A snoring bed partner…
… all night traffic outside your window
… the neighbor’s barking dog
… racing, anxious thoughts stopping you drifting off to sleep
These are just some of the reasons more and more people are turning to headphones and earbuds for sleeping.
Sleeping headphones let you enjoy calming music, guided meditations, or your favorite podcast to help relax you to asleep. The best noise cancelling headphones for sleeping can also create a silent cocoon to block out sounds that prevent you falling and staying asleep.
How to choose headphones or earbuds for sleeping
In recent years, many new exciting devices have entered the market. Before you spend any money, consider these 4 factors for choosing the best sleeping headphone for your needs:
Good news is, there are options to fit every price point. The cheapest sleep headphones, for example Max Rock Silicon Earbuds can be had from as little as $20. But if you want an ultimate soundproof sleep experience such as with high-end Bose headphones you can easily spend $300 or more.
Also, we have a range of exclusive discount offers and codes with many different headphone brands. Read on to discover more..
Comfort and style
Next you need to choose what style suits you best. Sleeping earbuds like QuietOn and Bose SleepBuds are small and unobtrusive. But if you don’t like the sensation of something inside your ear canal at night, you may prefer on-ear, or over the ear headphones like Dubslab Bedphones to sleep with.
For ultimate comfort you could also opt for a sleeping-headband style headphones like SleepPhones. Remember, it’s vital to pick the right device depending on your sleeping position. Side sleepers will need something small and discreet. But if you sleep on your back, over the ear headphones may be just fine for you.
Sleep tracking and advanced features
Only a few years ago, the idea of a pair of headphones that could also track your sleep was unheard of. Now we have hi-tech sleep earbuds like Kokoon NightBuds and SoundCore A10 which sport features like built-in sleep tracking, adaptive audio to in white noise as you drift off to sleep, and silent alarm clocks that only you can hear.
If your main problem is about noise in your sleeping environment, then noise cancelling is a feature you’ll need to look into. Because this is an important feature let’s take a little deeper dive:
What are the best noise cancelling headphones for sleeping in 2023?
|Model||Type||Noise Cancelling Type||Summary||Check Discount Price|
|QuietOn 3.1||Earbuds||Active ANC||Anti-snoring, active noise cancelling sleep buds||Quieton Save 10% USE CODE SGADGETS10|
|SoundCore A10||Earbuds||Noise Masking||Sleep optimized buds with health monitoring smarts||SoundCore SAVE 20% WITH CODE SLEEP20OFF|
|Kokoon NightBuds||Earbuds||Noise Masking||Feature-packed smart sleep tracking earbuds||Kokoon Take 10% OFF With CODE SLEEPGADGETS|
|Bose SleepBuds II||Earbuds||Noise Masking||Premium noise masking earbuds with extensive audio library||Amazon|
|SoundOff Sleep||Earbuds||Noise Masking||Unique pink-noise anti-snoring sleep masking device||SoundOff|
|AmazFit ZenBuds||Earbuds||Noise Masking||Tiny sleep earbuds with smart alarm and heart rate monitoring||Amazon|
|Apple Airpods Pro Gen II||Earbuds||Active ANC||Premium lightweight buds with superior ANC||Amazon|
|Sony WF-1000XM4||Earbuds||Active ANC||Premium earbuds with best in class ANC||Amazon|
|Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700||Heaphones||Active ANC||Latest gen over-ear headphones from ANC pioneers||Amazon|
|SoundCore Life Q30||Headphones||Active ANC||Low budget ANC headphones that punch above their weight||SoundCore|
‘Noise cancelling’ is a term that often confuses many. So to pick the best noise cancelling sleeping device, you need to understand a little bit of jargon, ie the difference between active noise cancellation and noise masking:
1) Active noise cancelling
Sleeping headphones and earbuds made by Quieton, Sony, Apple and Bose (except Bose SleepBuds) use active noise cancellation (ANC). They are the most effective way to block sounds like snoring, traffic while you sleep.
They use sophisticated electronics to analyse sounds in the bedroom, and magically ‘cancel’ out the noise. Active noise cancelling earphones tend to be more expensive for this reason, but they’re the best option to silence persistent noises that stop you from sleeping.
