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The best sleep headphones: Tune out sound while you slumber

Snooze soundly with the best sleep headphones and earbuds ZDNET experts researched and tested.

Getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep is easy in theory but difficult in practice -- especially if you're sensitive to sound. While sound machines can be an effective solution, sleep earbuds offer a more compact, subtle, and 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. 

Our pick for the top sleep headphone is the Bedphones wireless, which features adjustable hooks and a secure fit that is comfortable -- even for side sleepers. Find out how some of the sleep headphones we've tested, like Soundcore's Sleep A10 earbuds and our pick for the best ANC earbuds, the Bose QuietComfort II, stack up on this list -- and on your pillow. 

Best sleep headphones of 2023

Pros & Cons
  • In-ear alarm feature
  • Tracks your sleep when you wear them overnight
  • Choose from pre-set sleep sounds
  • Small size might get lost in bed when tossing and turning
  • Not the most comfortable for side sleepers
More Details

Soundcore by Anker Sleep A10 Earbuds tech specs: Form factor: In-ear | Connectivity: Bluetooth | 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. Find out whether you passed the night in a deep or light sleep as well as how long you spent awake each night for a greater grasp on your sleeping patterns.

When ZDNET writer Christina Darby reviewed the Anker Sleep A10 earbuds, she called them a "refreshing addition to a rather scarce market."

Review: Do sleeping earbuds actually work? I tested the latest pair on the market

As far as sound goes, these headphones 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.

Pros & Cons
  • Best ANC technology on the market
  • Comfortable and snug fit
  • Easy-to-use touchpad with gesture controls
  • Battery life isn't the best
  • High price tag
More Details

Bose QuietComfort II Earbuds tech specs: Form factor: In-ear | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Battery life: Up to 6 hours | Fit: Earbuds

If you're looking to cancel the noise around you while you sleep, the 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 Darby, who 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. 

Pros & Cons
  • Lightweight
  • Great for side sleepers
  • ANC is fantastic
  • No music playback, just white noise
  • Pricey
More Details

QuietOn 3.1 sleep earbuds tech specs: Form factor: Earbuds | Connectivity: NA | 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," she wrote.  

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. 

Pros & Cons
  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable for side sleepers
  • Cable slider and adjustable hooks ensure a secure fit all night
  • Expensive
More Details

Bedphones Wireless tech specs: Form factor: Over-ear | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Battery life: 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. 

Pros & Cons
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable to wear
  • No auto-off feature
  • Volume can be loud—even on the lowest setting
More Details

Perytong Sleep Headphones tech specs: Form factor: On-ear | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Battery life: 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, machine-washable, breathable material and 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. 

Pros & Cons
  • 2-in-1 mask/headphone design
  • Plenty of color options
  • Loud voice narration for incoming calls
  • Some sizing and comfort issues
More Details

Musicozy Wireless Sleep Mask Headphones tech specs: Form factor: Over-ear | Connectivity: Bluetooth | 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.

What are the best headphones for sleeping?

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.

Sleeping headphonesPriceBatteryForm factor
Soundcore by Anker Sleep A10$13010 hoursIn-ear
Bose QuietComfort II$2996 hoursIn-ear
QuietOn 3.1 earbuds$28928 hoursIn-ear
Bedphones wireless$14913 hoursOver-ear
Perytong Sleep Headphones$2010 hoursOver-ear
Musicozy Wireless Sleep Mask Headphones$1010+ hoursOver-ear

Which sleeping headphones are right for you?

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...Ifyou want...
Soundcore by Anker Sleep A10The 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 IIThe best earbuds with powerful ANC. Bose's QuietComfort II buds have unmatched ANC, and as the name suggests… comfort.
QuietOn 3.1 earbudsThe best sleep headphones for canceling out noise. QuietOn 3.1's earbuds are compact, comfortable, and cancel out sound without making any.
Bedphones wirelessThe 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 HeadphonesThe best budget friendly sleep headphones. Only $20 on Amazon, this over-ear headband is price and comfort conscious.
Musicozy Wireless Sleep Mask headphonesThe best sleep mask and headphones duo. You heard that right, this sleep mask reaches your ears, blocking both sunlight and sound.

How did we choose these headphones for sleeping?

We selected these top sleeping headphones by doing extensive research into the product category, as well as performing some testing of our own, while considering the following factors:

  • Flat speakers: There's no point in sleeping in headphones if they're not comfortable -- and nothing is more uncomfortable than something poking in your ears. We looked for headphones with speakers that situate comfortably in your ears and against your pillow. 
  • Active Noise Canceling capabilities: We looked for headphones that cancel or block out noise so that you can have undisturbed rest. 
  • Battery life: All of our picks have battery life that will last you through the night from six to 28 hours. 

Is it OK to sleep with headphones on?

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.

Are noise-canceling headphones good for sleeping?

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. 

Are there alternative headphones for sleeping worth considering?

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. 

JBL Tour Pro 2 earbuds in case with ZDNET logo against window

Best sleep headphone alternative

JBL Tour Pro 2

Use these headphones to listen to your favorite songs by day and put them in your ears for a silent slumber at night with the JBL Pro Tour 2's impressive noise canceling capabilities. 

View at JBL
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd gen) wireless earbuds

Best headphones with ANC alternative

Apple AirPods (2nd generation)

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. 

View at Amazon
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