If the manufacturers did not sell headphones for sleeping, I would have personally invented and started selling them! Music fans from around the world, who are not willing to part with the music even during sleep, will perhaps share this view. This practical gadget does not require much of an explanation as everyone knows what it is. But despite its clear purpose, headphone features and form factors vary greatly: there are wired, wireless, Bluetooth, or noise-canceling devices available.
Earlier we’ve published a review of the TOP 4 Best Bluetooth Beanies, and now it’s about time to cover the best headphones for sleeping. In this guide, we’ll see how they differ and how to choose the best one for you.
- How to Pick Headphones for Sleeping?
- Types: what’s more convenient: headphones, earbuds, or headband?
- Benefits & risks of using headphones for sleeping
- ТОP-12 headphones for sleeping
- Pros & Cons of headphones for sleeping
- What is ASMR?
We’ll start with the most important thing. You have to choose headphones for sleep in terms of convenience: the material should be of high quality, pleasant to the touch, and preferably natural. Needless to say, the synthetic materials can make you overly hot and uncomfortable.
Wired or Bluetooth? Think ahead: if you’re not sleeping on a plane or a train, but are meditating before falling asleep, would you like to wake up several hours later tangled up in the wires? Doesn’t look very meditative to me!
Hygiene. The manufacturer should use washable materials and removable electronics or presuppose some other way of cleaning the headphones. So, look if the gadget is machine washable and if not, how you’re supposed to clean the stuff up.
Sound quality should meet the same high standards as a full-scale expensive audio system. However, spend extra $10-15, to get a decent sound, if you can. However, if you are an audiophile, then the best systems cost way above 100 bucks.
Noise canceling. The gadget must have a desirable degree of noise canceling: be it snoring, travelers’ chat (especially in public transit), noisy neighbors, etc.
Usually, a form factor is a matter of personal preference. But the problem is, most cheap headband earphones are not very efficient. In a couple of months, you’re expected to buy another headband, because, guess what? The other one would just break or stop working. Other than that, headbands would be, of course, more comfortable to wear because, you might even forget that you wear them, which is a solid advantage over other form factors.
Some earbuds are better than others. The most expensive ones, like the ones from Bose, are so good that some audiophiles would be surprised. Besides, they seem to fit in really good, and you should not have problems sleeping on your side.
The headphones for sleeping, like these ones from Bose, are not really comfortable for falling asleep, and you’ll probably wake up just to get them off your head and continue sleeping, but what the heck, the sound is so good, that it’s probably worth it.
- A study conducted by researchers from the Journal of Music Therapy concluded that music helps to fall asleep but it also promotes the episodic wakefulness. So it might be a great idea to either stop the music when you feel like you’re falling asleep or set up a timer to shut off the speaking or music after a certain period of time.
- Another study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing reported good results in treating sleep disorders and depression in young adults by using relaxing classical music for 45 minutes for 3 weeks before bedtime. A similar study on elementary school children confirmed the benefits of music before sleep.
- On adults with insomnia, the music intervention therapy was also deemed effective for the promotion of overall relaxation and stimulation for falling asleep.
- As mentioned earlier, listening to meditative tunes or relaxing music before sleep is super beneficial for both children and adults, however, listening to music during sleep is not so. Some stages of sleep are disrupted, which leads to episodic wakefulness, thus, contributing to reducing the benefits of music during sleep.
- Then there are other health issues, associating with falling asleep with the technology in your ears, such as the possibility of developing hearing problems, otitis (especially, if you’re genetically inclined), strangulation (if you don’t use wireless headphones), and earwax buildup.
- Finally, you might not hear emergency situation or burglar breaking into your house.
In our review, you’ll find both cozy aesthetic sleeping eye masks, clear sound headphones, famous AirPods and some options from Bose.
We’ve covered the best models that would suit different demographics, from little kids, who listen to lullabies or fairy tales before bed, to finicky audiophiles, who like to savor the authenticity of a quality sound. You’ll find both super affordable (from less than 20 bucks) and luxuriously expensive options (to us much as 300 dollars). If you’re an Alexa fan, don’t you worry, we have an option for you too.
MAXROCK Sleep Earplugs
These inexpensive and simple earplugs are bestsellers in the sleep headphones category. Sleep Earplugs 2-in-1 are both headphones and noise insulation earplugs. They are compatible with various sleep aid & white noise apps, claim to extend the deep sleep phase and make sure you fall asleep faster. These will help you sleep on your side. Moreover, there’s a built-in microphone that can take calls.
MAXROCK: Check the current price
CozyPhones Sleep Headphones & Travel Bag
These cutting-edge sleep headphones are made of light thin lycra material and are suitable not only for sleep but also for sports, yoga, or meditation. Flat regulated dynamics are located inside, and they can be placed farther away from your eardrums if necessary. Despite the general high ratings, there were enough dissatisfied buyers complaining of found product defects.