2) Sound masking
Another type of noise cancelling used by Kokoon, SoundCore, Amazfit and SoundOff is called noise masking. (sound masking). This method doesn’t actually block out sound like active noise cancelling. Instead these devices will play white noise, pink noise or some other relaxing sleep sounds.
Sound masking makes intermittent sounds like snoring, dogs barking or traffic less intrusive, and is an effective alternative to ANC if you don’t need complete silence in the bedroom.
Our guide looks at all the various styles and functions of headphones, as well as insider buying tips for the best headphones for sleeping in 2023. Our choices are based on years of experience in reviewing the best sleep products on our sister site Sleep Junkies as well as extensive product research and third-party customer reviews.
Editor’s Picks (with exclusive discount codes)
🌟Best All-Round – Dublabs Bedphones (15% OFF – get code below)
🌟Best Value – MaxRock Soft Silicon Earphones
🌟Most Comfortable – SleepPhones (10% OFF – get code below)
🌟Smartest Earbuds – NightBuds from Kokoon (take 10% OFF – see discount code below)
🌟Best Anti-Snoring – QuietOn Sleep (Exclusive 10% OFF with this link- no coupon required)
The best sleep headphones and earbuds in 2023
Moonbow (Dublabs) Bedphones
🌟Best On-Ear Sleep Headphones
Bedphones, made by Moonbow (formerly Dubslabs) are soft foam-covered super-thin sleeping earphones with a patented on-ear design that allows the earphones to lie flat on the ear.
The low-profile design means Bedphones are more comfortable than other on-ear designs, especially for side-sleeping, making them a practical alternative for people who don’t like wearing earbuds.
The earphones are held in place by rubber earhooks with an over -ear design. This means you can wear the cable down your back at night whilst you’re asleep to minimize the chances of tangling.
The secure design means Bedphones are also suitable for sports use and for travel and include an in-line remote for adjusting music tracks and call handling.
DubLabs Bedphones come in 3 different versions.
- Bedphones Wired ( Gen 3.5) – the classic version with rubber-coated memory wire for an infinitely adjustable for a custom fit.
- Bedphones Wireless – all the features of the classic BedPhones but with Bluetooth 3.0 wireless audio and a 13 hour battery life
- Bedphones VersaFit – a sweat-proof and sport-friendly version of BedPhones wireless
Price at time of publishing:
Bedphones Gen3.5 : RRP $89.00
Bedphones Wireless: RRP $149.00
VersaFit Wireless RRP $149.00
🌟Best sleep headphones for comfort
The grand-daddy of innovation in this space, SleepPhones, founded in 2007 are the original headband style sleeping headphones. The patented headband design made of a lightweight, breathable, hypoallergenic fabric that’s suitable for wearing all night long.
The earpieces themselves are a pair of ultra-thin removable speakers which conveniently slot into the headband. Perfect for side sleepers, the headband is soft and padded so that the speakers never intrude on your comfort at night.
Continually improving their products over the years, SleepPhones now offers many different model variations to suit your particular sleeping needs. All models have 3 different size options to Here’s a run-down of some of their current line up:
SleepPhones® Classic – $39.95
The original design Classic is where the SleepPhones story started – the first ‘high quality bed-friendly’ headphones on the market. Featuring an ultra-thin design for side-sleeping comfort, lead-free electronics and a choice of over 8 fabric/color options Classic are also the most value for money version of SleepPhones you can buy.
Classic are not wireless phones, it’s a corded design, so it plugs into your phone or MP3 player via a 3.5mm jack plug and a 4 foot (1.2m) extension cord. The standard way to use it in bed is with the wire in the back. Alternatively, if you prefer you can trail the wire at the front of your head if you’re afraid it might get tangled in your hair or bedding.
Finally, SleepPhones® Classic are a great option if you are concerned with the potential disturbances of EMF (electro-magnetic frequency) radiation on your sleep. Some people report that they are sensitive to the effects of radio waves from Wifi, BlueTooth, 3G/4G/5G mobile phones and other sources. If you prefer to go ‘airplane mode’ at night because of these concerns, Classic corded SleepPhones are the best choice for this.
