Introduction – best headphones for sleeping
Getting to sleep these days is not an easy task. As the world around us becomes more complex and we move more and more towards knowledge-based professions, sleep can be an elusive animal. Our mind races all the time, we are consumed by worries about the future and anxieties about the past.
Benefits of using audio while sleeping
In such a world, people end up using many different aids to get themselves into dreamland. Guided meditations, sleep stories, progressive relaxations, binaural beats and others. The common theme in all of these? They are all sound based. The twin benefits of using an audio-based sleep aid are that they help you in falling asleep and they also help in blocking out the external world in case you live in a busy urban setting.
Why are headphones better than earbuds while sleeping
Today, we will look at the best wireless headphones for sleeping that we have found. We are specifically looking only at headphones and are excluding earbuds from this list. When we do evaluate earbuds for sleeping, expect a detailed article on that too and maybe also one on the best headphones or earbuds for sleeping. We do believe that headphones are better suited for sleep than earbuds. This is due to two main reasons.
- The first is that headphones are less intrusive in your ears. This is helpful because the physical stresses on your ear canal are lesser
- The second reason is that the risk of damage due to high sound volume is also lower with headphones since they are at a larger distance from your inner ears.
Of course, there are arguments for earbuds might be better while sleeping as compared to headphones. We will reserve our judgment until we make a full evaluation. For now, however, our hypothesis stands that headphones are better compared to earbuds while sleeping
Why our list of best headphones for sleeping is so short
So without any further ado, we present to you our list of the best headphones for sleeping. Now you might be wondering why this list is so small. Well for one, we decided to be very specific in our definitions here. We only want to include products that are designed specifically for sleeping, we do not want to recommend products that might be used for sleeping. We also do not want to recommend earbuds in this list, we will have a separate article for that.
We are also not keen on including any generic products on this list as we want you our readers to have full confidence in our recommendations. We aim to provide you with the best recommendations and do not want to fill up an article with products we would not buy ourselves
Individual Reviews – best headphones for sleeping
CozyPhones Sleep Headphones – overall best sleep headband
Introduction: The best sleep headphones available today are not headphones at all. CozyPhones are a sleep headband. You can slip in a pair of headphones within the headband. The speakers are flat and thin, making them comfortable enough to be worn all night. The band wraps itself around your forehead, ears and goes over the back of your head. Let’s look at the CozyPhones in more detail.
Comfort: Cozyphones are made of lycra. Lycra is a breathable, stretchable material that is used quite frequently in athletic clothing. The outer material of the CozyPhones is a polyester knit while the inner is a vented poly. The breathability of both materials ensures that you will be able to wear this sleep headband comfortably through the night with no risk of feeling overheated.
One thing to be noted about the CozyPhones is that the headphone speakers need to be inserted into the headband separately. This is mainly to ensure that the headband itself can be washed when required. This also means however that the speakers have no real anchor within the headband. The speakers can thus move around in the duration of wearing the CozyPhones. If you don’t care about this once you fall asleep, it should not be a big concern. Don’t be surprised however in case you wake up and find the headphone speakers to have moved all the way around. Some users are combating this by using velcro dots to secure the speakers.
One more thing you should be aware of when you are considering the CozyPhones is that they are size specific. That is, one size does not fit everyone. So when you do look up these sleep headphones on Amazon, make sure to check the size guidelines. We have also found the sizes to be a bit larger than expected to make sure you choose a size that will fit you snugly.
Build Quality: The worst problem with sleep headphones is that you might get the cord super tangled by the time you wake up. Its also no fun to be strangled in your sleep by your headphone cord. CozyPhones has a nice design trick to prevent this. The audio cord is double braided which acts as a tangle deterrent. The braiding also makes it tough and ensures that it does not get easily snapped off.
The second main component of the CozyPhones are the speakers. They are very thin and light and you will not feel uncomfortable having them under your head when you sleep on your side. We have talked about the headband already but it is worth mentioning here again that the headband is made of breathable, stretchable material that makes it comfortable to be worn for long periods of time.