CozyPhones: Check the current price
Bluetooth Sleeping Eye Mask Wireless Headphone
If you don’t like sleeping wired, Bluetooth Sleeping Headphones are for you. This Sleeping Eye Mask has an external panel for regulating sound volume or pausing the music. The Bluetooth Sleeping Mask is charged via USB. According to the manufacturer, the charge takes about 2-2.5 hours and provides more than 15 hours of play time. This sleeping mask is made of velvet and elastic cotton and, therefore, does not cause any discomfort when worn.
Bluetooth Mask: Check the current price
ACOTop Bluetooth Sleep Eye Mask with Wireless Headphones
This is a great option for those who have no idea what form factor they really need. This sleep eye mask has two types of connection: 3.5mm jack for wired connection and wireless Bluetooth. A single accessory will let you experience both wired and wireless sleep. The Sleep Eye Mask is grey and seems gender-neutral. The manufacturer proudly notes that it is made of an extraordinary magnetic material. The customers, on the other hand, are looking for comfort. They typically complain of discomfort. You’ll need to wear it very tightly so that the mask does not slide off at night or let noises through such as snoring or birds singing.
ACOTop: Check the current price
SleepPhones® Classic Headphones
SleepPhones are made of pleasant hypoallergenic material, and the manufacturer provides a wide variety of colors and sizes. Among them, you’ll find lavender which is rare for headphones. They are compatible with devices that incorporate a standard 3.5 mm audio jack. The manufacturer claims that this band can also be used as a sleeping mask if you pull it over your eyes. We don’t consider this to be too convenient though. The disadvantage of these headphones is that the material they are made of is too hot for summer.
SleepPhones Classic: Check the current price
AcousticSheep Bluetooth Wireless Headphones for Sleeping | SleepPhones®
This cozy and discreet band is much more than just your regular headband, it incorporates Bluetooth technology to wirelessly connect with compatible devices within a range of 15 to 30 ft. The headband was designed by the family of physicians who were trying to help their patients sleep longer without drugs. The ultra-thin flat headphone speakers are comfortable enough to wear while lying down or sleeping on the side. Rechargeable battery lasts up to 10 hours with a 3-hour charged battery. There’s built-in volume and play/pause controls, an array of colors and sizes to choose from.
Unfortunately, though the feedback from consumers was somewhat mixed, especially considering the expensiveness of the device (around $100). Many said they noticed some design flaws (band slipping down), and technological failures (buttons malfunctioning, cumbersome charging, etc).
SleepPhones AcousticSheep: Check the current price
Kids Headphones Volume Limited with Ultra-Thin Speakers Soft Fleece Headband | CozyPhones
CozyPhones are for those little family members, who like to listen to their favorite tunes or fairy tales before bed. They look super cute and fun and are available in an array of different colors and form factors, some are made in the shape of a unicorn, others are pandas, bears, ninjas, doggies, foxes, and more! Besides, these are cheap, priced less than 20 dollars, and can be a perfect inexpensive Christmas Gift for your child or children of your friends and family members. Finally, a gift idea that won’t break your budget!
The headband is soft and washable, and the ultra-thin speakers are limited to 90 dB to protect little ears. This thing is pretty versatile and can be used just as a cute and cool headband or a sleep mask for a worry-free nap.
There’s a flexible and durable 52 inches braided cord and sturdy 3.5 mm stereo plug, compatible with all major devices, operating systems, and accessories.
These headbands are overly popular with consumers, with many people praising how cute and comfy they are. The unsatisfied testers noticed some of the cons like the bands were large and required some clipping behind to perfectly fit. Or that the speakers were not loud enough and offered limited sound volume, which was fine during travel by car, but was a dealbreaker when used on an airplane. Also, the speakers, according to testers, were located back in the head, behind ears, and not on them, so must be a major design flaw or something.
Kids CozyPhones: Check the current price
Panasonic Slim Clip On Earphone | Panasonic
You might consider these earphones for sleeping, though be prepared that they might fall off, became tangled, and that you’d definitely feel them on. I, personally, don’t like clip earphones, but my husband uses them all the time. I have a hunch it also depends on the shape of your ear, because for me, these are just extremely uncomfortable, and I always use earbuds.
These come from Panasonic, famous brand that doesn’t need any rambling introductions. The earphones are compact, sleek and very slim. There’s a 30 mm driver, a standard 3.5mm stereo mini plug is compatible with a variety of MP3 players, CD players, and more.
Surprisingly enough, many consumers said they used those earphones for sleeping and barely felt them. Among the cons mentioned were too much cord-tangling, earpads coming off easily, a clip being too tight, and that they might not work for large ears.
Panasonic: Check the current price
These AirPods doesn’t require an introduction: they are intelligently designed like everything else in Apple. They have no wires to tangle and deliver crystal clear sound for 5 hours on a charge.
And customers, of course, are not surprisingly in love with those, saying the battery was top notch and the sound quality incomparably better than that of competitors.
