The 5 Best Headphones for Sleeping in 2021 [Buyer’s Guide]

Having trouble falling asleep is pretty common nowadays. People have tried everything, from lavender teas to exercising right before bed. However, a surprising yet very effective way to fall asleep has surged recently, which is to listen to something soothing.

While it may sound counterproductive at first, listening to calm music, audiobooks, ASMR, meditation tracks, and podcasts seem to have helped many people fall asleep.

However, not every pair of headphones on the market is suitable to wear while sleeping. So, we’ve compiled a list of the best headphones for sleeping that have the necessary features to aid your sleeping.

Comparison Table

ModelFitNoise cancellation
Bose QuietComfort 20In-earActive + Passive
Shure SE215In-earPassive
MaxrockIn-earPassive
CozyPhonesOn-earNone
AcousticSheepOver-earNone

The 5 Best Headphones for Sleeping in 2021

Here are the best models for sleepers that love to listen to music, audiobooks, or meditation tracks in high-quality, comfortable headphones.

1. Bose QuietComfort 20 – Best for Apple Users

Bose QuietComfort 20

If you have an Apple device or more that you want to get the best out of, you won’t find a better option than the Bose QuietComfort 20 noise-canceling earbuds for sleeping.

As their name suggests, these earbuds are quite comfortable. They come with three pairs of StayHear+ tips to offer you a custom fit, which is essential for earbuds. Plus, they come with a carrying case and a convenient clothing clip for more secure use. Their compatibility with most iPod, iPhone, and iPad models is pretty helpful for Apple fans.

Let’s jump into what makes them so special. These earbuds have both passive and active noise cancellation. Their tight fit creates a physical seal that blocks out external noise. Also, they employ the Bose noise-canceling technology that counteracts outside noise.

What if you need to be aware of your surroundings? The aware mode has your back because you can switch it on whenever you need it.

Although they’re wired headphones, the ANC needs charging. Before you fret, note that the battery life is pretty long at 16 hours on a single charge.

Another convenient feature is the existence of an inline mic and remote that allows you to turn the headphones on/off, control playback, adjust modes, turn the aware mode on/off, and more. Thanks to the Bose Active EQ and TriPort technology, the sound is clear, crisp, and lifelike.

However, these earbuds are pretty expensive and can only be used with Apple devices.

Pros:

  • Active noise cancellation with long battery life
  • Aware mode
  • Three ear tips
  • Carrying case
  • Clear sound
  • Clothing clip
  • Inline mic and remote

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not for Android users

Final Verdict

The Bose QuietComfort 20 are the best noise-canceling earbuds for sleeping for Apple users because they’re compatible with all Apple devices. Also, they employ both ANC and PNC, and have an aware mode.

2. Shure SE215 – Best Earbuds

Shure SE215

Earbuds, like any other type of headphones, have their devoted fans. However, not all of them would work for your sleeping routine. So, we’ve looked everywhere and found that the Shure SE215 earbuds are the ideal ones for sleeping.

You can immediately tell that these earbuds took a lot of time in terms of design. You can choose from three color options. Also, they’re lightweight, low-profile headphones that come in a carrying case. Their cable is durable enough to handle your tossing and turning.

Also, they have an over-the-ear configuration that prevents tangles, which is a must-have for earbuds that you’ll fall asleep wearing.

Plus, they come with three sizes of foam and soft flex sleeves, which puts you in charge of the fit and materials that you put inside your ears.

In addition, all of their sleeves are sound isolating, blocking up to 37 dB of ambient noise. So, you won’t have to spend another night dealing with your partner snoring.

Their sound quality is impressive for earbuds. The sound is detailed enough to have professional musicians and ASMR addicts as devoted fans.

That being said, no headphones are 100% perfect. While these ones aren’t expensive since they’re under 100, they’re still not affordable. Also, they tend to stop working in a few years.

Pros:

  • Over-the-ear fit to avoid tangling
  • Three color options
  • Detailed sound
  • Sound isolating sleeves
  • Carrying case
  • Durable cable
  • Foam and soft flex sleeves

Cons:

  • Not the most affordable
  • May stop working after two years

Final Verdict

The Shure SE215 earbuds are the best earbuds for sleeping in terms of noise-isolating fit, anti-tangle design, rich sound, and convenience.

3. Maxrock – Budget Choice

Maxrock

Sometimes it looks like the right headphones have to be pricey, which is not true. There are plenty of options out there that can help you enjoy sleeping on a budget, but there’s no better option than the Maxrock earbuds.

