Sleeping With Headphones: How-To, Benefits, Risks & Alternatives

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As most people know, getting enough sleep is very important for our health. However, according to statistics, more than 50% of the world’s adult population don’t get enough sleep, and between 10% and 30% of adults have problems with chronic insomnia.

So, can sleeping with headphones help you sleep better? And is it safe? And what kind of products is there out there?

Sleeping with headphones on is not inherently bad for your ears. Listening to quiet music won’t hurt you, so sleeping with headphones on might be worth trying.

Can you sleep with earbuds or headphones on?

Yes, many people use headphones at night without causing any problems. Most people will not hurt their ears in any way or breaks their electronics.

But there are factors that could hurt your ears;

  • Some people leave the volume too high during the night, or might accidentally turn the volume up when moving around in their sleep.
  • If you use earbuds every night, you might get an ear infection, which can sometimes be serious. 
  • Some people also break their headphones when tossing and turning in bed at night.
  • Another risk is that you won’t hear something like a fire alarm go off while you are sleeping. 

Despite these risks and drawbacks, you can get away with using headphones at night. You might use wireless earbuds so that you don’t damage your headphones while tossing and turning at night. 

You can buy special headphones that you can leave on at night. Companies know that some people like to sleep with headphones on and offer headphones designed with this in mind. 

If your partner or someone else in your household doesn’t use headphones at night, you might rely on them to wake up if the fire alarm goes off.

If you use ordinary headphones or earbuds, you could get a pillow with a hole in it to make sleeping on your side more comfortable. With a regular pillow, the headphone might push against your ear and make you uncomfortable. If you usually stay still while you sleep, a pillow with a hole in it is often enough to make sleeping with headphones comfortable. 

Are there advantages to sleeping with your headphones on?

If you have never tried sleeping with headphones on before, you might give it a try on a night when you are having trouble sleeping. It can be just what you need to sleep better at night. Music, white noise, and podcasts can help you sleep.

Sometimes, it can be noisy at night, which can keep you up, especially if you have sleep problems. You can use headphones rather than earplugs to shut out outside sounds. Anything you listen to can cover up outside sounds and help you sleep.

Snoring, roommates, neighbors, traffic, and many other things can keep you up. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a reliably quiet place to sleep at night. Try putting headphones on to shut out the sounds. 

Even if there isn’t much noise at night where you live, you might still have trouble sleeping. Insomnia problems are commonplace and are not easy to overcome. 

You might have to try a few things before you find something that helps you sleep well again. You should try sleeping while listening to music. 

The right music will cheer you up, take your worries away, clear your mind, and help you sleep. If you feel stressed out before bed, worry about bad things that might go wrong or went wrong, or worry about not sleeping, you risk staying awake.

Music clears your mind – if you are listening to music, you might forget your worries and think of nothing. Listen to calming music or something somewhere between calming and exciting music. If you listen to loud and fast music, it might get your heart rate up and keep you awake.

Research proves that falling asleep while listening to music can help you get to sleep and stay asleep all night. If you listen to calming music for 45 minutes before attempting to get to sleep, you fall asleep faster and sleep for longer.

Music of the right intensity helps you sleep better than music with too fast of a beat. Either 60 to 80 beats per minute or 50 to 60 beats per minute is the best to help you sleep.

If you have trouble sleeping because of a mental health issue, music can help. Music before bed won’t cure your depression on its own, but it can help depressed people sleep better. Music boosts levels of dopamine, a feel-good chemical, which can help you sleep better.

Music has a positive effect on your nervous system, so it can help you recover from stress better. Even if you have post-traumatic stress disorder, you may be able to sleep better if you listen to music.

Are there disadvantages to sleeping with headphones on?

Yes, sleeping with headphones on has some health risks. However, not everyone experiences any of these problems.

Can you hurt your hearing?

If the volume is too loud, it might. Certainly, people hurt their hearing with loud music. It is no myth that listening to loud music too often can lead to permanent hearing loss.

Headphones will allow you to turn up the volume to unsafe levels. Headphones allow you to turn the volume up to 110 decibels, which is more than enough to do damage if you frequently listen to music that loud every night.

Is it safe or bad to sleep with earbuds or headphones?

Anything above 85 decibels is too loud to listen to every night. It is important to remember that 110 debels is far louder than 85 decibels. 

110 decibels is not only 30% higher – it is a lot higher. Keep the volume more than a little below the limit.

If you are using earbuds, you might get an ear infection. Earbuds can cause ear wax to build up in your ears, leading to an infection. Stop using earbuds at night if you have any problems, as ear infections are not always minor problems.

Are noise-canceling headphones safe?

Noise-canceling headphones do not merely work as earmuffs. Instead, the headphones cancel noise by adjusting the volume to counteract outside sounds.

Noise-canceling headphones are technologically advanced. A computer listens to sounds occurring outside of your headphones and “subtracts” the outside sounds from what your headphones are playing. This makes you unable to hear anything other than what your headphones are playing. 

