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The 5 Best Headphones For Sleeping Of 2022, For Deeper Sleep With Fewer Interruptions

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October 12, 2022
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By Krystina Wales
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Krystina Wales is a freelance writer and editor who covers mental health, parenting, and lifestyle.
The 5 Best Headphones For Sleeping Of 2022, For Deeper Sleep With Fewer Interruptions
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October 12, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

Sleep is essential to overall health and can affect your long-term heart health, brain health, weight management, immune response, and more. While not everyone needs a precise eight hours, seven to nine hours is considered the gold standard for most adults. Unfortunately, there are a lot of elements that can interrupt our sleeping experience—sound being one of them. Finding the best headphones for sleeping can help give your body and brain the opportunity to recover, by achieving a deeper, more restorative sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, "good" sleep quality means falling asleep within about 30 minutes, staying sound asleep throughout the night (with a maximum of one mid-sleep wake-up), and being able to drift back to sleep within 20 minutes of that one awakening.

Just like light, noise can quickly disrupt the sleep experience. While sound machines can help drown out loud appliances or car horns and provide meditation and background noise, those who are easily disturbed by sounds like traffic, pets or partners might benefit from headphones. To help you achieve restful, uninterrupted sleep, we've rounded up the absolute best headphones for sleeping, with options to fit everyone's lifestyle and needs.

Is it OK to wear headphones while sleeping?

"My initial gut reaction would be yes, it is OK to wear headphones while sleeping, but there are caveats to that," says audiologist Emily Taylor @drearwax, AuD., FAAA, owner of Taylor Listening Center.

Prolonged use and a buildup of moisture can cause outer ear infections, but Taylor says it's not a huge risk but rather something to be aware of. "If you are wearing headphones in your ears for long periods of time, make sure your ears have a break from it during the day, and make sure you are keeping them clean," she advises.

Who should wear headphones while sleeping?

If wearing headphones while sleeping creates a more comfortable, sleep-conducive environment for you, it can be positive for your physical, mental and emotional health. That said, there are a few factors to consider. "For sleeping with headphones on, my number one recommendation would be to find something that's comfortable. You do want to make sure you are listening at a safe volume if you are listening for a long time," Taylor elaborates.

For people with tinnitus, a ringing in the ears caused by noise exposure, listening to soft sounds at night can be beneficial.

"Some people complain that their tinnitus is most obvious when they are trying to go to sleep—and that's just because the quieter it is, the more you will be able to hear—so a lot of people try to pick something soothing to listen to that will mask the tinnitus. If listened to at a safe volume, it shouldn't make it worse," Taylor says.

How to choose.

When picking out headphones for sleeping, you'll want to take a few elements into consideration.

Sleeping position

The position in which you sleep is crucial for determining the right headphones for you. While a few in-ear options may be comfortable for side sleepers (depending on the angle and depth of the ear canal and how much you shift throughout the night), the headband style might provide more comfort overall. Similarly, if you sleep on your stomach, a full sleep mask might not be the best choice.

Comfort

The ability to adjust a headband or modify the ear tip on an in-ear option is a significant factor in overall comfort and reliability. Other important considerations here are the quality of the materials used—especially for larger products like masks and headphones. Comfort is key when it comes to sleep, and you want something that is going to add to your sleep experience, not take away from it.

Battery life

Battery life may also be an important factor, especially for light sleepers who would be easily disturbed by a break in frequency. Most headphones that are designed for sleeping will have at least eight hours of battery life, and some have capabilities that prompt the device to power down automatically once you reach a certain depth of sleep, which helps the battery last longer.

Noise cancellation technology

For very light sleepers who are easily disturbed by outside noises (or snoring partners), it's crucial that your headphones have reliable noise-cancellation capabilities. If you're not a light sleeper and simply want to listen to soft music or sounds while you drift off, you probably don't need to pay the extra money for noise cancellation.

How we picked:

Price

The products we chose range in price from under $20 to around $250. Sometimes, you get what you pay for—but there are some great lower-cost options, too.

Comfort

Headphones will feel and perform differently depending on whether you are a back, side or stomach sleeper. Our picks cover all sleep styles, with in-ear options and headbands.

