A great pair of noise canceling headphones will help you get the right amount of sleep you need every night. After all, we spend about a third of our lives sleeping! Unfortunately, a good night’s sleep is not always guaranteed every time you hit the sack. That’s because our sleeping patterns are different.

If you’re working overtime or you’re unable to fall asleep, a pair of noise canceling headphones should help you get the rest you need for the night. These headphones are useful if you live in the city or your bedroom’s got paper-thin walls. Noise canceling headphones for sleeping are designed to soothe an otherwise encumbered mind. If you’re looking for the best noise canceling headphones for sleeping, check out our top recommendations.

Sleeping Up High

Image used under Creative Commons from Timothy Brown

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Sleeping

Bose QuietComfort 20i

Bose QuietComfort 20i

PROS

  • Unique design
  • Secure fit
  • Excellent noise cancellation feature

CONS

  • Short battery life when anti-noise feature is activated
  • Bulky remote
  • Expensive

The QuietComfort 20i by Bose is a set of in-ear headphones with excellent anti-noise features. This headphone set is quite compact so it’s perfect for traveling. The build is pretty solid, it comes with a sturdy cable that won’t break easily. Each earpiece is fitted with a squishy silicone cover to keep it in place when worn. The silicone cover has a fin-like shape to help set the earpiece securely. The device comes with a battery pack that connects to the earphones via a mini plug.

Thanks to this unique design, the QuietComfort 20i feels like nothing when worn. This earphone set is perfect for long hours of music listening without breaks. Even when the earphones are pressed against a pillow, the ears won’t hurt. But does the design work? Surprisingly well, yes. Bose claims that the QuietComfort 20i is sweat resistant too, which is a nice plus.

QuietComfort 20i’s anti-noise feature is one of the best we’ve seen in a pair of in-ear headphones. This feature can be turned on and off. Once activated, the noise cancellation feature eliminates ambient noise. This is a great set to keep in handy when you’re in a noisy environment because it inhibits traffic noise or engine sounds with ease.

As for the audio quality, the QuietComfort 20i brings rich bass and detailed midrange. It will work for most music genres but sound clearly isn’t studio quality. And you know what, that’s not what QuietComfort 20i is all about. The product’s main selling points are comfort fit and noise cancellation. These are two features that are important for sleeping headphones and that’s what matters.

That said, the battery life of the 20i is so much less than advertised but only when the noise cancellation feature is turned on. This is quite normal for products with active noise cancellation feature. So when you’re using the 20i, always keep the charger on hand.

The QuietComfort 20i is pretty expensive but the noise cancellation feature is worth the extra expense. We just wish the remote isn’t so bulky.

I’m a very light sleeper, and I sleep at odd hours. I also happen to live in a noisy city, and in an noisy part of the city to boot. I was hesitant to spend the money because I didn’t think they could possibly do what I needed them to do. I need them to drown out heavy construction noise one floor above me. I need them to make the city go away sometimes. Incredibly, they do all of that and do it well. And unlike NC headphones, they are really comfortable to sleep in. Like I said, life changing.

If you’re after comfort and portability, you’ll love the Bose QuietComfort 20i! This set offers fantastic noise cancellation feature and hands-free operation.

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CozyPhones Sleep Headphones

CozyPhones Sleep Headphones

PROS

  • Comfortable design
  • Lycra and thin fleece material
  • Machine washable
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Short cord
  • Material gets warm during hot summer days

CozyPhones Sleep Headphones is another popular headband-style headphones made from soft, silky material. Unlike the AcousticSheep SleepPhones, this product features a thinner textile. This improves the comfort level when used during hot days. The headband stretches across the head comfortably so it’s a great set of headphones for sleeping or studying at home. CozyPhones Sleep Headphones is perfect if you’re working out or meditating too!

The speakers are fitted inside the material. The speaker is thin and small. It lies flat so it won’t hurt the ears when you’re resting your head on a pillow. Thanks to the thinner material, it’s perfect for long hours of music playing. Despite the small sized speakers, audio volume is fantastic. The sound quality won’t take your breath away but the audio is clear and static free.

Noise isolation is moderate, it can block low-frequency noises including the hum of the AC. However, this device won’t eliminate ambient sound completely. It doesn’t come with active noise cancellation capabilities, after all.

The cable that connects the two speakers is braided for added durability. That means the cord won’t snap even when you toss and turn in bed. That said, the length of the cord is on the short side, which may be problematic for some users. Also, despite the thinner material, wearing this for hours on end can get uncomfortable during the summer season.
Bottomline: CozyPhones Sleep headphones offer amazing comfort at an affordable price. The design is simple and the audio is great. These are fantastic headphones for sleepers who cannot doze off without listening to their favorite beats.

I am a natural insomniac and frequently need some assistance falling asleep. I typically listen to podcasts to help me fall asleep, but earbuds were quite uncomfortable. I received these sleeping headphones as a gift and they have made the process of falling asleep an easier experience. So do yourself a favor and buy yourself one of these headbands, strap it over your eyes, and treat yo self to some solid sleep.

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AcousticSheep SleepPhones

CozyPhones Sleep Headphones

PROS

  • Comfortable design
  • Soft, fleece and Lycra headband
  • Machine washable

CONS

  • Size is on the small side
  • Material gets warm during hot summer days

Product description and stuff.

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The AcousticSheep SleepPhones is a soft headband-style headphones designed for sleepers. The textile is made from fleece and Lycra material for a perfect fit that doesn’t tug the skin.

The headphones come with flat speakers that are embedded right into the material. Because the speakers are flat and small, they won’t dig into the skin when you lie down. A thin cord is set on the rear of the band. Thanks to its non-intrusive design, the SleepPhones are so comfortable to wear.

