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One of the most significant causes of sleeplessness and inadequate rest, in terms of comfortable sleep, is environmental distractions. For an unknown reason, even if it is a significant factor contributing to sleep disorders, Environmental disturbances are not usually listed amongst the cause of the problem. Studies have shown that sleep environment is likely to affect people who do not suffer from sleep disorders or medical conditions and still lack sleep. Many factors go into a person’s sleep environment, which could be the bedroom’s temperature, the mattress quality, the bed size, and the light surrounding the sleeping area. And environmental noise is also a supporting factor in terms of environmental distraction that we may not be able to correct.
Assuming you have a neighbor upstairs, whose kids run about while you try to sleep, or a roommate that plays loud music or a nearby street with a lot of cars passing on it at night, or a partner that snores at night, what can you possibly do about it?.
You cannot possibly stop your neighbor’s kids from running about in their house, or your roommate from listening to loud music, or the traffic outside, or your partner that continually snores. You may take this factor with nonchalance until it dawns on you that it is one of the reasons why you are not getting to sleep.
People living in cities are more prone to being victims of sleeplessness by environmental distractions. Scientists and technology experts understand that we cannot solve most of these problems ourselves, and have designed a variety of gadgets to help us reduce or eliminate the impact of these environmental distractions in our sleep. The mask and the white noise machine are already known alright, but there is a new technology, noise-canceling headphones that help us to hold off environment noise.
Noise-canceling headphones, especially those meant for sleep, look very different from the regular ones. Standard headphones are designed for communication purposes, whether they are made for music, for gaming, or communication. They may also come with noise-canceling features that enable them to keep off noises to an extent, but, sleeper’s headphones typically have a different appearance and function.
Typically, noise-canceling headphones for sleep resemble headbands that have earplugs inserted at the right position. Around the sleeper’s head are the band wraps, which comfort the sleeper, irrespective of sleep position. The headphones may also come with eye masks to prevent light from entering the user’s eyes, making it suitable for people that cannot sleep in the presence of light and noise. These noise cancellers are not very fashionable, but they are great at their job. There is a wide range of headphone choices, from fabric headphones and comfortable earbuds to full-size headphones, available for you to make.
There are two forms of sleep-aiding headphones; noise isolation and noise canceling headphones. Noise-canceling sleep-aiding headphones produce soothing sounds like falling rain or ocean waves or even something ordinary like a buzzing fan instead of the disturbing environment noises. Something differentiates the two forms of headphones; one works manually, and one uses technology to hold off the sound.
The working principle of noise isolation headphones is manual. They work by covering your ear from the noises as a whole. Therefore, the headphones fit over or inside your ear tightly enough to prevent sound from entering. Thus, not technology is involved, and it is entirely manual. They usually come in the form of in-ear buds or over-ear kinds.
On the other hand, Noise cancellation headphones use technology. They “cancel” noise by the use of built-in microphones that collects the environmental noises and play an opposing sound to neutralize the ambient sound. Noise-Canceling technology is known as Digital Signal Processing. Consequentially, this type of headphones is more expensive.
The first company to introduce Noise cancellation was Bose, a sound company. However, in the long run, several companies have invested in the technology of improving noise-cancellation, therefore creating a wide range of prices, style, and features. For novices in this headphone world, it may be hard deciding which headphone to choose, considering the variety of brands available.
The Best Sleep Headphones
1. CozyPhones - The Best Sleep Headphones for Travel
2. Shure SE215-K - The Best Portable Sleep Headphones
3. Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series 2) - The Best Overall Sleep Headphones
4. Bose QuietComfort 20 - The Best Mobile Compatible Sleep Headphones
5. Voerou - The Best Sleep Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Eye Mask
6. Sony MDR1RNC - The Best Premium Sleep Headphones
The Best Sleep Headphones Table
The Best Sleep Headphones for Travel
The Best Portable Sleep Headphones
The Best Overall Sleep Headphones
The Best Mobile Compatible Sleep Headphones
The Best Sleep Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Eye Mask
The Best Premium Sleep Headphones
The Best Sleep Headphones Reviews
CozyPhones Sleep Headphones Review
Ratings: 4.1 out of 5 stars
Customer Satisfaction: 75%
Item Weight: 1.6 ounces
CozyPhones have been able to stay on top of their game in terms of producing quality headphones for sleeping. Nonetheless, it has counterparts that produce expensive headband-style headphones for sleeping. Compared to fleece-based alternatives CozyPhones sleep headphones are made from Lycra and have better breathability and provision of comfort in warm rooms and are also designed to fit a broader range of people.
