The 8 Best Headphones for Sleeping of 2022, According to Sleep Experts

Bedphones Wireless Sleep Headphones are comfortable for every sleep position

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Just as the right headphones can make getting through your workout more enjoyable, the right headphones for sleeping can help you stay comfortable throughout your REM cycle. If you’ve ever mistakenly fallen asleep with your headphones on and woken up to sore, aching ears, then you know that finding headphones that are designed especially for sleeping is more easily said than done. The most comfortable headphones aren’t always the ones with the best sound quality (and vice versa), but if you need some kind of auditory input to sleep, headphones you can easily snooze in will make a big difference.

Reviewed & Approved

For headphones that don’t interfere with your preferred sleep position, won’t cause ear canal irritation, and can’t mess up your hair while you sleep, we recommend the slim, earpiece design of Bedphones Wireless Sleep Headphones. To maximize both comfort and safety, slip on a headband-style like the SleepPhones Wireless Sleep Headphones by AcousticSheep.

“A noisy sleep environment is not conducive to a good night’s sleep [but] noise canceling headphones can help block disrupting noises in [your] environment,” says Terry Cralle, RN, a certified clinical sleep educator for the Better Sleep Council. “There’s also something called 'audio distraction,' and whether it’s relaxing music, guided meditation, soothing sounds, or white noise, [it can quiet] the racing mind at bedtime that’s all too common.” 

According to our experts, the most important things to look for in sleep headphones are comfort and safety. Sleeping with headphones on (or in) isn’t ideal, but neither is losing copious amounts of sleep because your roommate snores or you’re on vacation. We researched dozens of headphones, including ones specifically designed for sleep and ones that prioritized features like noise cancellation, to find the perfect cross-section of safe, comfortable, and sleep-friendly headphones. 

Here are the best headphones for sleeping, on the market today.

Best Overall: Bedphones Wireless Sleep Headphones

4.8
Bedphones Wireless Sleep Headphones

Dubslabs

Pros
  • Wired and wireless versions

  • Inline controls

  • Lie flat for side sleepers

  • Long battery life

Cons
  • Expensive

The best headphones for sleep need to be three things: a source of high-quality sound for music or ambient noise, comfortable for any sleeping position, and safe to use on a regular basis. Bedphones Wireless Sleep Headphones are all of those, making them our overall favorite for this list.

Rather than fitting in or over your ears, Bedphones are flat speaker discs that sit just outside your ear canal and are able to adjust snugly to your ear with a bendable, flexible memory wire. This allows them to be used in any sleep position—even side sleeping. We also like the fact that the speakers stay outside of your ear canal, making them safer to use nightly than earbuds or noise canceling over-the-head styles.

The Bedphones have inline controls for volume for easy operation, hold a charge for 13 hours (so they’ll carry you through a Saturday-morning sleeping in), and are available in a wireless option to reduce tangling or choking risk during the night.

Price at time of publication: $149 for wireless

Style: Clip on ear | Battery Life: 13 hours | Charge Type: USB

Best Budget: Perytong Bluetooth Wireless Headband Headphones

Perytong Bluetooth Wireless Headband Headphones

Amazon

Pros
  • Comfortable for side sleepers

  • Wide variety of colors

  • Thin speakers

Cons
  • Not adjustable

  • Awkward control placement

If you have difficulty sleeping and a tight budget, we recommend this headband-style set from Perytong. It’s effective and affordable, allowing you to lie down in any sleep position with a pair of ultra-thin speakers positioned comfortably over your ears. 

The headband itself is stretchy and one-size-fits-all, made of breathable and moisture-wicking materials. It’s also wireless with a small module centered on your forehead for easy access to volume control and other playback functions.

Price at time of publication: $40

Style: Headband | Battery Life: 9 hours | Charge Type: DC

Best with Eye Mask: LC-dolida 3D Wireless Eye Mask

LC-dolida 3D Wireless Eye Mask

Amazon

Pros
  • No pressure on eyes

  • Memory foam padding

  • Good audio quality

Cons
  • Placement of mask over eyes won’t always align with ears

  • Disruptive “power off” announcement

When your poor sleep is caused by disruptive noises and environmental light (like the streetlight outside your window or your partner’s reading light), the idea of wearing an eye mask and headphones may seem less than ideal. That’s where the Sleep Mask 3D comes in, offering a way to listen to music or ambient noise and block out distracting light while you sleep. 