While the wire doesn’t really get in the way, it’s best to run the cord down the back of your shirt. This way, the cord won’t accidentally snap while you’re sleeping. The overall design of the SleepPhones is great although we won’t be surprised if it breaks down after several uses. Not that it’s flimsy or anything. These aren’t the kind of sleeping headphones that could take a beating if that makes sense.

The SleepPhones lacks active noise canceling feature.  That would’ve made the SleepPhones the perfect noise canceling headphones for sleeping. This device won’t be able to drown out loud snoring, traffic noises, or noisy engines. That said, its noise isolation feature is pretty good, considering that it’s not the product’s main selling point. The thick fabric helps block low volume noise.

The best thing about the SleepPhones is that the fabric headband is washable. There is an open seam inside the headband, just take out the speakers and chuck the headband in the wash. This product comes in three different sizes, small, medium, and large.

The fit is something that most customers are having issues with. It’s not true to size so it’s best to fit the headband in person just to make sure you’re getting the right size. Also, the headband material is quite thick so it traps sweat and moisture. It’s not a great headphone to use in the summer months because it can get uncomfortable.

Here’s what one of the reviewers on Amazon wrote about these:

Great for side sleepers AND music listeners! I’ve been excited about getting some SleepPhones for ages now. Mine arrived several days early, and I was immediately impressed by how comfy they were. Normal headphones make my ears hurt after about an hour, but I can keep these on all day. Sleeping on my side is no problem; I can barely feel the speakers.

The AcousticSheep is one of the most comfortable sleeping headphones we’ve tried. The sound quality isn’t mind blowing but comfort and convenience? Top notch!

Tips and Buying Guide: Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Sleeping

Types of Noise Blocking Technology

Generally, headphones designed to boost sleep come with advanced features to neutralize noise. These headphones block ambient noise using the following methods:

Noise Isolation
These are headsets that eliminate ambient sound using a physical barrier that covers the ears. The physical barrier is the large earcups that create a tight seal so the unwanted sound is reduced. Or in the case of headband sleeping headphones, the thick material helps reduce low-frequency sounds. Noise isolation headphones are better known as passive noise cancellation headphones. Passive noise cancellation headphones are much cheaper than noise canceling headphones.

Noise Cancellation
This technology blocks unwanted noise using a digital signal processing circuit or DSP. The DSP runs an inverse signal to actively cancel out the ambient noise. Headphones with DSP are more expensive but they do a great job of eliminating unwanted noise completely. These headphones are perfect for sleeping, traveling, and studying.

Types of Sleep Headphone Designs

As far as designs go, noise canceling headphones for sleeping come in two distinct designs:

Elastic Fabric Design
These sleep headphones feature an elastic band that goes around the head. Inside the fabric is a set of thin speakers. Sleep headphones with elastic fabric design are washable and comfortable to use. The headband can be used to cover the eyes or keep your hair away from your face. However, these headphones do not block ambient noise as “normal” noise cancellation headphones.

Traditional Headphone Design
These are over-ear or in-ear headphones optimized for studying or sleeping. Unlike ordinary headsets, these headphones are lightweight and comfortable to wear. They are more expensive than headphones with elastic fabric design but they are sturdier and more portable. They come in an array of colorways too.

Factors to Consider When Shopping Around for Noise Cancelling Headphones for Sleeping

Design and Comfort
Always consider the design of the headband and the speakers themselves when shopping around. The headband must have a soft, low-profile so it won’t dig into the skin while you’re lying down.  This goes if you’re studying too, the headband shouldn’t pull on your hair when you’re resting your head.

Traditional headphones made with sturdy plastic are best used for sleeping while traveling. The rigid headband keeps the earcups in place. These devices come with advanced features to eliminate distracting noise.

On the other hand, headband headphones are best when you’re listening to music or studying while lying down. The soft, silky material won’t hurt the skin as you lie down against a pillow. The headband design isn’t meant to be used outside of the home unless you’re working out.

Noise Cancellation
Headphones with traditional headband design are typically great at blocking out noise. These headphones come with advanced features that keep the audio-focused, even in noisy environments. That said, the noise isolating capabilities of these headsets aren’t as efficient as normal headphones. On the other hand, fabric headphones aren’t really great at blocking out noise. These devices are more comfortable to wear when you’re resting your head or lying down in bed.

Noise Isolation
Ever turn the volume up because of the noisy neighbors? Noise isolation is a feature that blocks ambient noise without replacing the sound with even louder sound. This is a useful feature if you’re studying or sleeping because you can tone down the audio even in noisy environments. Headphones with noise isolation feature are great for people with sensitive ears.

Portability
Are you looking for travel-friendly headphones for sleeping? Or would you rather get a headset you can only use at home? Consider your lifestyle before setting your sight on a specific design. Some noise canceling headphones for sleeping are travel-friendly, others aren’t. For instance, those that come with an elastic headband are best used at home. If you’re doing a great deal of traveling, opt for versatile yet portable headphones. The same thing goes for users who need these headphones for studying.

Choice of Sounds
What sort of music would you like to listen to before hitting the sack or studying? The kind of headphones you need will depend on how you will use it. For instance, if you are an audiophile who want to take his/her tunes to bed, go for headphones that offer high fidelity sound. Relaxation music is perfect for headphones with an elastic band design. These headphones are really designed to ease you to sleep while listening to soothing music. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you can use a comfortable sleeping headset to listen to white noise too.

It’s also worth noting that listening to music while studying aids in learning! Normal headphones and headphones with elastic band design are equally useful for students. These headphones block distracting noises that could disturb studying students.