The Absolute Best Headphones for Sleeping 2021

Why use headphones for sleeping?

Many people have problems getting to sleep quickly, and over the years, many have tried everything in search of a good night’s rest. One method that seems to get good results is listening to music, white noise, or ASMR to help you drift off to sleep.

Sadly, most headphones and earphones are not suitable for sleeping and can cause significant discomfort overnight. It’s common to fall asleep initially but soon wake up again once they roll onto their side or front. We want to suggest headphones that can work with you for a good night’s rest.

So what should you look for when you are trying to select the best headphones for sleeping? Well, I wanted this article to be both a buyer’s guide for these types of headphones and a place to discuss other methods and alternatives to headphones that can help you get to sleep. I will give you ten options for headphones and earphones below that will help you get a full night’s sleep but also some devices at a variety of budgets that are designed to improve sleep quality.

Types of Headphones for Sleeping in 2021

Most headphones are not designed for this purpose but fortunately, after seeing a gap in the market many companies have stepped up to meet demand. A lot are now designing headphones specifically for use when falling asleep. They incorporate many features designed to enhance your slumber, and while they might not be so good as a set of everyday headphones, they will be extremely functional for what we need them to do.

Below we break the buying process into a few different sections and product categories to help find the right set for you. Take a moment to think about how you sleep and which of these will match your needs best before you make a purchase, and if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment down below or get in touch with us on email, we will do our best to advise you on making the right choice.

Our Recommendations

Test Winner
AcousticSheep SleepPhones Effortless | Bluetooth Headphones for Sleep, Travel & More Flat Speakers | No-Fuss Rechargeable Battery | Quiet Lavender - Fleece Fabric (Size S)
Alternative to Headphones
Adaptive Sound Technologies Sound+Sleep SE Special Edition High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine with Real Non-Looping Nature Sounds, Fan Sounds, White, Pink & Brown Noise, & Adaptive Sound Technology
Best Earbuds for Sleeping
MAXROCK Sleep Earplugs - Noise Isolating Ear Plugs Sleep Earbuds Headphones with Unique Total Soft Silicone Perfect for Insomnia, Side Sleeper, Snoring, Air Travel, Meditation & Relaxation (acid blue)
Model
Sleepphones Effortless
Adaptive Sound Technologies Sleep+
Maxrock Sleep Earbuds
Wireless
Side Sleeping
Editors Comments
The best headphones I have found for sleeping. Test winners with wireless audio and charging.
Not a headphone for sleep but this sleep machine is the best solution for a lot of people struggling for a good nights rest.
The best earbuds for sleeping with small size they are suitable for side sleepers.
Test Winner
AcousticSheep SleepPhones Effortless | Bluetooth Headphones for Sleep, Travel & More Flat Speakers | No-Fuss Rechargeable Battery | Quiet Lavender - Fleece Fabric (Size S)
Model
Sleepphones Effortless
Wireless
Side Sleeping
Editors Comments
The best headphones I have found for sleeping. Test winners with wireless audio and charging.
Alternative to Headphones
Adaptive Sound Technologies Sound+Sleep SE Special Edition High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine with Real Non-Looping Nature Sounds, Fan Sounds, White, Pink & Brown Noise, & Adaptive Sound Technology
Model
Adaptive Sound Technologies Sleep+
Wireless
Side Sleeping
Editors Comments
Not a headphone for sleep but this sleep machine is the best solution for a lot of people struggling for a good nights rest.
Best Earbuds for Sleeping
MAXROCK Sleep Earplugs - Noise Isolating Ear Plugs Sleep Earbuds Headphones with Unique Total Soft Silicone Perfect for Insomnia, Side Sleeper, Snoring, Air Travel, Meditation & Relaxation (acid blue)
Model
Maxrock Sleep Earbuds
Wireless
Side Sleeping
Editors Comments
The best earbuds for sleeping with small size they are suitable for side sleepers.

Build Quality

Most headphones are used while you are awake, and thus they are not put under the strain or abuse you might see when sleeping on your headphones.

When you sleep, you will be making contact with the pillow as well as turning and rolling. It can cause significant wear and strain on ordinary headphones, so you will need tough and durable models ready to take the abuse. We are looking for headphones designed explicitly for sleeping or existing models to we can adapt to suit this purpose and the materials used and the type of construction can play a big role in long-term durability.

Are there headphones comfortable for side sleepers?

Comfort is a hugely critical factor in the buying process. After all, if you aren’t comfortable, you will have problems falling asleep quickly and even more trouble trying to stay asleep.

You want to choose headphones that you would be happy to wear when you try to get a full 8 hours of sleep without experiencing any pain or discomfort.

