Sleep headphones are exactly what they sound like — headphones that you wear while you’re sleeping.
Unlike normal headphones, however, sleep headphones are specially designed to enhance and not disturb your sleeping pattern. They’re also safe for use in bed, so you won’t get tangled in the wires if you toss and turn.
Sleeping headphones can usually be divided into two categories: fabric headphones that sit comfortably on the outside of your ears, and noise cancelling headphones that look more similar to normal headphones in that they sit inside your ear, and work to block out all external noise — great for light sleepers.
Noise cancelling headphones for sleeping are usually made of silicone in order to be as soft and comfortable as possible.
What Do People Use Sleeping Headphones for?
You should think of sleep headphones as simply another tool in your arsenal to help you get to sleep.
Some people simply like to listen to music, while others prefer to listen to white noise and guided meditations intended to encourage sleep.
Sleep headphones come in particularly handy if you share a bed with a partner who may not want to have to listen to your audio tracks with you.
One of the most common ways to use sleep headphones is as a vessel for listening to music. Music is a great way to relax and leave the stresses of the day behind you. It’s thought that listening to music can even stimulate the release of serotonin, which is good news for your stress levels.
Binaural beats are another popular form of audio that many people use to get to sleep. This involves an audio track which beams sounds of different frequencies into your ears, which eventually interact with each other to the extent that they synchronize and create a third new frequency, which is simply the difference between the two frequencies transmitted in your ears.
Your brain reacts to this new third frequency, with your brainwaves altering in response to it.
People using binaural beats who are trying to get to sleep should aim for frequencies that produce delta waves.
As you might imagine, binaural beats are only effective if you wear headphones as you need to hear the different frequencies in each ear. Enter sleep headphones!
If you live in a particularly noisy neighborhood, or if you know yourself to be a light sleeper that’s very sensitive to noise, you might prefer to invest in a pair of noise cancelling headphones for sleeping that simply block out all external sounds. Don’t worry — you should still hear your alarm clock!
Why Use Sleep Headphones Instead of Normal Ones?
If you’re wondering, why sleep headphones sound all well and good, but what’s the point?
Won’t my iPhone headphones be sufficient?
Well, lots of people do use normal headphones and find them absolutely fine. But there are a few reasons why having the best sleep headphones will completely revolutionize the way you sleep.
Having long wires hanging out of your ears and round your neck while you sleep isn’t exactly an ideal situation — particularly if you’re someone that’s known for tossing and turning in bed.
We’re not saying you could strangle yourself accidentally, but you could certainly get yourself into some serious discomfort this way.
Simply put, sleep headphones are designed to be much more comfortable than normal headphones. Usually made of silicone, they’ll be soft and cozy — perfectly fitted for your ears.
This is usually much preferable to, say, sport headphones that are designed to stay within your ears even during periods of high intensity exercise — not something you need to worry about while sleeping!
This isn’t a feature on every single pair, but if you live on a noisy street, wake up easily from a snoring partner, or live in a house share, there’s a chance that you simply need headphones that are going to block out all noise from outside.
If that’s you, you should look specifically for noise cancellation equipment. These bad boys will create the perfect silent atmosphere you need for a good night’s sleep.
The Best Headphones for Sleeping
CozyPhones Sleep Headphones
These sleep headphones are incredibly comfortable, encased as they are in a soft, extra wide lycra headband — which also doubles up as a sleep mask if you really want to block out external stimuli!
Great for troubled sleepers of all ages, these headphones come with a braided cable to prevent tangles. The headband is embedded with ultra-thin speakers and helps to ensure your headphones stay in place all night. They also come with a lightweight travel bag and are compatible with most devices, making life easy to take your headband earphones everywhere you go.
Durable and safe, 52″ braided cable
Lycra headband is soft and comfortable against your face
Speakers are ultra thin, cushioned and removable
Comes with a travel bag
Compatible with most music players
Available in multiple different colors
100% money back guarantee
Headband is not adjustable so larger heads may find it a little tight!
Now this is a pair of sleeping headphones that we can get really excited about: the world’s first sleep sensing headphones.
Kokoon started its life as a Kickstarter campaign. They managed to raise $2 million and will be shipping their first batch in August 2017 — they’re available for pre-order right now, in fact.
