleep.

Overall
3.5

Pros

  • Small and thin make them comfortable for side sleepers
  • Bluetooth lets you use them as you would any Bluetooth earbuds
  • Sleep-sensing technology fades music out as you fall asleep
  • Noise-masking works well as an ANC replacement
  • Binaural audio tunes in the app are quite soothing
  • App can present you with sleep data so you better understand your sleep patterns and can make behavioral adjustments to enhance your nightly rest

Cons

  • With just 10 hours of playback, they need to be recharged daily
  • Apps’ audio offerings are limited
  • Sleep tracking often fails for me because the earbuds fall out overnight
  • The ear tip on the right earbud always falls off
Kokoon Nightbuds Review: Better Sleep Through Sound Listen to this article

Some time ago, I told Judie that I’d hit a period where falling asleep was difficult. She told me about the Kokoon over-the-ear sleep headphones she had backed on Kickstarter, and she’d be happy to send them to me. She did, and the Kokoon headphones were a huge help, and now the new Kokoon Nightbuds have just been released for those who prefer in-ear buds to over-the-ear headphones for sleep.

The Kokoon Nightbuds ship in a thin, simple box that doesn’t go overboard on the packaging materials. I appreciate this, as the amount of waste in electronic packaging can be out of control.

Inside the box, you will find the Kokoon Nightbuds, four pairs of differently-sized silicone tips, a USB Type-C charging cable, and a carrying case. The included case is unique to the Nightbuds and does a great job protecting the headset while being small enough to throw into an overnight bag.

The Nightbuds are not true wireless earbuds. Instead, the left and right earbuds are each connected by a cord to a central “pod.” The pod houses the battery, electronics, and controls.

Kokoon Nightbuds

On the top, there are three buttons. Two control the volume, and the third is the power/pair/multipurpose button. It’s a layout that quickly becomes familiar, which is good since you wouldn’t want to take off the Nightbuds each time you need to change the volume.

Kokoon Nightbuds Review: Better Sleep Through Sound

On the bottom, there is a USB-C charging port.

Kokoon Nightbuds Review: Better Sleep Through Sound

I tried wearing the Kokoon Nightbuds in many different sleep positions, and the pod never made its presence known. You might think that the pod would be uncomfortable or that its weight would pull the earbuds out of you if you moved too quickly, but you would be wrong. Instead, the pod sits on the back of the wearer’s neck and quickly “disappears.”

The included ear tips mean users can find the right fit for their ears. It can be annoying to try all the various tips, but it is worth the time and, thankfully, only needs to be done once.

Kokoon Nightbuds Review: Better Sleep Through Sound

The Kokoon earbuds are small, four times thinner than most Bluetooth earbuds, in fact, and they have a wing that helps keep them in place while the soft silicone ear tips sit snugly in the ear. The small size and soft silicon combination mean the Nightbuds are as comfortable for sidesteppers as they are for back or stomach sleepers.

Kokoon Nightbuds Review: Better Sleep Through Sound

They do, however, introduce an issue that I will address shortly.

The simplest way to use the Kokoon Nightbuds is to pair them with your phone or tablet and use them like any other Bluetooth earbuds. The sound is good, although they are far from the best-sounding earbuds I have used.

So why WOULD you choose to use these earbuds instead of something with more amazing audio quality? Two reasons.

First, as noted, the Nightbuds are far smaller and thinner than most Bluetooth earbuds. That means they don’t put pressure on your ear if you are lying on your side the way other earbuds do.

Second, the Nightbuds have sensors that monitor your sleep and adapt the audio accordingly, automatically fading the music as you drift off. You can put on the Nightbuds, fire up your favorite music, and get in bed. As you begin to fall asleep, the Nightbuds will slowly lower the volume and then cut out completely.

The only downside one might find with this scenario is the fact that the Kokoon Nightbuds do not have active noise cancellation. Thankfully, once you find the right ear tips, the fit is tight enough that the Nightbuds block a good deal of the ambient noise around you.

Using the free companion app, you can turn on noise-masking which uses soothing sounds to block even more of the ambient sound. The company explains, “Our optimized noise masking is the go-to solution for disturbance prevention.”

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I was skeptical, but I found that the noise-masking works well!

Kokoon Nightbuds Review: Better Sleep Through Sound

When you download and pair the Kokoon companion app, you’ll unlock additional features that make the Kokoon Nightbuds far more than sleep-optimized earbuds. The app was developed by sleep scientists, offering a range of other audio features.

As noted, you can use your audio, but with the app, you also gain access to different meditations, soundscapes, binaural beats, and more. The offerings aren’t extensive, but I do appreciate having options available. The binaural soundscapes are pretty effective at quickly putting me into a calm, relaxed state. Hopefully, the company will expand the catalog.

