All You Need to Know About Sleeping Earbuds

bose sleepbuds

Nowadays, many people can only sleep with their earbuds on. This is because sleeping with earbuds, earpieces, or headphones has become one of the best and easy-to-use remedies for modern-day predicaments. People living in busy urban cities, noisy areas, or close to construction sites find it necessary to sleep with their earbuds on to shut out disruptive noises.

Some people sleep with earbuds as a way to lull themselves to sleep without interrupting their bed mate or roommate, while some sleep with earbuds to mask noises from a barking dog, busy traffic, disturbing neighbors, or a partner's snoring. Some people, especially music-lovers, also like to listen to calming music to soothe their anxious minds and help them to relax before bedtime.

While most people now find sleeping with earbuds or headphones important, most earbuds or headphones that people wear to sleep are not specifically designed for sleep. For instance, here are the commonly used types of earphones or headphones and why they are not suitable for sleep:

over the ear headphones

Over-the-ear earphones: Just as the name depicts, these over-the-ear headphones or earphones go over the ears and have large padded speakers that cover the ears. Though they produce high-quality audio, they are not suitable for sleep. Over-the-ear headphones or earphones are only ideal for those who sleep on their backs and can’t bear the thought of in-ear earphones in their ear canals all night. The over-the-ear earphones can cause ear pain for you if you wear them and sleep on your side during the night. Some over-the-ear headphones are bulky and not designed to be slept in. Aside from all these, over-the-ear earphones mostly come with cords, which is not ideal for sleep.

in-ear headphones

In-ear earphones: These go right into your mid-ears. They also eliminate ambient sound, offer more noise reduction and give you good sound quality. However, there is no standard size and you need to find one that perfectly fits your ear without causing pain, especially if you’re the type that tosses or turns all through the night.

With in-ear earphones, your sleeping position also matters. Some in-ear earphones can dig into your ear when you sleep on your side during the night, giving you an unpleasant experience. Your hygiene is another thing to consider with in-ear earphones. In-ear earphones will likely increase the levels of bacteria in your ears if you wear them for hours every night. If you don’t want to end up with an ear infection, avoid in-ear earphones or clean your ears regularly.

Headband style headphones: These headphones come in the form of a headband with embedded speakers. Some of them can be bulky and it can be difficult to sleep on your side.

However, some headband-style headphones come with a slightly compromised sound quality compared to other types of earphones or headphones as the embedded speakers in headband-style headphones tend to shift position during the night. It also offers low noise reduction.

Another thing to consider with headband-style headphones is the choice of material. If you’re the type that sweats so much at night, then you’ll likely avoid headband-style headphones models made with a fleece-type material. Headband-style headphones also come with cords, and you should take into consideration the safety risks of sleeping with a wire strapped around your head.

Aside from all these shortcomings, these types of earphones or headphones are not equipped with noise-canceling capabilities, which is one important function that’s needed for a good night’s sleep.

bose sleepbuds

Sleeping Earbuds: Best Headphones For Sleeping

Unlike conventional earphones and headphones, sleep earbuds are designed specially to shut out ambient noise and play your favorite music, lulling you to sleep more soundly. Though earplugs will effectively shut out the noise, earplugs can’t play any music or sound. Wireless earbuds will connect to your device through a cable, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth to play white noise, sleep sounds, audiobooks, or guided meditations, helping you to fall asleep.

While any decent standard earphones or headphones can do everything above, sleeping earbuds have better designs and optimal sound quality that make them stand out. For instance, a standard earphone or headphone can be bulky and uncomfortable to sleep with or lie on. However, sleep earbuds come with that minimal, barely-there design that enables you to wear them comfortably all through the night while sleeping.

Because the design is the key, the sound quality of some sleeping headphones isn’t as good as that of some bulky earphones/headphones with noise cancellation capabilities and other amazing features. Nevertheless, some sophisticated sleep earbuds will mask unwanted ambient noise with soothing sound. One of them is the Bose Sleepbuds II.

Sleeping earbuds feature different components that make them ideal for sleep. These components are:

sleeping earbuds

Sleep Technology

Advanced sleep technology in headphones for sleeping combines noise-blocking designs and innovative noise-masking technology. These are comfortable ear tips that passively block out noises from your ear canal, and the earbuds mask sounds to block out unwanted noises and nighttime disturbances all through your hours of sleep.

