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There are few things in life worse than being tired but unable to fall asleep. People around the world have special rituals to help soothe themselves to sleep, but one size doesn't fit all. Where some people need complete darkness and complete silence, others may need music or a white noise machine to help them. That's where the best sleep headphones come into play.
Sure, any decent set of headphones can do all of the above, but it's the design that sets sleep headphones apart. Regular headphones can be bulky and uncomfortable to lie on, but sleep headphones are made with a minimal, barely there feel that lets you drift off to sleep while wearing them comfortably throughout the night. The sound quality might not be as good as bulky cans with noise cancellation and other pricey features, but you'll drown out unwanted outside noise with soothing sounds -- kinda like a white noise machine that only you can hear.
If you need help getting the recommended eight hours of shut-eye each night, it might be time to invest in some sleeping headphones to fight the effects of background noise. To help you find the best headphones for sleeping, we've highlighted several different types, including a few headband headphone options, Bluetooth headphones and earbuds that nestle into your ear canal to block out ambient noise. Keep reading for sounder sleep.
Best headphones for sleeping
If you don't like the idea of wearing a headband to bed, the Bedphones Sleep Headphones are another made-for-sleep option that comes sans fabric. This sleeping headphone option features two ultrathin headphone speakers connected by a rubber-coated memory wire that's fully adjustable so you can find your perfect earphone fit.
They come in two versions -- wired and wireless headphone options -- and each one comes equipped with an in-line microphone and three-button remote that allows you to answer phone calls or play, pause or skip whatever you're listening to. And a single charge lasts an impressive 13 hours. These are great earbuds for sleeping more comfortably.
Most sleep headphones aren't designed for side sleeping, but the Fultext sleep headband integrates the earpieces into a soft fabric headband for extra comfort. The flat speakers are nestled into an extremely stretchy fabric and a breathable mesh lining, that's not only soft, it's hypoallergenic, too. The speakers are ultrathin so you can't feel them, even when your head is pressed into a pillow. The setup supports both wired and wireless playback and runs for 10 hours on a single charge.
And because the headphone headband fabric is moisture-wicking and won't slip, these sleep headphones can double up as workout headphones. You can use them on your run, wash the fabric, and then use the earbuds for sleeping.
Another headband option, these wireless sleep headphones by SleepPhones reduce ambient noise and block out your partner's snoring without making you sacrifice comfort. They have flat headphones tucked into a fabric headband that wirelessly pair with any Bluetooth-enabled device that's within 15 to 30 feet of where you're sleeping. Designed by a family doctor, the Bluetooth headphone also has ultralow power so you don't have to worry about any radiofrequency emissions while you sleep -- a potential concern that's been raised by researchers.
There are also two fabric options -- fleece and breeze -- so you can take your pick depending on whether you're a hot or cold sleeper. The fleece fabric is warm and cozy, while the breeze fabric is moisture-wicking and super breathable.
If you really want to up your sleep quality, this sleep headphones slash sleep mask from Watotgafer is a double whammy. Equipped with flat headphones and an ergonomic eye design that doesn't put too much pressure on your face, the setup effectively blocks out noise and light all at once. The flat headphones are tucked into a breathable, slow-rebound memory foam fabric that's also designed to release tension and stress in your face so you can drift off to a more restful sleep.
The Bluetooth controls are also placed in the middle of the eye mask, so you can easily control your music or white noise app even when sleeping on your side. And since a single charge lasts at least 8 hours, you can run them all night without interruption.
The Panasonic Slim Clip-on Earphones are top-notch earbuds for sleeping with a price that won't keep you up at night. They're pretty basic wired headphones, but they have an ultracompact housing and a slim design that helps block out noise while ensuring that they are comfortable headphones for as you sleep. The ergonomic ear hooks have a rubberized design that holds the headphones securely in place but doesn't feel rough on your ears.
While there's no fancy Bluetooth technology here, you can plug these headphones into any of your favorite devices (if you have Apple products, you'll need an adapter) and play everything from music to audiobooks.
The ultra-lightweight design and squishy silicone ear tips make these minimalistic earbuds for sleeping an excellent option for travel. The ear tips have an ergonomic double layer design that fits snugly in most ear canals to effectively drown out the noise around you, while the mini speaker in each earbud provides quality, balanced sound without too much bass.
Because they don't have a flat design, they're not ideal for side sleeping, but if you're a back sleeper or you need something to drown out ambient noise on a plane or train, these headphones do the trick. And because they're so cheap, it won't be a total disaster if they get lost somewhere along the way.
The Hoomband Headband earned the title of overall best headphones for sleeping because they're not just headphones that you can sleep with -- they're headphones that were made for sleep. The headphone headband has two ultrathin, flat speakers that are placed under foam, so you can hear them but can't feel them. The headband itself is made from a 3D mesh that's soft, thin and helps regulate temperature so you don't get too hot while you sleep.
The Bluetooth headphone setup comes with a free app that includes 100 hours of audio content -- including ambient sound options, documentaries, white noise, guided meditations, soothing sounds and more -- but it also works like regular headphones that allow you to connect with your favorite apps, like YouTube, Spotify and Headspace via Bluetooth.
Headphones for sleeping FAQs
Is it OK to wear headphones while sleeping?
Yes, there is no harm in wearing headphones while sleeping, just as long as your earbuds are comfortable enough to keep from disrupting you during the night. Listening to music or a relaxing podcast before you go to bed can lower your heart rate, and keep your mind from thinking about your daily stressors.
What type of headphones are most comfortable to sleep in?
Some of the best headphones for sleep include:
- Hoomband Headband
- Bedphones Sleep Headphones
- Fulext Sleep Headphones
- SleepPhones Wireless Sleep Headphones
Can sleeping with headphones cause headaches?
If you're wearing improper headgear while you sleep, it's possible it could lead to an external compression headache. It's caused by having too much pressure around your head, and can be avoided if you use earbuds meant for sleeping that fit snug in your ear.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
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