SleepPhones® Wireless – $99.95 – new version – now updated with 24 battery life
I still love all my corded headphones, but let’s face it, most people these days prefer the convenience of wire-free listening. Thankfully if this is your choice too, SleepPhones has you covered. SleepPhones® Wireless, updated in 2022 to Version 7 of the award-winning design, has had some major improvements, including a battery life which now boasts 24 hours of music playback – making these the sleeping headphones with the longest battery life compared to any of the competitors. In addition, the battery’s charging time has been improved and wireless comms have been updated with a Bluetooth 5.0 AAC codec.
If you want to benefit from maximum convenience, check out SleepPhones® Effortless, essentially a version of the Wireless headphones, but with built-in wireless charging capability so you don’t have to plug in your USB cable to recharge your phones.
SleepPhones® Simple – $99.95
A slightly different concept, SleepPhones® Simple aren’t actually wireless Bluetooth headphones OR wired headphones, instead they are a self-contained sleeping headband which is packed with pre-loaded music , nature and guided relaxation audio tracks to listen to help you to relax to sleep.
Although you can’t listen to your own music via your phone or MP3 player, SleepPhones® Simple removes the need for an external music player allowing you to simply focus on your sleep.
Color and Fabric Options
SleepPhones come in two fabric options, Fleece for the most squidgy comfort factor, and ‘Breeze, a moisture-wicking breathable material more suitable for hot sleepers and people in hot climates. There are 7 different colour options ranging from ubiquitous greys and blacks to pinks and even a leopard print! All fabrics are hypoallergenic and machine-washable.
Sustainability and Spare Parts
A big thumbs up from us is the ability to buy spare parts for your SleepPhones. In an age where so many of our consumer products are made to be easily disposable, SleepPhones actually prides itself in offering a full Parts department, should you have an accident with your product, want to change colours, experience damage etc etc.
So instead of throwing your product in the bin after a few months, as is so common these days, SleepPhones are designed to have a long life, with easy access to upgrades, spare part and full after-sales support.
We’re big fans of SleepPhones, check out our discount code below to get exclusive savings ⬇️
Also worth considering: Dormi Dream Sleeping Headphones
Dormi is a new entry into the sleeping headphones market and offer two products in their current range – Dormi Original, and Dormi Dream, a comfortable pair of headphones designed specifically for comfortable sleeping, sport activities, travel, and more.
After looking at the other brands of sleeping headphones the makers compiled a list of the most commonly reported complaints and designed Dormi Headphones – Dream™ incorporating those improvements in mind.
As a result Dormi Dream features upgraded speakers for deeper, fuller sound quality, but somehow managed to make them 2x thinner than the original version. Other standard features include a built-in-mic for handsfree calling, wireless Bluetooth connectivity up to 45 (14m), a battery that lasts 10-hours and is recharged in 2 hours.
Dormi Dream comes in 5 different colour to choose from – Black, Gray, Burgundy, Pink, and Teal. The headband is machine washable and made of ultra-soft, lightweight polyester/spandex mix for breathability and comfort. Another unique feature is the ability to purchase replacement speakers, prolonging the longevity of your purchase.
Dormi ships worldwide and Dormi Dream is available from $59.99. Free Shipping Worldwide
QuietOn Sleep 3.1
🌟Best noise-cancelling earbuds for sleeping
QuietOn started life on IndieGogo in 2016, when a team of ex-Nokia engineers raised $1.3 million for their first generation of innovative noise cancelling wireless headphones.
2 years on the company has announced QuietOn Sleep, a miniaturised version of the original earbuds, but optimized for sleeping comfort and to block out noises like snoring, your neighbor’s loud music, or the rumble of traffic.
The first thing you should know is that QuietOn Sleep earbuds are not meant for playing back music. Instead QuietOn Sleep has been designed with one purpose in mind – to offer the ultimate noise-cancelling experience for sleeping.
🔥 New! QuietOn 3.1 – world’s smallest active noise-canceling earbuds for sleeping just launched on IndieGogo
QuietOn have just launched a new crowdfunding campaign for their third-generation product, which now boasts an even smaller form-factor, a 28-hour battery life, the same anti-snoring optimised noise-cancelling tech, and premium materials from the Nordic startup.
Up until now, even the best noise canceling headphones for sleeping (including models made by Bose) were better suited at blocking high-frequency noises than the low-pitched sounds like snoring, the hum of an airplane cabin, or a loud party going on next door.