The only problem with this listing is that they sell it 50 bucks more than Apple, which is cruel.
There was a thread on reddit, where people discussed sleeping with AirPods, and everyone seemed to be pleased and didn’t complain at all. So yes, we think it’s a great choice. As always.
Apple: Check the current price
3 BOSE headphones - Noise Cancelling Devices - for audiophiles
QuietComfort Wireless Headphones w/ Noise Cancelling & Alexa voice control | Bose
This is a series II QuietComfort, in case you want a cheaper version, but just as good, then you may want to consider buying series I.
Bose has three levels of world-class noise cancellation, built-in Alexa for voice access to music, information, and more. There’s also a hassle-free Bluetooth pairing, full customization of personalized settings, access to future updates, dual-microphone for clear sound and voice pick-up. Overall, this is a good solid investment for both a seasoned audiophile and an amateur alike.
One tester left a comment like this: “I give it five stars. My wife hates them she would give it 1. I put them on and that’s it. I can’t hear her anymore.” I guess this is a must-have if you’re married (if you know what I mean), definitely works both ways.
As for the sleeping part: if you don’t mind the heavy structure on your head while you sleep, then go for it.
Bose QuietComfort 35: Check the current price
QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones | Bose
These are Bose earphones that work both with Apple and Android devices. However, as the manufacturer claims, they’ve optimized the headphones specifically for Samsung and Android. The earphones fall into the same expensive price category as the other gadgets from Bose, meaning they are over 200 dollars. These use noise-canceling technology to reduce surrounding distractions, but there’s also an “aware” function, which enables you to hear everything around you. The exclusive TriPort technology delivers better sound, the battery allows 16 hours of use. But these are wired, so might not be too comfortable during sleep.
Bose QuietComfort 20: Check the current price
Bose Noise Masking Sleepbuds | Bose
These are interesting wireless earbuds that are specifically designed for sleeping. They cannot play your favorite music, but instead, have preset soothing and relaxing tunes that can be played over and over again. What’s more, you can set up your personal alarm that only you would hear. Bose admits that their noise-canceling technology is nice, but noise is the one to actually put people to sleep. So music and relaxing sounds are all great way to fall asleep faster. You can control and customize how you sleep with a smartphone app, where there’s an ample number of settings to choose from. Unfortunately, though, despite such enthusiastically promising claims, many said it didn’t cancel out their partner’s snoring or mask other distracting sounds, was a little clunky and could easily fall off the ears. Still, there’s a long way to go, so probably just stick with AirPods, at least you’ll play whatever you want.
Bose Noise Masking Sleepbuds: Check the current price
- You can finally fall asleep without hearing your husband’s snoring
- Some of the decent versions really do cancel noise
- The best models are anyway around or more than 100 dollars. If you’re an audiophile prepare to spend even more than that
- There’s no perfect solution, every model really does have their pros and cons
Comparative chart of Headphones for Sleeping
Perhaps, you know about a youtube phenomenon of people whispering into the camera and doing all sorts of weird stuff with random movements, bizarre objects, and almost surreal background sounds. If you have not yet seen any, then it’s about time. Here’s Maria, famous youtube blogger with millions of fans, she was one of the first pioneers of ASMR genre, who quit her job to pursue blogging full time, because, guess what? There were so many viewers that she could finally make a living from these eerie and creepy videos:
But to be completely honest with you, I think she’s amazing. She puts people to sleep with sleeping disorders and autism, and she deserves to make a living from what she does best.
But anyway, what’s ASMR and why it is so mesmerizing to watch people whispering or scratching a hairbrush?
ASMR stands for an autonomous sensory meridian response, which is, in its essence, an experience characterized by a tingling sensation, also known as a low-grade euphoria, a combination of positive emotional response and pleasant sensations on the skin.
The term is believed to be coined in 2010 on Facebook, when it was quickly picked up and spread out across the internet. There’s no hard-fact science behind this phenomenon just yet, people are still trying to figure out what it is all about and what triggers ASMR. Major news outlets, meanwhile, are trying to keep up with this relatively new “rara avis” and get their share of figuring out its chills and frills: The Guardian did their own research, as well as CNBC and Vox.
From little scientific research that’s available, there was one study, that looked into the potential benefits of ASMR, which concluded that it, in fact, did help improve mood and relieve pain symptoms, and was, therefore, recommended “as a potential therapeutic measure similar to that of meditation and mindfulness.”
But what’s the connection between ASMR and headphones for sleeping? Headphones provide you the freedom of getting away from your computer and relaxing on your bed while listening to pleasant ASMR triggers. And good headphones for ASMR must provide a good range of sounds to play in areas of scratching, whispering, and other quiet sounds.
Unfortunately, some of the cheap headphones will be absolutely inefficient in playing high-quality sound or the sound you might like or want to achieve. The cost-efficient headphones are usually around $50, but if are a stickler for sound, then prepare to spend way over 100 dollars (usually the best ones are around 200 bucks)