The headphone comes with a 5-feet long cable, which is long enough to allow your phone to sit on a bedside table but is not too long to the extent that it will tangle up. The unit also includes a travel bag, which is a marginal advantage for its low-cost.
It also comes with flat 1/8-inch thick speaker drivers, making the device a very comfortable in-ear headphone for side sleepers. However, it has a sound quality that contrasts the comfort it provides, although it does an excellent job for listening to music or holding off environment noise for sleeping. Besides, you do not want to use this model in the daytime.
Shure SE215-K Sleep Headphones Review
Ratings: 3.8 out of 5 stars
Customer Satisfaction: 72%
Item Weight: 4.6 ounces
The Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Headphones for sleeping weigh very little and blocks off noise to an extent. The incredible part of this model is that it weighs less than five ounces, and can still hold off about 37 decibels of ambient sounds. The SE215 headphones also have high-definition drivers and enhanced bass features for people who enjoy falling asleep to music. The features provide excellent listening experiences for its user.
The SE215 headphones come either as wired headphones, which can be connected to smart devices or stereos or a wireless design for Bluetooth connectivity. Its buds are designed to comfortably fit inside the user’s ear and come in different sizes to suit people easily. These sizes are the small, medium, and large sizes. Its connector is also fitted tightly to allow all-directional rotation and relief. Additionally, the Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Headphones have a two-year warranty for assurance.
Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series 2) Sleep Headphones Review
Ratings: 4.4 out of 5 stars
Customer Satisfaction: 79%
Item Weight: 8.3 ounces
This model is the best noise-canceling headphone Bose has produced so far. For those of you who need the best out of headphones and do not mind the price, then the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 series II is what you are looking for. You might be thinking; why is the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 series II so unique? It is unique because it is Alexa-enabled. Thus, all required of you is to hit the action button and let your voice do the remaining control work. Therefore, you only have to ask Alexa to adjust noise-canceling level and leave the control to it. For non-Alexa users, the action button can be used to manipulate the noise-canceling intensity to any of the three levels available. Additionally, The Bose Quiet Comfort 35 series II features other functions and extras such as a microphone, the incorporated Bose Connect app and music sharing features. Furthermore, it comes with a car charger, in which you may choose to or not to buy.
Bose QuietComfort 20 Sleep Headphones Review
Ratings: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Customer Satisfaction: 77%
Item Weight: 0.64 ounces
This headphone will drastically upgrade your bedtime listening. For those of you who need a device to help you hold off outside noises, such as snoring, traffic or noisy neighbors, The Bose Quiet Comfort 20 is an excellent choice for you. It cancels noise in the following consecutive ways:
1. The earbud seals your external ear and holds off some of the noises coming from outside.
2. The noise-canceling technology actively holds off sound waves with lower frequency.
3. The addition of soothing music completely neutralizes the noise and allows you to sleep soundly.
In case you are worried about practically disconnecting from the outside world, you can activate an “aware” feature on the device. This feature allows you to hear some sounds still, especially if you have children to look out for or an alarm to listen to.
Surprisingly, the ends are slippery and soft, so when they are in your ear, you still feel entirely comfortable. The tips also come in 3 sizes, in which you can get one that will perfectly fit into your ear canals without stress. Also, since they are earbuds, they do not overheat as fabrics, and over-ear types do.
Typical of Bose, the sound quality is excellent, making it a brilliant choice for listeners that like the full range of sound. The only disadvantage is that they are somewhat costlier. Nonetheless, you should not expect a lower price for such high-end headphone. But, if you need something cheaper, you should go for other headphone brands.
On a final note, I recommend the Bose Quiet Comfort headphones for noise-canceling, as they produce equality between noise cancellation, excellent sound quality and the luxury they provide.
