Get A Better Night’s Sleep With A Pair Of Sleep Headphones

Get A Better Night’s Sleep With A Pair Of Sleep Headphones

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This article is a part of CNN Underscored’s Guide to Sleep, a week-long focus on everything you need to sleep better. We’ll be featuring new products and exclusive deals all week, so check in every morning to see what’s new and be sure to subscribe to the CNN Underscored newsletter to see it all. For more sleep tips, sign up for the Sleep, But Better newsletter series – a seven-part guide with helpful hints to achieve better sleep.

Getting a good night’s sleep is central to your physical and mental health. And, unfortunately, most of us have at least some trouble getting to or staying asleep regularly. Enter the sleep headphone, designed to fit more comfortably in your ears than traditional earbuds, block or cancel noise and provide specialized meditation content instead of (or in addition to) your favorite tunes.

We tested four popular pairs, and though we we acknowledge that fit and comfort may be subjective, depending on the size of your ears and what kind of sleeper you are (back or side), we’ve found one great pair that, based on our personal experience, should help a wide range of people get some better rest.

Best sleep headphones overall

The Bose Sleepbuds II are the best headphones for sleeping — the most comfortable for all-night wear, they seal out external noise (even snoring) and have 50 different sound and white noise options to help you fall asleep and stay there.

The Bose Sleepbuds II are the best sleep headphones we tested. Not only are they the most comfortable of the competition for all-night wear, but even without the company’s beloved noise-canceling feature, they also gave us the most reliable seal, keeping out external noise like traffic and our biggest nighttime problem, our husband’s snoring. Plus, 50 different sound and white noise options are available via the simple-to-use companion app to further mask any disquiet, but alas, the Sleepbuds II won’t play any other music or personal audio; they’re strictly meant for rest.

The small, smooth earbuds fit comfortably in our ears — in fact, we’ve used no other earbud that has come close to being this comfy in any situation. Wing-style stabilizers help keep the Sleepbuds II in place, and we only lost an earbud in the bed once, missing it so much that we frantically searched until we located it under a pillow in the morning (Bose doesn’t sell single replacements, stating that the devices are “paired together during the manufacturing process,” so you’ll want to be careful).

The Sleepbuds II are a departure for Bose — not only do they not do any noise-canceling, but they don’t play music or any other content. They only work with the Bose Sleep app. To set up, you use the app to connect your Sleepbuds II to your phone via Bluetooth, and then choose from a range of 50 soothing sounds, grouped into categories such as Noise Masking, Naturescapes and Tranquilities. You simply click the “Add to Sleepbuds” button and load your choice directly onto the headphones themselves — and you can activate a Phone-Free mode and use them without having a device nearby (though you can’t change sounds or use the Sleepbuds II’s wake-up alarm mode in this mode). We appreciated this because we don’t keep our phone in the bedroom overnight for better sleep hygiene, and didn’t mind missing out on those features (the alarm was very subtle and didn’t wake us, though your mileage may vary).

While we found some of the nature-oriented audio clips too active and distracting for our taste, “Swell,” a white-noise-like crashing waves loop, worked for us. We set it to play for 1.5 hours each night, which effectively masked external sounds (including snoring) as advertised — and let us get to sleep and fall back asleep if we awakened during the night.

A round charging case with a sliding cover connects via USB-C; Bose says battery life is approximately 10 hours on a single charge but the charging case adds an additional three charges. In our testing, we never ran out of juice but appreciated the insurance of the extra hours in case we ever forget to plug them in or left the charger at home during a short trip.

But, most importantly, the Bose Sleepbuds II changed the way we sleep. No longer do we have murderous thoughts related to snoring, and we have been able to fall back asleep more often and for a longer period of time — including weekend mornings when a child or ravenous cat may wake us up earlier than we’d like. And for us, that kind of peace of mind is worth the price tag.

We understand that anything that helps us sleep is subjective, and if you live in a city or anywhere with lots of outside noise, sleep next to a partner who snores or breathes heavily or have a health issue like tinnitus, you may need more help than others. To find the best pair of sleep headphones, we compared four different pairs to see if they would help induce a better slumber.

While any headphones could be used for listening to meditation or white noise content, we focused on headphones specifically intended as sleep aids, and on the latest true-wireless earbud-style products, which use very low-profile designs to provide the most comfortable sleeping experience. We didn’t look at headband-style sleep headphones like Moita Headband Headphones for this piece, but will examine those in the future.

For us, specifically, we approached these products with the goal of blocking out the general noises of downtown Brooklyn as well as our husband’s snoring. We spent at least three nights sleeping with each product. Before we started, we downloaded and created accounts for each one’s compatible app, experimented with each app’s features and charged and connected each headphone to our phone using Bluetooth.

We tested fit by lying on our side and our back before we went to sleep to see if the headphones became dislodged in any sleeping position. We

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