I am terrible about consistency, which for a tense non-identifying nervous person is a surprise. However, I intermittently tested the device by laying it on my chest before sleep, tapping the app and laying back to feel sleepy. The device gets high marks for its dependable charging and effective Bluetooth pairing with my phone app. At first, I was put off by the design of the app, which asks you to choose among four modalities: Nature, Space & Time, Sacred Spaces and Breathe. The distinctions eluded me—how was a 10-minute Breathe session (“Soundscapes to go with the flow”) going to be different from a 10 minute Space & Time session (“Allow time to stand still with these neural enhancing tracks”). As it turns out, the sessions seem to have slightly differently paced vibrations—which feel like a cat’s purr on your chest—and unique background sounds, such as the Breathe H2O’s track which featured dripping water and music (perhaps not optimum if you’re someone who gets up to pee a million times a night). While my mind blazed onward, a bit more panicky than I’d expected, I forced myself to stay with the sounds and relax my breathing. I felt I was bad at it—see this why I am crap at meditation—and the next thing you know, I’d be dead out, to wake up the next day or after an hour’s midday nap refreshed like I’d just had a heavy sleep. It’s that falling out feeling when counting backward under the anesthesiologist’s mask, but without any pesky risk of propofol overdose.
While I’ve not tried all of 14-something free programs the device offers, I docked the Sensate 2 a few points for not having a wider library as of yet. (There is an option to join “Sensate Plus” and have two new tracks pushed to you per month; it costs $50 per year.) As for wearability, the adverts show tech worker types wearing the bean, which measures four-by-three inches, around their necks as they walk around writing code or whatever. I don’t feel comfortable wearing it like that, nor does the flat-out relaxation I use it for feel like anything I’d want to do at my desk in public. But as for the effectiveness as a sleep aid, I’m pleased to report it slams—I slept as soundly as after really good sex, or a hard workout, so I’m a fan.