Safety

Sleeping safely is of the utmost importance. Wires around the head and neck area can be a cause for concern, and our experts agreed. For that reason, we did not recommend wired products, although there are options available in the market.

Reviews

We took into account a ton of feedback from people who have tested these headphones to ensure we were considering the good and bad for each product.

Our picks for the best headphones for sleeping of 2022:

Best noise cancellation: Bose Sleepbuds II

Pros:

  • Strong noise cancellation
  • Lifetime support

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Limited to Bose Sleep app
Sizes available: 3 sizes
Trial period: 90 nightsrisk-free trial
Warranty: Lifetime support
Battery life: 10 hours

These earbuds have one of the strongest noise-cancellation features of any headphones on the market. While they're priced on the higher end, Bose does offer a 90-day, risk-free trial (one of the longest trial periods) and lifetime support for the product. Note, you cannot use these headphones to listen to your own music. They were designed specifically for sleep, and the brand has an app with a library full of curated sleep songs and sounds for you to choose from.

The battery stays charged for up to 10 hours, and the case can hold an additional three lifetimes of battery power—but some reviewers do mention disappointment in the battery life.

What customers say:

With over 4,000 perfect five-star ratings and a four-star overall rating on Amazon, these headphones definitely get a lot of love. One reviewer writes, "My husband snores and I have never slept all night in 25 years. For Christmas two years ago I asked for the earbuds and they were a game changer. I was actually excited to go to sleep at night wearing the sleepbuds and knowing I would sleep all night. I have shared this news with my sister and a few friends with loud snoring husbands and they all purchased these sleepbuds as well and are quite happy with their purchase."

Complaints are focused around the shorter battery life and the fact that users are limited to the Bose Sleep app for sounds and music.

Best budget: Perytong Bluetooth Wireless Headband

Pros:

  • Less expensive
  • Good for side sleepers

Cons:

  • Control panel poorly positioned at front of head
  • One size only, though speakers can be adjusted
Sizes available: One size
Trial period: N/A
Warranty: 1-year
Battery life: 10 hours

The most affordable recommendation on our list, this wireless headband is perfect for side sleepers. It's relatively comfortable, though some have complained that the positioning of the control panel, which lies at the front of the forehead, is disruptive if they accidentally roll onto it while sleeping. With just one size, it won't be the perfect fit for everyone, though the speakers can be adjusted depending on where your ears lie on the band.

You won't get all the features of more expensive headphones, but you can't beat the price of this headband. The fabric is breathable and machine-washable, and the battery will last for up to 10 hours after a two-hour charge. If you really want to make your money go further, you can wear this as a workout headband, too.

What customers say:

There are over 25,000 five-star ratings for this headband on Amazon. Customers rave about the quality for the price and how impactful it is for their sleep. One person says, "Many of my headphones, sometimes at double the cost, have broken pretty quickly when I tried to wear them to bed. … Comparatively, I've had this for a few months with no durability issues. I've removed the components, washed the headband, put it back together and still functioning just as well. And they're the best sleep headphones I've had so far in terms of comfort."

Best for side sleepers: LC-dolida Bluetooth Sleep Mask

Pros:

  • Comfortable wrap-around design
  • Affordable price point

Cons:

  • Only semi-adjustable for head
  • Might not align with eyes and ears
Sizes available: One sizeAdjustable
Trial period: N/A
Warranty: 1-year
Battery life: 10 hours

This sleep mask was intended to be a catch-all for those who want to block out light and noise and (with that goal in mind) it does its job. The memory foam padding feels luxurious on the eyes and ears, but the mask itself still feels lightweight and breathable. With incredibly slim headphones, this is a great pick for side sleepers.

We love this mask for meditations, too, as the blocked-out light will help you truly slip into that deep relaxation mode. While some people say the eyes and ears do not align, the headphones themselves can be moved under the mask for better alignment.