Sound Quality: The sound quality from the CozyPhones is more than acceptable. You will hear them alright and the sound reproduction is good enough for the purpose that they serve. One thing to be mindful of is that due to the design of the speakers there will be sound bleed. That is your spouse sleeping next to you will be able to hear some of the sound as well if you keep the sound volume moderately high.
Value for Money: Among sleep headphones and headbands available today, the CozyPhones are among the cheapest and will come in under $20. Given their comfort, build quality and versatility (can also be worn on jogs/hikes), they provide impressive value for money.
AcousticSheep SleepPhones – the sleep headband challenger
Introduction: AcousticSheep SleepPhones were the original innovators when it came to sleep headphones or sleep headbands as we should call them. They have a greater product range and what seems like a slicker product with better marketing. The AcousticSheep SleepPhones, however, are found slightly wanting on a few aspects however which is why we have categorized them as challengers. Read on to find out why
Comfort: The AcousticSheep SleepPhones function as a sleep headband. They go around your forehead and the back of your head at the bottom. Initially, the headband was available only in a fleece material. This works great for sleepers who use it in a cold climate. However, the fleece gets uncomfortably warm when worn for long periods of time in most climates. AcousticSheep has used this feedback to come up with an alternative material which they have termed as breeze. In most climates, we think the breeze fabric is much more suitable as compared to the Fleece.
In terms of size, the AcousticSheep come in different sizes based on the size of your head. It is highly recommended that you measure the size of your head before buying a pair. You don’t want to be stuck with a pair that is too large and keeps slipping off or a pair that is too small and uncomfortably tight around your head.
The speakers within the AcousticSheep are removable so that the headband can be washed. The speakers stay surprisingly in place within the headband once they have been inserted. The speakers are thin but we thought they could have been thinner. CozyPhones have done a better job in this regard.
Build Quality: The construction of the AcousticSheep SleepPhones feels pretty solid. Both the band and the speakers are solidly built. To back this up, AcousticSheep has a 1-year warranty on the product so you can sleep soundly.
The audio cord provided is 4 feet long and this length should be comfortable for most users. It would have been nice if the audio cable had been reinforced and braided as the CozyPhones are.
The speakers are encased in a square piece of fabric. This is a nifty little feature that also prevents them from sliding around too much when you sleep.
Sound Quality: The sound quality of the AcousticSheep SleepPhones is adequate for the purpose that they serve. A nice bonus provided by the company is the provision of free downloadable MP3 files on their website which can help you in falling asleep.
Value for Money: The AcousticSheep SleepPhones are the most expensive product on this list of the best headphones for sleeping 2019. While they have an impressive variety of products, we felt they fell short on a couple of aspects which is why they are not the best value product on this list.
Tooks BAND – Headphone Headband – a long way to go
Introduction: While CozyPhones and AcousticSheep are the top brands when it comes to Sleep headbands, other brands are also trying to make some headway in this space. Enter Tooks BAND. The Tooks headband is slightly different in design when compared to the CozyPhones and the AcousticSheep. They also vary in a couple of other aspects and overall we had to say they have fallen short of the competition. Read on to find out more.
Comfort: The Tooks Band is made of fleece. While the material itself is soft and comfortable, the fleece gets uncomfortably warm after wearing it for a moderate period of time. This was precisely the problem faced by AcousticSheep SleepPhones. They managed to solve for it by introducing a polyester material that was more breathable than fleece. Tooks needs to do the same if they are keen on customers from warm climates being interested in their product.
The other calibration that Tooks needs to make is on the tightness of the band itself. This band is different in design from the AcousticSheep SleepPhones and CozyPhones. The band wraps around your forehead and does not dip down onto the back of your head correctly unlike the SleepPhones and CozyPhones. Thus the band is always riding up or down on either end. Also, the Tooks band feels uncomfortably tight. This is mainly because there is only one size available and they erred on the side of caution. We have heard from customers that the band stays tight despite being worn for multiple weeks.
The speakers within the Tooks band are not as flat as the ones we have seen on the CozyPhones and the SleepPhones. The speakers are also made of hard plastic and this can be a cause of concern if you primarily sleep on your side. The speakers fit quite snugly within the headband and can also be removed conveniently. The stitching across the Tooks band is flat and you definitely won’t be poked by an errant stitch as you sleep.
