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Many people struggle to fall asleep and/or stay asleep if there are sounds such as a partner snoring or traffic noises. While you might not be able to prevent these interferences, headphones for sleeping can block them out to help you get the quality rest you need.
You may be tempted to use your favorite pair of headphones for sleeping, but keep in mind that normal headphones are not built for this purpose. In most cases, they won’t work properly and carry potential risks. Luckily, there is a wide range of headphone options and styles designed specifically for sleep. While high-end sleep headphones can cost more than $250, you’ll also find budget-friendly options priced at less than $100.
This guide will discuss our picks for the best headphones for sleeping and what makes them stand out. We’ll also share other important tips to help you decide whether a set of headphones for sleeping is right for you.
SleepFoundation readers can use this exclusive discount code with Moonbow by Dubslabs: SLEEPFOUNDATION20
The Moonbow Bedphones Sleep Headphones stand our thanks to their compact design and impressive versatility.
These headphones rest on the outside of the ear and wrap around with rubber-coated memory wire for a more comfortable, secure fit. The wire can be placed in front of or behind the neck depending on what the sleeper finds most comfortable. Wired and wireless designs are available for connecting to external devices, but both feature wires that connect the headphones. A cable slider allows for adjustments to make the fit more secure.
An inline microphone and remote are built into the Bedphones for easy call answering. The remote allows the user to play, pause, and skip music. The headphones are less than a quarter-inch thick and barely noticeable for side sleepers. While Bedphones are crafted especially for sleeping, their thin and lightweight design may also appeal to travelers, athletes, and anyone else looking for a more comfortable listening option.
Each set of Bedphones comes with a carrying pouch and replacement foams. They are compatible with most phones and devices provided that they have mp3 players and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Users with an iPhone 7 or later will need to use their adapter. The wireless version of the Bedphones has a rechargeable 180mAh, 13-hour battery.
Customers can return their Bedphones within 30 days of their purchase for a full refund. A one-year warranty protects against defects to the headphones.
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The Dormi Dream Headphones are constructed in a wireless headband style many listeners equate with expensive price-points, but they are more affordable than most competing models without sacrificing quality or cutting-edge features. Soft polyester-spandex fabric ensures a comfortable fit without the tight squeeze of other stretch fabrics. The speakers also have a thin profile that makes the headband ideal for side sleeping.
Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity delivers the latest in wireless technology. The battery life is 10 hours, but charging the headphones takes only two. With a circumference of 21 inches, the headband should fit most people – but the fabric is pliable enough to provide some leeway if your head is on the smaller or larger side. You can wash and dry the headphones in any household machine without damaging the speakers. Five colors are available.
In addition to their low price-point, the headphones are shipped free of charge to all U.S. customers. Returns are accepted within 30 days of the original order. Dormi is a Black- and female-owned business.
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An unobtrusive size and sleek design make the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds a luxurious choice for sleeping headphones.
These tiny wireless in-ear earbuds are built of plastic, polyurethane rubber, stainless steel, and gold. Foam ear tips help them mold comfortably to your ear, and each set of earbuds comes with extra small, small, medium, and large size tips so that you can select the option that’s best for you. QuietOn also sells additional ear tips separately should you need a replacement or prefer a different feel.
The earbuds offer active noise-canceling technology. A microphone samples the ambient noise and the speaker uses a phase-shifted sound to block it out. You can use a switch to toggle between silencing and hearing modes. Silencing mode uses the active noise canceling technology, while hearing mode allows you to chat with your partner. While most headphones are crafted to play music or sounds, the earbuds are designed exclusively to cancel noise.
Because these earbuds are quite small and don’t protrude much, they’re suitable for all sleep positions. They work independently of smart devices, so you don’t have to worry about connectivity issues. Each pair of earbuds comes with a charging case and cable. The battery can last for up to 28 hours per charge. QuietOn backs the earbuds with a 14-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year international warranty.
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Headband-style headphones have become popular with sleepers in recent years due to their seamless designs. The HoomBand is a standout product thanks in part to its comfortable construction. The headphones are cushioned with a layer of soft foam to prevent you from feeling the wires, and a breathable mesh fabric cover provides additional padding. This allows you to use the headphones while you sleep in the side, back, or stomach position.
