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Best sleep headphones 2022

Bose Sleepbuds II with app.
(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

The idea of wearing headphones or earbuds to fall asleep is hardly a new thing, but newer technologies are supposed to make it easier. It's also a combination of good hardware and software that can make a big difference, and it's why the Bose Sleepbuds II stand out amongst others. We've got others, though, and this list is dedicated to the ones that will lull you to sleep.

A man wearing Bose Sleepbuds II

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)
Best overall

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable fit
+
Lightweight design
+
Good content options
+
Good app support
+
Decent battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No sleep tracking
-
No active noise cancellation
-
Can't listen to other audio sources
-
Expensive

The Bose Sleepbuds II have one job to do, as our review made very clear. You're not jamming to your favorite tunes wearing these earbuds, nor catching up on a podcast in your leisure time. Their sole purpose is to get you falling asleep sooner than later. That's kind of the irony — the idea is for you to not hear anything coming out of them for any extended period of time.

They're definitely comfortable, owing to the feathery weight and small stature, which increases the odds they'll fit a wider variance of ears. You would think the lack of active noise cancelation (ANC) might lead these buds astray, but passive isolation may be better than you'd expect because of the snug fit. 

Since there will be no tunes or podcasts, you choose from the nature sounds and melodies served up in the Bose Sleep app. It's a limited content library, but what's unique is that the sounds "transfer" over to the earbuds, meaning you're not actually streaming anything, saving your phone from whittling down in battery life. That said, best to do the transfer when you're awake, because Bluetooth LE won't make them go very quickly.

The content is a decent mix, and battery life will hold up because it plays throughout the night. You do have to remember to charge them after you wake up by putting them back in the case, and after a couple of days, you'll need to charge the case as well. 

You can rationalize the high price tag this way: how much is quality nightly slumber worth to you? If the Sleepbuds II do what they're designed for, you'll be sleeping comfortably every night, which can have a cascading effect on other aspects in how you live. Unfortunately, you won't get any sleep tracking data with these buds, so you'd have to get that from a smartwatch or other device.

Rear view of the Kokoon Nightbuds.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)
Best versatility

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable fit
+
Accurate sleep tracking
+
Good app support
+
Content sounds good
+
Play your own content
+
Nice carrying case

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited content library
-
Sleep stats lack context
-
Not ideal for music
-
Need to charge it often
-
Connectivity issues

These aren't true wireless earbuds because of the very noticeable module connecting the two ends. The cable is squiggly on purpose to accommodate a wider variety of head sizes. As we found in our review, they felt weird the first couple of nights, but were perfectly fine afterward. 

You can listen to music or any other audio content through the Nightbuds, but only the sleepy content comes by way of the MyKokoon app. There's plenty of stuff in there, ranging from meditation to storytelling, with some being purely melodic, while others will have soothing voices talking. There are also cool integration features with apps like Calm, Headspace, and Spotify, among others.

Rather than play all night, sleep sensors on the buds themselves will fade music out, and then fade it back in leading up to the time you want to wake up. You do have to remember to set your phone to Do Not Disturb or else phone calls will route through Bluetooth, possibly rousing you awake at the worst time.

The Nightbuds will track your sleep, albeit with few stats and scant context, so you won't learn a whole lot about how good your slumber was. Connectivity issues have been a nagging issue, but firmware updates have set things in the right direction, so those may eventually become a thing of the past.

Woman wearing Amazfit Zenbuds in bed.

(Image credit: Amazfit)

Amazfit Zenbuds

Best comfort

Reasons to buy

+
Very comfortable fit
+
Deeper content options
+
Solid sleep tracking
+
Decent battery life
+
Good app support

Reasons to avoid

-
No active noise cancellation
-
Outside noises can seep through
-
Can't listen to other audio sources
-
Finicky charging points in case

Much like Bose with its Sleepbuds, Amazfit built its Zenbuds to serve the singular purpose of helping you fall asleep. So, no music streaming or phone calls anytime you're wearing them. Instead, you'll choose from a wide variety of content options within the Zepp app to find the sound that works best for you. They don't have to play all night, though there's also no built-in alarm to wake you at the right moment, like a smartwatch might do.

As comfortable as the Sleepbuds II generally are, the Zenbuds take that a step further with a slim and feathery build that won't feel cumbersome every night you wear them. They won't block outside noises quite as well as Bose does, so a snoring partner might still seep through into your ears and drive you crazy. 

When you do actually sleep, the Zenbuds automatically track the metrics for you, and the level of detail is going to be deeper than others go, owed largely by the integration with the Zepp app, which already has those features. The tracking even tells you how long you sleep on your back or side — something that's rare to find in sleep tracking on other wearables.

Oddly, the earbuds don't slot into place in the case with magnets. You have to manually align them to make sure the connectors pass through a charge, something you will need to learn since you'll charge these often, depending on your setup. If you want them playing all night, they may not make it through a full night. Set a time duration and they'll be fine, but expect to charge them again after a couple sleeps.