These earbuds, which are the most affordable on our list, come in a wide selection of colors. Also, they have double-flange silicone ear tips that enable them to fit snugly. This double-layered fit provides excellent passive noise cancellation that blocks ambient noise so that you can focus on your music.

Moreover, they enjoy wide compatibility, as they connect to all 3.5mm audio cable jacks. They also pride themselves on their very easy-to-use one-button controls; you can use it to play music, pause it, and control calls. Did we mention calls? Yes, because they have a built-in mic, as well.

What about how they actually sound? Their sound quality is amazing for their price and job, which is to help you fall asleep. The highs are clear and crisp, while the lows are good enough but not overpowering.

Of course, such good earbuds had to have some downsides. Firstly, while they fit snugly, they only do that to small to medium ears; larger ears will find these earbuds too small and loose. Secondly, these earbuds aren’t long-lasting; how long they may last will vary, depending on your use.

Pros:

  • Most affordable
  • Wide compatibility
  • Multiple color options
  • One-button controls
  • Noise-isolating earplugs
  • Built-in mic

Cons:

  • Not suitable for large ears
  • Not durable

Final Verdict

If you want to fall asleep listening to music on a budget, the Maxrock earbuds are the best affordable earbuds for sleeping. They’re incredibly affordable, compatible with everything, and physically isolate ambient noise.

4. CozyPhones – Best Headband

CozyPhones

If you’re looking for something new in the world of headphones, you’ve come to the right place. The CozyPhones headband headphones are the ideal option for sleepers who hate bulky headphones and earbuds.

The highly affordable headphones come in a convenient travel bag. They’re made of lightweight lycra and have moisture-wicking mesh liners so that your ears and head can breathe while you’re sleeping. Also, if you hate bulky over-ear headphones, you’ll love these thin speakers. They’re so thin you will forget they’re there.

Besides, the cord is pretty durable, and so is the plug, which is exactly what you need from a device that you’ll use while potentially pressing too hard.

Moreover, the headband is machine washable. All you need to do is remove the speakers and throw the headband in the machine. This is definitely useful for “sweaty” sleepers. Plus, they sound good for their price.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind. There is no versatility in size options, so they may be too loose for you. Speaking of looseness, this headband tends to slip down to the eyes when the user is asleep, which means it doesn’t fit snugly. Understandably, there’s not much noise cancellation here, so we wouldn’t recommend these headphones in noisy environments.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Machine washable headband
  • Durable cord and plug
  • Breathable materials
  • Carrying case
  • Multiple color options

Cons:

  • No versatility in sizes
  • Headband slips down to the face
  • No noise cancellation

Final Verdict

The CozyPhones headband headphones are the best headband option for sleepers.

5. AcousticSheep – Most Customizable

AcousticSheep

Do you want a pair of sleeping headphones that you can customize according to your likes and needs? The AcousticSheep headband headphones come in a variety of options so that you can pick and choose.

First of all, unlike the CozyPhones, these ones come in a variety of sizes, which is great. Also, they’re offered in a wide array of colors because sometimes you want to match your PJs with your headband, and that’s okay. 

Moreover, they let you choose between two fabrics: fleece and “breeze”, which is a more breathable option. Both options are hypoallergenic, so there are no worries about itching or discomfort. It can even double as an eye mask for even better sleep. Like the CozyPhones, the headband is machine washable.

The headphone speakers themselves are ultra-thin and flat, meaning that there’s no bulkiness to worry about. Also, the cord is pretty sturdy, despite the affordable price.

That being said, there are a few things to note. Like the CozyPhones, noise cancellation is almost non-existent. Also, the sound quality isn’t bad, but it’s nothing special. Moreover, you may have to readjust the speakers constantly.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Multiple color, size, and fabric options
  • Machine washable
  • Breathable and hypoallergenic
  • Can double as an eye mask

Cons:

  • No noise cancellation
  • Average sound quality
  • Speakers have to be readjusted constantly

Final Verdict

The AcousticSheep headband headphones are the most customizable option for sleeping, thanks to their variety of colors, sizes, and materials.

How to Pick a Pair of Headphones for Sleeping

If you need guidance on what type to choose, the features to look for, and whether you need noise-canceling headphones for sleeping, continue reading this section.

Type

Earbuds or In-ear

Some people feel that having anything outside their ears feels too bulky to sleep with, so they opt for earbuds or in-ear headphones. They tend to be pretty affordable, so why not? Also, their compact size and ease of storage make most people gravitate towards them for sleeping, walking, exercising, and everything else.

