Many people have trouble getting to sleep. There are various reasons for it, but ultimately, it can be an incredibly frustrating situation.
Purchasing a pair of headphones that are designed to help you sleep is a great first step to getting a good nights rest.
So where do you start?
Not all headphones are great for sleeping. Some are uncomfortable, some might fall off, some can even cause ear infections if left in too long. In this guide, we'll lay out our picks for the best sleeping headphones.
These headphones have been tested in various situations, including in bed laying down, during travel & sitting, as well as with different types of pillows and with different users.
So let's dig in!
Bose QuietComfort 20
These noise canceling, in ear headphones are a great choice if you are looking for sleep headphones to drown out noise.
Tooks Sportec Band
These headphones sit inside of a headband. They are very comfortable, but are not wireless. They are not noise cancelling, but are the most comfortable option on the list.
The best all-around pair of sleep headphones gives the BedPhones our editor's choice award. Extremely comfortable and practical for just about everyone.
Bose QuietComfort 35
On Sale: 15th August 2018
Another solid noise-canceling option from Bose. These headphones are best if you like over-ear style headphones and don't mind the bulk.
What Should You Look For in Headphones You Can Sleep In?
- Quality - Sleeping in headphones is different than using headphones when you're awake. In most situations, when sleeping, the headphones will be making contact with a pillow. You will be turning and rolling around which can cause more wear and tear to the headphones than normal. For sleeping, you either need a higher quality pair of headphones or a pair of headphones that designed to be used while sleeping.
- Comfort - Well duh, right? If you're going to be sleeping in your headphones, they have to be comfortable. Comfort is a matter of preference. Some people may like in-ear headphones; others may like over the ear; personally, I prefer the type that lay flat against your ears.
- Cord Control - In a perfect world, you will want to get a pair of Bluetooth headphones that are rated to have a battery life of 8+ hours. With wired headphones, you run the risk of getting tangled up in the middle of the night.
- Price/Value - Headphones for sleeping are different than headphones for listening to music while awake. These headphones should improve your health and quality of life through a good nights sleep. You should look for a pair of headphones that has the best value, which may not always be the cheapest. A good pair of headphones for sleeping should cost anywhere from $30 - $100 depending on the features.
What You Should Know About Sleeping With Headphones
This guide wouldn't be complete without a warning. Some headphones can cause irritation to your ears, can prevent drainage and can cause more harm than help.
- Ear wax build up - One of the most common risks to wearing headphones while sleeping is ear wax building up in your ears. This is especially true with in-ear headphones. The headphones may block circulation on air around your ear, which can make it easier for the was to become pressed up into your eardrum. This can also make the wax harder to remove and cause damage to your ears if you ignore signs of this occurring.
- Otitis Externa - The 2nd risk of wearing headphones while sleeping is the possibility of developing Otitis Externa, also called swimmers ear. This can develop because of ear canal irritation and isn't uncommon, but is still something to be wary of.
- Hearing problems - Like with wearing headphones during the day, if you listen to your music or background noise too loud and for too long, you can risk damaging your hearing. Make sure the volume level is reasonable to prevent long-term damage to your hearing.
Okay, we got that out of the way! Let's dig into the best headphones for sleeping.
The QuietComfort20 headphones are an in-ear style which fits snuggly in your ear, giving you passive noise canceling right off the bat. They are comfortable to be worn while sitting and traveling, as well as laying down. However, if you're bothered by having something actually inside your ear, these may not be the best.
The big selling point for the QuietComfort 20 headphones is Bose's passive and active noise canceling technology. In some frequencies, these headphones are able to reduce noise levels by up to 45db, which is similar to the difference between sitting in an airplane and sitting in a library.
Due to Bose's ability to block out noise better than any other pair of headphones we tested, they are the most effective headphones for sleeping if blocking out noise is your main concern. These are great if you have noisy neighbors or are trying to catch some ZZZs while traveling.
These headphones will also make a great all-around pair of headphones. They are a more traditional design which can be used at the work, at the gym, and just about anywhere else.
A less traditional approach to headphones, the Tooks Sportec Band makes for a great pair of headphones for sleeping if you don't mind the headband.
The big selling point for this pair of headphones is how they work with the headband. They cannot work without the band to hold them in place. This makes them incredibly comfortable for sleeping but comes with a few drawbacks as well. Sleeping in a headband could get hot, and you might wake up with a stylish cowlick!
The small speakers go inside of the band, you slip the band over your head, plug into your phone and head off to sleep. These headphones stay in place all night for the most part. The only qualm is that they are not wireless so there were times when we rolled over the wire and pulled the phone off of the nightstand.
Our editor's pick, the Bedphones by DubsLabs combines everything that is good in the other headphones mentioned on this list to make an ultimate pair of headphones for sleeping.
The Bedphones are wireless Bluetooth headphones that fit flat against your ears. You get all of the benefits of Sportech Band without the risk of tangled wires and cowlicks.
As far as comfort goes, they are very easy to sleep in. The headphones are held in place by a rubber-coated wire that is 100% adjustable to your ear and fit preferences. You can make them as tight or as loose as you want. It took a few times to find the right fit, but after we figured it out, these headphones were the winner by far.
Take note, these headphones are not noise canceling, so they will not be a good choice if you're trying to drown out loud noises to get to sleep.
Short of buying a bulky pair of over-ear headphones, you can't really find noise-canceling headphones that don't go inside of your ear. Personally, I try to stay away from in-ear headphones for sleeping because I don't want to risk hurting my ears.
Another strong contender from Bose, the QuietComfort 35 are sleep headphones for someone who wants over-ear style.
Personally, this isn't for me because I am a side sleeper, but in testing these headphones, they offered incredible overall comfort and noise-canceling. If you want to put on a pair of headphones, close your eyes and feel like you're floating in the vacuum of outer space, these are for you!
These are a premium pair of headphones, so they will come at a premium price tag, but you get what you pay for. These offer incredible sound quality and overall build. They can be used for sleeping, working, watching movies and just about anything else. If you aren't bothered by the bulk, the Bose QuietComfort 35 may be an excellent choice for sleep headphones.
Wrapping it up
Choosing a pair of sleep headphones takes a bit more research than looking for headphones for other purposes.
Comfort, quality, and hygiene are all critical factors to consider when purchasing a pair of headphones specifically for sleeping. Make sure to monitor how your ears feel after starting to wear headphones while sleeping. There are tons of benefits, but also some things to be wary of.
Now it's your turn! Let us know which type of headphones you're considering to help you sleep!