The Nightbuds, from Kokoon, are an award-winning pair of earbuds designed to help you track and improve your sleep. They are advertised on Kokoon’s website for $249.99 USD or a “Couples package” with two pairs for $449.99 USD.
Kokoon claims that they are comfort-fitted, noise-masking, sleep-sensing, adaptive earbuds designed with side sleepers in mind.
Right out of the box, I got a pretty good sense that these earbuds would meet many of my expectations and many of the claims on Kokoon’s website. Inside, you’ll find a quick start guide and a note from Tim Antos, the founder and CEO of Kokoon alongside the earbuds, a protective case, a disappointingly short USB-C charging cable and four size variations of the silicon earpieces.
The protective case is slim but well designed to hold this tech in place and ensure its safety no matter where you take it. The earbuds have a funky, but well thought out loop-de-loop cable that wraps around your head and your ears to allow for plenty of flexibility while you roll around at night.
Let’s start with the basics…
Overall, the Nightbuds function essentially as a regular old pair of Bluetooth earbuds. They have volume buttons and a power button that doubles as a pause/play button on the central piece of the headphones which rests on the back of your head at the base of your skull.
They have a sensor on the right side that somehow detects your level of consciousness so that Kokoon’s app can monitor your sleep and fade out your audio when sleep is detected.
The silicone earpieces themselves are, indeed, soft as stated, and they use a pretty unique design here in the ear gels that will guarantee that these do not come out while you toss and turn.
The cord wraps around the top of your ear but doesn’t apply any pressure when lying on your side. As a side sleeper, Kokoon definitely nailed their overall shape and fit, but the Nightbuds are not perfect.
The battery life is not impressive, however it doesn’t need to be. After one night of use there seemed to be between 50 and 20 percent remaining, depending on whether you prefer to sleep with colored noise or no noise at all.
Charging them during the day between uses is definitely necessary but I don’t find any issue with this at all, as long as you remember to plug them in each morning and won’t need them early on in the day.
As with all earbuds, the sound quality is an important thing to think about. These headphones definitely won’t provide you with much deep bass, but their 3D surround sound ability is one of the best factors of their audio.
The Nightbuds will do a great job of making you feel as though you are actually laying by the campfire or in the car on a rainy night, if your imagination allows it. The general sound resolution is plenty to calm you down and get you ready for an efficient night of sleep.
My constructive criticisms
Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy to see at least USB-C charging over micro-USB, however the charging cord they supply you with is pitifully short at about six inches long.
To be fair, this is something I see in a lot of the products I get. I can grasp the idea of saving resources, and who needs a six foot cable to charge a pair of headphones that can’t even be used while charging? But in my humble opinion, for over two hundred dollars I should at least be able to rest the earbuds on a table while they’re plugged into the wall, no?
The only scenario I can think of in which a cable this short is helpful is when charging from a laptop. But anyways, I just thought I would get that rant out of the way.
My next issue is the “noise-masking” capabilities of the earbuds. I feel that the Nightbuds aren’t quite noise-masking like you’d expect from the claims on their website. Unless there’s some function that I somehow am unaware of, they actually seem to do a pretty good job of letting noise through.
I can’t say I was woken up in the middle of the night from noises, but I don’t normally do so in the first place. Perhaps the noise masking comes in once you fall asleep, but based purely off of the sounds I hear while wearing them around the house, there doesn’t seem to be a great overall noise isolation factor of the ear gels.
Trying multiple sizes, I was unable to get a solid reduction of incoming sound, and I didn’t find anything in the app mentioning the noise-masking capability.
The Kokoon App
If there’s one thing that I am happy with, it is Kokoon’s companion app for the Nightbuds. You can find the app on both the App Store and Google Play.
The Kookoon app allows you to set your typical sleep schedule and offers plenty of different audios that you can play in order or on repeat. It also has a convenient function to allow you to overlap two audios at once so that you can listen to a slow and dreamy tune play over the sound of a fire crackling, or rain on a window.
Kokoon also has a few “coaching” and “meditation” audios ranging from 3-30 minutes long. It was very easy for me to find my way through all of the features of the app, and I very quickly found an audio that helped me relax and nod off.
The app is also where you can find the sleep tracking feature where Kokoon records each night of sleep. They display the time you went to bed, fell asleep, and woke up along with the different stages of your sleep. They also provide a neat “sleep efficiency” feature which gives you a percentage representing the relative quality of your night of rest.
Over the long term, you will see some statistical insights on your average sleep efficiency and duration as well as consistency.
Personally, my only issue with this is that Kokoon ends your entire sleep session the second that it detects you are awake, so if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night like I did once or twice, Kokoon will only report the sleep that you got before that. My only wish for the Kokoon app is that it would allow you to set an alarm in the app itself.
It did seem that my Nightbuds were often fading out far too soon and reporting that I had fallen asleep before I actually did, but I think they do the job about as well as I expect them to.
I understand that there is not always a clear line between wakefulness and sleep, and many people’s brains are different, so the sensitivity to these levels of consciousness isn’t going to be perfectly calibrated.
If I did wake up in the middle of the night, however, the Nightbuds did seem to detect that pretty accurately, evidenced by my reported average of 4.3 hours per night. (Trust me, I don’t get as much sleep as I want but I definitely sleep more than that).
I have no way of confirming the accuracy of my reported sleep stages, but I can only estimate that they are somewhat accurately in line with the sleep efficiency as well as how I felt after each night. The biggest problem within the sleep sensing abilities is that they won’t detect if you fall back asleep, as I mentioned before.
The Nightbuds are undoubtedly comfortable to wear while lying on your side. Even laying on your back, the central piece rests in an ideal spot at the base of your skull so that it is not being pressed into your head or neck to cause discomfort.
The ear gels are soft and have an innovative design to minimize the amount of hard plastic making contact with your outer ear.
The winged design of the silicon did create a mild amount of discomfort when I woke up the first few mornings, as it seemed they were a little too stiff and pressed into my ear all night. However I think this can be easily mitigated by simply swapping the silicon out with one of the four different sizes they provide you with in the box. Other than that, I did adjust to the feeling after a few nights and I am sure anyone else could do the same.
You can learn more about the Kokoon Nightbuds at Kokoon’s website where you can also purchase a pair for yourself.