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In an article for Psychology Today Michael J Breus, a clinical psychologist known as “The Sleep Doctor” says listening to music in bed can slow our breathing, lower our heart rate, ease muscle tension, and reduce sleep-stifling hormones like cortisol.
You can listen to music on a speaker, but that may not be a good option if you’re sharing a bedroom with someone else. If that’s the case, we recommend wearing a pair of earbuds, which are the least obtrusive style of headphone.
I’ve personally slept with earbuds for several years, listening to podcasts at the lowest possible volume setting, and haven’t experienced any discomfort. If you’re looking for a non-chemical sleep aid, listening to music, podcasts, or ambient sounds may be the right solution.
What Are the Best Earbuds For Sleep?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the sleep earbuds for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Style: We’ve chosen to recommend totally wireless earbuds in this guide because they’re the smallest, lightest headphones possible. You won’t have to worry about a cable getting in the way, either.
Fit: If you’re wearing earbuds to help you relax in bed, you shouldn’t have to push them into your ear every few minutes. The earbuds in our guide were designed to fit snugly in your ear, and come with multiple sized ear tips.
Battery Life: All of the earbuds in our guide last between five and 10 hours. They may lose their charge in the middle of the night, but you will be able to use them to help fall asleep.
Audio Quality: You’re probably going to use the same earbuds in bed and out in the world, so we made sure to pick some general purpose true wireless earbuds that we’ve tested while sleeping.
1. Bose Sleepbuds II
Bose’s Sleepbuds II are the best earbuds we’ve found that were designed exclusively for helping you get to bed.
Instead of letting you pick your own music, the Sleepbuds II allow you to cycle through a collection of 50 “noise-masking sounds” that Bose has selected. You can select the noise you want by using the Bose Sleep app (iOS and Android). The company says these sounds are user-tested and clinically proven to help you sleep.
Bose created custom eartips for the Sleepbuds II to ensure the proper fit. Three sizes of eartips are included in the box, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding a set that fits your ears.The company says these earbuds should last 10 hours on a single charge, which is a lot longer than most totally wireless earbuds.
If you don’t mind being limited to Bose’s library of sleeping sounds, the Sleepbuds II are a solid pick.
2. AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)
My go-to pair of earbuds for sleeping is Apple’s AirPods Pro (2nd Gen), which are my favorite pair of totally wireless earbuds overall.
The earbuds have a curved shape that creates a tight seal around my eardrum, so they don’t fall out. Apple includes four sizes of eartips in the box, and has a fit test (iOS only) to ensure you’re using the correct set. If you’re having an issue with fit, many third-party companies have developed eartips that fit the AirPods Pro.
The reason I prefer using AirPods Pro over similar earbuds is that they’re a lot quieter when my phone is at its lowest volume setting, which makes it easier sleep. Although they only get six hours of battery life, you won’t have to worry about that if you’re wearing them to sleep.
We’ve continued to recommend the second generations of the AirPods Pro since their release because of their audio quality, which is impressive for earbuds in their class. The earbuds’ active noise cancellation is also much improved, blocking annoying sounds like cars driving by. If you live in a city, this feature alone makes the AirPods Pro worth considering for sleeping. The gummy eartips are also super comfortable and do a good job of blocking out noise even if your music’s turned off.
If you’d like a great pair of general true wireless earbuds whose features, and whose features make it easier to get to sleep, we recommend the AirPods Pro.
3. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+
Cambridge Audio’s Melomania 1+ are a new pair of totally wireless earbuds that I’ve found very effective at helping me sleep.
The earbuds have a compact, straight design, so there are no stems hanging down the sides of my ears. This means there’s a lower chance of the earbuds getting dislodged if I move my head around on a pillow.
Cambridge Audio includes several sets of ear tips with the Melomania 1+ in a variety of sizes. They’re even available in two styles: silicon tips, which are the industry standard, and memory foam tips, which can mold themselves perfectly to fit in your ear canal. I’ve found the silicon tips to be very comfortable, and effective at keeping the buds in my ears.
While fit is very important for sleep earbuds, the Melomania 1+s also sound great. Bass response is especially tight because of the strong seal they create. If you don’t like the way they sound out of the box, you can tune them to your liking using the Melomania app (iOS and Android), and save your EQ as a preset. Cambridge Audio says you can expect to get around nine hours per charge, so they could last the entire night.
If you’ve had trouble keeping earbuds in your ears in the past, and want headphones for sleeping, Cambridge Audio’s Melomania 1+ is a great pair to get.
4. Anker Soundcore Sleep A10 Earbuds
Anker really cracked the code with how to make sleep earbuds actually soft and comfortable for hours-long wear, even for side sleepers like me.
They’re practically unnoticeable to wear, and some of the slimmest and most compact buds I’ve tried out for sleep, at a feather-light 2.08 ounces. While there’s no active noise cancellation, the flexible ear wings and Twin Seal ear tips created a tight fight that helped block out more passive sound, like traffic passing by outside. Custom dynamic drivers also enhanced lower frequency sounds, so I could enjoy the white noise without having to pump up the volume.
But you can choose from a variety of soothing sleep sounds on the Soundcore app to cover up louder noises and lull you to sleep at the same time (a smart volume sensor also helps with this). What I liked: the earbuds can automatically detect when you’ve fallen asleep, switching over from Music mode to Sleep mode and stopping any playing audio. I didn’t feel like I missed out on more noise cancellation, and it adds up to a more impressive battery life.
You’ll get up to six hours of playback in Music mode, 10 hours in Sleep mode, or 8 hours when you combine both modes (the charging case adds up to a total of 40 hours). Overall, if comfort is king for you, then look no further than Soundcore’s Sleep A10 Earbuds for your nighttime routine.
5. MUSICOZY Sleep Headphones Bluetooth Headband
We wanted to include one non-earbud pick in case you don’t like that style of headphone.
MUSICOZY’s Sleep Headphones look like a felt eye mask, but they have a pair of think bluetooth speakers inside. They may look a little different, but you can pair your device to them just like any normal pair of wireless headphones.
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Once you align the speakers with your ears, you won’t have to worry about fit, which is a great feature if you’ve struggled with earbuds in the past. Winonly says the headband is made out of a breathable material that’s super soft and light. The company says its headband headphones last up to 10 hours on a single charge, which means they should last the entire night.
If you want to sleep with a pair of headphones rather than earbuds, Winonly’s Bluetooth Headband Headphones are your best choice. Don’t take our word for it — these headband-style sleep buds have a 4.3-star rating (out of five) from more than 10,000 reviewers online.