Ever since I was a little kid, I required sound to fall asleep. When I was in elementary school it was the deep-voiced jazz DJ on the local college station. In my twenties, it was paranormal radio host Art Bell. Podcasts radically changed my world in the last three years and have become my late-night go-to. Sadly, being a night listener comes with unique difficulties when you share a bed with someone who requires silence.
I’ve destroyed hundreds of dollars in earbuds, risked strangling myself in their cords, and have most likely done irreparable damage to my ears, all to keep the sound from disturbing my spouse. So you can imagine my reaction when introduced to the secret sound of the Dreampad pillow.
If you’re a viewer of Shark Tank, you may have caught the Dreampad on the show. They didn’t get a deal, largely because of their crazy valuation, but the Sharks did the see potential. After being sent one of their pillows for review, so did I. Not only is the Dreampad a comfortable pillow in its own right — it comes in a variety of standard firmnesses, from slim to firm — but once you’ve connected it to your phone, it becomes a startling private sound system.
There’s a strange magic in the Dreampad smart pillow. The second I took it out of the box, I plugged it into my phone’s headphone jack, booted up the sleepy sounds on the free Dreampad app and slipped my phone into the pillow’s zippered pocket. With my head far from the pillow, neither I nor my wife could hear a thing. Slowly I brought my head closer. Still nothing. I’d started to worry ⏤ maybe I’d received a dud. Then my ear hit the pillow. Boom. There was the music a clear as day. More than that, I could feel the bassy rumblings tingle against my face.
Head up? Nothing. Head down? Wham. Sound. What’s more, you might expect that there would be some hard, speaker-like device inside the pillow to produce the sound. There is not. The smart pillow, like standard models, is squeezable, bendable, and foldable.
Over the next week, I put the Dreampad through its paces. Not once did my wife ever complain of hearing sound coming from my pillow. I was in my own sonic land.
Given that I’m a podcast listener, that’s where I found a weakness in the Dreampad system. The system is clearly not designed to deliver podcasts. Speaking voices tend to be a tad muffled as if you’re listening to them from an adjacent room. However, after tweaking the equalizer on the Spotify app, I managed to boost the vocals enough that conversations were clear and easily followed.
An important point here. You do not have to use the Dreampad app to enjoy the Dreampad. However, the pillow is designed to perform best when delivering its particular tunes, which are engineered to lull you to sleep. I tried doing this for several nights. And after the initial anxious feeling of not having someone yakking in my ear as I was drifting off, the droning vibratory cycles of the Dreampad music eventually began to soothe me. My eyes would pop open in the morning, the sound gone, and my mind and body feeling refreshed. Nevertheless, I returned to my podcasts (because I’m a creature of habit).
For those who already need meditative music to calm their mind at night, the Dreampad smart pillow is an ideal solution, particularly when there’s somebody else in the bed. However, it’s also a pricey solution. The standard-sized, medium support pillow I was trying runs $160. Add a Bluetooth receiver to go cordless (say, if you want to charge your phone and listen at the same time) and you can add an additional $20.
That said, if you amortize that cost over the many nights you won’t be strangling yourself with cords or ruining headphones, your ears, or your relationship, the cost gets affordable pretty quick.