Man asleep wearing Kokoon Relax Headphones.

(Image credit: Kokoon)

Kokoon Relax Headphones

Best over-ear

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable fit
+
Good sound quality
+
Effective ANC performance
+
Listen to any audio content
+
Washable fabric

Reasons to avoid

-
Maybe not ideal for side sleepers
-
Calls need a wired connection
-
micro-USB charging
-
Expensive

It may be safe to say that over-ear headphones and sleep are probably an acquired taste, if only because you would have to feel comfortable enough to wear something that covers both ears and wraps around your head. Headband headphones do exist for sleep purposes, whereas the Kokoon Relax takes that idea and tweaks it to provide both comfort and isolation. You even get a sleep mask to go with the headphones.

The comfort part is going to be subjective because it's hard to tell if side sleepers will like them as much as back or stomach sleepers might. The earcups are longer for an easier fit, while the soft fabric and ventilation help keep your ears from getting too hot after hours of wearing them. You can actually remove that fabric and wash it when you need to.

Kokoon does find room for ANC, so if the passive isolation isn't enough, you can take it to another level. You can listen to any audio you want with them, but the sleep content is all in the MyKokoon app. Despite the onboard mics, you need to use the included 3.5mm cable and plug that into your phone to actually make and take calls. That's a problem, since most phones no longer have a headphone jack. 

Kokoon rates battery life at up to 13 hours per charge, except it's a relative number. If you leave them on to play all night, they may last another night before you need to charge them up again. 

Woman asleep wearing 1More ComfoBuds Z earbuds.

(Image credit: 1More)

1More ComfoBuds Z

Best value

Reasons to buy

+
Small footprint
+
Comfortable fit
+
Good sound quality
+
Solid app support
+
Good sleep audio content

Reasons to avoid

-
No touch controls
-
No ANC
-
No microphones
-
Low battery life

1More is no stranger to making smaller earbuds, following that very design philosophy with the ComfoBuds Z. Shaving them down for size means they should fit almost any pair of ears with relative ease, simply because they can feel more like earplugs than earbuds. Unlike others on this list, they won't keep you from listening to any audio content you want.

That fact becomes obvious when you use the 1More Music app, both to adjust the sound profile with the onboard equalizer, and to select the soothing sound you want to listen to when passing out. These buds won't turn off once you've nodded off because there are no sensors indicating it, so if you do play something without setting a timer in the app, they will just keep going until the battery dies.

Bear in mind that to maintain this kind of size for the ComfoBuds Z, 1More removed wear sensors, so there's no auto play/pause when removing them. It also lacks any touch controls — and interestingly — no microphones of any kind. Not only does that negate any chance of active noise canceling, it also means you won't be doing any phone calls with these.

The good news is you get good sound quality with anything you listen to. These are solid earbuds for music, making it feel like the sleep features are almost a bonus. The batteries inside are small, however, limiting playback to no more than three hours per charge. 

Woman lying down wearing Maxrock Sleep Earplugs.

(Image credit: Maxrock)

Maxrock Sleep Earplugs

Best wired

Reasons to buy

+
Softer silicone for tighter fit
+
Great for side sleepers
+
Good for travel
+
Mics for phone calls
+
Variety of color options

Reasons to avoid

-
Cables can weaken if pulled
-
Not especially durable
-
Not for rolling sleepers

You don't have to go wireless if you don't want to. Nor do you have to spend much to take a chance on earbuds helping you fall asleep. The Maxrock Sleep Earplugs are cheap to buy, but you do need to plug them in to work, so if you have a headphone jack or 3.5mm adapter, you can get these playing whatever audio you want. There are no real restrictions here other than the cable itself.

These were made with a softer silicone and use double layer ear tips to burrow into your ear for tighter passive isolation. Their design is ideal for side sleepers because little to none of these earbuds actually stick out of your ear, save for the cable, of course. The cables connecting to each earbud are a bit thin, so you may want to be careful yanking them too hard. They may not be up to the task if you tend to roll over a lot while sleeping.

That said, the Maxrock Sleep Earplugs are not exclusively for side sleepers, so if you do want to take them on a plane and plug into the in-flight entertainment, your tablet, or computer, then you may find them useful there, too. When you're not traveling or sleeping, you could also use them for phone calls.

Bottom line

You could argue this is somewhat of a nascent category for headphones and earbuds, but that's becoming less true now. There are all sorts of ideas and concepts around using audio through your ears to induce sleep. The best wireless earbuds don't always come with those considerations by design, which leaves more niche options like the ones here, led by the Bose Sleepbuds II.

They may not let you play whatever audio you want, but they have a great combination of fit, comfort, content, and support that make them worth a look. Don't rule out the Kokoon Nightbuds as an alternative, given how good they can be when all the pieces fall in place. Further updates should improve on what's already there going forward. 

The others on the list carry their own strengths, and you may find one of those fit your sleep habits better. No matter what you choose, it could take a little time for you to feel the positive effects, so patience is required.

Ted Kritsonis
Ted Kritsonis

Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.