The 7 Best Headphones to Buy for Sleeping in 2018

Drown out the rest of the world and get some much-needed shut-eye

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds

4.3

If you live in a bustling city or next to a snoring loved one, noise-canceling headphones are a worthy investment. Few products can compete with the Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds. These wireless earbuds come pre-loaded with ten soothing soundtracks to tune out the distractions that keep you awake. Select your ideal sleep settings with the Bose’s mobile app for Android and iOS: control volume, choose a sleep-track, and even set an alarm to wake up without disturbing the person next to you.

Each Bose Sleepbud package comes with three sizes (S/M/L) to accommodate ears of all shapes, and the noise-isolating tips provide maximum comfort, even for side-sleepers. The Bose Sleepbuds have a 16-hour battery life, and charging is as simple as setting them in their travel case/charger. The Sleepbud case also holds one additional charge when unplugged, which is perfect for traveling.

Best for Comfort: CozyPhones Sleep Headphones

While several manufacturers produce well-priced, headband-style headphones for sleeping, the CozyPhones have just enough extras to make them our top overall pick. Made of lycra, they’re more breathable and comfortable in warm rooms than fleece-based alternatives​ and they adjust easily to a wider range of head sizes.

The five-foot braided cable is long enough to keep your phone on a bedside table, while not being so long it gets completely tangled when you sleep. The inclusion of a travel bag is a nice touch, especially given the low cost of the headphones.

The speaker drivers are flat and just 1/8" thick, which makes the Cozyphones significantly more comfy than any in-ear headphone if you sleep on your side. That comfort does come at the cost of sound quality, though — while it’s fine for listening to music or ambient noise to get you off to sleep, you’ll want to use something else for daytime listening.

Best Multi-Purpose: MAXROCK Sleeping Headphones

Like all the others on this list, the MAXROCK headphones will help you fall asleep, but that’s not all they’re good for. The built-in microphone also lets you make and take calls on most smartphones and the snug earbuds stay in place even during vigorous exercise.

The multi-purpose button makes it easy to answer calls and, more importantly, to pause, play and skip tracks without having to flail around for your phone in the dark.

The headphones come in a small range of colors and are surprisingly durable for the price, with strong silicone earbuds that can handle plenty of abuse. They do a good job of blocking outside noise​ and barely protrude outside the ear canal when inserted, making them more comfortable to lie on than most earphones.

As usual with this type of headphone, the 1/4” drivers are better for spoken word or ambient sounds than music with thumping bass.

Best Budget: Koss “The Plug” In-Ear Headphones

Most of these headphones won’t break the bank, but this earplug-like Koss model is ideal for those on a budget. It’s an unusual design, but the memory foam tips keep the headphones seated firmly inside the ear canal. That snugness helps block out more sound than the competition, while still staying comfortable even for side-sleepers.

The headphones come with extra tips — surprising at this price point — and they’re small and light enough to easily drop in a pocket or overnight bag as needed. Available in a range of colors, there’s little not to like about these great, low-cost sleep aids.

Best Clip-On: Panasonic RP-HS46E-K Slim

If you find earbuds too painful to wear all night, and headbands too hot and sweaty, take a look at the Panasonic RP-HS46E-K Slim instead.

The flat drivers clip over each ear, and while you’ll still notice them when lying on your side, the low profile makes them more comfortable than you’d expect. Some side-sleepers just place a single earphone between their ear and the pillow rather than clipping it on, so they can roll away after falling asleep.

Fairly durable for the price, the headphones come with a four-foot cable. As with many of the other inexpensive models listed here, they come with a standard 3.5mm plug. With minimal noise-cancelation, these work better in relatively quiet environments. There’s a reasonable amount of sound leakage as well, so you may need to turn the volume down if you’re alongside a light sleeper.

Best Wireless: AcousticSheep Bluetooth SleepPhones

With many new smartphones shipping without a headphone jack, you’re stuck either using an annoying adapter or opting for Bluetooth-enabled headphones instead. AcousticSheep has been making its headband-style SleepPhones for several years, including Bluetooth models in a range of colors, fabrics and sizes.

While wireless headphones have the downside of needing regular charging, the lack of cable does avoid getting tangled up in the night. The company promises enough battery life to get you through the night, charging via micro-USB or on the highest-end model, an induction charger similar to an electric toothbrush or smartwatch.

The flat speakers are comfortable to lie on for extended periods, and being able to choose your size (small, medium or large) and fabric (fleece or a lighter, more-breathable fabric) makes them appropriate for a wider range of wearers. You can also choose between models with or without a microphone.

As with all headband-style earphones like these, the SleepPhones do double-duty as an eye mask as well, so bright lights and sunrise won’t disturb your slumber.

Best Sleepmask: AGPTEK Wired Sleep Headphones

While all headband-style earphones can be pulled down to act as an eye mask, that doesn’t mean they necessarily do a great job of it. The relatively narrow band often still lets some light in around the edges, and in a bright room, that’s all it takes to stop you getting a good night’s sleep.

The AGPTEK Wired Sleep Headphones are as much a sleep mask as they are headphones, covering the face from well above the eyebrows to down below the nose.

Plenty of thought has gone into the design, with several little extras that put these headphones ahead of the pack. The speakers on either side are fully adjustable, with velcro strips letting you easily move them around until you find the perfect spot.

A layer of foam over each speaker keeps them comfortable to lie on for extended periods, and there’s even a volume control on the cable so you don’t need to find your phone to turn the sound up or down.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 48 hours testing one of the most popular pairs of sleep headphones on the market. To get the most thorough results possible, they tried them at different times — from midday naps to during the night — and experimented with a variety of sounds. We asked them to consider the most important features when using these headphones and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in Headphones for Sleeping

Style - Sleeping headphones come in two predominant styles: Earbuds and headbands. Headbands can be better for side sleepers and stomach sleepers, though some earbuds are designed to be small enough to work well even if you’re sleeping on them. It’s important to take your sleep position into account — and what’s comfortable for you — before purchasing a pair.

Music vs. white noise - Do you want to fall asleep to music but have it turn off after an hour? Or do you want to listen to white noise all night? Some headphones only allow preloaded white noise, while others will play select songs off your playlists. Figuring out the kind of noise you need — as well as how long you want it to last — will help you narrow down your headphone selection.

Noise level - It’s hard to drown out street noise (and almost impossible to mute a loud snorer), so take that into account when you’re choosing your headphones. Different kinds of white noise will be effective on varying types of sounds, so you may want to choose a pair of headphones with multiple options.

Test Results: Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds (Best Overall)

4.3

What We Like

  • Comfortable fit

  • Blocks outside noise

  • Very portable

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

  • Limited choice of sounds

  • Could be slightly louder

Sleepbuds
Bose Sleepbuds
Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds
Sleepbuds

One of our testers raved that these headphones were “by far the best sleeping headphones I’ve experienced to date.” A big part of what made them stand out? Comfort. Although one reviewer woke up with his ears feeling a little sore after the first night of use, he found that went away quickly: “They do a nice job of creating a good seal in your ear to block out the sound,” he said. “They’re also extremely soft and lay flat in the ear.” According to our testers, one downside was that the selection of provided sounds was a bit limiting: “While the ones they’ve chosen are good, there are only a few,” one reviewer said. “Given the cost, if you don’t find something that works for you, it makes it hard to keep them.”