What customers say:

With nearly 10,000 five-star ratings and thousands of positive reviews, this mask gets a lot of praise. "​​Less light exposure to my eyes for more restful sleep. Cancel out any other noise that may be going on (I'm a light sleeper)," one person notes. Another elaborates, "I absolutely love this Bluetooth sleep mask! I meditate with various guided meditations every day, often before bed, and a sleep mask really helps to get to that state of nothingness as it blocks out even the tiniest amount of light in the room…The earphones can be moved underneath the fabric, so once you get the mask adjusted to a comfortable position on your face with the Velcro, you can center the earphones on your ears."

Best Bluetooth: Sony WF-1000XM4 Noise-Canceling Truly Wireless Earbud Headphones

Pros:

  • Best audio quality (leading in noise cancellation)
  • Quick to charge

Cons:

  • Limited battery life
  • Not specifically designed for sleep
Trial period: 30 days
Warranty: 1-year
Battery life: 8 hours

While these headphones were not specifically designed for sleep, they rank highly in audio quality and noise cancellation capabilities, and they're also incredibly comfortable. These are a great travel option, but they have a limited battery life—so if you want something that's sure to keep playing throughout every night, these might not be it.

The higher price tag could throw some, but because they are not targeted as specifically for sleep, they can be more of an all-purpose use headphone that transitions with your needs.

What customers say:

Another highly rated option, these have nearly 10,000 perfect five-star ratings on Amazon. There are thousands of reviews confirming that you get what you paid for. One shopper raves, "These are pricey, but GOOOOOOD GRIEF does that noise canceling work. The passive noise canceling from the seal is already good but once you turn on active noise canceling it feels like you just turned the world off (excellent for naps when you don't want to be disturbed, though they are on the larger side so it's not comfy to sleep on your side with them in)."

Best headband: SleepPhones Wireless Sleep Headphones by AcousticSheep

Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Machine-washable
  • Bluetooth-enabled

Cons:

  • Not adjustable
Sizes available: 3 sizes
Trial period: N/A
Warranty: 1-year limited
Battery life: 24 hours

Founded by a family physician, this small business makes a variety of sleep products. These headphones have won multiple awards, including eight Consumer Electronics Association Innovation Awards, two Pennsylvania ImPAct Awards, and a Red Dot Design Award. They're made from a comfortable, machine-washable fabric, and while the headband is not adjustable, it does come in three different sizes.

The battery life on these blows other options out of the water, and you can also choose from seven colors, which is a big plus for some.

What customers say:

The feedback for these headphones is primarily positive—and most of the negative reviews reference a battery-life issue that sounds to have been cleared up with this most recent model. One extremely satisfied customer writes, "I am a SleepPhones addict. I have been a customer since 2015. The latest upgrade to their already super Wireless SleepPhones is amazing. I use these to listen to my podcast before sleep and with these I do not bother my wife. They are even so comfortable that I sleep with them on my head all night and they even serve as an eye mask for me. Their support is also outstanding. They did everything to help me, even when I had a crazy demand."

FAQ

What type of headphones are most comfortable to sleep in?

Much of this depends on the size of your ear and your preferred sleeping position. We've included options for all types of sleepers.

Is there anyone who should not wear headphones while sleeping?

According to Taylor, "People who already have hearing loss who wouldn't be able to hear emergency alerts like a smoke detector going off. It's important to know if you are wearing headphones at night for sleeping, you want to give your ears a break during the day so it might not be a great option for someone on Zoom calls all day and wearing headphones."

Additionally, parents and caregivers might want to take noise cancellation into consideration before purchasing.

How do I know if I am listening at a safe volume?

Taylor says under 70 decibels or at 60% or less max volume on your phone is a safe listening volume. She also mentioned that many smartphones (specifically the iPhone) now have built-in settings where you can set a max volume and it lets users know if they have had too much noise exposure that week. If this is not a built-in setting on your device, there are apps that perform similar functions.

The takeaway.

Headphones can be a great way to limit noise disruptions at night and help you achieve a more restful night's sleep, plus improved overall health. Keep in mind, reducing noise is just one way to improve the quality of your sleep. Other factors like finding the most comfortable pillow and the best mattress for your sleeping style will really help set you up for success.

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Meet The Experts

Krystina Wales is a freelance writer and editor who covers mental health, parenting, and lifestyle.