Morphée sleep and meditation aid review

Falling and staying asleep can be difficult, especially when there’s so much to worry about in the world right now. Sure, finding the right cooling sheets or using a weighted blanket can help, but sometimes your mind needs to rest before your body can. That’s where the $99 Morphée non-digital sleep aid comes in. The compact, travel-friendly device comes loaded with 210 meditations ranging from body scans to nature sounds to breathing exercises to help you get a better night’s rest without the negatives of a digital screen or the internet.

A non-digital sleep aid that really works

If you’re looking to Zen out before bed without the use of your phone or other digital electronics, the Morphée can help with 210 meditations that include breathing exercises, nature sounds, body scans and more.

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The first thing you’ll notice about the Morphée sleep aid is its simple and aesthetically pleasing design. It comes with a handsome wooden cover that protects the device when not in use (or when traveling), but it also doubles as a base. You can remove it and place the main speaker device inside of it like a bowl, but in doing so, you won’t cover up the speaker or any important ports (of which there are only two: a headphone jack and a charging port) .

With the wooden cover removed or used as a base, Morphée is a svelte, spherical, jet-black device with very few bells or whistles (or buttons) — to its benefit. Three gold cranks, or keys, protrude vertically about an inch from the top and are used to select your meditation theme, session and duration, respectively. The black and gold colors mixed with the design of the cranks have a certain steampunk vibe, but don’t let that description deter you; it’s elegant enough to fit in with most homes’ decor.

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Aside from the cranks, there’s a power button, play/pause button, volume up button, volume down button and switch to choose between a male and female voice, plus the aforementioned headphone jack and charging port. And that’s it. I’ve been proudly displaying the 4.33-inch-wide Morphée on my nightstand without its cover since I’ve had it, and I absolutely love that I can simply slip it off the wooden base, cover it up and throw it in my suitcase when traveling and not have to worry about it breaking or taking up much space.

The other aspect of its design that I adore is its lack of anything digital. No screens, no internet, no lights (save for an innocuous power light at the device’s center that turns off immediately when you press play on a meditation). Before the Morphée entered my life, I used to rely on YouTube meditations on my phone, and interacting with my phone’s blue light before and after the meditation defeated much of the purpose of the wind-down phase of my night. Plus, I’d inevitably get distracted by phone notifications and social media. Lose-lose.

Finally, even the booklet that comes with the sleep aid is well designed. It features glossy, color pages, a thick front and back cover, and easy-to-follow directions. I note this mostly because you’ll likely be returning to the booklet more often than not. (More on that later.)

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There are a whopping 210 meditation combinations to choose from on the Morphée. Wait, how exactly is that possible on such a simplistic device? Let’s break it down.

To start, there are eight themes to choose from using the first crank: Body Scan, Breathing, Movement, Visualizations, Cardiac Coherence, Napping, Relaxing Music and Nature Sounds. Each of these themes corresponds to a small symbol on the Morphée: a person’s body, a person breathing, a hand, a sailboat, a heart, a sleep mask, a music note and a leaf, respectively.

Once you choose your preferred theme, you can choose your session, labeled 1 through 8 next to the second crank on the Morphée. For example, session 1 under the Nature Sounds theme is called “The Cat” and features purring sounds. Session 2 under the same theme is “The Log Fire,” session 3 is “The Jungle” and so on.

The third crank is simply used to choose the duration of your session: eight minutes long or 20 minutes long, denoted by the numbers 8 and 20 under the third and final crank. Finally, the male and female voices each offer completely different sessions, so it’s not just the timbre of the voice that’s different; it doubles the amount of meditations altogether. For a non-digital device, that’s an astounding number of possibilities to choose from, and if you think about it, it’s as if you’re paying just around 50 cents per meditation.

Daniel Toy/CNN

Morphée claims that every meditation on the device was designed by a sleep expert, and even the nature sounds and music were recorded in 3D audio all over the world. That must be true, because after trying a few 20-minute sessions over the course of a week, I noticed an improvement in my overall sleep. I have a harder time falling asleep than staying asleep, and playing a Nature Sounds, Breathing or Body Scan theme definitely helped me catch some zzz’s faster. I’m also prone to having night terrors, and I noticed a decrease in those as well while using Morphée.

Daniel Toy/CNN

When I first started using the Morphée, I was a little taken aback at the male voice especially, which sounded gruff and a little… creepy. I switched over to the female voice, and while it was a little better, I still had a hard time getting into a Zen state while listening to either. Fortunately, this feeling subsided after going through a handful of meditations and getting used to each voice. Now I pay more attention to what’s being said than how it’s being said, but since you’re stuck with just these two voices forever, I figured it was worth noting.

Also, the speaker, while pretty great for a stand-alone non-digital device, can sound a little crinkly and staticky when the volume is on full blast. I noticed this especially with the Relaxing Music and Nature Sounds themes, but keeping the volume at medium fixed this issue.

Daniel Toy/CNN

With 210 meditation combinations to choose from on the Morphée and just three cranks to choose them with, chances are you’re not going to remember each and every one of them. Even remembering what theme each symbol corresponds to is difficult enough, let alone memorizing which session is which. This is why you’ll likely find yourself returning to the booklet more often than not. The booklet outlines exactly what each session focuses on, but it can be a bummer to have to turn on the light, flip through the pages and choose what you want when you’re trying to ease into a restful sleep.

I’ve gotten into the habit of picking a meditation at random, turning the cranks into a new position and seeing what I get, instead of referring to the booklet — but that won’t work for people who need certain kinds of meditation on specific nights.

The Morphée is a great solution to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer without the harmful blue light of your phone’s screen or the distractions from the internet. Its beautiful design will look great on any nightstand, and its small size and wooden cover make it the ideal on-the-go meditation box you can bring with you on your travels.

With 210 meditation combinations that include nature sounds, body scans, breathing exercises and much more, the Morphée offers plenty of material for its price. While the male and female voices of the speakers may take some getting used to for some, it’s still a worthy investment if you’re someone who has trouble sleeping and wants to dip their toes into before-bed meditation.

If you’re looking for a simpler, no-frills device that’s a little cheaper, you might want to check out the $59 Dodow sleep aid. While it doesn’t offer voiced meditations, it does help with your breathing by casting a pulsing light on your ceiling that you can breathe along to. Plus, it’s even smaller and more portable than the Morphée. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the $129 Hatch Restore is a more expensive and more robust sleep solution that lives on your nightstand (it’s a little too big and bulky to be portable). The Hatch is a digital smart alarm clock that features a library of meditations, many alarm options and a gradual light that slowly gets brighter as you wake up. But if you want a sleep aid that’s somewhere in the middle — and want to avoid screens at all costs — the Morphée is well worth it.

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