But after analysing hundreds of audio samples , the engineers at QuietOn create a unique noise cancelling profile designed specifically to tackle sounds below 500Hz.
As well as working on achieving the best noise-cancellation, the team managed to shrink their technology into a smaller form factor to make QuietOn Sleep even more compact and lightweight
Other features include a carry case that doubles as a portable charger to enable a battery life of up to 20 hours and a special ‘listening mode’ that lets you temporarily de-activated the noise-cancelling function just by tapping the earbud.
QuietOn 3 is available from $289. However you can also get a 10% discount with our exclusive coupon code discount link
Update July 2023
Philips X Kokoon Headphones available now on Kickstarter
In a new collaboration, Kokoon have teamed up with consumer electronics giant Philips to create the Philips x Kokoon Sleep Headphones. Whilst sporting similar looks to the first-gen NightBuds, the new product offers considerable improvements.
First, there’s the comfort factor – using a database of 3D ear-scans from NightBuds users, the Philips – Kokoon earbuds have optimised the shape of the bud and eartips, altered the cable design to enable much more flexibility in the ear.
The collaboration between to two companies has also resulted in better ‘connectivity, acoustics, build quality, sensing and mic performance’, as relayed in an email from Kokoon CEO Tim Antos.
The app has also been improved, offering more content, insights and a brand new AI sleep coach. Finally, Philips has taken over manufacturing which means improved quality control, support, warranties and fulfilment.
Th Philips x Kokoon headphones are available now at Kickstarter. For a limited time there are Early Bird and Super Early Bird offers, with savings of up to $150.
🌟Tiny, AI powered sleep earbuds with sleep sensing
NightBuds is the latest innovation from Kokoon, known for their full-size over-ear sleep headphones. NightBuds builds on the company’s experience in shipping 30,000 pair of phones worldwide, packing in the same ‘intelligent audio’ and sleep sensing technology into a pair of tiny, in-ear buds designed specifically to help you to relax and fall asleep easier, and help you achieve deeper, more restful sleep.
NightBuds really are tiny, measuring only 5mm in width, which compared to the 16.5mm width of a pair of AirPods is very impressive, and makes NightBuds much more comfortable for side-sleepers. This level of miniaturization is made possible because although they are wireless Bluetooth enabled, the earbuds are connected together round the back of the head, via a housing that contains the ‘brain’ of these smart earbuds, plus volume controls, the battery and a USB-C port.
Much of the tech packed into NightBuds will be familiar if you’ve seen their full-size big brother. Together with the companion app, NightBuds features a sound library of ‘immersive audio’ experiences which include a range of white noise/ nature landscapes, guided meditations and specially commissioned compositions to suit a range of musical tastes to help you relax and sleep.
With the built-in PPG heart-rate sensor and accelerometry (movement sensors) NightBuds give you full sleep tracking insights like a Fitbit or Apple Watch, plus when they detect you have fallen asleep, AutoPause will automatically pause and gently fade out your favourite podcast/album so you can pick up where you left off the next time. Your sleep data can also be used to provide personalized sleep coaching recommendations, based on the sleep data NightBuds provides.
NightBuds don’t offer active noise cancellation (ANC), if you want this feature, your best choice for sleeping are the QuietOn Sleep earbuds. Instead, NightBuds uses intelligent noise-masking and passive noise blocking to help reduce the impact of your partner snoring, noisy neighbours, traffic or other sounds that keep you awake at night.
One thing that has been missing from previous sleeping earbuds like the now defunct Bose SleepBuds and Amazfit’s ZenBuds is the ability to function like a regular pair of earbuds. NightBuds puts an end to this perceived limitation and now you can experience all the benefits of a slim, purpose-designed earbud, but now you can listen to your own music, podcasts, guided meditations or anything else you like via the Bluetooth 5.0 connection. There’s even an on-board mic so you can use NightBuds to make phone calls.
Also worth considering: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
It’s fair to say Bose have been at the forefront of noise-cancelling technology for a long-time. Nobody has yet come close to challenging their noise-cancelling headphones in terms of the amount of sound they can effectively block out. It’s not surprising when you consider that for decades, Bose has been an industry leader in making aviation headsets for pilots who have to spend hours in noisy airplane cockpits.