The headphones are engineered with Bluetooth 5.0 audio for excellent sound quality. The corresponding HoomBand smart app is free of charge and compatible with Android and iOS devices. The app includes built-in audio programs, including white noise for helping you sleep and masking outside sounds, guided meditations, and hypnosis sessions. You don’t need to pay for a subscription to enjoy the app’s original content, and new programs are added on a regular basis.
The cover can be spot-cleaned with cool water as needed. You can also remove and adjust the foam padding for the headphones for a more personalized fit.
The HoomBand’s sticker price is on par with other sleeping headphones, but customers can save money by purchasing two or three headbands at the same time. You can also add a carrying case to your order. HoomBand recommends the headband for listeners who are 12 or older. Shipping is priced at an inexpensive flat rate for all 50 states, and your purchase will include a 100-night sleep trial.
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Distinct materials, solid construction, and a wide selection of styles make the SleepPhones Wireless Bluetooth Sleep Headphones exceptionally comfortable for sleepers.
Two distinct fabrics are available for the headphones. SheepCloud Fleece is soft, warm, and fuzzy, making it well suited to colder climates; color options include gray, lavender, and black. SheepCloud Breeze is crafted for breathability and moisture-wicking, so it may appeal to athletes and hot sleepers; it comes in black, gray, orchid, and blue. Both fabrics are hypoallergenic and made of a blend of polyester and spandex. The fabric portion of the headband is machine washable once the electronic components are removed.
Three sizes are available for the headphones to ensure a comfortable fit. Ultra-slim, Bluetooth-enabled speakers rest inside the fabric band to deliver high-quality sound while reducing ambient noise. These headphones work with most Bluetooth-compatible devices within a 15- to 30-foot range. A rechargeable battery can play for up to 10 hours between charges, and a USB charger is provided with purchase. With their purchase, customers can also download sleep sounds and an iPhone app at no extra charge.
The SleepPhones Wireless Bluetooth Sleep Headphones come with a 1-year limited warranty and a 30-day return policy.
Best for Young Children
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Kids today can enjoy sleep headphones too. The CozyPhones Sleep Headphones are available in several child-friendly designs that resemble playful animals. Each one is composed of a soft fleece fabric that any young lister should find soft and comfortable, even after hours of use. At .8 ounces, the headphones are also exceptionally lightweight.
Volume control is a useful add-on to protect your child’s hearing. The speakers won’t transmit anything louder than 90 decibels. However, this feature shouldn’t interfere with their ability to listen – even during flights and loud car rides, the fleece provides decent noise blockage. The speakers can be washed and dried in household machines whenever they need to be cleaned.
These fun, comfortable headphones are also very reasonably priced. The 52-inch cord included with your purchase is compatible with virtually any laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
When buying headphones for sleeping, quality and comfort are among the most important attributes. Since comfort is subjective, however, selecting the best option for you may require some research and consideration. Below, we’ll detail some of the factors that differ between headphones such as style, wiring, price, and performance.
A headphone’s style refers to its shape and how it fits onto or into your ears. Sleepers may find some styles more comfortable than others based on their personal preferences and sleep position.
Over-ear is a more traditional style. The headphones mold around the outside of the ear for a snug fit, while a solid band wraps around the top of the head to hold the speakers in place. Because this design tends to be bulky, it is not common in headphones for sleeping.
On-ear headphones are a lot like over-ear styles in that they rest outside of the ear. However, on-ear headphones tend to be a bit smaller and are positioned on the ear itself instead of cupping it. Because they are a bit more compact, they may be better suited to sleeping than over-ear models.
Often called earbuds, in-ear headphones sit in the ear canal. They are compact and can accommodate all sleep positions. However, some sleepers may not like the sensation of the headphones resting in their ear canal.
Headband and sleep mask headphones typically contain speakers encased in a swath of fabric that the sleeper can wear like a conventional garment. Since many of these models have extra padding around the ear, they can be exceptionally comfortable for side sleeping.
Shoppers can select between wired and wireless headphones, and each carries potential benefits and drawbacks.
Wired headphones connect to a smartphone, tablet, or other device using a cord. The cord could pose a strangulation risk, and it might be uncomfortable for sleepers who change positions frequently during the night. However, owners shouldn’t need to charge the headphones, and they’re compatible with most devices. Wired headphones also tend to be more budget-friendly.
