Rarely a day goes by without a new study showing the importance of getting a full night’s sleep, which for most adults is roughly seven to eight hours. Failing to do so can have minor and major consequences, from becoming easily distracted behind the wheel to, in time, developing serious health problems, such as heart disease.
Given this situation, it comes as no surprise that the sleep industry — or the industry behind helping people get a sufficient amount of sleep each night — continues to grow by the day. Sleep products can include anything from a customized mattress to over-the-counter medications and CPAP machines.
But one new device is taking a somewhat different approach to helping people get to sleep. Developed by a group of former Nokia engineers, it’s a set of next-gen earbuds that employ noise-canceling technology in a way that’s not so much about helping you focus on your music or a favorite podcast, but instead blocking out the sounds that tend to prevent us from falling asleep or cause us to wake up.
The earbuds in question are called QuietOn Sleep and they’re the brainchild of Janne Kyllöne, a former Nokia engineer who became frustrated with feeling exhausted because of his constant business travel. Like many people,Kyllöne struggled to fall asleep on airplanes, largely because of the many small disturbances — from passenger chatter to engine noise — that one hears on a flight.
A few years ago, Kyllöne partnered with another Nokia alum, Matti Nisula, to build a prototype earbud that could block out these little, irritating sounds and help one fall asleep more easily and remain at rest. The result was an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in 2016 that eventually raised more than a million dollars. Today, those who backed the project have received first-generation versions of the device, with roughly 15,000 units shipped to 120 nations around the globe.
But Kyllöne and Nisula aren’t satisfied with their success. Now, they’re working to improve their original design based on what they’ve learned from their customers. “After one year being on the market, we’ve learned from the market and realized how big the demand is,” Kyllöne said. “People crave a device that can help them improve their wellbeing, whether for their snoring spouses, or sleeping in hotels while traveling for business, or dealing with noisy neighbors.”
The second-generation QuietOn Sleep earbuds are roughly half the size and weight of their predecessors and they’re designed to fit more comfortably in the ear. The designers have also made it less likely that the buds will slip out of the ear, though the most important addition may be the implementation of technology that actually blocks out any noise below 500 Hz. Finally, the second-gen QuietOn Sleep earbuds have a 20-hour battery life, meaning they should last throughout most international flights.
A new crowdfunding campaign for the second-gen earbuds has now finished, with Kyllöne and Nisula preparing for an October release. It’s expected this newest version of the QuietOn Sleep earbuds will retail for $159 when they become available in the fall.