If you have any issues with particular styles of headphones during the day, then you can bet that this will be further amplified at night. The headphones we have chosen below are better for side sleepers but they still might not be perfect. In this category some compromises may need to be made.

You may also find that there is a period of adjustment where you need to get comfortable with how you wear your new headphones when sleeping. With time and the right pillow some discomfort can be managed but not tolerated.

Is sound important when choosing headphones for sleeping?

The sound is hugely important when choosing a set of headphones, but choosing them to sleep in your priorities should be somewhat different.

In this case, you shouldn’t worry about out and out fidelity, but instead, you should be looking for something that doesn’t do anything jarring or annoying that might put you off your sleep. Examples of this could be a distracting background hiss or even a sharp treble spike. Both of these can be off-putting enough that you start thinking about the sound rather than getting to sleep.

When it comes to sound, you want your headphones or earphones to be smooth and inoffensive. Neutral and balanced headphones with low impedance do well here, but I also would look past a set of headphones with toned down high notes and some warmth to the presentation.

Over-Ear Headphones vs. On-Ear Headphones vs. In-ear headphones

Not all headphone styles are best suited for sleeping, and you will probably have a good idea from the start of what you are looking for.

A bulky full-size set of headphones will have trouble staying on your head and thus give you very little room for movement. A set of in-ear headphones (earphones) may push deep into the canal if you sleep on your side.

There are workarounds for existing designs and models that will work better than others, and we have included them below.

Additionally, several companies have designed earphones, especially for sleep. Some of these are unique and not what you would want to be seen on the street, but they are fantastic for use in bed.

How much should you spend?

I would say that you can get away with your sleeping headphones being pretty cheap.  They are, after all, there to help you get to sleep, and when you are asleep, you won’t be doing much critical listening.  The good news is that most of the companies making sleep-specific headphones don’t charge an arm and a leg for it. The ones that do (the Sleepphones at the top of our list are well worth it)


Alternatives to headphones for a better nights sleep

Before I run down the list of the 10 best headphones for sleeping, I thought I would also give you a couple of other options that might help you get to sleep a bit easier. Some of these have worked well for me in the past, so I think they are worth mentioning.


Foam Earplugs to block out noise

No, not the set you got at a hotel or some other rubbish off-cut of foam.  After trying many different noise-blocking earplugs for sleeping in the past, I have pretty much settled on the perfect ones—the Howard Leight Laser Lite Plugs. 

Don’t be tempted by any other brand or even HL’s own higher decibel-rated models; the ones you want are the yellow and pink laser lite models.  These are by far the best and comfiest earplugs I have ever used for sleeping, and I highly recommend them.  They last upwards of 10 uses per set, and a box of 200 pairs should only cost you about $20, so you can buy in bulk on these and save big.

I cannot stress enough the benefit I have had since I started using these, they are so comfy and block out a lot of the external noise. Really these are a game-changer for me.


Custom Molded Earplugs for guaranteed comfort

I had some success with custom molded earplugs in the past, even though I now prefer the disposable kind mentioned above. 

Of all the models I have used I recommend trying the Decibullz Custom Molded Earplugs. These are a set of DIY custom molds that you make at home, and they fit exactly to your outer ear.  The process is a bit tricky, so get some help if you think you need it, but all in, it takes about 10 mins to set them into a reusable set of earplugs that block out a lot of external noise.


Pyle Bluetooth Pillow Speaker

Sometimes I wish I could be single again to go back to using a smart pillow.  For about a year, this was my solution to a good night’s rest.  One of the problems with using, say, a bedside speaker is that the sound is mono-directional.  The smart pillow solves this by placing the speakers inside your pillow. 

I really started appreciating it when listening to ambient noise recording, but obviously, it isn’t a viable solution if you share a bed with someone.


The 10 Best Headphones for Sleeping


Sleepphones Effortless

The Sleepphones are our test winners for the best headphones for sleeping.

The Sleepphones Effortless are the best headphones for sleeping. They are also wireless and feature induction charging making them the most intuitive and easy to live with. It’s the absolute best of all the models I have ever tried and something that completely transformed my sleep patterns.

If we focus on the main selling points, we can see what sets them apart from the competition. They are a headband design that is an extremely comfortable way to sleep as it is less prone to coming dislodged when rolling about in your sleep. A traditional headphone slips off, and earbuds can be pulled out.

With the Sleepphones I found more often than not, when I woke up in the morning, they were still on my head the way I left them the night before.

Another extremely important feature is the Sleepphones use extremely thin speaker diaphragms that are flexible and don’t cause discomfort when side sleeping. The materials used to allow them to be flexible, so they conform with your ears, and the whole thing is covered with generous padding to further enhance comfort.

