Headphones are a perfect choice when it comes to noise-canceling and improved relaxation. They block out traffic noise, snores, people’s chatter, and any sound that can prevent one from enjoying a deep, restful sleep. Also, headphones allow you to play white noise, nature sounds, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) sounds, or ambient calming music. The music and sounds aid most people in relaxing and falling asleep faster, even for longer durations.
While slow rhythm songs are the best type of music to play when sleeping, you could also choose other options depending on your mood, interests, and preferences. When it comes to selecting the perfect headphone for sleeping, there are several factors such as cost, comfort, noise-reduction capabilities, and the sound quality to consider.
The different types of headphones in the market, from over-ear to in-ear models, have unique designs to suit particular purposes. Headband headphones are also quite popular for sports and sleeping. There are wired and wireless options for most headphone models. Below, we take a more in-depth look at the best headphones for sleeping and buying tips to help you get the most bang for your buck.
A Cursory Glance at Our Top 5 Headphone Picks
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Best for Side Sleepers
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Best In-Ear Model
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Best Smart Model
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Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Headphone – Best Overall
Bose’s in-ear acoustic headphone design ensures that it efficiently cancels out external noises that could prevent a quiet sleep. TriPort and Bose Active EQ drivers provide a balanced frequency response that creates smooth sounds needed to lull you to sleep. An in-built rechargeable lithium-ion battery gets the headphones ready for use in about two hours and keeps it powered for up to 16 hours.
Three cone-shaped StayHear+ tips of different sizes are attached to provide a secure and comfortable fit the entire time, especially while you sleep. Due to their slight sealing ability, they aid in noise reduction. The 12.5-inch cable is long enough for you to connect the headphones to your Apple device and place it nearby.
The Bose QuietComfort 20 is reliable and comes with a carrying case, so you can store it safely when it is not in use. There is a remote-controlled in-line microphone to help you alternate between calls and keep you in charge of your iOS devices. If you have a child or you do not want to be completely cut off from emergency sounds, an ‘Aware’ mode reduces the noise-canceling effect at the touch of a button and helps you remain aware of your surroundings.
- Excellent and clear sounds
- Modest noise-cancellation works great with a white noise app
- Quality build
- Comfortable to wear while sleeping
- Battery charges in less than two hours
- Only for Apple devices
CozyPhones Sleep Headphones – Budget Option
Side sleepers often have a problem finding headphones that will stay in place. Over-ear headphones feel bulky on the sides, and earbuds may push in and hurt your ears. These CozyPhones headphones are lightweight, adjustable, and fit very snugly. Their design, in the form of breathable headbands, comfortably wraps around your ears. Embedded in it are removable thin padded speakers.
The headphone is perfect for when you watch movies or listen to music before or while you sleep. This washable headband features a super soft outer fleece material with a contoured design. A comfy inner mesh lining keeps the band in shape and in position as you sleep.
To connect the headphone socket to your phone is a sturdy 3.5mm stereo plug that is compatible with most devices. The cable is long, so you could even keep your phone farther away from you if you wish, and made of a braided material that will not break or twist easily. At the point where it connects with the speakers, the cable features a strain relief layer for more outstanding durability.
Audiophiles may not find the sound stunning, but they are more than enough and will keep background noises away as you sleep.
- Affordable price
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Money-back guarantee
- Acceptable sound quality
- Wired connection
- Does not cancel the noise altogether but uses sound to distract you from them
HANPURE Sleep Headband Headphones – Best for Side Sleepers
This headphone doubles as a sleep mask to block out light and as a white noise device so you can enjoy a deep, restful slumber. Unlike earmuffs, it allows you to listen to music as you sleep without purchasing extra earbuds. It is lightweight, stretchy, and can fit any head size. There is a soft and thin foam padding on it that keeps the band comfortable around your ears. You will barely feel anything on your head as you sleep.
HANPURE headphones feature an in-built microphone with a wireless connection that lets you enjoy hands-free calling and allows you to keep smartphones away while you sleep. A Bluetooth control panel featuring LED status light and a volume button is right in the middle of the headband for easy reach. This headphone uses a powerful noise reduction technique, and the sound quality is excellent without being audible to nearby sleeping partners.
The fabric liner is separated from the stitching for charging purposes, so you can take out the Bluetooth panel and the speakers when you need to wash the band. HANPURE is also usable as a sports headband for playing music while working out or running. When fully charged, the headphone can last you all through the night.
- Inexpensive and washable
- Great for side sleepers
- Battery charges in 2 hours and lasts for 10 hours
- Compatible with all Bluetooth devices
- Machine washable
- Extra padding needed around the earphones area
MAXROCK Sleeping Headphones – Budget In-Ear Model
This MAXROCK headphones model is unique for its built-in microphone feature, which is compatible with most smartphones. It produces clear sounds and amplifies your music above background noise. As a noise reduction device, it can effectively block out noise from a snoring partner.
The material is a soft silicone that is very comfortable and provides a good fit on the ears without fear of it falling out as you sleep. It is wired and has a 3.5mm jack plug that connects to most portable devices. MAXROCK is excellent for sleeping at home or when traveling and also for sports. These headphones are light, small, and discreet. As a result, they will not hurt your ears even if you wear them for a long time.
