These new sleep earbuds could be a dream come true for a better night’s rest

Philips Sleep Headphones
(Image credit: Philips)

If you find it difficult to get to sleep, Philips says its new earbuds can help. The odd-looking Philip Sleep Headphones with Kokoon claim to be the thinnest earbuds in the world. They can also mask outside noise, while monitoring your sleep patterns, which a lot of the best earbuds can't do. 

The idea is to remove all of the distractions that can prevent you getting to sleep or staying asleep, although as far as I can tell there isn't a feature to stop 70lbs of greyhound trying to push you out of bed at four in the morning like my one did earlier today.

If you're getting a bit of deja vu hearing about these that's because Philips had already announced these very earbuds earlier this year, back in February. But since then the design has been tweaked to make it more comfortable and to reduce pressure in your ear canal. It's also rotated the earbud to prevent the cable contacting sensitive bits of your ear. And the number of ear tips has been increased to five. 

Philips Sleep Headphones: what you need to know

The headphones have a number of features to help you drift off. They're designed to passively block external noise and also have a noise masking feature that works much like the best noise canceling headphones but that replaces external audio with white noise rather than silence in order to smooth out external noise peaks. 

These buds have been designed in such a way that you can lay on your side without feeling that you're driving a massive earbud into the side of your head. You can provide your own audio or use the included sounds, which range from natural sounds to binaural beats to help you relax and drift off. The earbuds will automatically fade the audio as you start to drift off. 

Once you've gone up the wooden hill the Kokoon app starts monitoring you. The earbuds contain accelerometers and a tiny optical heart rate monitor that track your movement and heart rate through the night (or day, if you're a day sleeper).

Although the sleep features are the main draw here, the earbuds have a 10 hour battery life and can be used like any other earbuds for music, podcasts and phone calls.

At £249 / $249 these aren't exactly cheap, and if you want all the features of the app there's a monthly fee. Philips says there will be a free tier that will include core features, but hasn't said what the subscription price will be. The Kokoon app currently available on the App Store and Google Play is a free app without any in-app purchases and will presumably be updated before the headphones start shipping in October 2023.

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.