So if you’re experiencing noise problems at night that are keeping you awake, such as a snoring partner, traffic or inconsiderate neighbours, you might want to check out the Bose QC Earbuds II
The QuietComfort Earbuds II are an in-ear design, with custom designed StayHear+ ear tips and Bose’s famous active noise-cancelling technology. Whilst not as ergonomic for sleeping as a headband design, the earbuds are designed to fit snugly in ear and unless our are suitable even for side sleeping. Also you won’t have any problems with overheatingThe earbud tips are made of a soft silicone and there are 3 sizes included to get an ideal fit.
With advanced Bluetooth 5.3 capability QC Earbuds II offer a strong, continuous audio signal up to 30 feet distamce from the paired device. They use a simple touch interface with swipes and taps to play or pause music, the noise cancellation level, all without ever touching your phone.
The noise reduction works in a three-fold manner. First, the tight fit of the earbud seals your ear canal from external physical sounds, resulting in passive noise reduction. Next, you have the magic bit of the equation, the active noise-cancelling technology. (If you’ve ever worn a pair of Bose QC headphones, you’ll know why I describe it as magic!) Finally, you have the last noise-blocking element, which is when you play some actual music through the earphones.
Combining these three processes, the QuietComfort Earbuds II are the most effective pair of earphones you can buy way to block out noise in your bedroom whilst you sleep. The QCE arbuds II are a premium product at a premium price, but you get what you pay for.
Maxrock Soft Silicon Earbuds
🌟Best value headphones for sleeping
No products found.
If you don’t mind wearing earbuds, at less than $15, the the MaxRock soft silicon sleep earphones are one of the best budget options for sleep headphones.
Being made of silicon, instead of plastic, they are soft to wear and compared to many earbud designs have an extremely low profile so they don’t end up digging into your ear canal when your ear is facing the pillow. The double layer earbud design effectively blocks your ears from external noise providing passive noise cancellation.
Smart sleep earbuds with sleep monitoring
Launched at CES 2020, Zenbuds from Amazfit is a feature-packed pair of wireless earbuds designed to support “your sleep goals by creating the right environment and generating sleep-inducing and soothing sounds for a perfect night’s rest.”
You may not have heard of the Amazfit brand, but parent company Huami is a world leader in wearable technology. As well as producing its own range of smartwatches and fitness equipment, Huami is also the exclusive maker of the Mi Band range for Xiaomi, China’s biggest smartphone manufacturer.
The Amazfit Zenbuds were announced alongside the company’s PowerBuds, a more rugged version designed for sports/fitness. The Zenbuds are tailored specifically towards the needs of sleepers. With an ergonomic, incredibly compact form factor designed to prevent the earbuds falling out during the night, Zenbuds weigh just 1.78g per earbuds, that’s over 3 times lighter than Apple’s Airpod Pro wireless buds.
Zenbuds, an obvious candidate for the best Bose Sleepbuds alternative, are similarly, not designed to play your own music, but instead feature a library of built-in relaxing sounds, including nature, relaxation and meditation tracks. ZenBuds also incorporate guided breathing programs to help users develop relaxation skills and increase your chances of a more restful night’s sleep
Using Knowles armature technology, Zenbuds are able to deliver precision, high-fidelity audio whilst occupying less than 1/2 the volume of the smallest dynamic speakers. Smart sensors inside the earbuds can to figure out when you’ve fallen asleep and will shut themselves off, saving battery life
Price $149. Here’s a brief rundown of the Zenbuds feature list:
- Ultra-compact ergonomic design – sleep-assisting design to insulate from outside noises, with secure-fit design, so users can move around in bed and switch sides in comfort
- Long battery life – 12 hours with auto-shut off, giving up to 8 days use on one charge. Included charging case gives another 56 hours of power.
- Sleep monitoring – built-in sensors monitor sleep position, sleep quality and heart-rate throughout the night. Sleep tracking metrics viewable in companion app.
- Personal alarm – built-in alarm function wakes you gently in the morning without disturbing your partner
Bose Sleepbuds II
2nd-generation sleeping earbuds with improved battery, audio content and ergonomics
Our second recommendation from Bose are the Bose SleepBuds II. The first generation of SleepBuds were dramatically recalled in October 2019, after it was discovered there were systemic problems in the silver-zinc battery technology which caused frequent shutdowns and reliability problems.