Wireless headphones do not connect directly to a device to play sound. Instead, they typically use Bluetooth. The term “wireless” may be deceptive, however, since some of these headphones still have a wire connecting the earpieces to each other. Still, sleepers are much less likely to get tangled in the cord. Wireless headphones will need to be charged regularly and must be used with a compatible device.
The price-point of sleep headphones starts at less than $20 and can exceed $200. This large variation in price is determined largely on their technology.
Budget-friendly options typically get the job done, but they may not be as durable or advanced. The higher-priced options should have better sound clarity and balance. Some of the options with heftier price tags also have enhanced noise-blocking technology. The extra expense of high-end headphones may be justified for listeners who want exceptional audio quality and those who struggle to sleep due to ambient noise.
Stomach and back sleepers may be able to use virtually any style of headphones comfortably, though their sleep position will likely affect whether they prefer to place the cord of wired headphones in front of or behind their heads. Side sleepers typically have stronger preferences since the force of the pillow on the headphones could be uncomfortable with larger, bulkier models. Because of this, most side sleepers favor headbands, sleep masks, or other low-profile designs that don’t put too much pressure on their ears.
Sleepers typically prefer lightweight earphones. Heavier models may be more noticeable and less comfortable, especially when changing positions.
With wired models, the cord length may be critical. A longer cord will allow you to put more space between the headphones and your device, but it also leaves more length that you could get tangled up in should you toss and turn.
While some headphones come in just one size, many have multiple sizing options to accommodate different head and ear shapes. Finding the right fit can help your earphones stay put without sacrificing comfort.
A warranty policy adds an extra layer of protection if defects arise. Some sleep headphones have warranty policies while others do not. Most headphone warranties offer one to two years of protection.
Most headphones require regular cleaning, but the instructions for how to clean the headphones vary between manufacturers. Headbands and sleep masks are often washable after the speakers and other electronic parts have been removed. Others may be wiped down with an appropriate cleaning solution. Following the manufacturer’s care instructions can help you keep your sleep headphones hygienic without damaging them.
Headphones can improve sleep quality and minimize disruptions during the night. However, sleeping with headphones does have some potential drawbacks. Serious injury is extremely rare, but being aware of the risks can help you take steps to mitigate them.
Hearing impairment and/or loss: Loud noises can affect your hearing, so listening to music on a high volume could be problematic.
Otitis externa: Also known as “swimmer’s ear,” this condition occurs when the external ear canal becomes inflamed. Loud music and headphones protruding into the ear canal can cause otitis externa.
Earwax buildup: If the earphones form a tight seal over the ear canal, there may not be sufficient circulation for earwax to dissipate. This is especially common with earbuds. Over time, earwax could collect around the eardrum, which may be uncomfortable and, in some cases, require medical attention and treatment.
Distraction: While blocking out noise is often the goal of wearing earphones, it can also be a potential hazard since sleepers may be less likely to notice if there is an emergency.
Strangulation: Many sleep headphones use wires to connect to a device or to tether the earpieces to each other. These wires could wrap around the sleeper’s throat and block the airway.
Using headphones designed for sleeping can help limit these risks. Always be aware of their placement and remove them if you notice any discomfort. When in doubt, talk to your doctor to determine whether sleep headphones are a safe option for you.
While sleep headphones can help block noises that interfere with your slumber, they aren’t the only solution. Other options can also limit nighttime noises.
Earplugs: Earplugs have long been a popular solution for noisy situations. While sleepers won’t be able to listen to music, meditations, or sleep sounds, earplugs can be a convenient and cost-effective way to block out common disturbances, like snoring. Some models are also designed specifically for sleepers. High-end earplugs can be nearly as expensive as earphones, but budget-friendly options cost just pennies. However, keep in mind that some of the health issues associated with headphones – such as swimmer’s ear and earwax buildup – can also apply to earplugs.
White noise machines: White noise machines help drown out ambient noise by producing a sound many liken to radio or television static. Since white noise machines often have headphone jacks, many can be used with headphones.
Sound apps: Sound apps may feature sleep sounds, stories, meditations, and/or songs designed to help listeners relax and unwind. These sounds can also distract from some external noises, like cars passing. You can typically play sound apps through your device’s speaker, a separate speaker, or headphones.
Room modifications: While they’re a low-tech solution to reducing nighttime noise, simple room modifications can also be highly effective. Adding carpets and curtains can help muffle sounds for a more peaceful bedroom environment.
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