Voerou Sleep Noise Cancelling Mask Review
Ratings: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Customer Satisfaction: 77%
Item Weight: 2.24 ounces
As one of the Most Innovative Headphones, these headphones provide both excellent sound quality and optical sleep protector. The Bluetooth Sleeping Eye Mask Headphone comes with an eye mask, which is made from velvet and elastic cotton that gives it an elastic nature and allows it to fit on the user’s eyes every night comfortably. Its excellent sound quality and noise cancellation feature are effects of the built-in headphone speakers, which are easily adjusted to a position that suits the user.
Not only do these wireless headphones last for about 15 hours before recharging, but they also give a backup time of 60 hours and offer wireless Bluetooth connectivity. Therefore, they can connect to any Bluetooth or portable device, and can be used for hands-free calls too. Compared to other brands, their eye masks are cleanable. All required of you is to remove the speakers and spot clean the eye mask to remove dirt. Overall, these headphones are of high-cost preference as they are offered for about $25 with their multiple functions.
Sony MDR1RNC Sleep Headphones Review
Ratings: 3.8 out of 5 stars
Customer Satisfaction: 77%
Item Weight: 0.96 ounces
For those of you who do not want to settle for Bose and still want that superior quality, the Sony MDR is another brand you want to consider. Just like the Bose QuietComfort, this headphone has similar features, but better sound quality. Incredibly, this device can automatically switch between its three different modes, which are the office, bus, and airplane modes. It can do this alternation by monitoring the level of environment sound. While the MDR is better in sound quality, the Bose is better in terms of noise cancellation. The MDR can be powered by a battery or can be recharged through USB, making it unique in that field among other superior headphone brands.
Steps to Choosing the Correct Noise-Canceling Headphones for Sleep
There is a variety of functions that Noise canceling headphones perform. They may be used in a flight to hold off sounds, in an office to concentrate or at night for peaceful sleeping. In the case of Noise canceling headphones for sleep, there are a few things to put into consideration before buying them. The factors include the following
Price: if you are a novice in the noise-canceling headphones' world, you may not be able to differentiate between noise isolation headphones and noise canceling types. The predominant factor distinguishing noise isolation headphones from the noise canceling ones is that they do not use noise-canceling technology as the noise canceling headphones. Therefore, noise isolation headphones have a lower price compared to the other.
Passive noise canceling headphones come at affordable prices, while active noise canceling headphones come with noise cancellation technology and therefore, attract more money for a quality headphone. However, you sometimes have to choose affordability or comfort over quality.
Before you plunge into buying Premium noise-canceling headphones, you have to consider your pocket, because they are expensive. For those of you who need a headphone just for the sake of eliminat8ng environmental distractions during sleep, you should go for a headphone with a price within your reach.
Nonetheless, you have to look at the second side of the coin- don’t go for too cheap headphones as they easily break, sound awful and are very uncomfortable. Imagine you are using this device as a medium to invest in your health. Having a quality headphone may amount to a quality sleep, which will be of great benefit to your body.
Comfort: before picking a headphone, you want to place comfort as your number one criteria. Comfort is paramount because you are wearing noise-canceling headphones to sleep, which lasts for about 8 hours every day! So, it is unreasonable buying a headphone that has fantastic sound features but is very uncomfortable. Thus, the amount of comfort a noise-canceling headphone provides is more important than the quality of the features it includes.
Favorite headphones have been most people’s choice as they are the best in terms of comfort. However, they are not sophisticated headphones with the best sound quality, but they offer better comfort than full-sized headphones. Incredibly, they do not even look like headphones; instead, they look like headbands with built-in earplugs.
However, if you use Fabric headphones, you can comfortably sleep on any side as the earplugs do not put your ear or head under pressure. On the other hand, the headband may make hot sleepers sweat or warm while sleeping. But, for cool sleepers or people without such problem, the fabric headphones are yet the best type in providing comfort.
Also, you should look out for headphones that are not too small or too big to fit you and provide comfort. As a result of going through this procedure, you should be able to put the headphone on comfortably, without needing to adjust it to make it comfortable.