They are also well-built and available at affordable prices. There is no volume control on it, which is a minus as it reduces the hands-free effect, but there is a button control for music options and for answering or ending calls. Also, it does not need charging, and so there is no fear of a charging port having issues.
- Great price
- In-built microphone feature
- Very comfortable even for side sleepers
- Compatible with most smartphones and devices
- Features a hands-free button control
- Volume control is non-existent
- Not very durable
Lavince Sleep Headphones – Best Smart Model
Lavince headphones use Bluetooth to enable you to connect to your smartphone. This feature helps you enjoy your music as you drift off to sleep. The headphones’ built-in lithium battery lasts up to 8 hours on a full charge, which is more than a night of sleep. Unlike most headband headphones, Lavince is made of a stretchy, breathable mesh that fits most persons’ heads, wicks sweat, and helps sleepers keep cool even on hot nights.
The ultra-thin speakers are embedded inside the headbands and can be appropriately adjusted to prevent any discomfort. Lavince has a very commendable audio sound quality considering the price. The sounds are clear and distinguishable. On the headband are controls that aid in hands-free control of your phone. This feature makes it also great for workouts.
It is important to note that the headphones should not be used or connected through Bluetooth while charging it.
- Great price point
- Wireless connection
- Comfortable and breathable fabric
- Easy to access control buttons
- Charges fast with long battery life
- Maximum volume might be relatively low especially when you are in an extra-noisy environment
Types of Headphones for Sleeping
On-ear headphones: These are also called over-ear models. They have quality sounds and are great for back and stomach sleepers. Most persons prefer it because they lie just outside the ear canal, instead of sticking in and hurting the ears. It is available in different styles, and while most of them are bulky and large, the thin-framed ones are ideal for sleeping.
In-ear headphones: The most common pair of headphones is the in-ear model. It has excellent sound isolation and fits perfectly. However, it tends to slide out from the ears when you toss and turn during your sleep. Some of them are also intrusive and will end up exerting pressure in the ears, thereby preventing you from enjoying a night of restful sleep. Constant use of in-ear headphones may lead to ear wax accumulation and ear infection due to the bacteria it can introduce into the canal.
Headband Headphones: Due to the challenges of using on-ear and in-ear models, especially while sleeping, the headband headphones were designed. These models are in the form of bands wrapped around the head and embedded with speakers for sound effects. They are great for all sleeper types and offer maximum comfort. Some of them are sweat proof, ensuring that you remain comfortable even on a warm night. The demerits of these headphones are that the speakers may shift during your sleep and expose you to the noise you avoided. Also, the sound quality is not that wonderful compared to in-ear headphones. Go for fleece material headbands if you tend to get cold at night and Lycra if you are a hot sleeper.
Key Considerations When Choosing Headphones for Sleeping
Noise-canceling ability: When looking for the ideal headphones, you need to consider one with either a noise reduction or cancellation ability. It is a measure of the headphone’s capability to act as a block between your ears and the environment. This feature reduces the noise levels and can tune off even loud and sudden sounds when combined with ambient music.
Wired/Wireless: Your headphone should easily connect to your music device. It could be either through wireless (Bluetooth) or wired connection. Wired headphones have a cable with a plug/connector that you connect to your music device. However, you are at risk of being strangled if you toss and turn as you sleep. Fortunately for most of us that hate dealing with cables, headphone models now feature a wireless option. These wire-free options use a Bluetooth connection and require charging. It means you will have to check for a headphone with long hours of music playback, at least to last you through each night.
Comfort: The best headphones should be comfortable for all-night wearing. They should not be bulky but barely felt as you sleep. As a result, most recent models are designed to be slim and light. A side sleeper should go for headphones that allow them to sleep without causing discomfort.
Safety: The great thing about headphones is that they allow you to play music. It means you can set the alarm so that it disrupts your music and wakes you up when it goes off. Most headphones block out outside sounds to a certain degree but do not cancel out all noises. This feature guarantees that you feel a level of safety even when you sleep.
Sound Quality: Since you are not using your headphone in a studio, but for sleeping purposes, your interest in the sound quality should revolve around how clear it is. Think about whether the sound could infiltrate from the headphone and get heard by others close to you, or if it blocks out external noise. If you could care less about whether music or sounds help you sleep and want to shut off external noise, earplugs or earmuffs are your best bet.
Price: Headphones range from under twenty dollars to well above four hundred dollars. It means you can indeed find a decent one for a fair price. Models with multiple functions come at a higher price compared to simple headphones. However, when it comes to these high-tech headphones, you have to carefully research before purchasing them, regardless of the cost. They may or may not perform up to expectations.
Headphones shut out different kinds of noise that can keep you awake when you do not want to be. When white noise is played through them, your body and mind relax as you drift into sleep. This feature makes headphones great for persons who have insomnia or other sleep deprivation syndromes. They are often cheap and have zero to low side effects.
Ensure that the headphones fit, so it does not slip off in your sleep. Also, note that the volume of music you play should not be too loud as that could wake you up or even lead to your eardrums getting damaged. Below 60 decibels is a suitable volume for you to sleep peacefully without risk of ear injury.