Wearing a pair of headphones for sleeping is one of the easiest ways to get your beauty rest. Like drinking lots of water or moderate exercise, good sleep does wonders for your health. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Anxiety can keep us from falling asleep or worse, make us wake up in a cold sweat at 3 a.m. Luckily, using the power of sound can make for some of the best sleep you’ve ever had. Here are our picks for the best headphones for sleeping.
How We Picked the Best Headphones for Sleeping
Immersion: Music fans and gamers can both vouch for the immersive properties of a good set of headphones. The best headphones for sleeping block out everything from snoring to street noise, making you fall asleep and stay asleep. Whether you’re tapping into white noise, whale song, meditative audiobooks or other sleep-friendly sounds, headphones should be immersive enough to whisk you away to dreamland.
Versatility: Are all good headphones also good for sleeping? Not necessarily. However, if you can make use out of a pair used for sleeping when you’re awake, all the better. After all, good quality headphones don’t come cheap.
Comfortability: Finding that sweet spot of coziness can sometimes take a few tries, even if you love your bed. Adding an over-ear accessory into the mix is only going to make getting into your comfort zone that much more annoying. That is, unless the over-ear-headphones are actually designed in a way to feel as if you’re not wearing them at all. Or better yet, add another layer of coziness that you can’t sleep without.
Best Headphones for Sleeping: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Kokoon Nightbuds
Why They Made The Cut: An inspired design, a premium level of comfort, and intuitive app make Kokoon Nightbuds our best pick.
— Dimensions: 1.5 inches L x 7.5 inches W x 0.45 inches D
— Weight: 0.8 ounces
— Adaptive audio
— Very comfortable
— User-friendly app
— Paid app
Many headphones for sleeping live and die by their comfortability. Kokoon Nightbuds are comfortable enough to wear all night, and all day.
Extra soft silicone and incredibly thin earbuds in multiple sizes slide easily into your ears, while the main part of the device rests comfortably on your neck. Even if you tend to jostle around in your sleep, Kokoon Nightbuds stay in place. Once bedtime rolls around, play your audio of choice and rest easy, knowing this device comes with adaptive audio. It monitors your body and adjusts audio accordingly, tuning in and out once you’ve been whisked away to sleep. These headphones for sleeping also block out troublesome sounds like snoring and traffic with dynamic noise masking. Using it alone is great, using it with the MyKokoon app is even better. From there, you can tap into plenty of sleep-friendly soundscapes, binaural beats, and other audio tailored for sleep. While these buds are made for sleeping, they’re comfortable and low-profile enough to wear when working at a desk, working out, or even in conference calls. Expect to pay the premium for this unmatched quality, but considering they’re so versatile, it may be the only pair of headphones you need. And while the app is fantastic, it does cost money to access.
Best Headband: HoomBand Wireless
Why They Made The Cut: HoomBand Wireless is one of the most popular names in sleep sound, and with a free app, it’s easy to see why.
— Dimensions: 22 inches L x 24.4 inches W, for Medium
— Weight: 2.12 ounces
— Free app packed with sleep-friendly sounds
— Incredibly comfortable
— Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 compatible
— Sound quality is good, not great
Even the most comfortable earbuds may still feel a little intrusive for more sensitive ears. HoomBand Wireless places two flat speakers inside slim and comfortable foam inside of a headband, removing the need for wires or buds.
HoomBand comes in two stretchable sizes that fit snug against your ears. It’s so cozy you may forget you’re actually wearing speakers. Speakers lie just under a layer of “3D Foam,” which can be removed to adjust speakers quickly and easily. HoomBand's tailor-made breathable fabric replicates the cool side of the pillow on your forehead, regulating your body temperature to make sleep as restful as possible. While many headphones here work with sleep friendly apps like Calm, each HoomBand Wireless purchase comes with a lifetime membership to the Hoomband App (available on App Store and Google Play) which has everything from hypnotic stories, to white noise, and even ASMR apps, all made to lull you to sleep. Granted, the sound quality may leave some audiophiles cold, but considering its affordability, dropping the cash on this dedicated pair of headphones for sleeping may be worth it.
Best Noise-Canceling: Bose Sleepbuds II
Why They Made The Cut: When it comes to drowning out cumbersome noise when you’re trying to catch some Zzzz’s, always bet on Bose.
— Dimensions: 1.1 inches L x 0.98 inches W x 0.5 inches D
— Weight: 0.08 ounces
— Charges to full up to three times using base
— Unmatched immersion
— Premium build quality
— Not as comfortable as other sleep buds
When sleep time rolls around, it can be hard to drown out the din of the world, whether you’re inundated with the sound of traffic or tawny owls. For the ultimate in sleep sound immersion, you could do worse than Bose Sleepbuds II.
Like all Bose products, you can expect an almost surprising level of build quality. The charging case that comes with Sleepbuds II almost looks as if it's presenting a piece of jewelry. It makes the charging shell that comes with AirPods look like something you’d buy at a flea market. Granted, expect the polished case and undeniably sleek earbuds that come inside it to run a little more than many of the other offerings in this compilation. For immersion, Bose simply can’t be beat. The Bose Sleep App (available on App Store and Google Play) comes with plenty of curated sleep-friendly sounds that are conducive to sleep, but are relaxing enough to tap into anytime you need a self-care break. And while these buds are comfortable, they still may feel a little cumbersome in sensitive ears.