Like most other headband-style headphones, this product fits over your head and aligns two thin speakers outside of your ears for uninterrupted sound. And while there are other headphone-slash-eye-mask combinations out there, we like the Sleep Mask 3D for its contoured design: with memory foam padding around the full outline of your eyes, the mask never puts any pressure on your eyes or eyelids.

Price at time of publication: $23

Style: Eye mask | Battery Life: 8-10 hours | Charge Type: USB

Most Comfortable: AcousticSheep Bluetooth SleepPhones

AcousticSheep Bluetooth SleepPhones

Amazon

Pros
  • Choice of breathable or fleece fabric

  • Three different sizes

  • Machine-washable fabric

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not adjustable

Many headband-style headphones have multiple uses (like sleeping, working out, or meditating), and while the SleepPhones by AcousticSheep were designed with sleeping in mind, you may find use for them inside and outside of your bedroom. We like that you can choose between a breathable, cooling fabric or a cozy fleece fabric, depending on your climate or season—both of which are machine-washable. 

These headphones are also completely wireless, with built-in controls that operate volume and playback, for safety while sleeping. The dual speakers are wrapped in soft fabric, making them ultra-comfortable to sleep in, and they can be repositioned to fit correctly over your ears. We appreciate that they’re available in small, medium, and large sizes so you can find the right fit.

Price at time of publication: $100

Style: Headband | Battery Life: 12 hours | Charge Type: USB

Best for Travel: Zihnic Foldable Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Zihnic Foldable Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Amazon

Pros
  • Foldable and include carry case

  • Designed for long hours of use

  • Adjustable

Cons
  • Might not last a long time

  • Not ideal for stomach or side sleepers

Many people utilize headphones for sleeping while traveling, whether it’s snoozing on the plane during long flights or in unfamiliar, noisy hotel rooms. If that’s you, then you know you need a pair of headphones that are easy to toss into a carry-on bag, can last a long time on a single charge, and, if important to you, look like a more standard pair of headphones.

With those factors in mind, we chose the Zihnic Foldable Wireless Bluetooth Headphones as our best for travel; not only do they fold neatly into a secure case (that won’t get crushed in the luggage compartment), they can play music or ambient sounds for up to 14 hours after one 2 ½ hour charge. Other travel-friendly features include a lightweight design made for extended use and device-based buttons for playback and volume that allow these headphones to be completely wire-free and tangle-free on the go. If you’re planning to use them outside of a plane, train, or other mode of travel, it may be difficult for stomach and side sleepers to sleep comfortably in them, since they don’t lay flat against the head.

Price at time of publication: $37

Style: Over-the-head | Battery Life: 14 hours | Charge Type: USB

Best No-Frills: MAXROCK Sleeping Earbuds

MAXROCK Sleeping Headphones

Amazon

Pros
  • Soft, pliable construction

  • Ergonomic, stay-in-place design

Cons
  • Not wireless

Just looking for a comfy pair of headphones to pop in and forget about? These cushy earbuds are a fuss-free option for tuning out while you sleep—literally anyone can use them with no learning curve required, making them a great no-frills and affordable choice.

Made with two silicone eartips for an earplug-style fit, these headphones slide snugly into your ear canal and stay put, offering an extra bit of noise cancellation in the process. Maxrock says the earbuds are ergonomic enough to be worn even while sleeping on your side, and though we don’t love that they’re wired, they do offer the convenience of inline controls for volume and playback.

Price at time of publication: $12

Style: Earbuds | Battery Life: N/A | Charge Type: N/A

Best Noise-Canceling: Sony Noise Canceling Wireless Earbud Headphones

Wireless Earbud Headphones

Sony

Pros
  • Quickly charging

  • Completely wire-free

  • Excellent audio quality

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Less battery life than other models

Sony is synonymous with high-quality audio, and these noise canceling wireless earbuds are no exception: not only do they provide crystal-clear sound when you’re listening to music or ambient noise at night, they offer active noise canceling through noise sensing microphones that detect extraneous sounds in your environment. On top of their slim, in-ear design, they also feature snugly fitting foam tips that go the extra mile when it comes to blocking out noise.

