For people who often have trouble falling asleep (or simply for the music lovers among us), listening to music can be essential to their sleeping process. Research shows that certain types of music can calm listeners down, slow down your breathing and help you relax. So why wouldn’t you want music as part of your nightly ritual?
Well, all that is totally moot if your earbuds make it uncomfortable to sleep. You could be playing the most calming music in the world, but if your earbuds don’t fit well, you’ll be tossing and turning all night.
That’s why here, we’ve accumulated some of the best earbuds for sleeping. (Some of them are the best for just listening to music as well!) Check below for our recommendations.
With Bose being one of the most well-known and widely-lauded names in the headphone business, it’s no wonder this pair of sweet-sounding buds is at the top of our list. Featuring noise-cancelling technology (which you can turn off at will!) as well as Bose’s proprietary and generally comfortable eartips, this is a luxury pair of earphones for the discerning listener. The eartip design means that even though they’ll stay in while your out and about, they won’t hurt you when you lay down to sleep either. They also include an inline microphone for taking calls or recording audio.
Moreover, though, there’s a reason that these headphones are a bit on the pricier side: audio quality. Simply put, Bose is known for their audio. So even though these headphones will let you sleep comfortably, you won’t have to make any tradeoffs in sound fidelity to get that sweet, sweet comfort. It almost sounds too good to be true — but trust us, it is.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have this no-frills option from MAXROCK. A simple pair of earbuds with soft, universally comfortable tips, these headphones are perfect for those who want a dedicated pair for sleeping. If you’re not a huge stickler for brand name, or if you’re just planning on using your headphones to play white noise while you sleep, this pair will fit the bill. Despite their relatively low cost, they have clear audio and should be able to fulfill all your needs.
In addition, this pair’s low profile and simple design mean that they’ll stay in comfortably while you’re sleeping, even if you like to sleep on your side. The only downside to the design is that these headphones might not last as long as headphones that comes at a more premium price.
Another pair specifically designed to sleep in, these ATECH earbuds are a great choice if your focus is on ASMR, music or white noise for sleeping and for sleeping only. They feature a fairly long cable at 1.2m to facilitate easy listening, even if you don’t usually sleep with your phone in your bed. Additionally, the cable is thin and these headphones have been designed to maximize comfort while you’re horizontal.
Furthermore, these earbuds are designed specifically for ASMR tracks with a custom-made 6mm driver. So if ASMR is your primary intended use for your sleep headphones, then look no further.
Unlike the last two items on this list, this pair of Zero Audio headphones is more of a general-use option. This pair prioritizes audio quality, not sleep quality. That said, they double as a comfortable, sleep-worthy choice due to their good design. These earbuds weren’t made specifically with sleep in mind, but the cable is thin and they’re comfortable enough to be used in bed anyways.
In addition, the main reason to get these is their audio quality. It’s almost on-par with professional IEMS, or in-ear monitors, while still offering the necessary comfort for a good sleep. Because these are consumer headphones, their sound signature is exciting and tailored for pleasurable listening rather than flat response.
This pair of sleep-specific headphones from MAXROCK is, as you might expect, very similar to their pair a little earlier on this list. That said, there are a couple features that set this pair slightly apart from the other.
Even though the build and outer construction are almost identical, this pair features a 4mm driver for audio rather than a 5mm model on the other pair of MAXROCK headphones. In addition, there are multiple color ways on this edition so you’ll have no trouble finding a pair that matches your pajamas.
For those in truly dire need of sleep, or for those who need some white noise but don’t want to listen to actual music, these Bose Sleepbuds are an elegant solution. Maybe you have a partner who snores at night, or really loud neighbors. In any case, this pair of headphones doesn’t play music. Instead they play from a set of prerecorded soothing sounds to help you get to sleep despite your environment.
In addition, everything about these earbuds is engineered so that you’ll be able to sleep more easily. They’re wireless, so you don’t have to fiddle about with a cord in bed. They’re also small and come with three different eartip sizes, so you can dial in a fit you’ll be able to use even while laying on your side.
