I finally picked up meditation thanks to this bedtime device
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
It often feels that anxiety is at an all-time high. Not only is my Twitter feed full of panicked tweets, researchers have documented a rise in blood pressure in adults during the pandemic.
For some people, meditating before bed is one method to improve mental health and combat poor sleep. A range of meditation apps and websites, some free and some subscription-based, boast tools that claim they will help you get to dreamland.
But what if you want to use meditation to improve your sleep patterns without looking at a screen before bed?
Enter the Morphée.
What is the Morphée?
The Morphée is a small speaker adorned with buttons that give it the appearance of a compact music box. It functions as a sleep aid, or “sleep companion” as the company brands it, that plays 210 meditations and soundscapes to help users relax before bed. At the time of publishing, the device costs just under $100.
Morphée users can choose between two voices, Jessica or Tim, to guide them through the short meditations. There are five guided sessions (from body scans to breathing exercises), each of which includes eight practices, as well as relaxing music and nature sounds. Tracks can be played for 8 or 20 minutes. There’s also a function for daytime naps that briefly winds you down and then wakes you up 8 or 20 minutes later.
I like the idea of screenless meditation before bed, so I decided to give it a whirl.
What I like about the Morphée
The Morphée arrived in a small blue-and-yellow box scattered with stars. Opening the box reminded me of opening the music box I received for my birthday as a child. Its cute appearance helped get me excited to use it on a nightly basis.
I’ve wanted to meditate for years but I’ve always found reasons to put it off. Testing the Morphée forced me to finally create a daily practice. Helpfully, the instructions were written clearly, and included illustrations and sleep tips. As someone who generally ignores such manuals, I also found the device fairly intuitive on its own.
Unlike meditation apps, the Morphée is screen-free, a big bonus once you learn that our phones and tablets emit blue light that’s disruptive to sleep. With the Morphée, one orange light indicates that it’s turned on, but once you select a session, it disappears. (The color was likely intentional: Warmer lights are generally better before bedtime.) You can set up a meditation or soundscape without being exposed to harsh lights that could impede your body’s melatonin production.
The meditations made me feel relaxed and drowsy. I particularly liked the body-scan sessions. Jessica guided my attention down my body, encouraging me to focus on each part as I settled in for sleep. I also enjoyed the guided movement sessions, where I was instructed to massage myself, or tense or stretch and then relax my muscles.
I also found the visualizations useful, during which a narrator led a peaceful journey through a garden or by a lake. These sessions helped me let go of some of my anxiety and helped me practice deep, calming breaths before bed.
After a few nights with the device, I often followed the meditations with the Morphée’s nature noises. I would complete an 8-minute exercise and then turn the Morphée keys for 20 minutes of rain. The Morphée’s buttons and keys, including its on and pause buttons, were easy to use in the dark after a couple days of practice, so there was no need to turn on a light.
When a user is no longer handling the Morphée, it turns itself off, which I particularly liked. While I can generally find white noise on YouTube, there’s always a risk that my computer will continue to the next video and blare something loud that will wake me. I had no such concerns with the Morphée.
The Morphée’s volume wasn’t super loud, but it worked for me. I had the volume all the way up for meditations while it sat a foot or two away from my bed. I turned the volume down slightly for nature noises or music, hoping to fall asleep during their play time. The Morphée comes with a headphone jack in case you have a co-sleeper who doesn’t want to hear your meditation, but I never used it as I don’t find headphones particularly comfortable.
To cap it off, the Morphee’s battery life was excellent. The company advertises that the battery lasts seven to 10 days, but I only had to use the charger once: when it arrived. After that, I used the Morphée every night for more than two weeks without it running low.
What I didn’t like
When I unboxed the Morphée, it was covered in a circular wooden top that doubles as its base when it’s in use. You don’t turn the base to get it off, you just have to pull. This created a bit of a struggle. It took me a couple minutes to slide off the piece, as both the base and the device itself are smooth and a bit slippery. I’m concerned that this could create difficulties for someone who has a disability that impacts their hands.
While taking the top off was always difficult, it proved useful when I repacked the Morphée in a suitcase for a couple trips.
Beyond that, I thought that the 8 or 20 minutes worked well for meditations, but I wish that the nature sounds lasted longer. While I found the purring cat a bit strange (even as someone who loves cats), I enjoyed the jungle and ocean sounds. My personal favorite was the rain noise; I loved hearing the sound of thunder and rain as I dozed. When I use a meditation app or YouTube to listen to storm sounds, I usually set the noises to run for hours. When the Morphée soundscape stopped after 20 minutes, I was reminded that 20 minutes had passed and I wasn’t asleep yet.
Is the Morphée worth it?
If you have the budget to spend $100 on a self-care product, I say go right ahead. The Morphée checks a number of sleep-friendly boxes, and overall I believe the device is well executed and it might be useful if you have trouble falling asleep. While the price tag raised my eyebrows, it’s comparable to an annual Headspace subscription.
The Morphée comes with a two-year warranty covering defects that arise under normal use—just keep its original packaging to take advantage of the warranty. It also has a 100-night trial but, again, you need the original packaging to return it. If you purchase it through another retailer like Amazon, make sure you confirm that retailer's return policy.
It’s worth noting that the Morphée can’t make up for a lack of self-control. I learned this the hard way. I tried to stay off my phone during the hour before bed in order to take full advantage of my screen-free meditations, but I almost always ended up checking my texts or emails. Even staying off my phone for 30 minutes before bed was challenging.
Still, the device did make me feel relaxed as I drifted off to sleep and it helped me form and stick to a meditation routine like nothing has been able to in the past. In short, I was sad to part ways with the Morphée when I finished testing it.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.