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What Are Sleep Headphones? (And Which Are Right For You?)

Sleep headphones have been specifically designed and engineered to help you fall asleep and stay on your ears at night.

collage of a headband with sleep app, bose ear buds, and a sleep mask

There are many reasons why you'd want headphones that are specifically designed to be worn while you sleep. Maybe your partner snores doesn't like the idea of a speaker or white noise machine playing. Maybe you live in a city apartment or next to busy road, so it never gets truly quiet at night. Or maybe you just like listening to a podcast, audiobook or soothing sounds while you sleep.

Are Sleeping Headphones for You?

It's true that you could wear any old pair of headphones while you sleep, but they're not specially designed to stay in your ears through the night. And you'll find more times than not that you'll end up waking up with an earbud out of your ears. And unless you don't move around in your sleep, over-ear headphones definitely won't work.

The good news is that there are headphones you can buy that are specifically designed to stay on while you sleep. These "sleep headphones" come in a wide variety of shapes and designs, and some of them have special capabilities, like blocking out light or working with third-party apps that play audio specifically designed to help you sleep through the night.

What to Look for

Headphone Style: You'll notice that there are mainly two styles of sleep headphones out there: headband or earbud. The headband-style sleep headphones are often more comfortable to wear and do a better job at staying in your ears if you move around during the night. The earbud-style sleep headphones often sound better and are more feature-packed for people who like to track their sleeping metrics.

Custom Features: A lot of the more affordable sleep headphones aren't very feature-packed; they work like traditional Bluetooth headphones and relay on you steaming audio from your smartphone throughout the night. Many of the higher-end options have been features like alarms, custom sounds (like rain sounds or white noise) as well as some sleep tracking capabilities.

Price: The price of these sleep headphones can vary drastically. For example, Bose's SleepBuds II, which are jam-packed with features and have been specifically engineered to help you sleep better, cost $250. On the flip side, you can get a basic headband-style pair of sleep headphones for around $20.

Why You Should Trust Us

We've been writing about and reviewing audio products — including speakers, headphones, earbuds and other audio components that run the gamut from consumer to hi-fi — for near-on a decade. We also work with major brands and talk to experts within the audio industry. The below selections of sleep headphones are a combination of products that we've had hands-on experience with as well as products that are made by brands that trusted within the audio space.

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Hoomband Wireless
Bose Sleepbuds II
LC-dolida 3D Wireless Eye Mask
Maxrock Sleeping Earbuds
AcousticSheep SleepPhones Wireless
Sleep tracking metrics
Amazfit ZenBuds
Moonbow Bedphones Wireless
The Best Sleep Apps for Apple Watch
best apple watch apps to sleep with gear patrol lead featured

Apple has a sleep-tracking app for the Apple Watch. But there are some great third-party alternatives, too. If you're comfortable wearing your Apple Watch at night (and charging it some time throughout the day), these are the best options out there.


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