Sleep Headphones: How to Choose the Best Pair For You

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Sleep headphones can help you get a good night’s sleep, especially if you have sensitive hearing and even the slightest noise wakes you up. But not all sleep headphones and earbuds are created equally, and it’s important to consider a number of factors before buying them.

Keep reading to learn why sleep headphones can be useful, what to think about when shopping for them, as well as a guide to several models to choose from.

Why Buy Sleep Headphones?

To say that sleep is important to your health is a major understatement. As the National Institute of Health notes, sleep is crucial to your physical and emotional well-being.

When you sleep, your body is hard at work supporting healthy brain function. Also, sleep can help boost your immune system, plus regenerate and heal the body. Then on the flip side, not having enough sleep has been linked to serious health issues.

But sleeping next to someone who snores, living by noisy neighbors, or sharing your home with a dog who barks during the night can mean not getting a good night’s sleep.

This is where sleep headphones come in. A good pair can help block out these loud and intrusive sounds which can lead to a better, more restful night of sleep and all of its positive health benefits.

You may be asking: Can’t I just use my regular headphones while I sleep? Maybe, but headphones designed specifically for sleep are generally less bulky and more comfortable for sleeping than regular headphones and earbuds. Those who sleep on their backs all night and never change positions may be able to wear regular headphones, but this isn’t the case for most people.

What To Consider When Shopping for Sleep Headphones

Consider How You Sleep

Thinking about how you sleep is the first thing to consider when choosing sleep headphones and specifically, whether to opt for wireless headphones or models with a cord.

For instance, do you toss and turn all night? Then wireless headsets tend to be the best option for this scenario.

On the other hand, people who wake up in the same position they fell asleep in can usually purchase sleep headphones that come with a cord.

You may also consider whether you’re a side-sleeper or someone who sleeps flat on your back, as that will impact which style of headphone is most comfortable. 

Think About How Long You Typically Sleep

The length of time you sleep will impact how much battery life you’ll need from your sleep headphones.

Those who snooze for eight hours a night will need a model with a battery life to match, whereas people who sleep less can opt for sleep headphones with a smaller amount of “juice.” The last thing you want is the sleep sounds that helped you fall and stay asleep stopping before you’re ready to wake up.

Do You Want Active Noise Cancellation, Noise Masking, or Noise Blocking?

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) lives up to its name by canceling out noise that interferes with your ability to sleep. Though it may cause a light hissing sound, many sleep headphones use this type of technology.

Noise masking, or noise blocking, on the other hand, is a passive way to prevent sounds from getting into your ear. Classic earplugs, like you may have used before sleep headphones, use noise blocking to help you get a quiet night of sleep.

Mull Over What Style Is Most Comfortable for You

There are sleep headphones in many styles including wireless earbuds, headbands, and “bedphones” that hook over the ear. You probably won’t wear the sleep headphones if they fit awkwardly or poke into your head, so it’s important to choose a style that truly feels comfortable to you.

So, now that you know what to keep in mind when shopping for sleep headphones, it’s time to shop. Here are specific kinds of sleep headphones that you may want to try out:

Pink Noise Sleep Earbuds Provide Soothing Noise

White noise is a common term you’ll hear when discussing the features of sleep headphones. White noise tends to be very staticky and remains at a constant intensity.

But pink noise is a deeper, more balanced type of noise that’s soothing to the ear. Examples of pink noise include light rainfall or leaves rustling in the wind.

If you’d like to try pink noise to help you sleep, check out the SoundOff Sleep Earbuds, which feature pink noises that mimic those found in nature to help filter out the noises that interrupt your sleep.

The SoundOff Earbuds feature:

  • Soft memory foam tips that create a seal in the ears
  • Active noise-masking technology
  • The ability to form to your ear using your body heat to soften the material 

The earbuds, which loop over the top of the ear, are designed to stay securely in place. So, they’re ideal for people who toss and turn when they sleep, but are also comfortable for back, side, and stomach sleepers.

The earbuds also use passive noise masking to block the sounds of snoring, and other noises around you while the memory foam tips prevent noise from getting in around the earbuds.

