Healthy Sleeping Habits

The 5 Best Headphones for Sleep, Because We Need All the Help We Can Get

Allie Flinn

Photo: Getty Images
One of the key components of getting a good night of sleep is, unfortunately, not stressing too much about getting enough sleep. Cue Alanis. It’s a totally easy balance of “caring enough about how much sleep you get” but also at the same time “not caring about it so intensely that it gives you anxiety.” (Especially “easy” if, like this writer, you are only capable of caring about things intensely.) So how does one become the most mythical of all creatures, a human adult who is well-rested? Headphones for sleep may be able to help. They block out noise from, say, a partner who snores or lulling you to sleep with the rain soundscape that would keep your bedfellow awake. Unlike regular headphones, they’re designed specifically to be comfortable and stay in place while you sleep.

There are approximately a bazillion reasons to get the right amount of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can lead to mood issues, depression, anxiety, trouble remembering things… and it’s not an exaggeration to say the list goes on and on. In timely sleep news, it’s important to prioritize sleep in both the nights before and after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine (whether you get the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson). When you get that sweet, sweet mRNA cocktail (or adenovirus cocktail, if you get the J&J version) injected into your body it stimulates your body’s immune response; studies have found that people who get adequate sleep around the time they’re vaccinated against viruses produced more virus-specific antibodies and virus-specific memory immune cells, Christian Benedict, PHD, previously told Well+Good. But, like, no pressure.

So cozy up in one of these soft and affordable sleep tees, cue up an audiobook, white noise, soundscape, ASMR—whatever you think will help you nod off—and pop on a pair of these headphones for sleep. (Fair warning, 4/5 of them will make you look like a dork. But that’s okay because they work really well, and also who cares because literally fashion right now is three-day old sweatpants.)

1. Bose Sleepbuds II, $250

bose sleep headphonesGood news and bad news: all of the other pairs on this list are much less expensive, but this is the most stylish pair. These noise-blocking earbuds manage to both stay in place and feel really comfortable—even if you’ve become a pandemic fetal position sleeper. They connect with the Bose Sleep App, where you can choose from variety of sleep-inducing sounds that are played at the right mix of frequencies to make outside noise less perceptible to your brain. You can also set up Phone-Free Mode, so you don’t have to look at your phone right before trying to doze off (which we’re all pretty much aware by now is a v bad thing to do). A note: you cannot stream things from your phone—it only works with the app.

Shop now: Bose Sleepbuds II, $250

2. SleepPhones Wireless with Microphone, $110

sleepphones sleep headband

Shop now: SleepPhones Wireless with Microphone, $110

As mentioned, the majority of these are the headwear equivalent of a retainer—they do their job but you’re not under any impression that they make you look cool. It’s worth it, however, because you’ll be the one who spent *sexy voice* 90 minutes in REM cycle. Take that haters. This headband-style pair comes in seven colors made from either warm, soft fleece or a breathable, sweat-wicking fabric. If you’re a hot sleeper, go for the latter. The speakers connect wirelessly to compatible devices, and the headband has built in play, pause, and volume controls.

3. LC-Dolida Sleep Headphones, $25

sleep headphonesIf the thought of not being able to hear or see immediately upon opening your eyes doesn’t send you into a claustrophobic tailspin or make you paranoid that there’s something watching you, this is the sleep headphone set for you. (Also, can I please borrow your brain?) It has a contoured eye area, so your eyeballs don’t feel smooshed when you put it on, and is ergonomically designed to keep light out. You can adjust the position of the speakers, and they wirelessly connect to Bluetooth.

Shop now: LC-Dolida Sleep Headphones, $25

4. Perytong Sleep Headphones, $20

sleep headphones headband Hey there Michael Cera in Juno. This is basically a sweatband with wireless speakers that connect to Bluetooth so you can stream content from your phone. The battery is rechargeable and lasts 10 hours; make sure to remove it and the other electronic pieces before tossing this in the wash. It comes in six colors, three of which are varying shades of gray which warms my neutrals-loving heart. It also costs less than a too-sleep-deprived-to-make-decisions Starbucks order.

Shop now: Perytong Sleep Headphones, $20

5. Sharper Image Wireless Sound Soother Headband, $100

sharper image sleep headphonesMoment of silence for all those Sharper Image magazines we casually browsed aboard airplanes, having no idea that they—along with the other way to pass time on a plane, alcohol—would someday be taken away due to a global pandemic. This fleece-y headband has 17 sleep sounds built in, including white noise, waves, and the surprisingly soothing “suburban lawnmower.” That means you don’t need to connect to Bluetooth like the others to hear the sounds, but that also means you can’t play your own sounds. It stays charged for 20 hours, and is machine washable (after you remove the speakers and electronics, of course).

Shop now: Sharper Image Wireless Sound Soother Headband, $100

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