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  • Writer's pictureSynthia

Sonic Slumbers: Options for Audio Devices When Sharing a Bedroom

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

The Modern Sleep Dilemma

In today's fast-paced world, getting a good night's sleep can be a challenge. The constant exposure to screens and the never-ending stream of notifications can make it hard to relax and fall asleep. As the night approaches, finding peace and quiet becomes more and more important.

Sleep deprivation is not only a personal problem but also affects society as a whole. It can impact your productivity, health, and overall quality of life. With our increasing reliance on technology, it's becoming harder to disconnect and get the rest we need.

Many people turn to audio devices to help them fall asleep. The CalmAlma app, for example, offers customized sleep sessions and meditations.

However, what works for one person might be distracting for someone else, especially when sharing a bedroom. Your partner may not want any sound, or a different sound. Unless the audio works for both parties, a way to isolate sound for only one person becomes essential as soon as you've found something that helps you sleep.

Historical and Modern Solutions for Sleep

Throughout history, people have used sound to help them sleep. In the West, simple devices playing lullabies or white noise have been popular. One example is the Marpac Dohm Classic, which produces white noise.

In other cultures, different sounds have been used for the same purpose. In Japan, the sound of the suikinkutsu, a traditional water instrument, is used to help people sleep. Historically, people fell asleep to the natural sounds of their environment, like rustling leaves and flowing water.

More recently, a large number of people have found "sleep stories" to be a powerful tool. Audible, Youtube videos, Calm, Headspace, and other tools have helped millions. More recently, CalmAlma has captured the magic of this type of listening experience and combined it with an ability to learn to customize that content for each individual and ensuring that content stays fresh and helpful.

But all of these tools require all parties in a bedroom to sign up for the same sounds.

Risks of Sleeping with Headphones

The obvious solution is to simply use the headphones we all might use on a daily basis. However, using headphones to block out noise and listen to relaxing sounds can be helpful, but it's not without risks. Traditional headphones can be uncomfortable to wear all night and might cause ear irritation or even infections due to bacteria buildup. I personally have had two ear infections from Bose headphones and Airpods.

The Evolution to Sleep-Friendly Audio Solutions

To solve these problems, new types of sleep-friendly audio devices have been developed. The number of different device types speaks to just how common this need is for personalized sleep audio.

Open-Ear Headphones

Open-ear headphones sit outside the ear, which is more comfortable for many people. They allow air to flow, reducing the risk of ear infections. While they might not have the best sound quality, they are a good option for those who prioritize comfort and want to stay aware of their surroundings.

Headphones Integrated into Sleep Bands

Headbands with built-in headphones are another option. They are comfortable and stay in place throughout the night. They provide good sound quality, but might be too warm for some people. The textile barrier between the headphones and the ear is typically breathable, ensuring good airflow like open-ear headphones.

Small Wireless Bedside Speakers

Wireless speakers are a great alternative for those who don't like wearing headphones. They can be placed on a nightstand or under a pillow, providing a personal sound space without the need to wear anything. However, they might not offer the same level of personalization as headphones and could disturb a partner's sleep although it may be possible to find the rest level of distance and volume.

Bone Conduction Headphones

Bone conduction headphones are a unique option. They transmit sound through the bones of the skull, bypassing the ear canal. This can be more comfortable for some, but the sensation of vibration might take some getting used to, and the sound quality might not be as high as traditional headphones. Since they don't cover the ear at all, instead usually pressing gently against the temple, they significantly limit the risk to ear infections.

Pillow Speakers

Pillow speakers are built into a pillow and provide a comfortable way to listen to audio without wearing anything. However, the sound quality might not be as good as high-end headphones, and they could disturb a partner's sleep. Since they are so close to your ear though, they are easier to make work with a partner by keeping audio volumes low.

Navigating Your Personal Audio Voyage

Choosing the right sleep-friendly audio device is a personal journey. You might start with a less expensive option to see what works for you before investing in a higher-end model. Finding the right balance between comfort and sound quality is key.

Investing in a sleep-friendly audio device can have a big impact on your sleep quality and, by extension, your overall well-being. Apps like CalmAlma can enhance your experience by providing tailored soundscapes that help you fall asleep. The combination of these devices with such apps can be a powerful tool in your quest for better sleep.



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