Small Earbuds Are Comfortable & Offer Active Noise Cancellation

You may not want ambient sounds to play while you’re sleeping, and that’s okay. Not all sleep headphones offer this feature. For instance, the QuietOn 3.1 Sleep Earbuds offer active noise-canceling technology, along with passive noise reduction.

The earbuds, which QuietOn claims are the world’s smallest ANC earbuds:

  • Reduce noises that can disturb sleep like city sounds or snoring
  • Are ideal for side sleepers because they are so small
  • Come with foam eartips in sizes XS, S, M, and L
  • Don’t require a Bluetooth connection to work
  • Have an exceptionally long battery life of up to 28 hours on a charge

These earbuds are one of the more expensive models that are available, but offer significant features and hours of sound sleep for your investment.

Small Sleep Earbuds Are Best for Side Sleepers

The Sleep A10 Sleep Earbuds from Soundcore are small in size, so they’re especially good for people who snooze on their side.

The innovative earbuds:

  • Use sleep sounds to cover other noises
  • Feature Smart Volume Control that will automatically adjust the noise level of sleep sounds
  • Offer unlimited audio through Bluetooth and the Soundcore app

These earbuds reduce your chances of waking up prematurely by playing soothing sleep sounds that help block out other noises in the night. But it’s important to note that these earbuds use noise masking, not active noise canceling.

To wear the earbuds:

  1. Choose from the included ear tips to find the ones that fit best in your ear canal
  2. Put the earbuds into your ears
  3. Twist to lock them into place

The Sleep A10 earbuds also track your sleep during the night. Once you download their app you can learn how much time you spent in light or deep sleep, or how often you were awake.

On-Ear Headphones Are Small & Lightweight

If you’re not a fan of in-ear headphones, the good news is that you don’t have to have earbuds inside your ears to get a good night’s rest. You can also opt for on-ear sleep headphones, like the Bedphones Sleep Headphones from DubsLabs.

The headphones, which are available in wired and wireless options, will help you fall asleep to:

  • Audiobooks
  • Music
  • Podcasts
  • A choice of peaceful sounds

The Bedphones Sleep Headphones are thin, lightweight, covered in soft foam padding, and are comfortable for all types of sleepers to wear. They also feature a 13-hour battery life.

You can also wear these headphones to listen to music and watch movies anywhere in the house. And if you’re on a different schedule than your sleep partner, these could come in handy if they want to snooze as you enjoy a favorite TV show through the headphones.

Try a Sleep Mask & Headphone Combination for the Ultimate Sleep Setup

Block out light and sounds at the same time with the Sleep Headphones Sleeping Eye Mask from MUSICOZY.

These budget-friendly sleep headphones, which look like a traditional sleep mask worn over the eyes and ears:

  • Offer Bluetooth V5.0 with HD stereo sound
  • Charge in 1-2 hours
  • Have a 10-hour battery life
  • Come in a wide variety of colors

The sleep headphones are made from breathable fabric that feels comfortable against the face. Plus, they’re a good choice for light sleepers because they block out light, as well as sound.

For Comfort Try Wireless Sleep Headphones That Look & Feel Like a Headband

Sleep headphones come in a variety of styles. For instance, the SleepPhones Wireless Sleep Headphones resemble a traditional headband. This style of headphones is ideal for all sleep positions, as the snug fit stays on your head all night, and for people who don’t want earbuds sticking into their ears while they sleep.

The cord-free sleep headphones:

  • Stream audio through Bluetooth
  • Reduce ambient sounds including snoring, traffic noise, and conversations
  • Are covered with a washable, hypoallergenic fabric

Choose from a variety of sounds to help you sleep, including music, audiobooks, and sleep-enhancing sounds.

You can wear the headphones:

  • In bed
  • While doing yoga
  • On a plane
  • In a car

Sleep Headphones Help You Get a Good Night’s Rest

Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind. Unfortunately, there are many types of noises that can interfere with getting enough rest. But sleep headphones or earbuds can help you get noticeably better sleep, possibly the first night you wear them.

So while it may not be possible to move to a quieter neighborhood, stop your partner from snoring, or suddenly become a deeper sleeper, sleep headphones can help with all of these challenges.

Start by looking at the various models, features, and how you sleep. Then, shop around for sleep headphones that fit your head, ears, sleeping style, and budget.