Best Wireless: SleepPhones by AcousticSheep
Why They Made The Cut: SleepPhones’ muted design hides some serious comfort, whether you’re sleeping in your own bed, or on an economy class airplane seat.
— Dimensions: 21.5 inches L x 23.36 inches W for Medium
— Weight: 3.52 ounces
— SleepCloud fleece is incredibly cozy
— Machine washable
— Perfect for side sleepers
— Will likely require charging after every use
SleepPhones by AcousticSheep is a pair of headphones for sleeping designed by a doctor struggling with falling asleep and staying asleep. It’s one of the most popular offerings on the market for a myriad of reasons.
For one, the SleepCloud fleece lining is as cozy as your favorite blanket as it rests around your head. It’s available in three different colors and three different sizes to suit all head shapes and styles. Even if you tend to lay on your side, the low-profile speakers inside the headband won’t disturb you comfortably. And because they’re unfathomably light and comfortable, they’re great for avid travelers to pack along for places where sleep doesn’t always come easy, like the middle of a train car, or in the backseat of a sedan. Depending on how long you sleep, you’ll likely have to charge them after every night’s sleep since they only pack a battery life of 12 hours. However, SleepPhones do charge to full in as little as two, all you need is a USB plugin. Keeping these clean is also fairly simple, so long as you remember to take out the electronic components before dropping them into a washing machine. For more options, here's our guide to the best wireless headphones.
Best Budget: Lavince Sleep Headphones
Why They Made The Cut: While Lavince Sleep Headphones lack the flash of other models, it’s incredibly affordable price is a good entry point for those new to sleep-friendly audio.
— Dimensions: 9.84 inches L x .47 inches W x 3.94 inches H
— Weight: 2.82 ounces
— Very affordable
— Big range for its size and price
— Light moisture-wicking material
— Only comes in one size
— Earphones may be too hard for sleeping on your side
Do you want to tap into the whole headphones for sleeping fad sweeping the nation without making a long-term investment? Lavince Sleep Headphones are a perfect impulse buy.
A surprising thing about these sleep headphones is their range. You can connect it via Bluetooth to any device as far as 30 feet away, in fact. The breathable headband absorbs sweat if your bedroom or wherever you’re catching your 40 winks runs a little warm. This also makes the Lavince Sleep Headphones perfect for workout, yoga, and meditative sessions. Of course, with a pair of sleeping headphones at this price point, expect to make a few compromises. For one, it only comes in one size. Bigger and smaller heads may find it too loose or too tight. And forget sleeping on your side. Lavince says its headphones are low-profile for all sleeping positions, but some users reported major discomfort wearing these while sleeping on their side. Still, the price really can’t be understated.
Things to Consider Before Buying Headphones for Sleeping
Getting Cozy, Staying Cozy
It’s no question that headphones built strictly for sleeping can do miraculous things if your aim is to get a full night’s snooze. Your results, of course, will vary. You should still consider the external factors that can affect your sleeping cycle including but not limited to: diet, medications, and sleeping environment. All of these are manageable, but headphones for sleeping can only affect the last of those three. But the great part of finding your sleep happy place is that headphones for sleeping are only one part of what can potentially be a full coziness suite. For one, a comfortable sleeping mask can drown out any ambient light, to make an immersive pair of headphones for sleeping hit that much harder.
Potential Risks of Headphones for Sleeping
For the most part, plugging in a pair of sleeping headphones isn’t going to affect your overall ear health in any significant way. Many of the potential risks are tangential, and incredibly manageable. Using a pair of headphones night after night could cause wax buildup, because some models don’t allow for air to circulate properly inside of your ear. If you don’t clean this wax out of your ears, it can harden and lead to hearing loss. Properly cleaning your ears (which you should be doing anyway!) regularly can cut down on this risk significantly. Strangulation by cords is also a risk, but every single offering in this compilation operates through Bluetooth.
Q: How much do headphones for sleeping cost?
A pair of headphones for sleeping runs anywhere from under $30 to a few hundred, depending on its features and capabilities. Our overall favorite, Kokoon Nightbuds runs on the higher end of the price spectrum, but HoomBand Wireless are an affordable splurge. For some fun when you're awake, check out our guide to the best gaming headsets.
Q: Is sleeping with headphones bad for you?
While it’s highly unlikely, sleeping with headphones can cause infection or lead to hearing loss or necrosis. Use your best judgment when using headphones for sleeping.
Q: Can sleeping with headphones cause tinnitus?
No, sleeping with headphones cannot cause tinnitus. However, it can lead to noise-induced hearing loss.
Q: Are noise-canceling headphones harmful?
Using noise-canceling headphones at responsible volumes will not be harmful to ear health.
Final Thoughts on Headphones for Sleeping
If you find yourself having a hard time relaxing when bedtime rolls around, headphones for sleeping can do a lot of heavy lifting to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. The best offerings, including Kokoon Nightbuds and the close runner up, HoomBand Wireless not only block out cumbersome sounds, but flood your ears with calming ones, be it white noise, whale song, or even a relaxing audiobook. Better yet, because these headphones are so cozy, you may find yourself wearing them during daylight, whether you’re enjoying a lazy Saturday morning listening to music, or rocking out during an intense workout session.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.