On the other hand, another critical factor to consider is the quality of the cable, which also affects comfort. You should put adequate effort to avoid thick-cabled headphones for sleep. Not only can they tangle up and disturb your sleep, but they can also cause other tons of setbacks. On a final note, another affecter of comfort is cable microphonics. Cable microphonics play a significant role in how a headphone sound; determining whether the headphone will produce pleasant sounds to soothe you or annoying noises to disturb you.
Noise Cancelation Technology: Similar to what we discussed earlier, there is one mistakable difference between active and passive noise canceling headphones. Passive noise canceling headphones do not use technology to block off ambient noise. They only employ the use of a pair of close-fitting headphones or earplugs, which block the noise from entering your ear. They are also called noise isolation headphones and do not cost very much.
On the other hand, Active noise-canceling headphones use destructive interference technology. A lot of high-end active noise cancellation headphones that block off low-frequency environment sounds such as conversations, sounds from a fan or A. C, engine sounds and so on. However, they do not hold off sharp high-frequency noises such as screams, sudden cry of babies or the sound produced by a door slammed. Thus, with these headphones, you will not be entirely disconnected from your world.
Wired or Wireless connectivity? Majority of noise-canceling headphones use wired connections. Since the cables are thin, you might be thinking that they are okay for use. But, they are still the most significant problems you can have with your headphone. Especially for headphones for sleep, some users fear that the cables may tangle around their neck and strangle them during sleep. Well, that’s not the real issue with headphones, as it is not a problem for most users. But, to make matters worse, you may turn on your bed and mistakenly pull the cable, making your headphone to fall or malfunction. Thus, wireless headphones are better than headphones with wired connectivity, not only for this “untangling” feature but because they also come with durable batteries for an extended period of use.
Battery Life: although it is not peculiar to other headphone types, Active noise cancellation headphones use batteries. They are electronic devices with microphones and audio processing units inside them. Therefore, they will need a constant supply of power to function. Thus, they depend on batteries for power.
Then, check for battery life before picking a noise cancellation headphone to ensure that the battery doesn’t die suddenly during use; because if the battery runs dry, it dies and the headphone stops till you get another battery. As a result, you have to pick a headphone with a battery life that suits you. Although battery life varies from one brand to another, a headphone battery can last for more than 6 hours on an average. Also, remember to keep a marginal pair of batteries for emergencies as the majority of active noise cancellation headphones use replaceable batteries.
Company Warranty: another essential factor to keep in mind in the process of getting an active noise cancellation headphone is the company warranty. They are very different from regular headphones and are qualified electronic devices, so, they can break down at any time. Thus, you will need to alert customer service for consultation and solutions. And, you have to remember that fixing or getting spare parts for such a high-quality headphone can be quite expensive. But, this problem will be limited if the headphone has a trusts warranty of about 2 to 3 years, and an excellent customer service that will find solutions to your questions with immediate effect. These are critical things to consider before settling for a noise cancellation headphone brand.
Quality of the Device: your noise cancellation headphone can be used for other functions besides sleeping, particularly for those of you who are only buying one. Therefore, they can be as useful as regular headphones, with additional clarity and reduced effect of ambient noise. Thus, when you are going to buy one, you should not only check for comfort and fit, but also its noise-cancellation quality. You also want to look out for not only the noise cancellation quality but its sound quality, by putting on some music. You can also ask a person that followed you or a nearby person to speak at different levels to check the extent at which the headphone blocks the noise. Well, no one can practically sound like an airplane, but you should be able to fathom what it would sound like with the headphone.
How to Sleep with Headphones
You may not know how to sleep with your headphones on, except if you have a pair of headphones for sleep only. Generally, the best position for sleep headphone users is the back sleep position.
You should also know how your pillow affects your comfort with the headphone. Too soft pillows will allow your head to sink in and may tilt the headphone out of place. Too hard pillows, on the other hand, may cause you neck pain and other issues. Overall, you want to check around and make inquiries about what should or should not work for you.
Is Headphone Safe for Sleeping?