Lastly, we want to highlight how completely wire-free these earbuds are (even though it doesn’t have anything to do with their noise cancelation abilities). Rather than plug these earbuds in for a charge, you place them inside their pod and then set them on a wireless platform to recharge. It’s just one more cool feature of this product.

Price at time of publication: $280

Style: Earbuds | Battery Life: 8 hours | Charge Type: Wireless Qi technology

Best Over-the-Head: Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones

Amazon

Pros
  • Two noise cancellation modes

  • Exceptional audio quality

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not ideal for stomach or side sleepers

Bose and audio devices go together like PB&J, and when it came time to choose between their many different products, we went with their QuietComfort 45 Noise Canceling Headphones as our best over-the-head pick. 

Not only do these headphones offer long-lasting comfort with prolonged wear (eight hours of sleep), they feature two options for noise cancelation that allow you to get a customized listening experience: Quiet Mode fully cancels out extraneous noise, while Aware Mode permits you to hear your music and your environment at the same time. On top of that, you get the usual top-of-the-class audio quality that comes with all Bose products, as well as a whole 24 hours of battery life from a single charge. Just keep in mind that as with all over-the-head styles, stomach and side sleepers might not find them terribly comfortable.

Price at time of publication: $329

Style: Over-the head | Battery Life: 24 hours | Charge Type: USB

Final Verdict

We recommend Bedphones Wireless Sleep Headphones for their  on-ear design, slim-but-powerful speakers, and easy adjustability. If you already wear an eye mask to bed and are looking for a pair of headphones to add to the mix, we like the Sleep Mask 3D Wireless Eye Mask, because it effectively combines the two.

How We Selected the Best Headphones for Sleeping

To find the best headphones for sleeping, we spoke with sleep specialists, audiologists, and otolaryngologists to identify the most important things to consider when choosing the right pair. They all suggested prioritizing comfort but noted that comfort itself is pretty individual and will need to take your preferred sleep position into account. They stressed the importance of using sleep headphones safely in both the short and long term, as well as how to decide whether noise canceling headphones are the best choice for you.

We researched top headphones—some designed specifically for sleep and some not—that emphasized comfort, adjustability, and safety. We looked for a variety of different headphones styles to accommodate all kinds of sleepers in all kinds of environments in order to come up with our list of recommendations.

What to Look for in Headphones for Sleeping

Comfort

All three of our experts said that comfort should be a major priority in your product choice, but they noted that comfort will vary pretty widely across all users. The quickest way to figure out whether a pair of headphones will be comfortable for you is to consider your personal headphone preferences and your typical sleep position, says Cralle. 

Style

Here are some of the most common headphone styles, along with their compatibility with back, side, and stomach sleepers.

  • In-ear. Also known as "earbuds," these headphones are small enough to be inserted inside your ears. They work fine for back sleepers, and some flatter styles may work well for side or stomach sleepers, but keep in mind that not all will be compatible with sleeping on the side or stomach, depending on their profile. 
  • Over-the-head. The traditional style of headphones, over-the-head options include an adjustable band that sits on top of your head and some kind of ear cups that surround most or all of the outer surface of your ear. Because these headphones stick out from your head, they generally only work well for back sleepers unless you buy a special pillow with a designed cut-out. 
  • On-ear. On-ear headphones are similar to over-the-ear styles, but they usually don’t fully cup or surround your entire ear; instead, there’s an attachment that hooks over the back of your ear to clip in place while the speaker portion of the headphone sits directly over the opening of your ear. As long as these are flat and thin enough, most types of sleepers will be able to wear them.
  • Headbands. If you can wear a headband at night to sleep, you can wear headphones built into a headband; these stretchy, breathable bands slide over the top of your head and position extra-thin speakers over your ears. They combine the comfort of over-the-ear headphones with the low profile of other styles and usually work for all types of sleepers.
  • Eye mask. If you need ambient noise and an ultra-dark sleep environment, a headband-style pair of headphones made to fit over your eyes and block out excess light is a good two-for-one option. These typically can be worn with all sleep positions.

