If you’ve been following me over on my Instagram, you might have noticed we’ve had a bit of an upheaval and I was struggling with my sleep. I’m definitely not what you would describe as a ‘night owl’. I need my sleep. But like most people, my sleep is one of the first things that gets disturbed when I’m under some sort of stress. And turns out, packing your entire home, moving half of it to storage, moving back in to your parents while your home gets taken over by builders, is kinda stressful. Who knew? In my desperation for a good nights sleep I went down a rabbit hole and hit ‘buy now’ on some very well-marketed ear plugs. After seeking out thoughts/reviews from the wonderful community on instagram, I thought I’d give you my little review, one month down the line. So here’s my slightly different from normal content -but hopefully handy- review of my Loop Quiet Earplugs and another sleep essential.
The back story
I’m going to take a step back here and give you a little bit of background. I’m a pretty light sleeper as it goes and particular sounds/frequencies can drive me up the wall. Rather than relaxing me into a slumber, I find my brain fixates on them. So ticking clocks, whirring laptops or buzzy lamps are banned from the bedroom. But on the whole our house is quite quiet and Taufiq and I share a similar routine so it’s not really been an issue up until now (unless you count him still being grumpy about not being able to put a clock up- I guess the ‘it’s me or the clock’ comments don’t help). And while I do lose sleep when I’m stressed, once that stressor goes I’m very lucky that my sleep tends to settle back without much effort. But this time I didn’t account for moving into a house with a set of adults with their own, completely out-of-sync-with-my-life/routines… my retired parents.
After a full day of packing, loading and unloading a van I was expecting to have a great night’s sleep. I definitely did not account for being woken up before the crack of dawn by my dad doing his morning prayers or the terrible sound insulation in the house. Because even though it sounded like he was next door to the bedroom, I later found out he was actually downstairs in the spare room. And once I was woken I just couldn’t get back to sleep- I could hear the curtains being drawn, kettle boiling and cupboards being open as he made a cup of tea. And despite my best efforts it was obvious that I wasn’t going to get back to sleep. Everyone else was managing to sleep through apart from me. And despite making changes to his routine to try and help out, let’s just say, by the 4th or 5th day I was frazzled. Enter: Loop Earplugs.
(Starting at £19.95)
What are Loop Earplugs?
Now, I’ve never knowingly been looking at/for ear plugs before this, but I somehow had seen these advertised somewhere and I bet you have too. Their marketing is extremely slick, well presented and their products just look good. And in the digital age of visuals this ticks a lot of boxes. But I’m always a bit skeptical about brands I find through ads on social media so I had a good look at their website and reviews.
From what I could tell, the Experience and Experience Plus are the same base plug, with the ‘Plus’ having an extra filter and reduce more sound. These have been made for dampening sounds overall and reducing volume. They are not for blocking out noise completely. And because of the materials they’ve been made with, they’re also more rigid and have not been designed for sleeping in. So they were not the ones for me.
However, when I did ask for feedback on Instagram I was inundated by people who use and love them. A lot of people found them super helpful to manage sensory overstimulation and I found a lot of DMs from those with ASD/ADHD. They allowed people to still engage with conversation/work but also focus on tasks at hand. There was also a fair amount of feedback from parents! Again, it just helped people dampen the shrieking and general noise that comes with having a kid(s) run wild. I can also see how they would be handy for places like concerts or cinemas (honestly, have they turned up the volume these days?!) etc. But like I said, these weren’t the right choice for me.
So this is the range that has been made with sleeping in mind. They’re made with soft-touch silicone which makes them squishy and soft, and also lightweight. Apparently they can reduce noise by up to 27 dB. Because of the way they’re made, they’re reusable and really easy to clean.
What comes in the box
In the box you get the pair of Loops and ear tips in sizes XS, S, M and L ( it comes pre-fitted with the medium ear tips). You also get a super handy case with a loop to add to your key chain.
So why did I go for these?
Obviously a big factor is the marketing but ultimately I was sold to give them a go by people’s positive reviews. I particularly liked the fact that they were reusable and cleaning is easy- I can vouch for that. In my research I did have a look at other earplugs, but I seem to have a weird fear of them getting stuck in my ear (I know, I know), but the Loop tab just gives me a bit of reassurance, and makes it easy to pop in and out. So from a design perspective, it ticked a lot of boxes.