Build Quality: As we have seen already, the construction of the Tooks headband is solid and a tad too solid at that as the band might feel too tight for most users. The speakers are well made and feel solid. We only wish they could have been a little flatter.
Sound Quality: When the speakers are positioned over your ears correctly the sound quality is quite good and the Tooks headband is probably the best sound quality you can find today when it comes to sleep headphones or sleep headbands.
Value for Money: The Tooks headband is priced in between the AcousticSheep SleepPhones and the CozyPhones. Given the shortcomings of its band material, tightness and fit, we would recommend the SleepPhones and Cozyphones above them for sure.
AGPTEK Sleep Headphones – cool design, good execution
Introduction: So far, we have looked at sleep headphones which are in fact sleep headbands. The AGPTEK sleep headphones though are in a category of their own. Although they are termed sleep headphones they are also an eye mask. We really like some of the nifty features of this product and at its reasonable price can recommend it to those who like to block out sound and light while they are sleeping. Read on to find out more about why the AGPTEK Sleep headphones have made our list of the best headphones for sleeping 2019.
Comfort: The eye mask portion of the AGPTEK sleep headphones is really interesting. The entire product is a headband which also has an eye mask included at the front. The eye mask comes with a detachable blindfold within it which is used to block ambient light. Being detachable means that it can be washed easily. The eye mask is also cold touch when it gets wet so you can wet it slightly and put it on if you want to cool off your eyes. The mask is breathable and quite comfortable. We were impressed at how comfortable it was despite being worn for long periods of time.
The headband has an elastic and fits snugly on the back of your head. Since the elastic is only on one half of the product, it fits well without being too tight.
The speakers within the AGPTEK sleep headphones are quite tiny. This might not be great news if you are looking for good sound volume and quality. However, it works great for a pair of sleep headphones since they feel comfortable even when you sleep on your side for an extended period of time. The speakers can also be secured with velcro which means that they will not move around too much when you sleep.
Build Quality: The build quality of the AGPTEK sleep headphones is impressive. The eye mask has breathable, comfortable fabric. The speakers as we mentioned are small and unobtrusive. Another nice thing is that the audio cord is over 4 feet in length and is made of a braided cable which ensures that it will not tangle or break easily.
Sound Quality: The AGPTEK has speakers which are smaller than what the competition is offering. This makes the sound not as loud as you would expect. However, the provision of velcro to secure the speakers snugly into the headband works great to position them correctly. In the right position, the sound is quite adequate and works well.
Value for Money: The AGPTEK sleep headphones are in fact a combination of sleep headphones and an eye mask. Priced around $20 with impressive features and design, we think this is great value if you like to sleep without sound and light distractions.
C Crane Pillow Speaker – great alternative to headphones
Introduction: We started off this article by promising to review the best headphones for sleeping in 2019. So far we have reviewed sleep headbands and a sleep headband + eye mask. Now, we have a whole different product altogether. The C Crane is a pillow speaker which can reside directly under your ear on the pillow, inside the pillowcase on top of the pillow or inside the pillowcase at the bottom of the pillow. It is a fantastic little product really and works really well for all audio applications where you need to be in bed and are not super concerned about the volume and/or quality of sound. Let’s look at the product in more detail.
Comfort: The first concern that we had with the C Crane speaker was whether it will be comfortable when it sits directly under our ear. To address this, the speaker is enclosed in soft, padded foam. The foam is then covered with a super soft cover. This makes it easy to rest your ear directly on the pillow. However, we still felt this was a bit unnatural while trying to sleep. The best configuration we discovered in terms of comfort and sound volume was having the speaker placed under the pillowcase on the top of the pillow, without the covering of the speaker, slightly offset from the ear resting on the pillow. This provides a good balance of audible and clear sound along with the comfort of not having a speaker poke your ear.
Build Quality: The speaker on the C Crane pillow speaker feels like its well built. With the foam and the cover, however, the sound can be a little muted. The cord provided with the speaker is quite long and you will have no trouble connecting to any devices placed on the side of your bed.
Sound Quality: The sound quality is good on the C Crane pillow speaker and music as well-spoken words are heard clearly. Given its application of being a pillow speaker, the sound volume and quality are not at the same level as say a pair of earbuds but this did not bother us in the primary quest of relaxing before falling asleep while using them. The sound from the speaker is also not loud enough to wake your partner sleeping beside you which is very good.