Even with the great job headphones do at improving some people’s sleep quality, they still have some side effects, which are:
- Earwax buildup: Several headphones, particularly earbuds, tightly seal the ear canal and obstruct circulation, causing a build-up of earwax around the eardrum. When the build-up worsens, it can be especially painful and would require the intervention of a doctor.
- Otitis externa: this is a condition whereby membrane in the ear canal becomes inflamed and leaks out fluid. When headphones penetrate deep into the ear canal, they can cause this condition. Otitis externa can also be caused by listening to loud music or noise.
- Hearing problems: listening to loud music can also cause hearing damage apart from Otitis externa. Many scientists and professionals have the same opinion that listening to music or sounds with volume exceeding 60 decibels (dB) for a long time can cause loss of hearing.
- Strangulation hazard: also, wired headphones may tangle around a person’s neck during sleep, and may block the airway as a result. Thus, the person may suffocate.
- Distraction: the noise-blocking advantage of headphones may turn out to be a disadvantage if it disconnects the user from the outside world. It is especially dangerous in cases of emergencies such as a fire outbreak, robbery or a sudden medical attack of a roommate or relative.
Even with these significant risks, you can as well reduce the problems and sleep peacefully by disconnecting the headphone in case of discomfort or checking for proper positioning of the wires.
Considerations for Sleeping Headphones Shoppers
Now, let us discuss essential things to put into consideration before settling for a model and comparing different headphone brands.
- How much do they cost? The least price for a new pair of sleeping headphones is $10, while the highest cost is $200 on the average. Typically, the most expensive headphones are usually the multi-functions advanced forms, and the least expensive are the simpler earbuds and clip-on models.
- How do they feel? You choose between the over-ear, on-ear, in-ear, and headband/sleep mask headphones based on what you think suits you. As earbuds or headbands/sleep masks are too close-fitting for some people, the over-ear and clip-on styles are too complicated for other people.
- How much do they weigh? Well, this choice is also based on preference. While over-ear headphones weigh about one and a half pounds, other sleeping headphones typically weigh exactly or below six ounces.
- What is your preferred size? Size is determined by different factors and varies among headphones. While electrical resistance (in ohms) is used to determine the size of some headphones, physical measurements and specifications are used to measure other headphone models.
- What is your preferred sleep position? Sleeping position determines how comfortable wearing a headphone will be for the sleeper. As back or stomach sleepers are okay with any sleeping headphones, side-sleepers may prefer sleep mask or headband models. This preference is due to the discomfort over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear designs cause for them when they interfere with the space between the pillow and ear of the sleeper.
- Do you toss and turn? Headphones, particularly the thin-wired models with delicate parts easily wear out by consistent movement at night. Thus, they spoil faster if they are put under pressure by a sleeper that turns while sleeping.
- Are they wired or wireless? For wired headphones, make sure to sleep on a position that does not tangle up the cord around you. For wireless models, ensure to use a wireless speaker or music playback.
- What is the cord length? You might want to consider how long the cord that connects your headphone to the playback gadget is. This decision should be based on the structure of your room.
- What sizes are available? Scores of sleeping headphones come in one size, while some come in a wide range of sizes.
- What is the product warranty length? How long a headphone will last depends on the warranty, it comes with. And, the guarantees differ among different brands; some lasts for as long as you use it, while others do not have guarantees at all. However, an average headphone with a warranty should last for up to 1 or 2 years.
Headphones for Sleeping: Common Designs and Characteristics
In terms of playing music into the listeners’ ear, sleeping headphones are entirely the same as regular headphones. The only things that distinguish the two are that sleeping headphones are designed to serve the listener through the night without causing inflammation, while regular headphones cannot. There are different firms of sleeping headphones which are:
- Over-ear: this type of headphones is the conventional type that covers the outer ear tightly. They are generally large and have headphone which is connected by a band that fits over the head of the listener.
- On-ear: this type of headphones is also known as clip-on headphones. They are smaller models of the over-ear forms, which covers the outer ear without actually entering the ear canal. Some people regard the over-ear headphones too large for sleeping; therefore, the On-ear headphones maybe an excellent substitute for such people.
