If you're on the hunt for the best sleep headphones, chances are you require a nonpharmacologic intervention to help you fall or stay asleep. Even more vital than a balanced diet or regular exercise, sleep is your body's time to heal and repair itself. And, not having enough of it can lead to weight gain, poor memory and concentration, and a greater risk for illnesses.
We've gathered the best sleep headphones for sleeping to help you catch some Zs. Unlike your standard noise-cancelling headphones (although some do feature ANC tech), these are geared specifically towards wearing at nighttime to soothe you into slumber. Our top pick right now is the SleepPhones Effortless as our top choice owing to its excellent combination of performance, comfort, and features. Whether you're a side-sleeper looking for a thin headband, or someone who moves a lot when sleeping and needs a wireless option, our picks are guaranteed to drift you off to sweet slumber in no time.
You might also want to check out our guides to the best white noise machine and the best weighted blanket, both of which have been known to help fight insomnia and improve your sleep habits. And you can track any improvements with one of the best sleep trackers. Before we kick off our list of the best sleep headphones, we'll start with some advice on the features you should be looking for...
How to choose the best sleep headphones for you
Being comfortable in bed is key to falling asleep. So, when choosing the best headphones for sleep, find one that doesn't get in the way of your comfort.
Better yet, find the kind of headphones that suits the way you sleep. If you're a side-sleeper, you might prefer a headband that's not only thin enough, but also has plush padding around the speakers so your ears won't suffer. If your body temperature tends to rise during sleep, a pair of earbuds might be a better option to help you stay cool. And if you move around a lot, perhaps you should skip the wired options altogether.
Much like regular headphones, the best headphones for sleeping come in wired and wireless options. Wireless ones are, perhaps, the most ideal, as you won't have to worry about getting tangled in cables whilst you're off to slumberland. However, if you tend to stay in the same position when sleeping, the 3.5mm audio route might just give you better audio quality.
If you do pick a wireless pair of headphones, make sure to check its battery's longevity as well as charging time. You only technically need 8 hours of battery life to get a full night's sleep, and many headphones for sleep offer up to 10 hours and take about two to three hours to charge. If you prefer not to charge your headphones every single day, you might want to look for something with up to 20 hours of battery life.
Most sleep headphones today aren't as feature-rich as regular headphones. However, there are a few bells and whistles that might prove instrumental to getting you that good night's rest you've been missing. That includes active noise cancellation, relaxation sounds that you can play through an app, and an included eye mask. If you have sensitive skin, choose a mask that is hypoallergenic or moisture-wicking.
The best headphones for sleep you can buy right now
A SleepPhones headband tops our list of the best headphones for sleeping not just because it's the most popular out there that comes from a trusted brand, but also for its value. SleepPhones Effortless may cost a bit more than the original, but that higher price tag comes with all the features of the classic model alongside a few extras – namely, wireless Bluetooth connectivity for cable-free convenience and an induction charging base that's magnetized to keep it in place.
That means that you won't have to worry about getting tangled in a 3.5mm cable while you sleep, and you can simply place the headband back on its base for charging in the morning. That's on top of the up to 10 hours of battery life and up to 10-metre range it offers. True to its name, the SleepPhones Effortless is clearly all about making your life, well, effortless.
KoKoon's Noise-Cancelling Sleep Headphones might not be for the economical with that premium price tag, but if you've got deep pockets, it's certainly worth the splurge for all the bells and whistles it brings to the table. Perhaps its top features are its active noise cancellation, which is a boon if you sleep next to a loud snorer, and active white noise. With the KoKoon app, it will even track your sleep, sense motion and disturbance to learn about your sleeping patterns, and give you access to sleep sounds and aids.
All that and more certainly makes these headphones worth shelling out a bit of cash on. That is, as long as you're not a side sleeper. Unfortunately, unlike the thin sleep headbands on this list, this one's designed like traditional over-ear headphones. Only supine sleepers need apply.
CozyPhones are, for lack of a better word, cosy. These on-ear sleep headbands are made of plush fabric and a cool mesh lining that makes them extremely comfortable, perfect to sleep in. However, the CozyPhones Sleep Headphone's biggest sleeping point might just be its price. It's certainly a bargain, and just the ticket if you're looking for a budget solution to your slumber blues.
Of course, at that price range, you're bound to get a few drawbacks, and this one's got its fair share. Its 3.5mm cable is a bit short. It's been known to shift around, especially if you move a lot when you sleep. And, the sound quality isn't anything to write home about. Still, if you're looking to save some money while also getting your full eight hours' sleep, you can't go wrong with this.
If the SleepPhones Effortless sounds most appealing to you, but you're still working with a limited budget, then perhaps the SleepPhones Classic is a much better option. It's essentially the same sleep headband made of the same breathable, hypoallergenic, moisture-wicking fabric for comfort, only in wired form. So, while you're not getting Bluetooth connectivity and wireless charging, you're also paying much less. You need not worry about about the 3.5mm audio cable either, as this has a flexible cord that's four feet long – enough to let you stay connected to your phone without needing it to be that close to you. Of course, there's not much here in terms of features unlike Effortless, but that's hardly a deal-breaker. As long as you don't mind going with the wired option.
Unknown brands on Amazon aren't always the most trustworthy, but LCDolida's received top marks on its wireless sleep headphones that also moonlights as an eye mask. It's cheap, but for the price, it's surprisingly feature-rich, with Bluetooth connectivity, more than 10 hours of battery life, an adjustable headband, and an eye mask that blocks out all the light. That's quite a mouthful for something that sets you back so little cash. Much like other budget options, it's also got a couple of flaws. There's no padding over the speakers, which can be slightly uncomfortable, and the sound quality isn't good. But, overall, this is an excellent sleep headphones if you want to block out your two senses for the sake of sleep.
If wearing headbands aren't your thing, then a pair of ear hook headphones might be more your speed, especially if you tend to get hot when your sleeping. Dudslabs Bedphones might just be a better solution for you, though that isn't really what sets these apart from everything else on the list. More affordable than KoKoon's headphones, these are not only feature-rich, but also come with a couple of accessories – namely an eye mask and a travel case or pouch.
As far as its features, it has memory wire ear hooks that contour to the shape of your ears over time, helps relieve tinnitus, and comes with a sleep sounds playlist. It doesn't matter whether you're a side or back sleeper, or whether you stay still or move around a lot. These Bedphones have a patented on-ear design that allows it to lie flat between your ears and your pillow, and come in wired and wireless models.
You could have a pair of headphones for your active endeavours and another for sleep, or you could go the minimalist route and use one for both. The Navly V5.0 Sports Headband Headphones lets you have your cake and eat it too, audio-wise, with its breathable, stretchable fabric that stops sweat in its tracks and stays in place when you're asleep. It's wireless, which makes it perfect for when you're working out and don't want cables to get in your way, and it's got a range of up to 13 metres, so you don't have to be joined at the hip with your phone.
The battery life could be better – eight hours is hardly enough for daily and nightly use – as could its sound quality. But, such a low price, it might not really matter.
While not exactly headphones, QuietOn earbuds have a place in this list thanks to its headphone features. These are certainly not for consumers who want to listen to a podcast before bed or have music playing while they sleep. However, these aren't your run-of-the-mill earbuds, either. They boast active noise cancelling, and have silencing and hearing modes that you can toggle with a push of a button. For a pair of earbuds, that's pretty smart. If you don't care to listen to music and just want to drown out the sounds of a busy street outside or your loudly snoring partner, these might just be the best headphones for sleeping for you. Even if, again, they're not exactly headphones.