How the Infrasound Music-Playing Dreampad Pillow Got Me Through a Horrible Cold

Ever since the time changed on Nov. , I haven't been able to settle back into a regular sleep routine—and I think that was a big contributing factor in my getting super sick this weekend.

I think I pushed myself a little too hard on Saturday despite the early symptoms of a cold (just days after writing exactly why you shouldn't do that), and on Sunday, I was lethargic, achy and sneezy with a terrible sore throat. Thankfully, I'd recently been provided with a Dreampad pillow for review, and it happened to be just the thing to get me through my illness.

The Product

Dreampad is a super comfy pillow with a built-in speaker that only the user can hear. That speaker is meant to play music with special sounds, and through a special delivery system, to help the mind and body relax so you can fall asleep more easily.

It does this with "embedded micro transducers," which cause the music to travel internally within your body when your head touches the pillow, triggering a relaxation response. According to Dreampad, this is a scientifically backed method for promoting sleep. This also means that if you share a room with someone, they won't be able to hear it.

Dreampad also comes with its own app pre-loaded with features, including a user guide and sleep tips, plus 10 different music tracks designed to facilitate sleep. The pillow has a built-in headphone plug under a zipper on one side, which you can either plug directly into your phone via an included extension cord, or into a Bluetooth adaptor to transmit the sound wirelessly.


(via Dreampad)


The Experience

As soon as I pulled my Dreampad pillow out of its case, the first thing I had to test was the transducers built into the pillow. I unzipped the side of the pillow, plugged in my phone and resumed playing a Spotify track I had paused earlier before pressing my ear down to the side of the pillow. The sound wasn't the clearest, but it was powerful—and better yet, I couldn't hear a thing when I moved my head just a foot away from the pillow. I was given the medium support pillow, and I found that it was super comfortable and that I never felt any bumps or hard shapes from the technology inside.

That night I was eager to go for the full experience, but I had to take a couple of precautions first. The pillow came with some instructions warning that the pillow can trigger motion sickness in those prone to it, and I'm definitely one of those people. I recommended trying out the pillow in 10-minute sessions first to see how I'd respond.

The first song I tried, the app's Classical medley, did make me feel slightly sick after just a few minutes. Not wanting to give up, I waited a little bit before trying something else. Each track has a quick description of what it entails, including the instruments that make it up. I found these helpful in finding out what I might like, and next I picked a song called Binaural Ambience. I found that it didn't have the same effect, so the next night, I picked that track and yet again plugged my phone into the pillow to see how well it could help me sleep.

Binaural Ambience consists of a deep, low digital hum occasionally punctuated by the light chime of Tibetan singing bowls. I found that there was something haunting and science-fictiony about this track, and in my head it evoked imagery of space travel and robots. Despite everything it conjured up in my mind, I found it extremely effective in quieting my thoughts and helping me drift off to sleep.

It seemed to help me gently focus on something to prevent my brain from going a mile a minute, but without engaging me so much that it kept me up. The closer my head was to the center of the pillow, the better I could hear it, and I found the experience so much more comfortable than wearing headphones or earphones to sleep. When I was resting on my back, the sound was a very faint hum, but when I slept on my side (which is how I fall asleep most easily) I could hear it quite clearly. I liked that it wouldn't disturb anyone around me, either. As these sounds pumped right into my head, I was out cold before I even realized it.


(via Dreampad)

However, I'm not at all a sound sleeper. During the night, even with the slack in the long extender cable connecting my pillow and my phone, I'd managed to yank it off my nightstand with all my tossing in turning. In the morning, I found my phone planted squarely on the carpeting next to the bed, so I figured I should use the Bluetooth receiver in the future, and made sure to plug it in to charge so it'd be ready for the following night.

That's when I got sick. I knew I was in trouble when I woke up in the middle of the night barely able to breathe because I was so congested. Normally, it probably would have been a struggle to get back to sleep, but with a little help from Binaural Ambience, it didn't take too long, and I even managed to sleep in a bit the following morning. All I had to do was snap the Bluetooth adaptor onto the pillow's headphone plug and connect it to my phone and I was ready to go.


(via Dreampad)

During the next couple of days, I did a lot of napping, which gave me more chances to experiment with the Dreampad's songs and see what might work best for me. Depending on the occasion, I'd find the more melodic tracks either far too stimulating, or like the perfect lullaby to send me off to dreamland. During this time I also started to really enjoy the ocean wave tracks, each with different speeds that helped me breathe in time to the ebbing and flowing tides.

When I landed on something that I didn't think would work for me, I could just try something else. But when it worked, it was exactly the thing to make me forget about my sore throat, stuffy nose and dull aches and lull me to sleep. At the end of the day, I still found that Binaural Ambience was my favorite, but there were also some other options for me in case it stopped doing the trick for me.

The app also has built-in timer and alarm features, though I never utilized the alarm because I didn't want to chance it not working out as intended. The timer is super handy because you can set your music to play through the pillow for a couple of hours so that it doesn't run all night. Of course, I've forgotten to set it, and at one point I stirred at about 2 in the morning to find that it was still playing because I'd forgotten to set the timer. Still, the battery on the Bluetooth receiver still has juice in it after just one charge. I also found that the zipper could occasionally be finicky and get stuck in the open position, but in the grand scheme of things that's a trivial detail.

And though this wasn't the intended use of the pillow, I found some other uses for it, too. I thought it was pretty fun to plug my Nintendo Switch into the pillow to hear the soothing sounds of games like Gris transferred right into my head, and when I wanted to relax without sleeping, I liked playing my favorite music through it as well.


Bottom Line

While the experience won't be the same for everyone, I found that Dreampad worked like a charm for me. Even though at least one of the tracks made me feel a little sick, and others were simply too rousing to help me sleep, I found a number of them so soothing and really helpful in getting my restless mind to bed.

The pillows start at $139, which might be a little to expensive for some, but I think it's warranted for the technology inside. I'm sure that it doesn't necessarily work on everyone—and then there's that tricky thing about it potentially activating motion sickness—but they do have a 30-day test trial so you can send it back for a full refund if you're not a fan. If it could help me rest even with a cold, I think it can do a lot of people a lot of good.


(via Dreampad)


If you sleep as poorly as I do, click HERE for a list of the surprising things that are ruining your sleep.