November 30, 2023

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The 7 Best Sleep Headphones in 2023

3 min read

$50 at Walmart

The Dormi headphones piled on top of an athletic shirt and headband

Dormi Headband Headphones

Best sleep headphones for side sleepers

$23 at Amazon

WATOGAFER Sleep Headphones

Lightimetunnel Sleep Headphones

Best sleep headphones that also block light

$23 at Amazon

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$80 at HoomBand

Hoomband Headband

Hoomband Headband

Best sleep headphones with an audio library

If you want to fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly, it might be a good idea to invest in a pair of sleep headphones. Some may find that listening to soothing music or relaxing sounds before you lie down may help you get better sleep, and the best sleep headphones will assist those out there that struggle with falling asleep by providing an easy way for you to listen as you fall asleep — and because they’re designed with sleep in mind, you’ll find many models offer a secure fit so you can sleep comfortably throughout the night. 

We spoke with Michael Breus, sleep medicine expert and the founder of The Sleep Doctor website. “Relaxing music triggers changes to the body that in many ways mimic a sleep state,” he said. “A slower heart rate, slower breathing, lower blood pressure are all physiological changes that make possible the process of falling asleep and staying asleep.” 

If getting the recommended 8 hours of shut-eye each night difficult for you, it might be time to try using sleep headphones that promote relaxation and fight the effects of background noise. To help you find the best headphones for sleeping, we’ve highlighted several different types, including a few headband headphone options, Bluetooth headphones, and earbuds that nestle into your ear canal to block out ambient noise. Keep reading for sounder sleep.

What are the best headphones for sleeping?

Our top choice for sleep headphones are the Pixel Buds Pro, because of their versatility. They’re great for day and night, block outside noises with active noise canceling and offer great value for the price.

Best headphones for sleeping for 2023

The Pixel Buds Pro are available in 4 colors
David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life Rated up to 11 hoursNoise Canceling Yes (ANC)Multipoint YesHeadphone Type Wireless earbudsWater-Resistant Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

The Pixel Buds Pro wireless earbuds fit the bill for people who want a pair of quality headphones that are equally as functional during sleep as they are during the day.

Dubs Labs

If you don’t like the idea of wearing a headband to bed, the Bedphones Sleep Headphones are another made-for-sleep option that comes sans fabric. This sleeping headphone option features two ultrathin headphone speakers connected by a rubber-coated memory wire that’s fully adjustable so you can find your perfect earphone fit.

The QuietOn 3.1 noise cancelling earbuds

Sleep next to a habitual snorer or live in a noisy environment? The QuietOn 3.1 earbuds use active noise cancellation and passive noise reduction to deliver some of the best noise-canceling performance I’ve tested.

The Dormi headphones piled on top of an athletic shirt and headband

Most sleep headphones aren’t designed for side sleeping, but the Dormi Wireless Sleep Headphones function as a moisture-wicking, lightweight headband side sleepers can wear to bed so they can rest comfortably without an earbud pressing into their head.

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WATOGAFER Sleep Headphones

If you really want to up your sleep quality, this sleep headphones slash sleep mask from Lightimetunnel (formerly Watotgafer) is a double whammy. Equipped with flat headphones and an ergonomic eye design that doesn’t put too much pressure on your face, the setup effectively blocks out noise and light all at once. The flat headphones are tucked into a breathable, slow-rebound memory foam fabric that’s also designed to release tension and stress in your face so you can drift off to a more restful sleep.

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Maxrock Sleep Earphones

The ultra-lightweight design and squishy silicone ear tips make these minimalistic earbuds for sleeping an excellent option for travel. The ear tips have an ergonomic double layer design that fits snugly in most ear canals to effectively drown out the noise around you, while the mini speaker in each earbud provides quality, balanced sound without too much bass.

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Hoomband Headband

The Hoomband Headband earned the title of overall best headphones for sleeping because they’re not just headphones that you can sleep with — they’re headphones that were made for sleep. The headphone headband has two ultrathin, flat speakers that are placed under foam, so you can hear them but can’t feel them. The headband itself is made from a 3D mesh that’s soft, thin and helps regulate temperature so you don’t get too hot while you sleep.

How we test the best headphones for sleep

CNET editors pick the products and services we write about based on editorial merit. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. 

  1. Noise cancellation: A snoring simulation was played at high volume near our bedside to test the headphones’ ability to block out environmental noises. 
  2. Comfort: Sleeping with too much pressure against the head can cause headaches. Headphones were tested in each sleeping position — side, back and stomach — to determine ear tip comfort, stableness of earbuds in the ear and how accommodating they felt from the perspective of different types of sleepers. 
  3. Sound quality: We tested headphones for clarity of sound. Crystal clear sound quality isn’t required for sleep headphones, but it should be up to par in order to minimize sudden changes in sound that can cause sleep disruption.   
  4. Price: We included a variety of headphones for sleep that fall in different price categories, from wallet-friendly to cream of the crop, so most sleepers can find a good pair regardless of their budget. 
  5. Special features: We considered added features or perks that made headphones even more functional, such as a free audio library, Google assistant and machine-washability. 

Factors to consider when choosing sleep headphones

Sure, any decent set of headphones can play music or meditations, but it’s the design that sets sleep headphones apart. Regular headphones can be bulky and uncomfortable to lie on, but sleep headphones are made with a minimal, barely there feel that lets you drift off to sleep while wearing them comfortably throughout the night. For the best sleep headphones, keep an eye out for these features:

  • Noise cancellation.
  • A battery life of eight hours or longer.
  • Ergonomic, comfortable ear tips. 
  • Flat, thin designs such as headband headphones.

Read more: How We Test Products and Services

How sound affects sleep 

Sound has a significant influence on sleep quality, both negative and positive. “There’s data that suggests soothing, relaxing music can bring about these effects on you physically,” Breus said, going on to list:

  • Slower breathing.
  • A lower heart rate.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • A quieted nervous system.
  • Reduced muscle tension.
  • Lowered stress and anxiety.
  • The release of sleep-friendly hormones, including serotonin and oxytocin, and a reduction in hormones like cortisol.

Breus went on to explain that “just like soothing sounds can mimic a sleep state, certain sounds signal an alarm for your brain (sirens, loud neighbors, weather etc.) so when you hear them, it can cause some level of anxiety. Anxiety is really the opposite of sleep.” 

As a result, sleep headphones act as a good solution for people to listen to relaxing sounds while drowning out the noisy, distracting sounds that evoke anxiety and disrupt sleep. 

Headphones for sleeping FAQs

Is it OK to wear headphones while sleeping?

Yes, there is no harm in wearing headphones while sleeping, just as long as your earbuds are comfortable enough to keep from disrupting you during the night. Listening to music or a relaxing podcast before you go to bed can lower your heart rate, and keep your mind from thinking about your daily stressors. 

What type of headphones are most comfortable to sleep in?

Some of the best headphones for sleep include:

  • Hoomband Headband
  • Bedphones Sleep Headphones
  • Fulext Sleep Headphones
  • SleepPhones Wireless Sleep Headphones

Can sleeping with headphones cause headaches?

If you’re wearing improper headgear while you sleep, it’s possible it could lead to an external compression headache. It’s caused by having too much pressure around your head, and can be avoided if you use earbuds meant for sleeping that fit snug in your ear. 


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