Thankfully, the Bose engineers went back to the drawing board, replaced the battery with a more reliable nickel-metal hydride battery, as well as making some tweaks to the materials, connectivity and frequency response, and nearly a year later, announced the Bose SleepBuds II*.
Like the Amazfit ZenBuds, you can’t play your own music or audiobooks with Bose sleep earbuds – you can only play content only from the Bose Sleep app. This consists of a library of soundscapes to ‘mask’ environmental noise at night, such as busy traffic, noisy neighbors or a partner who snores. As well as these masking sounds, the buds have passively attenuating ear-tips which help as a physical barrier to block out unwanted sounds as well.
Although SleepBuds are Bluetooth equipped, the sounds themselves are transferred to the earbuds solid-state memory, which means they play directly from the buds, not your phone. You can store 10 tracks onboard and download more from the app when needed.
These include 14 noise-masking audio tracks which emulate the frequencies of night-time disruptions, and then ‘hiding’ them under layers of audio. Alternatively you can choose from ‘Naturescapes’ or ‘Tranquilities’ – designed to help you lower your anxiety and relax yourself to sleep.
Theres’s also an alarm function to wake you in the morning, plus the ability to receive a notification when your phone is ringing – although you’ll have to use your phone to answer the call.
You also get a hockey puck-sized carry case that doubles as a charging station, which together with the buds should give you 3-4 days of use without the need for a recharge.
Bose SleepBuds II cost $249 and are available worldwide via Amazon*
SoundCore Sleep A10 EarBuds
SoundCore*, a division of the Chinese electronics giant Anker is maybe not so familiar a brand as Bose, but in just under a decade, it has established a solid reputation for designing and manufacturing an innovative, high-performance range of headphones and earbuds to compete with the biggest names in the industry.
New for 2022 are the SoundCore A10 sleep earbuds, which, if I was a cynic, I’d say was a direct competitor to the Bose SleepBuds II, but considerably cheaper, and with extra features.
This is SoundCore’s first foray into the sleep market, and they’ve made an impressive debut with the A10’s. The list of features includes:
- super compact form factor to fit inside your ears – ideal for side sleepers
- Adaptive noise masking – adjusts the volume in accordance with external noises
- sleep tracking – monitor your sleep patterns inside the SoundCore app
- two audio modes: Sleep mode and Music mode
Regarding the two modes, Sleep Mode allows you to choose from any of the custom sleep soundtracks from the app, whilst Music Mode allows you to play your own music, podcasts, or audiobooks. This last point is the killer feature as not even the Bose SleepBuds allow you to do this.
Sadly there’s no active noise cancellation like the QuietOn 3 earbuds, noise protection comes from passive sound blocking and the smart Adaptive masking system which automatically adjusts the volume – say for instance if the neighbour’s dog starts barking.
Battery is 10 hours in Sleep mode and 6 hours in Music mode, which won’t get you through a whole night’s sleep, but thanks to a neat trick the A10 Sleep Buds will automatically switch your music to white noise when it senses you have fallen asleep – thus preserving the battery.
The A10 Sleep Buds are currently retailing at $179.99 and are shipping worldwideExclusive! Get 20% OFF SoundCore Sleep A10Use Coupon: SLEEP20OFF
Kokoon EEG Headphones
🌟Smart sleeping headphones with intelligent audio library
Update: Kokoon Relax headphones are currently unavailable. We recommend you check out the new Kokoon Nightbuds (see below)
Available right now for $299, Kokoon* is the world’s first sleep sensing headphone with Raising over $2 million on Kickstarter, Kokoon is a pair of hi-tech headphones that feature built-in EEG (electroencephalogram) sensors that can track and measure your brainwaves as you sleep.
>> Read our in-depth Kokoon Review right here
Kokoon packs plenty of other features too including active noise cancellation, intelligent white noise which adapts to your environment, Bluetooth 4.0, accelerometry movement sensors and microphones to detect noise disturbances.
