When he’s not having hair transplants or destroying England’s Euro 2012 chances by getting sent off for petulantly lashing out at a Montenegrin footballer who had the temerity to stand between him and the ball, Wayne Rooney has trouble sleeping.
In an infamous 2006 interview with The Mail on Sunday, Rooney revealed that sometimes the only way he can fall asleep is by having a hairdryer, fan or vacuum cleaner running somewhere nearby. And this apparently aberrant behaviour is nowhere near as rare as you might imagine.
So common is it, in fact, that there are numerous Android/iPhone apps designed to produce simple sounds like white, brown or pink noise, falling rain, lapping oceans, running streams and so forth to get your mind in the mood for sleep. Some, such as TMSoft’s White Noise, are not only popular but critically acclaimed.
As you might have guessed from our knowledge of the ‘sleep noise’ subject, this writer too suffers from the same wife-irritating habit, finding it extremely hard to first sleep and then stay asleep if I don’t have a fan running constantly about a foot or two from my pillow.
One final fellow sufferer to tell you about is the brilliantly named Eric Dubs from New York - only his bedtime audio tipple of choice is apparently music, not just noise. But the cool thing about Mr Dubs is that he happens to have a degree in mechanical engineering to go with his passion for both music and getting a good night’s sleep. So unlike Rooney and us, he’s been able to actually design a product to make his night life easier: the Bedphones.
As their puntastic name suggests, these are headphones specifically designed to be worn in bed. So you can keep your ears full of soothing sound without disturbing your long-suffering spouse.
Obviously any headphones designed for this purpose need to satisfy at least two basic criteria.
First, they need to deliver a reasonable level of volume without discernible sound ‘leaking out’ for other people to hear. Second, they need to be unbelievably comfortable. Even when you’re lying on your side with your ear pressed to the pillow.
All the other headphones we’ve tried to wear during sleep have failed dismally on the comfort front, as either their frame or their ear ‘buds’/cans push or dig into your ear in a way that guarantees you’ve got no chance of getting to sleep. About the only solution we've encountered that works is the custom molded silicone earphones produced by ACS, but they're £500 a pop. Dubs himself admits to having tried nearly 100 prototypes before hitting on the final Bedphone design. But his persistence has paid off handsomely, as lying our head down on its side with the Bedphones on wasn’t even remotely uncomfortable, never mind painful. In fact, we could scarcely tell we’d got the Bedphones on - aside from the soothing static noise they were playing straight into our ears, of course!