Safety

When it comes to safely sleeping with headphones, Arnaldo Rivera, MD, an otolaryngologist with University of Missouri Health Care, says there are two main things to consider: the pressure put on the ear canal, and the maximum volume. 

In a 2017 study in Noise Health, researchers found that adolescents who regularly listened to music at or above 85 decibels through headphones had poorer hearing thresholds; the outcomes were worse for adolescents who listened to music with headphones for more than three hours each day, including during sleep. It may be wise to choose headphones with a lower maximum volume setting so the volume can’t inadvertently be raised too high while you sleep.

You should also opt for wireless headphones, not just for convenience but also for safety, says Cralle, who emphasizes that sleeping with cords near your head and neck is a risk that should be completely avoided in children and isn’t particularly safe for adults, either.

Noise Cancellation

Noise canceling headphones are popular and may be useful for many people who sleep with headphones on—in fact, noise cancellation may be the biggest reason why you want to sleep with headphones. But you should remember that they block out all types of noise, not just the annoying or distracting types.

“Noise canceling headphones isolate [users] from the outside world and can help in areas with a lot of background noise, but they can also make it difficult or [even] impossible to hear those around you,” says Dr. Rivera. 

In other words, if you are a parent or caregiver who needs to be alert enough to respond to someone in your home during the night, noise canceling headphones may make that difficult.

“I would not recommend [them] while sleeping or in any environment in which you must be able to [respond to an] emergency situation,” says Rebecca Martin, AuD, director of Audiology at Houston Methodist Hospital. “You want to be able to hear what’s happening in your environment around you to protect yourself and others.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is sleeping with headphones bad for you?

    We’ll be honest with you: it can be. Of course, there are side effects and risks to being chronically fatigued, as well, so if sleeping with headphones is the only way for you to obtain a healthy amount of sleep each night, then you’ll have to weigh that cost-benefit analysis yourself. 
    Here are the most common risks to sleeping with headphones, per our experts:

    • Hearing loss and tinnitus. If you regularly listen to music for eight hours or more at higher volumes, such as those over 85 decibels, says Dr. Rivera, you risk long-term damage to your hearing.
    • Infections. “Having headphones on for long periods of time can trap bacteria or moisture in the ear, which can cause infections,” says Dr. Martin. Otitis externa, an infection of the external ear canal, is common with overuse of headphones.  
    • Wax buildup. According to Cralle, wearing headphones or earbuds can result in compromised air circulation in and around the ears, resulting in a buildup or even impaction of ear wax in the ear canal.
    • Sores. Both Drs. Rivera and Martin warn that the skin in or around the ears can become irritated with long-term wear of headphones, resulting in painful sores. 
    • Loss of awareness. As we mentioned, some headphones will make it more difficult for you to be aware of your surroundings, which can pose a danger if something in your environment occurs during sleep (like a fire) or if someone in your care experiences an emergency.
    • Disrupted sleep schedule. While some types of abstract or ambient music may help you relax and fall asleep, listening to other types of music is associated with poorer sleep outcomes, due to the brain’s tendency to continue “processing musical melodies” during sleep, according to a 2021 study published in Psychological Science.
  • Can kids wear headphones while sleeping?

    When it comes to wearing headphones while sleeping, the experts we spoke to don’t recommend this habit for children. Not only is there a good chance that kids and teens will listen to music or ambient noise at unhealthy volumes, says Dr. Martin, but children are also more prone to ear infections than adults: “[We] want to keep their ear canals as open as possible to allow the ears to breathe,” she says.

Why Trust Verywell Health

Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017—everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Widen SE, Båsjö S, Möller C, Kähäri K. Headphone listening habits and hearing thresholds in Swedish adolescents. Noise Health. 2017;19(88):125-132. doi:10.4103/nah.NAH_65_16

  2. Scullin MK, Gao C, Fillmore P. Bedtime music, involuntary musical imagery, and sleep. Psychol Sci. 2021;32(7):985-997. doi:10.1177/0956797621989724