Value for Money: The C Crane pillow speakers are affordably priced at around $20. They provide a sleep headphone experience unlike a lot of other products. We enjoyed its minimalism and attention to detail in the form of a foam padding and an outer cover. If you are not a fan of wearing headphones, earbuds, headbands or eyemasks while sleeping then take a look at C Crane.
PillowSonic Pillow Speaker – stereo quality sound while sleeping
Introduction: We wrap up our list of the best headphones for sleeping by featuring another pillow speaker, the PillowSonic FM15. Similar to C Crane, PillowSonic has been around for a while when it comes to making pillow speakers. This product, the FM15 comes with some major improvements over its previous versions. Some of them are good while some others might be less good. Let’s take a look at it in more detail.
Comfort: Compared to the C Crane speaker which has only one speaker in it, the PillowSonic has 2 micro speakers within it. This enables the speaker to play stereo sound. Stereo sound is where the two different speakers can have different sounds playing on them. Most music recordings today are made in stereo where different microphones pick up sound meant for each ear. Thus the PillowSonic has better sound quality. This also means, however, that the PillowSonic is a larger product than the C Crane.
The larger size of the PillowSonic means that the speaker can get a little uncomfortable, especially if you are using a thin pillow. We did not find it uncomfortable however and think it should be fine for most users.
Build Quality: PillowSonic has been making constant updates to this product. The current FM15 feels solid. The latest update sees the speaker cover being made of acoustic foam. This helps in keeping the speaker in one place even if you toss and turn. The cord, while not braided, does not feel flimsy in any way. Overall, the build quality is impressive.
Sound Quality: With twin speakers, the PillowSonic has good sound quality. The speaker also features a volume control knob which can be used to turn down the sound as you are closer to sleep. The sound is clear and the FM15 can be used to listen to music, news, and audiobooks without a hitch.
Value for Money: The PillowSonic FM15 is priced around $25. This is very reasonable for a stereo speaker with good sound quality. Unless you sleep on a very thin pillow, the PillowSonic is a good option for a pillow speaker.
Summary – all our picks for best headphones for sleeping
Using Headphones while Sleeping – the FAQs
Why use headphones for sleeping?
If you have never used headphones while sleeping before, it might sound like a strange concept. However, if you have trouble sleeping, trying out headphones is a worthwhile exercise. It does some getting used to but many users report better sleep after finding out what works for them. Some of the reasons you could consider using headphones while sleeping are
- Block external noise
- Block snoring of spouse
- Block noisy neighbors
- Use binaural beats for sleep
- Use ASMR for sleep
- Listen to music before sleep
- Guided meditation before sleep
- Multifunctional nature of headphones
Headphones vs earbuds while sleeping?
We touched upon this topic of headphones vs earbuds while sleeping a little earlier. Just to reiterate, there are a couple of important reasons why we think headphones are better than earbuds while sleeping. Your mileage may vary
- Earbuds have a greater risk of causing hearing damage since they are closer to your hearing apparatus
- Earbuds can press into the soft tissues of your ear causing pain and damage while you are sleeping
Are headphones safe for Sleeping?
In case you are worried about being strangled by your headphone cord while you sleep, we would like to put your mind at ease. Firstly, you are not in any material danger from your headphone cord as you sleep. In case you do have a problem of cord entanglement, it is quite simple to get the cord from under your pillow to over your head. Rest assured, headphones are quite safe to be used while sleeping.
What volume should I use while sleeping with headphones?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called out hearing damage from loud music as one of the major impending health crises. Listening to loud music for long durations is very dangerous and is certainly not recommended for the duration of your sleep. It is highly recommended to keep the overall volume level at 50% or lower when you are using headphones for sleep.
Will sleeping with headphones damage my hearing?
As long as you keep the sound volume at 50% or below, using headphones while sleeping will not damage your hearing.
Will sleeping with headphones block out external sound like snoring?
Currently, there are no specialized sleep headphones which have noise cancelation technology available. So, the answer is that external noise will not be blocked out 100% by sleep headphones.