- In-ear: this headphone type is commonly called earbuds. They fit tightly into the ear canals and provide above-average quality sounds into the ear canals directly. However, there have been some reports from sleepers that the headphones may become uncomfortable if worn for an extended duration.
- Headbands and sleep masks: this model is a modern advanced technology in which some do not come with headphones, but built-in audio speakers. Therefore, they are not required to fit in, on or around the ear or ear canal. Also, they have a kind of cushion that separates the headphone and sleeper’s pillow, making it a more suitable choice for people that sleep on their sides.
Also, there are wire and wireless sleeping headphones. The wired sleeping headphones require cords for connection to music players and other communicative devices. On the other hand, the wireless sleep headphones do not need physical media to receive a signal from a communication gadget or speaker.
Majority of the sleeping headphones available today are noise-canceling headphones. Therefore, they neutralize or reduce ambient noise by covering the ear tightly. Sometimes, some headphones help the user to sleep by producing high-quality white noise and autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR sounds directly into the listener’s ear. The difference between white noise and ASMR sounds is that White noises are random soothing sound signals that neutralize outside noises while ASMR sounds refer to signals that tingle the ear and relaxes the listeners’ nerves to drift to sleep. And, these ASMR playback Headphones have high-quality microphones that eliminate clapping noises.
Moreover, sleeping headphones use similar volume regulator as regular ones. However, listening to a volume higher than 60 decibels (dB) is very unhealthy and can damage the ear if continued for an extended duration.
Benefits & Risks of Using Headphones for Sleeping
- The Journal of Music Therapy Researches showed that music not only helps to drift to sleep but also helps sporadic wakefulness of the user. Therefore, you can stop the music when you are sleepy or set a timer to stop it at a particular time.
- The Journal of Advanced Nursing published another report of successfully treating sleep disorders and depression in adolescents, using soothing classical music for 45 minutes before bedtime for three consecutive weeks. Also, elementary school children the same research was carried out and both studies proved the importance of music before night.
- The music intervention therapy was also tested on adults with insomnia, and the results were favorable to have improved the stimulation to sleep.
- We have earlier discussed that soothing music before sleep is beneficial to all. Nonetheless, playing music to a person that is asleep is not healthy. This condition can cause the person to wake up several times, therefore disrupting the processes and benefits of sleep. Thus, the benefits of music during sleep are questioned.
- Apart from the "unhealthy" part, there are some health risks associated with using technology in your ear overnight. The health issues include hearing loss, Otitis externa, especially for people with generic traits, asphyxiating, especially for people using wire headphones, and accumulation of earwax.
- You might also be disconnected for your world; therefore you are not alerted in times of emergency, such as robbery in your house.
What Not to Expect
If you haven’t used noise-canceling headphones before and you are about to buy one, you might be thinking that these headphones will help you eliminate all noises. I bet you that there no device in this world that can neutralize all sounds including the noise of a plane or train. But, if you are planning to eliminate as much noise as you can on a flight, then you can make progress by opting for a high-end noise cancellation headphone that can help you to a certain extent. However, as discussed in this content, the noise canceling technology neutralizes low-frequency ambient sounds. Therefore, you may still be able to hear sudden noise such as the slamming of a door, honk of a vehicle and a baby's cry.
You might have to deal with problems like comfort and fit after buying your headphone. As the comfortable fabric headbands do not offer the best noise cancellation, the over-the-ear models are not for people with side sleeping position. The headphone might even be the one keeping you from sleeping. Then, the price comes in different values, according to brands and functions. While the generic headphones cost around $40, the superior brands cost about $400, which would you go for? Funny enough, even if you test the headphone at the store before buying it, you may sleep with it, and it will not work the same way!
Overall, it is up to you to not expect your noise cancellation headphone to eliminate even minutest sounds when you buy it. You have to keep in mind that there is no perfect headphone and you must test your headphone several times before you can get its best results.
However, instead of a headphone, you can get a sound machine, which is a small movable device that you position on a nightstand as it plays relaxing music to calm you and help you sleep as it neutralizes ambient sounds. And, sound machines are very affordable compared to high-quality sleep headphones. No matter the sleep headphone brand you choose, you should do research, make enquires and go through reviews about it to get adequate information before buying it.
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