Despite being a full size headphone, Kokoon is designed very much with sleep and comfort in mind. The headphones features ‘FlexMould’ technology which adapts to the shape of your head. The headphones are also ventilated to allow your head to breathe at night.
An ‘advanced’ seal ensures that sound is blocked from the outside world, so you get the triple whammy of passive and active noise cancellation, plus the benefits of the active white noise system.
First of all you need to decide on what type of headphones will be most suitable for your sleeping habits. Here are some of the different types you might encounter:
On-ear headphones for sleeping
Any audio buff will tell you that over the ear headphones will generally give you the highest quality, most ‘open’ sound, but finding a pair to wear in bed can be tricky.
Over the ear headphones are ideal for people who sleep on their backs and to a lesser extent side sleepers.
So if you can’t bear the thought of a pair of earbuds sticking in their ear canal all night, on-ear headphones might be the only option.
Comfort is a top consideration so you need to look for a pair that either have a thin profile, such as Dubslabs’ Bedphones, which are available in wired or wireless models.
With just about everyone on the planet owning a smart-phone these days, these are the most common types of headphones used today.
In-ear phones will give you the best sound isolation and hence good sound quality, but you need to ensure a perfect fit, especially when you consider you’ll be tossing and turning throughout the night.
Apart from ensuring a good fit, you have to consider your sleeping position. If you’re primarily a side sleeper, you might find that certain in-ear phones end up digging into your ear during the night – not a pleasant experience at all.
One other consideration to bear in mind with in-ear headphones is hygiene. If you’re wearing your earphones for hours every night then there’s a good chance it will end up increasing the levels of bacteria in your ears. So bear this in mind if you don’t want to end up with an ear infection.
Many of the new sleeping headphones in recent years have taken the form of a headband design – a fabric head wraparound with embedded speakers.
These designs offer the ultimate comfort when it comes to choosing headphones for sleeping and they are excellent choices if you’re a die-hard side-sleeper or like listening to ASMR sleep sounds as you drift off.
However with some models this comes with a slight compromise in sound quality compared to other types of design as the speakers might shift position in the headband during the night.
Another consideration with headband designs is the choice of material. If you sweat a lot at night, you’ll probably want to avoid a fleece-type fabric and instead go for a lighter type material such as one of the Lycra options available.
Wireless sleep headphones
Cables. Don’t you just hate them? Luckily, these days there are many options to choose from either wire-free or traditional headphones with a 3.5mm attached cable. If you want to go for the wireless option, one of the biggest considerations in your choice of sleeping headphones is battery life.
Modern Bluetooth headphones are getting better every day but you need to find out how many hours of music playback your headphones will give you in wireless mode.
If wires don’t really bother you, should still take into consideration the safety risks of sleeping with a wire strapped around your head. If you’re a restless sleeper, you don’t want to find yourself choked in the middle of the night because your headphone cord has been wrapped around your neck several times.
Noise cancelling sleep headphones?If you need to block out noise at night, such as your partner’s snoring, then you’ll want to consider a pair of noise cancelling sleeping headphones. There are two types of noise cancelling – passive and active.
Passive noise cancelling is actually just another term for physically blocking out noise from reaching your ears – for instance sticking your fingers in your ears. Thankfully headphone technology offers a lot more sophistication than this approach, and many passive noise cancellation headphones are specially designed to form a perfect block between the noisy environment and your ear canal.
Active noise cancellation (ANC) on the other hand requires dedicated electronics and signal processing. This technique uses a microphone to monitor the sound in your bedroom, and feeds a ‘mirror image’ audio signal into your headphones which has the net effect of cancelling out any environmental noise – be it the drone of traffic, or your snoring partner.
Bear in mind that ANC is not 100% effective, even with the most high-end headphones, but combined with passive noise blocking and music playing in the background it can still make a huge difference in reducing noise levels.
So, enough of an introduction, here are our recommendations for the best headphones for sleeping, divided into separate categories depending on whether you want to pick headphones based on comfort, price, noise cancellation, versatility, or smart features.
We hoped you enjoyed our roundup of the best sleeping headphones in 2023. One thing’s for sure, if you like to drift off to sleep with a relaxing soundscape in your ears, there’s plenty of options as to how you go about it. We’ll keep this page updated with the latest sleep phones, so be sure to bookmark us or get in touch if you have any questions.