If you are using headphones to block out noise, noise-canceling headphones are absolutely a better choice. They work better than either regular headphones or earplugs. 

Are noise-canceling headphones safer than regular headphones, or are they riskier? There is not anything inherently dangerous about the sound produced by noise-canceling headphones. If you keep the volume fairly low, your ears should be fine.

However, noise-canceling headphones can put too much pressure on your ears. If you have pressure on your ears all night, you might end up with jaw pain or headaches. 

Noise-canceling headphones are more likely to block out the sound of an alarm or siren than regular headphones are. Some noise-canceling headphones can also heat up and make your ears too warm.

Sometimes, this can happen with headphones in general, and not only noise-canceling headphones, but noise-canceling headphones are worse. Noise-canceling headphones trick your brain into thinking a change in air pressure has occurred, leading to discomfort. 

If you wake up with a headache or a sore jaw, switch to earbuds. You might also get special headphones that offer pressure relief. Headphones made for travel may include pressure relief technology.

Noise-canceling headphones can be a good choice

Don’t avoid trying noise-canceling headphones just because they might make your head feel weird. Not everyone experiences any problems.

Noise-canceling headphones work as well as they should. A good pair of them will shut out sounds like snoring, air conditioners, or dryers. 

Even if other people are awake and talking loudly while you are trying to sleep, noise-canceling headphones can work. While they are more expensive than regular headphones, they do work significantly better to shut out the noise.

Headband headphones and other alternatives

You can sleep better with headband headphones than regular headphones that push against your ear. These headphones look just like headbands but have small and thin speakers in them. You can remove the speakers to wash them. 

Wireless earbuds are another good choice. There are no cables to interfere with your sleep, and you can sleep on your side without putting much pressure on your ear.

What other alternatives are there besides using headphones to sleep?

There are many ways to get to sleep at night besides headphones. You might try meditation, getting more exercise during the day, light exercise before bed, or a white noise machine. You can also use medicines and vitamins to help you sleep.

Supplements for sleep


I’m not a licensed nutrition expert. Don’t take any supplements without consulting your doctor or a licensed nutrition expert.

One of the best and safest ways to get a better night’s sleep is to get a nutritional supplement that works for you. Many health problems, including difficulty sleeping, are caused by lacking one vitamin or another. 

If a vitamin deficiency causes the problem, the only good, long-run solution will be getting more of the vitamin you need. Your diet can affect your sleep quality. Using sleeping pills to force sleep despite a health problem that causes insomnia is not the best idea. 

Melatonin is a good, popular choice for sleep. Your brain naturally produces melatonin at night when the light fades. 

Modern lifestyles and modern lighting mean we don’t get enough light during the day and get too much light at night. This can keep us up at night. If you take melatonin before bed, you can restore your natural sleep cycle.

Another good choice is glycine. Glycine is an amino acid that you can find in food, but not usually in a high enough quantity. Glycine will help you fall asleep faster, have vivid dreams, and wake up feeling rested.

You might use supplements for sleep in addition to sleeping with headphones on. Your sleep problem might have more than one cause and need more than one solution if you want to fix it completely. Some other supplements that are good for sleep are: 

  • 5HTP. Other than melatonin and glycine, this might be the most powerful over-the-counter sleep supplement. It increases serotonin, which gives you a sense of well-being and helps you fall asleep.
  • Magnesium. A lack of this mineral causes many people’s depression, anxiety, anger, or insomnia. It is vital for all sorts of processes in your body. If you try it, you are likely to notice its effects.
  • Flower essences. Many flowers have medicinal properties, and if you drink water with flower essences in it you can improve your mood and sleep.
  • Skullcap. This is an herb that affects your brain’s GABA receptors, which minimizes anxiety. It may also improve your energy and cognition.
  • L-theanine. This is one of the substances that make green tea so calming. You could either drink green tea (which can still help you sleep even though it contains caffeine) or take L-theanine as a supplement.

Other noise-canceling alternatives

Depending on who you live with, you might be able to use a stereo instead of headphones. A stereo or radio is healthier for your ears. It depends on how much noise you can make at night.

You can also use a white noise machine. This might work better than a stereo and might not bother your housemates.

White noise is a calming hum that can quiet your thoughts and block out other sounds. Anyone who has tried listening to white noise knows that it works.


Simply taking time to clear your mind and relax before bed can help you. Don’t relax in front of a computer or a television in the last hour before bed. That stimulates your mind, which can keep you awake. 

Instead, turn off all of your screens and lets your mind go blank. Don’t think of anything, or at least don’t think with words. 

Try to have nothing in your head for as long as possible. Sometimes, meditating on its own may be enough to cure your sleep problems. 

Little things can make a big difference. Getting exercise during the day but not right before bed can help. You might read a book rather than watch a movie before bed.


Sleeping with headphones is a good way to help you sleep better at night. But you should take some precautions to prevent yourself from hurting your ears and the product itself. 

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