Finally, the most important feature of the Sleepphones is that they are wireless. No longer will you be tethered in your sleep. If you wake up and need to go to the bathroom or get a glass of water, you don’t have to go through the whole routine of disconnecting your phone or music player then resetting everything when you return. It’s remarkably freeing and the number one reason why I recommend this model over all others.

Battery life is a fantastic 12 hours, and they can be recharged in just 2 hours.


MaxRocks Sleeping earphones

These are a great set of headphones for side sleepers. My number 2 pick has to go to the Maxrock Sleep Earphones. Traditionally I would advocate sleeping with earphones because when you roll to your side, they usually push deeper into your ear canal and cause discomfort. 

The Maxrock, though, is so small and unobtrusive that I can comfortably sleep with them all night, yet at the same time, if you lose them in the dark good luck finding them.

Wireless Sleep Headphones and Eyemask

These non-brand models are popping up and can be found from several sellers online. They are an all-in-one system that combines an eye mask and headphones into one package. 

Many people will like this because it saves the fumble in the dark for two items instead of just one. 

I was skeptical at first, but they have held up well, cost less than 20 dollars, and go for 9 hours on a single charge. With that said, however, there is a noticeable difference in the quality and design between these and the Sleepphones we listed at number 1. They are a little less robust and have much thicker speakers which can lead to a little discomfort with hard pillows.


Adaptive Sound Technologies Sound + Sleep

It might not be a headphone but the Sound+Sleep is one of the most advanced sleep speakers on the market.

Ok, so this is not a headphone, but I was impressed with the new Sound + Sleep to the point I thought it was worthy of inclusion on this list.

During my battles with lifelong insomnia, I have tried numerous white noise machines, but none have been as intuitive and versatile as the Sound Sleep.

The unit is a noise machine with multiple settings and realistic sounds that can be easily adjusted through the from panel controls.

For me, it is the best speaker of this kind I have tried and it stops me from having to use my phone in bed.


Final Audio Design E3000

Final Audio e3000 earphones
Final Audio e3000 – Small and comfortable making them perfect earbuds for sleeping

I wanted to throw in the e3000 as a bit of an all-rounder. Something you can sleep in but something that also sounds great during the day. 

We reviewed the e3000 earlier this year and were blown away with the sound quality and naturally thanks to its diminutive size it makes a perfect earbud for sleeping with. 

Think of it as a premium upgrade to the Maxrock version I listed above.


Dolida Eyemask with Built in Speakers

These are very similar in design to the Headband above but leans more towards the form of an eyemask.

Since many people who have trouble sleeping also use an eye mask, combining both items into one product is a good idea.

I liked these (apart from the low price), the inbuilt audio controls for volume play and pause, which comes in handy in the dark as you don’t need to fumble around to control them with your phone.  


Zero Audio Tenore DX200

Another great option if you want to own an amazing-sounding set of earphones.

The Zero Audio DX200 has had a lot of praise in the past due to them sounding like sets of earphones many times their price.

For a while, I was using them for sleeping due to the design. The body is small and, when inserted, causes no discomfort from side sleeping. The angle of the cable exit also keeps them away from your skin when side-sleeping.

I also liked the versatility, knowing that I could also use them for listening to music during the day for not much more money than a dedicated slumber set.


Sleepphones

The original Sleepphones use a cable but cost much less than the wireless version.

These look like your average headband style speakers, but AcousticSheep is considered the premier brand in the market that carries a stellar reputation. They are the first company to elevate the design by offering buyers 3 separate sizes and 6 color options.

They are more expensive than the other brands, but they do have one killer feature. You can wirelessly charge the headband via the included bedside charging pad. When you wake up in the morning, just remove the headband and place it on this pad, and they should instantly start charging.


Agptek Sleep Earbuds

They are cheap and small and sit securely in the ear with no strain relief to cause discomfort. They may not sound as good as some of the higher-end models on this list, but they have an inline control which means you don’t have to reach for your phone or music player in the middle of the night.

Studies show that blue light can seriously disturb your sleep pattern so the ability to control your volume without having to look at a screen should help you sleep longer and deeper.

A budget option that will give you many years of use due to their solid build quality thanks to the metal body.


YogaSleep Dohm Fan Based Sleep Machine

The Dohm is one of the oldest and most reliable sleep machines on the market.

The Dohm has been around since 1962 and is the most famous white noise machine ever made. This current version has two settings and a real fan inside. It produces natural, realistic white noise to soothe you to sleep and is adjustable via the venting system.


Audiophile Onhttp://www.audiophileon.com
Audiophile On is a website dedicated to high-end audio products. With over 15 years as a reviewer, all articles are hand-written by one person to allow the comparison of products. Headphones, earphones, speakers, amplifiers, or DAC's we cover here.

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