I don’t know about you, but I’ve often been in a situation where I would have loved to be able to sleep, but can’t due to the noises going on around me. One example of this was when I lived in an apartment with a rather…active…neighbour below me. I would often get woken up early on a Saturday by the noises. This was especially important while I was doing exams and needed to avoid being woken up through the night. So, I started my search to try and find some good headphones to block out the noise.
I’ve also been using my headphones on flights when I want to sleep soundly through the flight, which is probably the best use I’ve found for the headphones I purchased, as I regularly make flights back to the UK.
I know some people who could literally sleep through a storm. However, I really do need silence or some relaxing quiet music to help me drift off when there is a lot of background noise going on around me.
This is why I decided to track down the best headphones to aid my sleep. I’ve tested quite a few different noise cancelling headphones in order to make a decision. I was luckily able to send back the headphones which I felt did not do a significantly good job. I’ve compared and given a rating to all of the systems which I used below, and then further broken down each of the noise cancelling headphones that I believe to be good for sleeping with.
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For those who need to wear headphones in bed, then this may be the choice for you. The headband style of headphone is going to be less invasive, and therefore more comfortable for those who sleep on their side. I personally sleep on my back, so this wasn’t so much of a factor for me.
The AcousticSheep Sleep Headphones were comfortable, and were perfect for blocking out external noises while I was trying to sleep. I wouldn’t say they were great for listening to music with though. Albeit, I have the lucky scenario of having experienced some of the world’s best audiophile headphones, so I’m primarily comparing it to that.
My main issue with this noise cancelling headphone for sleeping with was that the earphone part of the headband wasn’t easy to adjust to my head, and would sometimes move off during sleep. I’ve also read comments online that the “One size fits all” headband is too small for some consumers. I personally didn’t have an issue with this, however, I have a medium sized head. I imagine if your head is on the larger size, then avoid the AcousticSheep Sleep Headphones.
I’m just going to go right out and say it straight away. These were my least favourite headphones on this list that I tried, hence the 2.5/5 rating. The redeeming feature is that the Bedphones are quite light and comfortable once you have actually managed to get them to fit you.
However, the sound quality is very average (and that’s being kind), and they are an absolute pain to get them to fit you well, and even once they’re fitted they’re only borderline comfortable. There are other headphones on this list which are more comfortable, and far easier to get settled onto your head.
NOTE: For those who like to sleep on their side, I would avoid the BedPhones, as they are not comfortable if you plan to use them while you’re sleeping on your side. If I were to be kind, they may be good for using while travelling, but if that were the case, each of the other options on this list are better, so I have no idea why you wouldn’t just choose them.
Considering the pure purpose of the BedPhones (as the name suggests) is to be worn while sleeping in a bed, you’d think they would have done a better job. The comfort level is okay, but the sound quality is poor, and I’d also argue that using headphones with a cable is just dangerous in your sleep. I toss and turn loads in my sleep, which meant that I would sometimes wake up with the cable around my neck. I was never hurt or even close to it, however, it still seems like a safety hazard to me.
Boy did Bose do a good job making the Bose QuietComfort 20. I’ll be honest, I usually hate in-ear earphones. They just never seem to sit well, and I find myself adjusting them constantly. For testing these, I used them on my trip to the UK and back home. So they were mostly used while I napped on the plane. It is sometimes better for me to just sleep on a plane due to the fact that I’m quite tall, so sleeping is the only way to ignore the discomfort. Anyway, enough about me, and back to the headphones.
The sound quality is as you would expect from Bose. Nothing short of sublime. And the most important feature is the noise cancelling. While the other headphones on this list will muffle and quieten noises, the Bose headphones while genuinely block out noises. The noise cancelling on a Bose headphone is something that you need to experience first hand to truly understand how magical it is. Trust me, it is a unique and initially strange sensation, as you suddenly find yourself in an eerily quiet environment.
Let’s be honest, the Bose headphones are a heck of a lot more expensive than any other option on this list (other than the other Bose QuietComfort I’ve listed). However, I genuinely think they’re worth the expense. The quality is leaps and bounds ahead of the pack, and the sound quality just cannot be beaten in this field. The two Bose options are the most expensive, but they’re also the best. If you can afford it, I would definitely go for either of the QuietComfort options.
Sleeping with the Bose QuietComfort 20 isn’t too bad, honestly. I was expecting it to be uncomfortable due to the in-ear design. However, they didn’t press into my ears too much when lying on my side. They were great when I slept on the plane, and I never had any issues at all. However, like a lot of the other options on this list, the QuietComfort 20 is a wired headphone, and therefore I would be sceptical about sleeping with them if you’re a restless sleeper, and would choose the slightly more expensive headphones instead.
The Tooks Sportec Band is comfortable, there’s no doubt about that. Due to the fact that it is made with a dry-fit material, I didn’t feel as though it made me too sweaty. However, due to the fact that I live in a warm environment, I sometimes found as though the headband was a bit uncomfortable due to the warmth. However, it should be noted that I do not have air conditioning, which can make my bedroom hotter than others.
This band headphone, unlike the AcousticSheep would be perfect for anyone of any head size.
I would say that the Tooks Sportec is the best headphone for those who sleep on their side, as it was the least intrusive.
