When I heard about a new wearable, “stress-canceling” device, I was immediately intrigued. Could this pricey gadget actually help me manage my stress and better my sleep? Being the researcher I am, I pulled the trigger on a Cove device to see if it lived up to the hype. cove review
What is Cove?
Cove is a wearable device that was designed to improve your sleep, reduce your stress, and sharpen your focus. The Cove device itself looks almost looks like a pair of behind-the-ear headphones, although the main pads sit right behind your ears (and not in them.)
Cove was designed by Feelmore Labs, a health and wellness tech company with a team of world-class neuroscientists, engineers and top luxury goods executives. The team spent more than four years perfecting their wearable wellness device. Cove is completely safe, beautifully crafted, and proven effective through the testing of over 3,500 individuals.
How Does the Cove Device Work?
Here’s what happens during each 20 minute Cove session:
Once you turn on the device and rest the device behind your head, you’ll feel a soft (and I mean almost barely-there) vibration right behind your ears. The touch receptors behind your ears interpret the vibration signal as something called “affective touch,” aka affection.
This subtle vibration tells your brain that you’re safe and ok. As mammals, we’re pre-wired to respond to affective touch from the moment we’re born. That’s why we cradle a baby to soothe them, and why we feel better when we hug loved ones.
Cove was designed to seamlessly activate this skin-to-brain pathway. It’s pretty genius. They even call it “a hug for your mind.” And I’ll be honest, it sure feels like it.
Understanding Interoception: AKA Your Body’s Sixth Sense
Let’s get a little nerdy here. We know Cove signals affective-touch, but the science behind the device goes way deeper than that.
Your body uses a sense called interoception to keep tabs on the inner workings of your body. This sense, or pathway, tells us when we’re hungry, gives us awareness of our heartbeat, our breathing patterns and more. This pathway also receives signals from all of our organs (including our skin) and interacts with our memory and mood centers of the brain.
In short, this sense of interoception ultimately shapes how we feel, act and ultimately tells us about our overall wellbeing.
When this pathway is functioning properly, we should feel good. We experience benefits like good sleep, good mental health, overall balance. But when we experience chronic stress, our interoception gets compromised – which can activate systemic “fight or flight” response throughout the body.
Lucky for us, there’s ways to tone our interoception – and affective touch is one of them. Research shows that this affective touch improves interoception by activating a particular part of the brain called the insula – a critical part of the interoceptive pathway. cove review
More affective touch = better interoception = better sense of wellbeing. cove review
Benefits of Wearing Cove
It’s easy to agree that daily affective touch can only be good for our health. And if a device can provide the same brain stimulation as a deep hug, we can only imagine how good the benefits can be for our long-term health. cove review
One of the biggest benefits of using Cove is better sleep. Research shows that Cove helps users fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.
Wearing the device also stimulates the same biological responses as a mediation session. In EEG and MRI studies, Cove sessions have been shown to promote increased alpha waves and activated insular cortex – aka, the closest to having meditated without actually meditating.
Another recent study performed by Feelmore Labs showed that Cove improves mental wellness among first responders. The results: the group’s stress dropped by 23% and their sleep quality improved by 61%. For high stress workers like first responders, this improvement is major.
Why I Personally Tried Covereview
As I mentioned above, I already practice a good amount of stress management in my life. I eat well, limit drinking to the weekends, spend time outside daily and set boundaries with my work-life balance. But I’m also planning a wedding, running two businesses virtually, traveling bi-weekly and can use all the extra stress management I can take. And as a researcher and wellness enthusiast, I also understand how vital stress management is for my overall health.
When I found out that this device can be used while reading, cooking or doing other work, I was immediately sold. I’m a firm believer that you can always make time for your health. But I’m constantly finding ways to be smarter and more efficient with my time, and this wellness device does just that.
My Experience Using Cove for One Month
I was eager to start using the device as soon as it arrived. I believe that if you’re truly trying to get a benefit from any product, you need to be diligent with using it regularly. I decided that I’d keep my normal routine and use it twice a day for 20 minutes and give it an honest try.
The device itself is super sleek. It comes in a beautiful box and case, and a charger to go with it.The device is comfortable, light-weight and somewhat discreet if you have your hair down.
The sessions themselves feel extremely pleasant. It’s a sensation you’ve probably never felt in your life (unless there’s another behind-ear device you use). The device gives off subtle vibrations on both sides that you can just barely feel, although you can adjust the vibration intensity to fit your specific needs.
Within the first two days of use, I noticed that I had great sleep. I feel asleep both quickly, didn’t wake throughout the night and woke up well-rested. During the days I felt way more pleasant too. Coincidence? Maybe. But even if its a placebo effect, I’m liking how I’m feeling as of lately. cove review
I also decided to sync the device to my smart phone to get my daily, “Here’s your reminder to start your Cove session,” reminders. This feature has been helpful because I basically run my life by my calendar notifications. I’ve been wearing it during my morning cup of coffee and as I read my book in bed at night. The convenience of being able to multi-task is one of my favorite things about the device – it’s what truly sells it for me.
I did notice better focus throughout the day too. I’m naturally a bit all-over-the-place during my work day (call it ADHD) and I’ve noticed a slight improvement in my focus during tasks at hand. That was a nice added bonus I wasn’t necessarily expecting.
What I Don’t Like About Wearing Cove
I’ll always give an honest review – and there’s a few (minimal) things I don’t necessarily like about the Cove.
When I tried to put the device on for the first time, it took a bit of adjusting to get it fitting just right behind my head. It takes some maneuvering to figure out how tight it needs to be in order to feel the sensation.
I also wasn’t sure if it was working because the vibration is extremely light. At first, I felt it only on one side and not the other, despite putting the vibrations on the highest setting. I DM’d their Instagram account and their (extremely helpful!) rep mentioned how it was supposed to be very faint, which gave me some reassurance that I was doing it right.
Another not-so-major issue with Cove is the fact that it is yet another device I need to charge regularly. I accidentally forgot to charge it a few time and it threw me off of my normal schedule, but I’ve gotten into the habit of charging it next to my phone at night.
The price is also what is tough to swallow. Spending roughly $350 on a stress device that might not give you immediate satisfaction is a tough purchase to make. But I wills say that the company does offer occasional price drops – and there’s truly to price tag for better overall well-being.
Overall Thoughts on Cove
In short, I love it. So much that I wish I could wear it longer than 20 minutes at a time! I’m going to continue to wear it twice daily from here on out (and I’ll report further updates to this article as time goes by.)
The honest truth is this: if you’re not prioritizing sleep, eating a poor diet and not setting appropriate boundaries with your work, this device won’t magically fix all your problems. Nothing will. And there’s not one treatment out there that has the exact same beneficial effects for everyone – we’re all bio-individual and respond to stress in our own, unique ways.
But if you’re looking to optimize your health and truly perform at your peak, it’s 100% worth the purchase. I genuinely believe that even if you don’t feel any immediate effects, you’re still doing your brain good by wearing it. While everyone won’t feel the same exact benefits from Cove, the device stimulates the same biological pathway for everyone. I feel like I’m doing my body a service with each session and it has become an integral part of my daily wellness routine.
Will I continue to use it? Absolutely. I may even gift one to a family member who I know would use it. If the product is within your means, and living optimally is your top priority, give the Cove a shot.
Meet Liz, the founder of The Hive. When she’s not working on the site, you’ll find her either cooking some steak, taking a bike ride or playing with her pup, Ziggy.