Do they work though?
A lot of those factors still hold true- they’re easy to take out, look great and are easy to clean. The little case is fab, and I keep it by my beside and reach for them every morning. As expected, I find that it doesn’t block out all noise- so I’m still able to hear my daughter or my alarm in the morning. It’s a bit strange what does filter and what doesn’t- I can hear my husband but can’t hear the clock ticking (yes there’s a clock in this bedroom!) But I found the amount of sound reduction I get depends on the quality of seal I make when I’m putting them in (I definitely needed to watch their tutorial video for that!) If I’ve got a decent seal then I might not hear my alarm until the 2nd ring (when usually I’m up at the first)- but I will still hear it. And when it comes to my dad, I’m able to wake up (or more like- fumble half-awake), pop these in and get back to sleep. Although I can hear him still it’s muffled a lot/muted.
So if the question is, ‘have you slept better since getting them?’, the answer is definitely yes. 100%. But…Yup, there’s a ‘but’. And I think that’s inevitable- because our ear canals are unique, I think you’ll be hard pushed to find a plug that is the ‘perfect fit’ for everyone who tries them. And that seemed to fit (no pun intended) with the feedback I got on Instagram for the Quiet and Experience Earplugs. Some people just didn’t get along with them for this reason/found better fits with other brands.
I’m pretty sure my issues come from the fit. I quickly realised I was going to need the smallest ear tips, but now I’m thinking even the XS are too big for my ears. While I can get a seal- it’s a bit variable and I can feel it’s not quite in properly. And it’s also one of the reasons I don’t put them in when I go to sleep and instead reach for them in the morning once I’ve been woken up, for the last hour-ish of sleep. When I had been wearing them from the start of the night I found I got a bit of ear pain.
So Loop do offer the XXS size ear tips in an accessory pack, but this is technically for the Experience/Engage range. It’s not cheap- at £14.95 (close to the price of the plugs themselves) for three pairs of tips and 1 x loop mute (an extra bit to add some more sound reduction). So far I haven’t been bothered enough to order the extra pack- partly because it feels a bit annoying to have to shell out for an extra set of tips and then also have so many tips laying around! And also because they’re not technically for the Quiet Loops. (Although you don’t have to dig too deep into the reviews to see others have bought and used them for the Quiet range.)
So that’s my review of my Loop Earplugs-overall they have definitely helped with me sleep but there’s an issue with the fit which may just be down to individual factors.
One more thing…
I did want to just give a special shoutout to another sleep ‘essential of mine’. You’ll know I’m a big fan of all Elizabeth Scarlett products. The founder is an old classmate of mine and I remember her launching the brand years ago and buying something initially just support her venture. But we’ve (me and Taufiq) been massive fans ever since and unsurprisingly the brand has been going from strength to strength ever since. To be honest, I won’t waffle on about the range in general (I should probably just do a separate review of the different products!) but I did want to highlight one product: the eye mask. I was initially sent this as a PR gift when they launched their PJs but have bought these as gifts for others because I love it so much.
I initially used it to block out light when Taufiq was up a bit later/doing work in the bedroom, and then for when I had migraines. But more recently I’ve just been wearing it when I need a good night’s sleep and I swear it’s helped. It’s made from their signature velvet which is lovely and soft against the skin, but it’s also got a lovely weight to it. I have two masks and one is slightly tighter than the other, and that’s the one I have on my bedside. I found this combination of pressure and weight super helpful (for migraines too)- maybe it’s like a weight blanket effect but for eye masks? As well as that, it’s filled with 63% Lavender which smells lovely but is also supposed to be good for sleep. It’s definitely a little luxury touch to bedtime (£25 for full price, but there is usually sales on certain designs- currently starting at £13) and something I would really recommend, even if just to make you feel a little special!
I find that there really is nothing that compares to a good ol’ blog post when it comes to reviews and I love reading them myself. So, I hope you found that handy. Do let me know if you have any questions or how you got along if you also bought some.
Wishing you a good night’s sleep,