An Easy Way to Improve Your Sleep Quality

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Gear

We’ve been on the road the last couple months, which means we’re not in our normal sleep setup. Whether in the van or in an AirBNB or at a friend’s place, there’s no guarantee for cool, dark and quiet wherever we’re sleeping. I didn’t bring our little bedside white noise machine with us, and at first, I was super annoyed about that. But then, I realized that iPhones actually have BUILT IN WHITE NOISE MACHINES! That’s right—no app required.

To fire it up at night, all you need to do is go into Settings, and either go to Accessibility, then Audio/Visual, or just search ‘background’ and it’ll pop up. Toggle it on, choose your sound (highly recommend Ocean!) and you’re off to the races. It proved super useful when we were recently in an AirBNB where the heater kept kicking on randomly and there was a bit of road noise—having the dull hum of background noise on my phone dampened the abrupt change in sound. You could still hear the heater, of course, but at least it wasn’t starting up from perfect silence.

Now, for noisier spaces, this isn’t really enough. We’re in an apartment right now that has a crying baby upstairs and you can hear footsteps at all hours. So, I needed something even more noise dampening than just my phone in the room—and I don’t want my phone to be right next to my head! Peter sleeps with earplugs and loves them, but I can’t stand having them in. Also, to be honest, DW skulks around looking for used earplugs in the morning and occasionally snarfs one down before we find it, so I don’t want to add to his digestive issues.

So, I got the MusiCozy sleep mask from Amazon (on sale for under $20 right now!) and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to be fantastic. Still, any port in a storm (or in a van or AirBNB, as it were). It’s a soft, broad headband that can be worn like an eyemask or as a more standard headband, and it has bluetooth headphones embedded in it. It’s marketed as both a sleep mask and a workout headband, so I was really not expecting a lot. At $20, that kind of dual-purpose product is almost sure to fail, right?

But it turns out it works FANTASTICALLY. It connects to your phone so you could opt to play sleep stories/podcasts to fall asleep, or do what I do and toggle the Background noise on. The battery easily lasts all night, and the headband actually stays in place surprisingly well.

Here’s the trick, though: I wear it BACKWARDS. Typically, you would wear it with the control at the front on your forehead, so that the speakers are directly over top of your ears.  This is great for sound quality, but it’s not super comfortable to have pressing into your ear if you sleep on your side. So, I flipped the headband so the control is in the back, which shifts the speakers to just behind my ears rather than over them. The sound is a bit more muffled, but since all I’m using it for is white noise, that’s actually a good thing. I don’t feel the speakers pressing into my head at all, I just hear the dull hum of the ocean as I’m sleeping. Honestly, could not be more impressed with this! It’s quickly become my new favorite travel accessory, and since I can also pull it over my eyes as an eye mask, it’s great for creating the quiet AND dark environment I need.

I’m also really stoked about using it on flights. I find that on planes, my ears hurt if I wear any AirPod type headphones or over-the-ear headphones for too long (something about the pressure?), and this seems like a great solution so I can watch movies or listen to podcasts on my iPad or phone (or just sleep!) without the pain.

If you’re looking to improve your sleep, check out this super cheap option—for racers, it’s a no-brainer. Hotels, AirBnBs, travel days, stage races… sleep can be hard to come by! Make it easier on yourself.

Get the sleep mask here!  (and here in Canada)


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