Now, some of you may be thinking, “I need to sleep really badly, but will using these headphones every night have a negative impact on my hearing?” It’s a totally valid concern. The short answer is, sleeping with headphones in is no more dangerous than using them at any other part of the day. In other words, it’s generally pretty safe.
With that said, though, the reverse is also true. You’ll also have to look out for the same dangerous habits that you might while wearing headphones on your commute to work, in the office, or any other time when you’re awake. If you’re playing music at unsafe levels while you sleep, you run the risk of damaging your hearing just as surely as you would if you were awake.
Furthermore, overuse of earphones can occasionally lead to other small medical issues, like a buildup of earwax or irritation of your outer ear from all the pressure and constant usage.
In short, using headphones on a regular basis to help you sleep isn’t necessarily dangerous as long as you keep good habits. You should also monitor yourself, and make sure that your health doesn’t change as you start using earbuds to sleep more and more frequently. If you notice chafing around your ear or you often wake up feeling like there’s more pressure in your inner ear than there otherwise would be, it may be wise to put at least a temporary halt on your earbud usage. In such cases it’s probably best to contact a medical professional before continuing to use earbuds while you sleep.
Purchasing a pair of earbuds to sleep in is a slightly different animal from purchasing earbuds for everyday use. Your concerns and needs totally change; instead of perfect sound quality on a crowded train or a city street, you’re going for sound quality in a quiet bedroom or next to a snoring partner. Here are a couple of the main considerations you should take into account the next time you look for a pair of earbuds for sleeping.
Comfort is always a primary consideration when purchasing headphones, but it’s even more salient when they’re for the express purpose of sleeping. You’ll be wearing them for hours at a time, and they need to be unobtrusive enough that they don’t bother you while you’re trying to sleep. You might want to think about: the shape of your ears; the shape of the eartips provided with any given set of headphones; whether multiple sizes are available; and what position(s) you normally sleep in.
This is another concern that gets bumped up on the list of priorities when buying a pair of earbuds for the bedroom. If you’re buying them for the purpose of blocking out loud neighbors or other annoying noises that prevent you from sleeping, sound cancellation will be very important. It may be worth it to shell out for a pair with active noise-cancelling technology. On the other hand, maybe you’re the kind of person who likes being able to hear alarms or your environment while you sleep — in that case, a pair of earbuds that let some outside noise in may be a better choice.
Even audio quality changes a bit as a concern here. That’s because you may not necessarily be playing podcasts or music when you hit the sack. Many people use their earbuds to listen to white noise or ASMR when they sleep, which is a totally different ball game. If possible, look for earbuds that will be tailored to whatever genre you’ll be listening to.
This consideration all comes down to personal preference. Sure, wired headphones can be a bit of a hassle to fool around with when you’re tossing and turning in bed. But they’re also just low-maintenance; you don’t have to charge them. You just plug them in and go. Wireless headphones give you the convenience of not worrying about a cable, but that convenience comes at the cost of regular charges. This consideration is simply a toss-up between whether you’d rather have headphones you don’t have to charge or headphones that don’t have a wire.
Finally, the last issue to consider when purchasing a new pair of headphones for sleeping is durability. They might not go through the same wear and tear as headphones that get stuffed into pockets and carried around all day, but rolling onto your headphones while you’re in bed or having them fall out from your ears while sleeping can still cause some stress. Paying for a pair of earbuds with durable construction may not be cheap, but there’s a chance it’ll pay off in the long run.
Finding the best earbuds for sleeping can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. The list of top earbud choices above, as well as the health and buying considerations we’ve listed out in our buying guide, should put you on the right track to getting a pair of earphones that’ll help you get a good night’s sleep. Whether it’s white noise or a calming classical track that helps you feel fresh and well-rested in the morning, a good pair of earphones can really help — so happy shopping!