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Getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep can actually be a harder task than it seems -- especially if you're sensitive to sound. While noise machines are a great option, sleep earbuds offer a more compact, subtle, and more personal approach.
From both ZDNET testing and extensive research, we found sleep headphones equipped with flat speakers, active noise canceling (ANC) technology, and a long-lasting battery life that can be a game changer for a good night's rest, especially if noise is your number one nightmare.
Also: The best sound machines: Fall asleep faster
Bedphones Wireless tech specs: Form factor: Over-ear | Battery: 13 hours | Fit: Adjustable ear hooks
If you want headphones made for sleeping, look no further than the Bedphones. These headphones were designed with side sleepers in mind, as the speakers are thin and covered in soft foam padding. They lay flat against your ears while you listen to soothing sounds.
The adjustable memory wire ear hooks allow these sleeping headphones to fit all ears. While wireless, a cable connects the two drivers, and you can wear the cable in front of or behind your neck and tighten the cable slider to ensure the headphones stay secure even on restless nights.
The 13-hour battery life and inline microphone with a single-button remote are also impressive features.
Perytong Sleep Headphones tech specs: Form factor: On-ear | Battery: 10 hours | Fit: Headband
This headband headphone design from Perytong is a more budget-friendly option for sleeping headphones. The headband is made of soft, breathable material that's also machine washable. It features detachable on-ear headphones that can comfortably fit back and side sleepers.
The headband holds a decent battery life that lasts 10 hours per full charge and comes in more than 15 color options. These sleeping headphones can also work well for listening to music while you run or for zoning out while you meditate.
Soundcore by Anker Sleep A10 Earbuds tech specs: Form factor: In-ear | Battery: Up to 10 hours | Fit: Earbuds
Not only are these earbuds from Anker small and comfortable enough to sleep in, but they also track your sleep while you wear them. These sleeping headphones track whether you were in deep or light sleep as well as the time you spent awake so you can better understand how you sleep at night.
Review: Do sleeping earbuds actually work? I tested the latest pair on the market
As far as sound goes, these headphones for sleeping use noise masking, broadcasting a low-volume layer of audio to cover up ambient sounds. You can choose from 31 different pre-set sounds in the Soundcore app's Sleep Music Library, including audio that mimics your brain wave frequencies during periods of rest.
Bose QuietComfort II Earbuds tech specs: Form factor: In-ear | Battery: Up to 6 hours | Fit: Earbuds
If you're looking to cancel noise around you while sleeping, these Bose QuietComfort noise-canceling earbuds have some of the best ANC technology on the market, and they also happen to be comfortable to sleep in.
These noise-canceling earbuds offer three modes: no noise-canceling, quiet mode, and aware mode. You can switch between different modes with the touch of a button on the earpiece.
Review: Step aside, AirPods. There's a new ANC champion in town
Since it's a part of their name, let's talk about comfort. According to ZDNET's Christina Darby, who contributed to this article and reviewed the buds back in October, the earbuds "felt less intrusive than other wearables" thanks to the lack of in-ear pressure build up.
While a tad bulky on the outside, the earbuds have a winged design that is super comfortable and snug in your ear no matter your ear size, thanks to the different size options. Note that the old-school Bluetooth design may take some adjusting to for side-sleepers. These earbuds are a natural choice for those who sleep on their stomach and back.
Musicozy Wireless Sleep Mask Headphones tech specs: Form factor: Over-ear | Battery: 10+ hours | Fit: Eye mask
These sleeping headphones are part headphones and part sleep mask. By blocking out light in your room, the Musicozy wireless sleep mask headphones are a perfect option for light sleepers. The breathable fabric comes in 15 color options that contain over-ear headphones inside the mask.
With these sleeping headphones, you'll get about 10 or more hours of playtime. The built-in adjustable speakers also have a microphone if you need to take an early-morning call without ever opening your eyes.
QuietOn 3.1 sleep earbuds tech specs: Form factor: Earbuds | Battery: 28 hours | Fit: In-ear
Using ANC technology while still having a form-factor designed for sleep, QuietOn 3.1 sleep earbuds are like an elevated pair of earbuds. Weighing just 1.8 grams, the lightweight feel is especially noticeable against a pillow -- even if you're a side sleeper.
These earbuds are interesting because they actually don't play music, making them more like a smart earplug. That said, QuietOn uses advanced ANC technology that makes it easy to block out usual sleep distractions.
With no app, music, or Bluetooth connection, these are great if you simply want a silent night's sleep. Which, according to her product spotlight, Darby did comfortably.
"As a noise-sensitive sleeper myself, I've tried sleeping with my 2nd-gen AirPods Pros before but found them too bulky. Therefore, I was impressed to find QuietOn's ANC comparable to Apple's, while feeling less irritating to wear during sleep."
The earbuds tote a 28-hour battery life and a frictionless fit with foam eartips, which is ideal if all you want is silence and are willing to justify the hefty $289 price.
The best sleeping headphones are the Bedphones Wireless headphones since they are specifically designed for sleep and are comfortable to wear in bed, even for side sleepers.
Perytong Sleep Headphones
Soundcore by Anker Sleep A10
Bose QuietComfort II
Musicozy Wireless Sleep Mask Headphones
QuietOn 3.1 earbuds
It depends on what you're looking for relative to the position(s) you sleep in, whether you want ANC, and what price point you're willing to spend.
Choose these headphones for sleeping…
If you want…
The best sleep headphones. If you're a side sleeper, the flat and foam padded design was made with you in mind. You'll also get 13 hours of battery life.
Perytong Sleep Headphones
The best budget friendly sleep headphones. Only $20 on Amazon, this over-ear headband is price and comfort conscious.
Soundcore by Anker Sleep A10
The best sleep earbuds. Unobtrusive, these earbuds are no bigger than a nickel, have a 10-hour playback battery life, and track your sleep.
Bose QuietComfort II
The best earbuds with powerful ANC. Bose's QuietComfort II buds have unmatched ANC, and as the name suggests… comfort.
Musicozy Wireless Sleep Mask headphones
The best sleep mask headphones. You heard that right, this sleep mask reaches your ears, blocking both sunlight and sound.
QuietOn 3.1 earbuds
The best sleep headphones for canceling out noise. QuietOn 3.1's earbuds are compact, comfortable, and cancel every sound without making any.
We selected these top sleeping headphones by doing extensive research into the product category. We looked at top-rated products across sites, noting customer reviews (both the good and the bad) and comparing features like price and form factor.
Yes, it is medically safe to fall asleep while wearing headphones. It is recommended to keep the volume below 85 dB. Also, over-ear or on-ear headphones are preferred over earbuds when considering long-term use since wax buildup and ear canal damage can potentially happen over time with earbud use.
Noise-canceling headphones like the Bose QuietComfort II earbuds are great for sleeping since they have built-in technology that virtually blocks out any noise in your bedroom, making it easier to fall asleep to silence.
However, noise-canceling headphones for sleeping are not the best option in the case of an emergency since you're essentially tuned out to the world -- especially if you already consider yourself a heavy sleeper.
Of course, you could always fall asleep using the headphones you already have -- they just might not be as comfortable or made for sleep as much as our top picks. So here are some other options we recommend.
You can't go wrong with AirPods, especially if you're an Apple user and need ANC to fall (or even stay) asleep. The longer stem design isn't the most ideal for side sleepers, but the earbuds aren't too intrusive.
These are great if you want to block out sound and sleep comfortably without any friction from earbuds against the pillow.