Why would anyone wear headphones or earbuds to bed? Well, apart from the fact that we are all different, so many things, including the presence or absence of sound, can deprive us of sleep. Some of us need utter silence to get to sleep while others would prefer some relaxing background sounds.
For some people, listening to gentle sounds in bed can calm their minds and help relax them to sleep. Others need to keep out external noises. To achieve any of these, you’ll need a good pair of sleep headphones. Unfortunately, finding a good quality pair that fits your needs, preferences, and budget might not be that easy. Factors like noise cancellation, comfort, sound quality, connectivity, battery life, and price should be taken into consideration.
With this in mind, here’s a guide to help you get the most suitable pair of sleeping headphones or earbuds for you.
Types of Sleeping Headphones
Sleeping headphones are classified according to their construction. To make the best choice, you need to decide which type will suit your sleeping habits the most. Here are a few of the different types available:
Over-the-ear sleep headphones: In general, this type of headphones offers the highest sound quality. But comfort is also a top consideration for many of us. Over-the-ear headphones are big enough to fit the whole ear and can provide maximum comfort if you sleep on your back. However, their large size and potential head-warming effects make them less ideal for side sleepers. Despite these issues, some over-the-ear headphones are actually great for sleeping. The Kokoon’s EEG headphones, for instance, is specifically designed to be worn in bed.
In-ear phones: Also known as earbuds, these are currently the commonest and most widely used type of headphones. Thanks to their lightweight, small construction, these earbuds can be used during sleep without issue and provide the best sound isolation at the same time. However, you need to ensure a perfect fit to benefit from the good sound quality offered, particularly if you tend to toss and turn while asleep. Your sleeping position is also worth considering. If you tend to sleep on your side, some models can dig into your ear while you sleep. Additionally, in-ear phones can prove unhygienic if worn for several hours every night because they could increase the risk of ear infections, particularly those caused by bacteria.
Headband phones: This type comes in the form of an ordinary headband, albeit one embedded with several high-quality speakers. Headband phones offer the best level of comfort, making them an excellent choice even for side sleepers. Although they are designed for comfortable all-night wear, their speakers can shift position during the night, compromising the quality of sound. Additionally, you’ll want to consider your choice of material if you’re the sweaty type. Avoiding fleece-type fabrics and choosing a lighter material instead might be best.
Our Choices for the Best Sleep Headphones
Acoustic Sheep SleepPhones Classic
The SleepPhones Classic has been described as the world’s most comfortable sleeping headphones for good reason. The patented headband design features ultra-thin speakers that can be removed as well as a lightweight, breathable, and hypoallergenic fabric. In addition to that, the headband is soft and padded to ensure the speakers do not compromise your comfort as you sleep. Whether you’re a side sleeper or not, this headband is perfectly designed for all-night wear.
Besides coming in three different sizes, the gadget’s headband-like construction offers a great fit for any head size and shape, further eliminating the issue of discomfort. It can also serve as a sleep mask when pulled over the eyes. The wired version features a regular 3.5mm audio jack. Although it does not require any batteries, the wire might get tangled at night. If you don’t like the idea of cables, there’s a wireless version available, one that can connect to any Bluetooth-enabled device, be it a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Bose Quiet Comfort 20 (QC20)
These acoustic noise-cancelling earbuds provide an entirely new level of functionality. They can block out an unrivaled amount of external noises. Tests have shown that the QC20 can reduce noise levels by as much as 45bd in some frequencies, which is the difference between a library and the inside of an airplane.
Added to the company’s renowned active noise-cancelling technology, the QC20 features custom designed StayHear+ ear tips that fit snugly into the ear. The earbud tips are also composed of a soft silicone, as a result of which users won’t have any overheating issues. With three sizes included in the packaging, you’re sure of an ideal fit. These sleep earbuds are the most comfortable in-ear phones for side sleeping.
The noise cancellation is achieved in three ways. First, each tight-fitting earbud will form a seal over your ear canal, physically blocking some external sounds. Next, lower frequency sound waves will be erased by Bose’s active noise-cancelling technology. Music is the last noise-blocking element. When played through the earphones, music acts as a barrier, completely shutting out external sounds.
For added convenience, the QC20 comes with aware, a feature that allows you to hear some external sounds. You’ll find this useful if you have kids that need listening out for while in bed.
Although these sleep earbuds are quite expensive, they are the best noise cancelling headphones on the market.
Panasonic Slim Clip-on Sleep Headphones
You might be the type that likes to wear headphones both in and out of bed. If you are, the Panasonic Slim Clip-on might be just what you need. These soft, foam-covered earphones feature a super-thin profile and a patented design that allows them to lie flat against the ear for added comfort. The cable is less likely to get tangled while you’re asleep if you wear it down your back. As the most comfortable on-ear sleeping phones, this might be the best option if you don’t like the idea of wearing earbuds or over-the-ear headphones to bed. With over-ear rubber hooks to hold the earphones in place, they are also suitable for travel and sports use.
TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Earphones
We felt the need to include a cheaper alternative to the relatively expensive Bose QC20. Besides its machined aluminum construction, the TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Earphones feature an inline remote and can provide 15 hours of continuous audio. Although these earphones do not in any way match the Bose QC20, they are worth looking at if you need active noise cancelling at a more economical price point.
One thing’s for sure, whether it takes total silence or some relaxing background sounds to get you to sleep, you’ve got plenty of helpful options available. However, picking the right fit for your ears, sleeping habit, and preferences goes a long way towards ensuring you make the most out of your gadget. Although we’ve reviewed nothing but the best of the best in this article, we hope you’ll find this guide useful.
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