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Listening to music, podcasts, or relaxing sounds or masking environmental noises with headphones can help a person fall asleep.
This article looks at the benefits and risks of sleeping with headphones and explores some of the best options available to buy online.
Sleeping with headphones on may help some people sleep, though there are some potential disadvantages, too.
The sections below will look at the benefits and risks in more detail.
One benefit of sleeping with headphones on is being able to fall asleep quickly. This might be because a person can block out environmental noises or snoring.
Several studies suggest that listening to music while trying to fall asleep can help a person fall asleep faster and improve their sleep quality.
Additionally, one 2008 study found that listening to music helped improve sleep quality, though listening to audiobooks did not. This might be because music can reduce sympathetic nervous system activity, decrease blood pressure, and lower heart rate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that adults who get fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night are more likely to develop conditions such as coronary heart disease, asthma, depression, or diabetes.
If a person sleeps better by using headphones, they may also reduce their risk of developing these conditions.
If a person uses headphones overnight to play loud music or other audio, they could damage their hearing.
The World Health Organization (WHO) have published a set of safe listening guidelines. According to these guidelines, exposing the ears to loud sounds can cause sensory cell fatigue in the ears. This can cause temporary hearing loss or tinnitus.
The WHO guidelines state that the recommended safe level for noise is below 80 decibels for up to 40 hours per week.
If headphones are not wireless, there is also a risk of the wire becoming tangled around the neck or another body part, which may restrict blood flow during sleep.
Additionally, using headphones during sleep may mean that a person cannot hear sounds such as fire alarms or children crying, which could pose safety concerns.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.
CozyPhones Sleep Headphones
These headphones are affordable and fit over the ears in a headband, which is comfortable to wear during sleep.
The headphones are inside the cushioned headband, so a person can move and remove them as needed. They are also compatible with most audio devices and come with a 52-inch cable and 3.5-millimeter (mm) stereo plug.
CozyPhones also offer wireless sleep headphones for children. These are available in different animal designs.
The wireless headband features a simple panel for track and volume controls. Also, the volume is limited to protect children’s ears from excessive noise levels.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Studio Headphones
These are over-ear studio headphones. They offer excellent sound quality, which may benefit people who want headphones to use in situations other than sleeping.
The padded headband and velour earpads make these headphones comfortable to wear for a long period of time. However, they are bulky, which may mean that a person cannot sleep on their side while wearing these headphones.
The headphones are not wireless. They come with 32-, 80-, or 250-ohm drivers, a 3.5-mm stereo plug, and a quarter-inch adapter. This makes these headphones compatible with most audio devices.
These headphones may suit people who sleep in very noisy environments or do not like to use in-ear headphones.
These in-ear wireless headphones are good for canceling out environmental noises, such as traffic or snoring.
The QuietOn headphones use active noise control (ANC). ANC headphones work by picking up outside noise with a microphone and signaling to the speakers to produce a phase-shifted sound, which cancels out the external noise.
The product website states that the headphones block low frequency sounds, including snoring or sounds through walls, best.
A range of earbud shapes made from memory foam are available separately if the small, medium, and large earbuds provided with the headphones are unsuitable.
As these headphones are very small, they are suitable for people who sleep on their side.
Bose Sleepbuds II
These earbuds work with the Bose Sleep app, which plays curated relaxation content to aid sleep and mask external sounds. This means that a person cannot play music, podcasts, or other audio with the Sleepbuds.
Users can set the app to run on a timer so that sounds do not play all night. They can also control the volume from the app if they still want to be able to hear some outside noises, such as alarms or people.
The Bose Sleepbuds II sit flush with the ear and stay in place by using the ear’s ridge and a silicone seal that fits inside the ear.
They come in three different sizes to suit a range of ear shapes and sizes, a charging and storage case, and a charging cable.
DubsLabs Bedphones Sleep Headphones
DubsLabs promote these headphones as the world’s thinnest on-ear headphones. The speakers lay flat against the user’s head so that they can lie down comfortably while wearing the headphones.
These sleep headphones are wireless with a built-in microphone, charging port, and volume and track controls.
They are adjustable to fit any ear shape, with the speakers attached to memory wire that is also fully adjustable.
DubsLabs claim that their Bedphones Sleep Headphones are suitable for blocking out unwanted noises and masking tinnitus.
One study that took place in a coronary care unit recommends white noise machines to improve and maintain a person’s sleep and to mask environmental noises.
White noise machines use constant sound to relax the person listening and to mask environmental sounds.
White noise also helps infants sleep, but some research suggests that white noise machines can produce unsafe levels of sound that may damage a child’s hearing if used over a long period of time.
In addition, autistic people may find white noise upsetting if they are sensitive to sensory stimulation. However, some may benefit from listening to music through headphones to block out sounds from their surrounding environment.
Earplugs are another accessible alternative way of blocking out snoring or environmental noises to help induce sleep.
A person who regularly has difficulty sleeping may want to speak with their doctor about treatment for insomnia.
Certain health conditions can also cause a person to be unable to sleep. If a person experiences other symptoms alongside an inability to sleep, they should speak with their doctor.
Getting good quality sleep is important for a person’s overall health. Using sleep headphones can make it easier for a person to fall asleep by blocking out disruptive environmental noises and aiding relaxation.
People may wish to compare online reviews from different sites when choosing headphones for sleep to get an objective idea of each product’s pros and cons.