No More Painful Pokey Earbuds. Use Headphones Designed for Sleep.

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Have you tried to sleep with regular headphones or earbuds? Cords become tangled, pulling the headphones out of your ears. Large headphones make it impossible to sleep on your side. Likewise, side-sleeping will shove conventional earbuds deeper into your ear canal. Ouch!

If you like to fall asleep to sleep sounds or music AND you sleep on your side, you need headphones designed for sleep. These headphones should also be wireless and work with Bluetooth.

I tried out three different sleep headphones:

  • Lavince Sleep Headphones
  • SleepPhones® by AcousticSheep
  • BedPhones by Moonbow

There is a wide range in price, from $20 to $150… For the most part, yes, you get what you pay for. But you’ll need to decide for yourself what features are worth paying extra for.

From the bottom: Lavince Sleep Headphones, SleepPhones by AcousticSheep, and BedPhones by Moonbow. (All images by author.)

Sleeping with sleep headphones

All three sleep headphones use small flat headphones that sit outside your ear.

The Lavince and the SleepPhones are headbands with the headphones sitting loosely inside. Simply adjust the headphones forward or backward so they are sitting over your ears.

The BedPhones have a “memory wire” around each headphone. Adjust this wire to hold each headphone in place on each ear. For day use, they are wonderfully comfortable. I found myself wearing them, even though I didn’t need to.

  • I originally adjusted the memory wires for use while I was awake. Upon placing my head on my pillow, I found the wires cut into my ears. However, after loosening the fit, the problem was solved.
The BedPhones fit comfortably and stay in place, thanks to the adjustable memory wire that wraps around the back of the ear.

The good news is that all three are comfortable to sleep in. The bad news is that they do not block outside sound like conventional earbuds (especially earbuds with active noise-canceling technology).

Drowning out a snorer is probably NOT going to work…

Sound quality was directly associated with price, with the most expensive clearly having superior sound. Considering that you may be listening to calm music on low volume, this may not necessarily be an important consideration.

All three charged very easily with the included USB cord, however the chargeable control unit of the SleepPhones had to be partially dug out of the headphones first. This could get old.

The charge of all three lasted until the next morning. (Admittedly I didn’t listen to music ALL night.)

All three paired effortlessly with my iPad.

All three have the standard three-button control. (On/off in the middle, with volume up and volume down on either side. These side buttons double as track forward and track backward, respectively.)

Even though the SleepPhones buttons were located on the control unit buried within the headband, because the buttons were raised, they were the easiest to navigate.

Both the Lavince and the BedPhones have flat-ish buttons that will take some practice to use by feel.

Both the Lavince and the SleepPhones tell you when the unit is turned on and off, which is a useful feature. The Lavince speaks to you and the SleepPhones have an ascending (“on”) and descending (“off) tone.

For the BedPhones you’ll need to look for the usual flashing Bluetooth light.

Exercising with sleep headphones

All three are also designed for use when working out.

(In this case, their inability to block outside noise is a safety advantage.)

The BedPhones come in an alternative model called the VersafitOpens in a new tab.. The Versafit looks the same, however, the headphones are covered with sweat-proof silicone, rather than the usual soft foam. The Versafit also fits nicely under a helmet. If you plan to use your BedPhones to work out as well, purchase the Versafit instead.

The Lavince and the SleepPhones are headbands made of mesh fabric. The SleepPhones are mesh throughout, and presumably more breathable.

While lying down or sleeping, both headbands stayed in place. However, during the day the SleepPhones would NOT stay in place and kept falling over my eyes.

The SleepPhones headbands come in three sizes, small, medium, and large, therefore “medium” may have been the wrong size for me. I also have a lot of hair that may have pulled on the headband.

Washable??

The Versafit can be wiped clean, however, you’ll want to launder either the Lavince or SleepPhones headbands. Right?

With the SleepPhones, the control unit and attached headphones can be removed and the headband thrown in the wash. You can also purchase extra headbands and alternate colors.

(If you prefer, you can also purchase the SleepPhones with a fuzzy warm headband made of fleece fabric.)

The instructions that come with the Lavince recommend removing the headphones prior to washing the headband. Except the headphones are permanently attached to the control unit, and the control unit is sewn into the headband.

I haven’t tried yet, but I don’t think the control unit is washable. . . It has a small speaker to tell you when the unit is turned on and off.

Which means the Lavince sleep headphones are quickly going to get icky. (Good thing they’re only $20.)

The SleepPhones headphones and control unit can be removed from the headband
On the Lavince, the headphones can be removed… sort of. But how do you wash this thing?

DO NOT purchase sleep headphones for the microphone

I purchased all three with a microphone, so you can take a call while you’re in bed or on the treadmill.

Note that the regular SleepPhones doesn’t come with a mic, but I paid extra for one.

Unfortunately, all three have poor mics. The Lavince and BedPhones are ok in a pinch. Yes, for a quick phone call, but definitely NO for an extended conference call or virtual presentation.

Unfortunately, the SleepPhones mic is unusable. I don’t think anyone would be able to understand a word I’m saying.

(To hear just HOW BAD these mics are, watch the end of the video below.)

The mic is on the control unit of the SleepPhones, which sits on the back of your neck when in use, too far away from your mouth. I didn’t try it, but it might sound useable if you placed the control unit closer to your mouth.

LavinceSleepPhonesBedPhones
Price (approximate)$20$100$150
Sound quality“okay”“better”“best”
Wireless, bluetoothyesyesyes
Block outside sound?nonono
Attach to ear/headheadbandheadbandmemory wire over ears
USB chargingeasyNeed to dig control unit out of headbandeasy
Charge lasts all nightyesyesyes
Button control ease++++
Use for exerciseyesyesPurchase Versafit instead
Comfort for day use+Would not stay in place+++
Washable??? Probably notyesNA
Microphone“eh”Costs extra, “worthless”“eh”

In summary, if you want something cheap, the Lavince sleep headphones are fine. Just consider them disposable when it’s time to wash the headband.

For the money, I preferred the BedPhones. They stayed on for both day or night use.

Feel free to try one (or more) out. All three have a thirty-day return policy.


BONUS VIDEO: BedPhones vs SleepPhones vs Lavince Sleep Headphones

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Liz Baker, PhD

Side sleeper, cat mom. And after many decades of nightly testing, an authority on sleeping in comfort. However, I'm still in search of the good night’s sleep I used to have.

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