However, you have to ensure that you bought a pair that fits perfectly; otherwise, things can get pretty uncomfortable, especially since you insert them inside the ear canals.

On-ear

On-ear headphones lie in the middle of headphone design. They’re neither as bulky as over-ear headphones nor as potentially uncomfortable as earbuds. As their name suggests, they lay on top of the ear, which makes them the most comfortable. We recommend looking for the thinnest on-ear headphones possible that are still high-quality.

Over-ear

Over-ear headphones are your traditional choice that envelops your ears, thus isolating the sound perfectly and providing excellent sound quality.

Of course, we have to address that they may be the wrong option for people who tend to sleep on their sides, as they may break the earcups. However, back sleepers won’t face any problems.

Headbands

Headband headphones use on-ear or over-ear earcups for a comfortable, non-awkward fit. They can work for all kinds of sleepers: side, back, and stomach. Plus, their design minimizes ambient noise by a lot. They also keep your hair and sweat out of your face, meaning that you can wear them while working out, as well.

The best thing about headband headphones is that they’re hygienic because you always remove the speakers and wash the headbands themselves. Just make sure to look for the right breathable materials that also feel comfortable on the skin.

Also, note that while their whole design is sleeping-optimized, their sound quality isn’t the best compared to others.

Sleep Masks

Just like headbands, sleep masks are an excellent choice for sleeping because they’re a 2-in-1 option. Eye masks are already a part of many people’s sleeping routine because they gently keep the eyes closed and block ambient light, which leads to falling asleep quicker.

So, what’s better than an eye mask than one that enables you to listen to music without any extra effort from your end? Also, like headbands, you can remove the speakers from the mask to wash it safely.

Noise cancellation

Noise-canceling headphones for sleeping are the trend right now, but what does noise cancellation mean? And is it all the same?

Active

Active noise cancellation or ANC refers to the technology itself, meaning that the software counters ambient noise. The technology can be relatively expensive, but it’s highly effective, which makes it the ideal choice for sleepers who have to deal with a lot of ambient noise, such as noisy neighbors or nearby snorers.

Passive

Over-ear and in-ear headphones tend to offer passive noise cancellation, which is how they physically block out external noise by either enveloping the ears or fitting inside their canals, leaving no room for ambient noise. You won’t find much passive noise cancellation from on-ear headphones.

Connections

Wired

Wired headphones are the traditional, reliable choice that has been around for a while. Their sound quality is superior to their wireless counterparts, and you don’t have to worry about whether you’ve charged them or not. Plus, they tend to be the most affordable. However, dealing with cables tangling while you’re trying to fall asleep isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Wireless

Now that we’re approaching 2021, it’s clear that wireless headphones have taken over our lives. Why wouldn’t they? They’re quite convenient. It will definitely feel good to fall asleep without a wiry mess. That being said, wireless headphones run on batteries that need charging, so keep battery life in mind whenever you’re shopping for a wireless pair.

Sound

You may think that sound quality doesn’t matter because you will fall asleep anyway. False. Poor sound quality may actually make it harder to fall asleep because it’s distracting.

Mostly, sleeping headphones tend to focus on crispy vocals, which is important if you’re listening to audiobooks, guided meditations, or ASMR. On the other hand, bass-focused headphones are not your friend when you’re trying to sleep, so filter them out of your choices.

Comfort

What’s the point of wearing anything when you’re sleeping if it’s not comfortable? Fabrics need to be breathable, while on-ear and over-ear headphones must be lightweight enough not to weigh your head down. Also, choosing the right size for your earbuds is essential; they should fit snugly, not too tight or loose.

Durability

If you’re going to be tossing and turning all night with a pair of headphones that isn’t strong enough, you’ll wake up to broken headphones. Find a pair that feels sturdy enough to handle your kind of sleep. Durable cords are a must if it’s a wired pair.

Final Thoughts

We hope that our reviews of the best headphones for sleeping have helped you make an informed decision. If you still need some extra help, here are the highlights.

The Bose QuietComfort 20 earbuds stand out as our top choice because they are comfortable and sound exactly the way premium earbuds do. They also offer active and passive noise cancellation with an aware mode that keeps you up to date with your environment.

Next in line, the Shure SE215 earbuds are the best for sleeping because they offer pretty good sound isolation, their wire is tangle-free, and their sound is detailed.

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