Our lives are busier and more complicated than ever, which means when you finally collapse into your bed after a long day it can be a struggle to get some rest and to slow down the mind allowing us to get some sleep.
Good sleep is vital for our physical and mental health and allows our body to repair itself and even prevents weight gain, heart disease and can improve your memory and reduce stress.
Throughout our lives, we pick up a number of bad sleeping habits that hinder us getting proper rest and feeling refreshed.
Mobile phones, tablet and laptop screens, buzzes and notifications only exacerbate the problem, but if technology is partly to blame maybe it can also be the solution?
Kokoon’s sleep headphones help you take control of your sleeping patterns and recognise unhealthy sleep habits, as well as teach you to relax and factor in a buffer zone to wind down at the end of the day.
Kokoon began as a Kickstarter back in 2015 and raised $1,936,825 in crowdsourced funds from over 8,000 backers, but now the scientifically designed headphones are available to everyone.
Included in the box are the Kokoon headphones, premium carry case, Kokoon eye mask, 3.5mm audio cable and a micro USB charging cable.
The over-ear headphones come in black or grey and covered in soft fabric. They measure 6 x 7 x 6 cm and weigh just 345 grams, which makes them compact and while not the lightest headphone they are still light and comfortable to wear.
The sleek ear cups are flexible and can be swivelled allowing for movement while asleep or to quickly and easily remove. The build quality feels good and they were stronger than I expected – still comfortable, if slightly compressed when worn in bed.
While you won’t exactly forget your wearing them, they aren’t heavy or claustrophobic like some bulkier headsets.
The headphones connect to devices wirelessly via Bluetooth but can also be used with an audio cable, which is a great option if you want to save battery life.
Most of the internal electronics are located in the headband, with a different design than most headphones. They appear slightly bulkier on top but this relocation of most of the innards dramatically improves the comfort and slims down the earcups and weight on the ears.
The FlexMould system is soft and didn’t cause the skin in or around my ears to sweat like normal headphones. This is due to the breathable fabric ear cups which are also washable.
The ear cups are moulded to the natural contours of the head spreading out any pressure combined with soft silicone gel cushioning makes them easy to wear for extended periods of time.
There are only two buttons, the power button on the left side of the headband above the ear cup and the action button on the corresponding right-hand side.
They were comfortable most of the time although after 8 hours I can imagine they might possibly begin to ache. They usually slid off my head as I was lifting my head off the pillow in the morning, which wasn’t a big issue but you need to be aware as you don’t want to drop them.
Despite their excellent design it does take time getting used to wearing headphones to sleep and they are not comfortable if you sleep on your side.
It is charged via a micro USB-B socket, and while this is a more common type of port a USB-C would have been appreciated.
A 3.5mm jack socket is also included allowing you to use the headphones cabled and the cable also includes a mic allowing you to use them to make calls. The cable is also very useful as it can be used to power the headset when it has run out of charge
While they may look like a run of the mill pair of headphones, they are crammed with sophisticated technology to help you get the sleep you need.
The sound quality was excellent providing rich tones and not too much bass, while details were clear and crisp. They were great for music and podcasts but I also used them while relaxing to ASMR videos.
While you could use them for normal everyday use I found them too quiet for outside and I was worried about breaking them constantly, given the heft price tag.
Sensors are located in each ear cup and collect data as well as fading out the audio once you are asleep.
EEG (electroencephalogram) brainwave sensors – the same EEGs that hospitals use to accurately monitor sleep – are featured to collect sleep data stored within the app to give you a good idea which sessions work best for you.
The headphones feature active and passive noise cancelling with a 3-tiered noise-cancelling system.
Tier 1 is the ear cups themselves and the seal they make around the ear to block out external sounds. The second tier is active noise cancellation which is the standard noise cancelling you see in high-end headphones like Bose etc.
The third is Active White Noise. This is clever because the headphones detect when you have gone to sleep and will fade out music or sessions and slowly introduce white noise to mask any other sounds to help you maintain sleep.
The noise-cancelling was great for blocking out low-level noises like cars outside, snoring or talking which is a godsend for light sleepers.
The battery life is pretty impressive and the headset uses a 500mAh Lithium, ion rechargeable battery. The battery lasts about 13 hours depending on usage but the long life is aided by the headset automatically going to sleep once you’ve gone to sleep.
Kokoon isn’t just a set of hi tech headphones, as they also include an accompanying smart phone app.
The Relax app is available to download for iOS and Android, and features a useful audio library that teaches several helpful techniques and methods to relax and sleep and well as calming soundscapes and music.
You can also add from a selection of background audio tracks including waves crashing on a beach, a crackling campfire, rainfall among others that can play while you are enjoying the sessions. They are very effective at helping you nod off to sleep.
The friendly calming and informative voice of Steve quickly lulls you into a deep sleep using cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT techniques to help you relax and de-stress. The sessions last between 6 and 10 minutes and teach helpful skills like focused breathing, Body Scanning to help clear your mind.
Many of the sessions in the library really emphasise having buffer time to help you relax, slow down your thoughts and wind down after a busy day.
The Kokoon headphones cost and eye-watering £314.99 from the Kokoon website, although as someone who has suffered bouts of insomnia many people will pay a high price to get a decent amount of sleep.
The Kokoon headphones impressively balance comfort, features and great audio quality. They worked well with the app but also just listening to podcasts and music at home.
The noise-cancelling was brilliant and blocked out snoring or low-level background noise, allowing you to create a calm quiet space wherever you are.
The app’s guided techniques were helpful, especially when coupled with the clever technology and comfort of the headphones.
You can use them as normal headphones but they work much better indoors. They would be great on a plane, train in a car or the low hum of a busy office.
The Kokoon headphones are one of the best headsets I have ever used and while aren’t cheap they are a worthwhile investment in your self-care especially if you have constant trouble getting to sleep. The combination of the headphones, app and exercises will certainly help you unwind and finally get some rest.
The Kokoon headphones and app are available now for £314.99 from the Kokoon website