Sleep headphones are the answer to sleep more comfortable. We did a review of all kinds of sleeping headphones that are comfortable to wear and have good range of sounds to correctly playback the most elegant of ASMR triggers. Read on and select the best headphones for sleeping and noise cancelling.
Choosing your sleeping headphones
What you will find here is a review of headphones that are good for sleeping and/or satisfy the requirements of ASMR:
- Sleep headphones: You can comfortably sleep with them (even if sleeping on your side).
- Headphones for ASMR: Headphones that excel in these areas: talking, whispering, scratching and other quiet sounds. Differentiation of right and left channel for the best possible binaural experience.
There are lots of cheap sleeping headphones for $10-$20 and some of them are okay but someone them are absolute crap. Most of them are headband earphones. Of the cheaper brands we tried about 5 different ones and there were only ones we liked. What happens with the cheap products is that they are okay for a couple of months and then you want new ones.
The most cost efficient purchases (most quality and longevity for the price you pay) are around $50. If you are an audiophile and really need to have superior audio quality, I would invest $150-$300.
This article focuses on ASMR headphones. If you have no idea what ASMR is, read here.
Note: the prices change from time to time and because of that, we have indicated the price tag with these markings: $ - Cheap | $$ - Affordable | $$$ - Expensive.
Sleeping headphones - Best headphones for sleeping
In this category we will review comfortable headphones for sleeping that have good sound quality for ASMR purposes. Most of us are sleeping on our side. That's why all the products here are flat and are not sticking out. These are headphones you can wear to sleep.
AcousticSheep SleepPhones review
These sleep headphones have a comfortable headband that holds the speakers in place. You can actually double the sleep headband as an eye mask (which is what I did). The sound quality is surprisingly good. If you have experience with some cheaper brands, expect these to be different.
They have two fabric choices: Breeze fabric and fleece fabric. The fleece is super comfortable and it just feels like someone is constantly petting your head (and from all the happy dogs you have petted, you know this is a good thing). The breeze fabric is maybe 80% as comfortable but cooler to wear (temperature wise, both look as cool as course!). If you get the hots during nighttime, buy the breeze, otherwise buy the fleece!
And the most important thing with sleeping headphones: when sleeping on your side, you can't even feel you are wearing them. So all in all, these are a super solid choice if you are looking for headphones to sleep in.
Price - $$
AcousticSheep SleepPhones Wireless review (Bluetooth sleep headphones)
Maybe I'm a little bit biased here. I bought my first bluetooth headphones about 4 years ago. I didn't buy them because of the wireless capability, it didn't matter to me at the time. But oh my, all the little things got to me. You can just get out of bed and go to the kitchen or bathroom without picking your phone up from the charger. The cord doesn't get stuck anywhere and you don't pull it out of your device on accident when you are moving around. These might not seem like big things but when you are used to cordless headphones, you'd do anything to get rid of the cord!
From the time I got these, I have used them more and more. First it was only for sleep, now it's whenever I'm home and most of the time when I'm traveling. These bluetooth headband earphones are just like the previous ones but with wireless capabilities. I'll let you decide if the bluetooth is worth it. (hint: it is)
Price - $$$
Bedphones review - Third generation
Bedphones are the thinnest headphones for bed. They have really comfortable earhooks that keep them in place while you sleep. The headphones themselves just lie flat against your ear without going to the ear canal. The first night I wore them, it only took a couple of minutes for me to forget that I was even wearing headphones.
The sound quality is definitely good in this price range and I was really happy with them. If you are looking for earbuds for sleeping, I encourage you try to these instead. Much more comfortable and similar in size. Perfect headphones to sleep in.
Price - $$
CozyPhones review (headband earphones)
Compered to their competitor, the AcousticSheep SleepPhones, these don't have quite as nice fabric and not nearly as good sound quality. But they do the basic job very well and are a lot cheaper. If you don't want to invest more, these are fine. We tested a lot more products from the cheaper category of headband earphones. These were the best of the affordable ones. They come with a nice travel bag which is a great bonus. They also have models for kids, which are really friendly looking.
Price - $
Noise cancelling headphones for sleeping
When you search around the internet, many of the headband earphones state that they are "noise cancelling headphones for sleeping" but what they actually mean is the outside noise is cancelled when you put on your music very loud and cant hear it anymore. You are probably looking for actual noise cancelling headphones so that's what we have listed here. For the noise reduction systems to work, the headphones need to be cupped or in ear. So they can't be specifically designed, say, for side sleepers. Good in-ear eardbuds are pretty comfortable when sleeping and good cupped headphones are all right.
Bose QuietComfort 20 - Noise cancelling earbuds for sleeping
These earbuds are pricey, so you expect them to be amazing. And they really are. The noise cancelling is absolutely stunning. I used these in an airplane and couldn't hear anything but my music. No loud airplane sounds, nothing. On the same trip, they were also gold on blocking out my friend's snoring.
