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.
Thanks to their compact size and on-ear design, the DubsLabs Bedphones Sleep Headphones are as comfortable as they are subtle.
The DubsLabs 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.
The Joseche Sleep Headphones Bluetooth Eye Mask is a budget-friendly option that blocks light while playing sound through Bluetooth-enabled, ultra-thin speakers.
A low price-point and premium features make the Joseche Sleep Headphones Bluetooth Eye Mask a great choice for budget-minded shoppers.
This eye mask features ultra-thin built-in speakers with Bluetooth Technology for easy use with smart devices. The speakers can also be repositioned so that they rest more comfortably on the ears and produce better sound quality. A built-in microphone allows for convenient phone conversations in bed.
The eye mask itself is made up of cotton and polyester. While this material effectively blocks light, it is also breathable. The mask contains extra cushioning for enhanced comfort, and a wide velcro strap lets users adjust the size without putting too much pressure on one area.
Since the mask rests on the face, keeping it clean is important. This mask’s speakers and control panel can be removed so that the fabric surrounding them can be machine washed. The Joseche Sleep Headphones Bluetooth Eye Mask has a 240mAh battery that provides up to 9 hours of playing time per charge to last you through the night.
Buyers may be eligible for Amazon’s free 30-day return policy if the mask is unused.
With a sleek look and exceptional noise cancellation, the QuietOn earbuds combine style, comfort, and functionality.
Their unobtrusive size and sleek design make the QuietOn earbuds a luxurious choice for sleeping headphones.
These tiny wireless in-ear earbuds are built of plastic, polyurethane rubber, stainless steel, and gold. They have a distinctive and refined black and gold design. Foam ear tips help them mold comfortably to your ear, and each set of earbuds come with 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 QuietOn earbuds have 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 QuietOn 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 20 hours per charge. QuietOn offers a 14-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year warranty on these earbuds.
The Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones are lightweight and can block a significant amount of sound, making them an excellent choice for sleepers.
While the Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones aren’t designed specifically for sleep, their lightweight design and notable noise-blocking make them a strong option for sleepers.
The earphones come in wired and Bluetooth versions. Both options isolate sound while providing high-end clarity and rich bass for an immersive listening experience. An ergonomic inline mic and three-button control also make these earphones suitable for phone calls.
Each set comes with small, medium, and large soft flex and foam sleeves to give the user the most comfortable fit possible. Shoppers can select between four color options: clear, black, blue, and white. In addition to sleep use, the earphones are also appropriate for travel, exercise, and in-ear monitoring for musicians. Each set comes with a free carrying case.
The SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones are compatible with virtually any device, and the wireless version’s battery lasts up to 10 hours. They come with a two-year warranty against certain defects.
Because of its soft, washable fabric and lightweight construction, the CozyPhones Sleep Headphones can be comfortable as either a headband or a sleep mask.
For many sleepers, a headband is a comfortable way to keep their ears warm while listening to their favorite sounds. Not only does the CozyPhones Sleep Headphones accomplish this, but it’s also versatile enough for other uses. Sleepers can wear it during the day for comfortable listening or pull it down over their eyes to block out light.
This headband uses speakers that are less than a quarter-inch thick and covered in foam, so sleepers can lie on their sides without discomfort. The speakers can be repositioned for an optimal fit. They connect to your device with a braided cable designed to resist tangling. The headphones are compatible with nearly any device.
Fleece fabric makes the headband cozy and comfortable, and it is extra wide to distribute pressure more evenly. With the speakers and other electronic components removed, the fabric of the headband is washable. When not in use, sleepers can tuck away the headphones in their travel bag.
CozyPhones Sleep Headphones in their original, unused condition can be returned for a refund of the purchase price for the first 30 days. This product comes with a 180-day limited warranty.
With two fabric options, five color choices, and three distinct sizes, the SleepPhones Wireless Bluetooth Sleep Headphones give customers plenty of choices.
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.
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.