In terms of sound quality, it is good, but nothing groundbreaking. The main issue with this headphone though is the switch which is on the cable. Sometimes during my sleep, I would roll over and hit the switch under my body, which would cause music to start playing loudly and wake me up. The Tooks Sportec would be fantastic if it was bluetooth/wireless, and would definitely be in the top 3 of this list. However, this happened more than once to me, and became very frustrating. However, it also has to be said that these are incredibly well priced. So, if you’ve got a tight budget, I would probably make these your number one choice.
Another positive is the fact that the earpieces for the headphones can actually be removed, and the headband can therefore be washed. Obviously such a product is going to get sweaty after a while if you keep sleeping with it on, so I thought this was quite a clever feature that others in this market have overlooked.
The CozyPhones Sleep Headphones were quite similar to the Tooks Sportec Headphones in terms of design and feel.
Users of this product have reported great success of using it to combat a snoring spouse. One user mentioned combing the CozyPhones with earplugs to create the greatest solution to a snoring husband she had found. Shall we call these ‘Marriage Savers’ for the rest of the article?
As is often the case with sleep headphones, the sound quality isn’t great. However, you could argue that the main use of these headphones isn’t to get you hyped with Beyonce’s latest track, but to help you get to sleep and be comfortable. The CozyPhones do succeed in this aspect.
I did find that the lycra headband could be a little warm and sweaty after a long nights sleep. Not enough to wake me up, but I would arise in the morning to a very warm head.
I feel as though the CozyPhones are great, but the ability to clean the headband makes the Tooks better overall for me in the headband class.
This is the cheapest option on this list, but it isn’t necessarily the worst option. Another headband style headphone, with the option to remove the earphones and clean the band. The headband is adjustable and comfortable. Although, I would say that this option is the worst in terms of sound quality.
As was the issue with the Tooks headband, the Firik has a ‘controller’ on the cable, which meant that sometimes I would accidentally knock it in my sleep, causing loud music to start playing. I have no idea why the manufacturers have added this to a product which is entirely made for the purpose of sleeping in. You don’t need to change songs in your sleep after all! It just annoys me, it is such an obvious flaw in the product!
The main issue with the Firik though isn’t the ability to start unwanted songs in your sleep. It is the fact that there is some quite significant noise bleeding out of the headphones. Therefore, they would be completely unsuitable for someone with a partner, and unsuitable to be used on a plane or public transport. Therefore, the Firik Sleep Headphones are only really useful if you’re single.
Would I recommend them? Hmmm, not really. They’re cheap, but they’re just not good enough to be worth it for me. If I had genuine issues with sleeping, I’d rather spend more money on something which is going to last, and does’t have all of the annoying flaws.
The second cheapest option on this list.
The MaxRock Sleeping Headphones are good, if they fit you. I found that they just kept falling out of my ear, which was more of an irritant than the cause of me not being able to sleep. However, I got my partner to try them one night, and she said that they were fine. So, this is a bit of a hit and miss product. I’ve always found that in-ear earphones don’t really work for me, and has always been the case until I tried the Bose QuietComfort 20.
The fact that you’re not able to try this product before you buy makes it a bit annoying, and a gamble for those who it may or may not be suitable for.
As with the Firik headphones, these are very cheap, which may mean that the price is worth the gamble in terms of seeing if they suit your ear cavity. However, I wasn’t over the moon with the build quality, and I wouldn’t be surprised if after a month or so of being used every night, they would stop working. On top of this, the sound isolation isn’t great. It does dampen sounds, however, I can still hear it. It just muffles sounds, like a pair of cheap earplugs.
Would I recommend the MaxRock? Not really. I still think I would rather spend more for a better product overall.
As the Bose QuietComfort 35 is a reasonably bulky headphone, this is completely inappropriate for those who sleep on their side. While this may be the best noise cancelling headphone on this list, I do appreciate that it may not be the best option for people on this list. I feel as though if you need a pair of headphones for travelling on transport (Such as a plane) and sleeping beyond the noise going on around you, then you genuinely cannot do better than the Bose QuietComfort 35.
The sound quality from this headphone is nothing short of fantastic. Which is why it is my number one choice on this list. Yes, I use the noise cancelling function while I’m on the plane, and it completes this function well, but it is also an amazing headphone for listening to music on a daily basis. In fact, I regularly take the Bose QuietComfort 35 to the office in order to remove the background noise from the environment while I need to concentrate on work.
The QuietComfort 35 is wireless, which is a key feature I really appreciate. Firstly, wires eventually degrade over time, from my experience. Plus the Bose build quality is sublime. These are really solidly built. 20 hours of wireless battery time means that I can go a whole day of work, or a whole flight without having to worry about the battery running out.
To be blunt, this really is the best noise cancellation that money can buy. If you sleep on your back, then these are fantastic headphones to sleep in, you really couldn’t do better in terms of purchasing an all round great noise reducing headphone for sleeping.
Have you found the best noise cancelling headphones for sleeping?
I hope this article helped you in making your decision. If you have any questions about the headphones I have reviewed in this article, then please feel free to message me or leave a comment, and I will be happy to help.
In addition, if you have interest in more audio devices, then please read my article on the best bluetooth speakers under $200.