The sound is pretty much at audiophile level and it's a pure joy to use these. Sound seems to be much better when the noise cancelation is turned on, so I recommend using it often. For sleeping purposes: they fit in really good and I was having no problem sleeping on my side.
Price - $$$
Shure SE215-CL Sound Isolating Earphones
Sound isolation means that there is no active noise cancellation but the position of the earphones blocks outside noise. And they work. I can't hear almost anything with these on, they feel like earplugs when not turned on (which is a good thing).
The sound quality is good and they are pretty comfortable to wear and sleep with. They are a solid choice for the price (active noise cancellation tends to up the price a lot).
Price - $$
Bose QuietComfort 35 review - Noise cancelling headphones
Well, this is a new purchase for me and I have owned these for only a week. But I can already tell you that if you want to experience what it's like going deaf and be in a totally different universe, get these right now!
They feel very firm and premium and the design is beautiful. I have worn these in the office every day and they are great. After many hours they get a bit heavy though. When I have worn these to sleep, the pillow takes all the weight so no problem there. Really comfortable. If you have experience with previous Bose noise cancelling headphones, you know that the noise cancelling is great. In this new model, it's even better. The sound quality is astonishing as well, everything just sounds right and balanced (which is expected when purchasing headphones of this quality).
I am willing to bet that these will make you smile, no matter who you are!
Price - $$$
ASMR Headphones - Traditional headphones best suited for ASMR
Here are the reviews of regular headphones that are best suitable for ASMR. Many ASMR artists have super good quality microphones, so it's nice to have headphones of similar quality to listen to all the sounds. We chose the best products in each price range.
Creative Aurvana Live!
If you are looking for a quality headphones for a pretty cheap price, this is the model you want. It has a light weight design that is comfortable to wear for hours, good sound quality and amazing customer reviews on Amazon.
Price - $$
Sennheiser HD 558
These are audiophile-grade over-ear, open-back headphones. The sound quality is absolutely amazing. The sound felt like it was being generated much further out than out of something stuck to the sides of my head. Cheaper headphones often have a clear separation of left and right but these blend it all so seamlessly. While listening to music, ASMR and other sounds, I heard no popping or cracking sounds. Really good quality and pretty light to wear. Money well spent.
Price - $$$
Super cheap ear buds. These actually have a decent sound quality and for the price, it's absolutely amazing. To achieve the best sounds, I find that you have to press them to your ear and wear them tight. If you are looking for cheap earbuds, these are the best ones available. Best value for money. Many different colors available.
Price - $
Conclusion: What is best for me?
I like things that work and do their job well. If they don't, I won't recommend them for anyone. We tested a lot of different earphones and presented the best ones in each category. I guarantee each of them are good for their own purpose. There is no best product for all - However, there is a best product for you.
If you are like me and sleep with your music/asmr playing, get the one for your purpose: headphones to sleep in. Which design you feel you would like? The headband or the ear hooks? Choose what initially feels good to you.
If you don't sleep with your gear on, choose a traditional set!
Sleeping with headphones or sleeping with earbuds
How to sleep with headphones
The reason this is it's own section here is that I have seen a lot of questions on forums and such about how to sleep with headphones. And hopefully you have read this article and now understand that if you want to sleep comfortably, you need a product that is designed for it!
In general, noise throughout the night is considered to be disruptive to sleep. The higher the noise levels vary, the more is disrupts (so don't listen to distracting music). However, a steady background noise (like white noise or ASMR sounds) can be beneficial to sleep quality. And when the sleeping environment is inherently noisy (street noises, snoring, horrible neighbors etc.) the benefits are higher, because the sounds you are listening through your headphones are more relaxing than the noise you would otherwise hear. This benefit can be higher if using noise cancelling headphones for sleeping.
Dangers with sleeping with headphones
There has been a lot of questions about is it dangerous to sleep with headphones on or earbuds on. I have been reading a lot about the subject. Like with anything in today's world, when you read too much about something, it suddenly becomes really really dangerous and harmful (try googling for example the symptoms of a basic fever. Suddenly all the information on the internet points out you have some sort of very serious African jungle disease:). So please take this following information with a grain of salt and use your own imagination about whether you feel this is likely to happen or not.
The top threats are that the headphones cord might strangle you while you sleep and that your house will burn down if you are listening to music at night and can't hear the smoke alarm. I will admit that I have woken up in the morning with my neck wrapped in a headphone cord, but for it to be hurtful or dangerous it will need a one chance in a billion. If you are feeling unlucky, choose a pair of bluetooth headband earphones (so they are cordless).
In my opinion the actual concerns are: If you wear headphones for many nights straight, it increases the bacteria level in your ears. So if you use them every day, every night for weeks straight, you have some chance of getting an ear infection or other small issues. So have some free nights. Sleeping with earbuds so small that they sink deep into your ear could obviously cause some problems during a night on which you force the earbud deeper and deeper by sleeping on side. So use some common sense, evaluate your options, read through this review again and I trust you'll be fine. If you think a little, sleeping with headphones is safe.