But there’s more.

The Kokoon Nightbuds have built-in sensors that gather information about your sleep and sleep quality and then pass the information along to the app.

By shining an infra-red light on the skin, the sensor can measure your heart rate and its variability, which has been clinically proven to correlate with physical, mental, and emotional stress.

Kokoon Nightbuds Review: Better Sleep Through Sound

The app can track your sleep patterns and presents a graphic representation to help you better understand your “sleep efficiency, length, and quality.” This can be especially impactful if you track what you did, drank, or ate before bed.

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By comparing the data from the app with your “real-world” records, you may find that certain behaviors enhance or hinder your process of falling to sleep.

The Kokoon Nightbuds features include:

  • Smart earbuds for better sleep: Experience sleep like never before – intelligent audio to help you improve and enjoy your sleep
  • Passive noise-blocking: Audio seal stops external noise from penetrating your ear.
  • Noise masking: Intelligent noise-masking help mask out disturbances
  • Sleep-sensing: Sensors monitor your sleep and adapt your audio to your sleep.
  • Adaptive audio: Audio auto-fades as you drift off to sleep.
  • The MyKokoon App: Developed with sleep scientists, the MyKokoon app works with your Nightbuds and Relax Headphones to help you sleep soundly, night after night.
  • Binaural soundscapes: Optimised specifically for Nightbuds, our binaural soundscapes welcome you to get lost in an immersive sound experience.
  • Your sleep insights: With your sleep and relaxation audio experience, you’ll get the quality sleep you’ve been dreaming of.
  • Our sleep audio: Enjoy sounds created to help you get quality sleep. Choose from meditations, soundscapes, binaural beats, and more.
  • Your audio, tailored for sleep: Use the app to listen to your favorite relaxation audio from Spotify to podcasts. The app fades MyKokoon audio and plays white noise to mask disturbances as you fall asleep.
  • Up to 10 hours of playback per charge

Kokoon Nightbuds Review: Better Sleep Through Sound

I’ve been using the Kokoon Nightbuds for a few months, and I have mixed feelings about them. For my needs, they are far more comfortable than the over-the-ear model Judie purchased and sent to me, but unlike those headphones, the Kokoon Nightbuds do not have active noise cancellation. They also don’t sound quite as good as their larger cousin, but, to be clear, the sound they deliver is more than adequate.

I appreciate the adaptive sound and the Kokoon Nightbuds’ ability to fade out as you fall asleep. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve fallen asleep with “normal” earbuds and forgotten to set a sleep timer, only to be awakened when a loud, fast song came on.

Sleep monitoring is another story. I found the app’s offerings to be a bit too limited, and I haven’t found the daily sleep reports very helpful because the right earbud always falls out during the night. The result, of course, is that the app gets incomplete data.

I’ve tried changing the silicon tip in the hope that a different size — larger or smaller — might stay in my ear through an entire night, but I haven’t been able to get that to work.

Earbud on the Kokoon Nightbuds

The more significant issue for me is that once the earbud falls out of my ear, the ear tip usually comes off the earbud. The result is that each and every morning after I have used the Nightbuds, I have had to hunt in the sheets to find the wayward ear tip. It is a minor annoyance, but it has certainly impacted my appreciation of the Nightbuds.

That noted, the Kokoon Nightbuds are the most comfortable earbuds I’ve ever worn while sleeping. The passive noise blocking works well, and the sound masking fills in much of the gap that would otherwise exist since the Nightbuds lack active noise cancellation. The binaural beats are helpful and soothing, and the audio fading as I fall asleep makes for a more seamless transition from my waking state to deep sleep.

While I would love to see a more robust app and ear tips that didn’t fall out of my right ear so easily, I am still a fan of the Kokoon Nightbuds.

The Kokoon Nightbuds retail for £229.99; they are available directly from the manufacturer and other retailers, including Amazon.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the Kokoon Nightbuds

What I Like: Small and thin make them comfortable for side sleepers; Bluetooth lets you use them as you would any Bluetooth earbuds; Sleep-sensing technology fades music out as you fall asleep; Noise-masking works well as an ANC replacement; Binaural audio tunes in the app are quite soothing; App can present you with sleep data so you better understand your sleep patterns and can make behavioral adjustments to enhance your nightly rest

What Needs Improvement: With just 10 hours of playback, they need to be recharged daily; Apps’ audio offerings are limited; Sleep tracking often fails for me because the earbuds fall out overnight; The ear tip on the right earbud always falls off

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.