A speaker pillow sounds like a contradiction in terms, right? But if you find it hard to fall asleep, or find your partner’s constant snoring a nightmare, that’s where a speaker pillows can come in pretty handy.
If you already have trouble sleeping you might have adopted one of the common ways of blocking out irritating noises by listening to music through headphones or white noise in the form of the gentle whirr of a fan – both are great to help you nod off. However, headphones might disturb your partner, plus can also be pretty uncomfortable, particularly if you sleep on your side.
Enter the speaker pillow – designed to play music (or white noise) without easily twisted cables so you can drift off comfortably. Keep scrolling for all you need to know about speaker pillows – and for the best buys.
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Can a speaker pillow help you sleep?
Speaker pillows play music so you can comfortably drift off to sleep without any noise disturbing you – perfect for those who are light sleepers. Using sound therapy, the pillows are a great way to wind down after a long day, prepare your body for bed and lull you into the land of nod.
Some of these pillows will only play pre-recorded tracks (usually chilled tunes and nature sounds), while others can be hooked up to any music app so you can play whatever you want, from death metal to hypnotherapy – whatever is your jam.
Are speaker pillows the same as sleeper headphones?
Pillow speakers are built-in to the fibre of the pillow, whereas sleeper headphones might be more comfortable than your average headphones but they might still be a pain in the… ear, for some.
Will your speaker pillow disturb your partner?
Most speaker pillows use intrasound technology, which transmits sound via body tissue and bone rather than sound waves through the air. Vibrations are passed through to the ear, where they can be heard by the person resting their head on the pillow but not, in theory, by anyone else.
Plus, as smart speaker pillows are embedded in to the fibre of the pillow, you’d have to press your ear against the pillow to hear anything.
How do speaker pillows help with tinnitus?
Tinnitus can raise its ugly head when it’s quiet and can keep you up with constant ringing or buzzing. If it’s affecting you, a speaker pillow may just help to keep it in the background by distracting you with your favourite chilled tunes.
Speaker pillow features
Here are the other clever features a speaker pillow has – other than just playing music:
1. Sleep tracking
Speaker pillows can not only help improve the quality of you and your partner’s sleep by drowning out snoring and personalising your relaxing playlists, but also track, record and rate your sleep quality.
Do I need it?
How it’s measured is based on weight distribution on the pillow, which might not be just as accurate as a Fitbit, so if you’ve already got a smartwatch or fitness tracker, we’d stick to that to gauge sleep patterns.
2. Anti-snoring tech
If your partner thumping you in the night due to your nasal congestion plagues you, a speaker pillow may be a good shout. Some smart speaker pillows can help detect snoring and, using a vibrating motor, prompt you to move your head, while others have an in-built airbag to gently tilt your head without waking you up.
Do I need it?
If you’re a nightly snorer, for the sake of your relationship, we’d recommend giving it a go.
3. Bluetooth connectivity
Connect the speaker pillow to your device without having to use any annoying leads to avoid dropping and breaking your device on the floor when turning over in your sleep.
Do I need it?
If you want to be able to play exactly what you want to go to sleep to, Bluetooth connectivity is a good option.
4. In-line volume control
Some great speaker pillows have a volume control within the pillow itself to make changing the volume a doddle in the middle of the night.
Do I need it?
Being able to crank up the volume or turn it down without having to move will keep you in more of a relaxed state.
5. App compatibility
Some smart pillows are compatible with apps like Spotify, Audiobooks, Headspace and BBC iPlayer, so you can listen to music, podcasts and audiobooks.
Do I need it?
If you have a really great sleep playlist on Spotify or are halfway through a brilliant podcast, it’s only right to get a pillow that can let you play it.
6. Comfortable filling
Just like your normal pillow, it’s worth buying a speaker pillow with a filling that supports you and is conducive to sleep comfort. With an array of fillings like duck feather, down and microfibre, there are plenty of high quality pillows to choose from.
Do I need it?
We reckon it’s worth the investment to buy a pillow that’s not only smart but also comfortable.
What is the best pillow speaker?
1. Homescapes microfibre speaker pillow (opens in new tab), £17.99(opens in new tab)
A budget buy, Homescapes (opens in new tab)’ best selling microfibre pillows have been given an update in the form of a speaker so you can play your favourite tunes, podcasts and audio books. Connect to your phone, MP3 devices or radios with a jack and you’re all set.
Bounce back microfibre
The pillow is filled with a high density 100 per cent microfibre anti-dust mite casing and a supportive filling to ensure good quality support and comfort with firm support for back and side sleepers.
The pillow can be plugged into any device with a 3.5mm jack (the same as a standard pair of headphones) and the speaker can be removed to machine wash.
Quite a few reviewers found the pillow super comfortable, but remarked on the sound quality as a little tinny. The need for a cable is also a slight disadvantage as it can get tangled in the night.
2. Sound Asleep Original Speaker Pillow (opens in new tab), £50
The Soundasleep (opens in new tab) is everything you’d want from a smart pillow and more. Relax listening to your music, audiobooks and podcasts, manage the snoring, analyse your sleep or use the smart alarm to wake you up gently.
Comfort and digital technology
The quilted microfibre cover means you’ll rest your head in comfort and is an effective cushioned protection for the technology within. It contains a multi-function button, a zip pocket that hides the micro USB charging cable and the Bluetooth speaker.
Connect to your favourite apps
Compatible with thousands of apps to enhance your sleeping experience, connect the pillow to your favourite apps, music, podcasts and audiobooks, or explore the world of meditation and relaxation via the Soundasleep app.
The snore management function allows you to track and control your snoring by sounding a set decibel level controlled alarm that gently wakes you.
It’s a comfy pillow with all the bells and whistles, including an eight hour battery life and a mindfulness function. Despite its claim to not disturb others, reviewers remarked that their partner could hear the sounds, while a few mentioned they found it hard to connect to it with their phone.
3. Dreampad sleep – medium support (opens in new tab), £121/$149.99
Made of medium firm and supportive microfibre with a 100 per cent cotton cover, the Dreampad sleep pillow (opens in new tab) is flexible enough for stomach, side and back sleeping. Studies from Columbia University Medical, Sleepscore Labs, STAR Institute and others show that the Dreampad pillow helps you fall asleep and stay asleep longer, helping those with Autism and PTSD.
The Dreampad app
The speaker itself has no battery or power source, and uses Bluetooth to charge and receive sound. To use it you’ll need to download the free Dreampad app available on Android and Apple, which has volume and play controls. With 10 tracks engineered specifically for deep sleep, you can play them either through Bluetooth or via the cable included.
With patented Intrasound Technology (only you can hear) embedded in the pillow, you’ll be guaranteed to not disturb your partner. Its specially treated music has a unique sound, which will have a unique effect on your body and mind and promotes a great night’s shut-eye.
The combination of the chilled sounds from the app and the comfort of the memory foam pillow make for the perfect recipe for a good night’s kip. Some reviewers found the music more stimulating than relaxing, while others remarked on its hefty price tag.