So, how do they work?
Basically, Kokoon are super comfortable and soft headphones that use EEG brainwave sensing technology to track and analyze your sleeping patterns. They also include a smart alarm and even give you nightly sleep scores.
The fabric they use is natural, durable and fully breathable for maximum comfort. They’ve also used a patented design that enables them to mould to the shape of your head without any discomfort on you.
Now, at the moment we can see that probably the major drawback to these smart headphones is their cost: currently $314.99.
But true sleep hackers with some dollars to burn will likely want to test them out.
Developed by a family physician, these sleeping headphones are designed to help you to fall asleep naturally and faster. Although not marketed as noise cancelling headphones, they are pretty good at blocking out external noise.
The fleece headband — described as “pajamas for your ears” — contains removable and replaceable speakers, is made from recycled materials and is available in sizes x-small to x-large. Regardless of your preferred sleeping position, you’re guaranteed a comfortable night’s sleep with these pain-free earplugs.
Another huge bonus is the fact that they’re wireless, relying on bluetooth connectivity and a long-lasting battery. That means no getting tangled up in wires as you sleep!
Clear sound — 20Hz to 20kHz frequency
Removable and replaceable speakers
Very comfortable to wear
Soft headband is machine washable
Made from recyclable materials
Blocks out most ambient noise, including snoring
Speakers are padded for comfort yet still super slim
Available in different sizes from extra small to extra large
MAXROCK Unique Total Soft Silicon Sleeping Headphones
These noise cancelling headphones for sleeping will be a great solution for many sleepers: comfortable, low cost and effective. What more could you want?
Featuring double layer earbuds to fit your ear perfectly, you never have to worry about these headphones falling out while you sleep. The earphones are made from super-soft silicon to prevent feelings of pain and pressure and ensure total comfort. Even when laying on your side, you can’t feel a thing.
They also offer a crystal clear sound and are excellent for blocking out unwanted noise.
Very comfortable silicone housed headphones
Cancel all exterior noise
Stay in place throughout the night
Great sound — 20Hz-20kHz frequency
Comes with zipper case for safe storage and travel
Available in black, green, gray, white and pink colors
If you’re looking for an all-in-one contraption to block out light and sound, these sleep headphones and mask from Hibermate could be right up your alley.
For added and long-lasting comfort and to protect the removable speakers, the ear cushions are made from soft memory foam. The Kevlar-coated speaker cables stay tangle free and are of a high quality, and are durable. What’s more, they come with a 3-button remote control and a microphone for taking and receiving calls.
Adjustable sleep mask/headband
Mask is molded to reduce pressure on your eyes and ears
Comfortable memory foam ear cushions with super flat speakers
3-button remote for easy volume and pause adjustment
Microphone for receiving and making calls
You can take the speakers out and put them under your pillow if you so desire
Compatible with iPhone, Android and all smartphones and tablets
Comes with airplane jack adapter
Kevlar coated cables are super durable and won’t tangle
Our second new product that we’ve updated this list of the best sleep headphones is the SleepPhones: apparently, the world’s most comfortable headphones for sleeping — at least, according to their website!
Again, these are made of a thick and soft headband with thin, removable sleepers, allowing you to listen to whatever you please and block any outside noise out.
Here’s a good video by manufacturer AcousticSheep on how to use the headphones wirelessly:
CozyPhones are one of the most prolific manufacturers of sleeping headphones, and their Contour Series is reputedly their most comfortable fit yet.
The lightweight and washable contoured sleep headband is completely adjustable to fit all manner of head sizes. The mesh lining keeps you cool at night and helps to keep the headphones in place, even if you toss and turn. You can also be confident that the speakers won’t shift thanks to the unique contour shape that dips below the ears. They’re compatible with all audio devices with a 3.5mm jack.
Contour shape headband makes for a great fit
Breathable mesh lining ensures these sleep headphones sleep cool
Very comfortable – even for side sleepers
Speakers are well secured and ultra thin
Durable braided cable is 52″
100% money back guarantee
Great sound quality — 20Hz to 20kHz frequency
Not ideal for binaural beats as the speakers sit above the ear
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