One example is the Bose Sleepbuds II which is designed specifically for sleep. It uses a special sleep technology that was clinically proven to help people fall asleep faster and sleep better. This means that rather than merely playing songs or podcasts, users choose from over 50 Bose-engineered masking sounds from the Bose app that will not only help you fall asleep but also help you stay asleep all night.

In a 10-night sleep study conducted by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the UCHealth CARE Innovation Center, researchers found that Bose sleep tech integrated into the earbuds not only facilitates sleep but also helps users sleep better. 76% of the participants found it easier to stay asleep and 80% of the participants reported improved overall sleep quality, while all the participants believed that noise (snoring, ambient noise, urban noise) was effectively shut out by the earbuds.

bose sleep app

Bose Sleep App

The Bose Sleepbuds II works together with the Bose Sleep app. The Bose Sleep app puts several hours of unique and carefully curated noise-masking sounds at your disposal. You can get access to a library of over 50 soundscapes, which include Bose-engineered noise-masking sounds and relaxation content. You simply need to choose your favorite sound to download to the earbuds and customize other settings, such as a personal wake-up alarm. The alarm plays through the earbuds to wake you from a restful sleep. Only you will hear it, so that you won't disturb your sleeping partner.

The relaxation content includes tonal environments and sounds from nature and beyond that can calm a racing mind or transport users to relaxing surroundings.

Noise-masking Technology

Sleeping earbuds utilize noise-masking technology to better block out noise that may interrupt your sleep. There are two types of noise-masking technology, which are passive and active noise cancellation.

Passive noise cancellation involves all physical ways of shutting out noise from reaching inside your ears. For instance, sticking your fingers into your ears is a form of passive noise blocking – however, earphones and headphones offer a more sophisticated approach. Most passive noise blocking earphones/headphones have ear tips that are designed specifically to block out noise from the ear canal.

Unlike passive noise cancellation, active noise cancellation requires special electronics and signal processing to cancel noise. This tech involves using a microphone to monitor the sound in the bedroom, and feeding a “mirror image” audio signal into the earphones/headphones which will ultimately cancel out any ambient noise.

While most regular earphones or headphones use active noise-masking technology, most headphones for sleeping use passive noise-cancelling technology to block the surrounding noise. The Bose Sleepbuds II utilises a slightly different noise-masking technology from that of other earphones or headphones. Rather than cancel noise, the Sleepbuds mask out the noise. This is how Bose noise-masking technology combines passive noise blocking with optimized noise-masking sounds to cover up disturbances.

Passive Noise Cancelling Features

The Bose Sleepbuds II are meant to fit comfortably in your ear, while the ear tips form a comfortable and gentle seal (physical barrier) for passive noise masking.

Noise-masking Sounds

The Bose app delivers noise-masking sounds that are optimised to play consistently and at the right frequencies to make unwanted noise less perceptible. Though the Bose SleepBuds II are Bluetooth-enabled, they don’t stream sound from the Bose app. Instead, selected songs are transferred to the solid-state memory in the earbuds. This means that the Sleepbuds play directly from the buds and not your smartphone. Sleepbuds allows you to store up to 10 soundtracks onboard and download more from the Bose app when necessary.

bose sleepbuds


One of the things that differentiate sleeping earbuds from regular earbuds is the design. Sleeping earbuds are specially designed to fit the ear for maximum comfort. Headphones for sleeping should fit firmly and stay comfortably in your ear all through the night. Most sleeping earbuds feature silicone ear tips that are soft enough to conform to the shape of your middle ear, pliable fins that fit tightly in the ridge, and an umbrella shape that seals off your ear canal. This unique design makes sleeping earbuds a must-have for the best sleep quality.

Sleeping earbuds also come in a small size that fits securely in the ear. This is because no matter whether you’re the type that tosses and turns, sleeps on your back, or a side sleeper, you should barely notice that your headphones for sleeping are there and they should not fall off.

For example, the Bose Sleepbuds II come with durable and soft silicone ear tips that fit snugly in your ears to form a gentle, comfortable seal for passive sound reduction. This blocks out noises like snoring, your neighbor’s loud music, or the rumble of traffic and helps to keep you sleeping comfortably all night. Three sizes of ear tips are included in the product package so you can find the right fit for your ears.

Long-lasting Battery Life

Since all wireless earbuds function using Bluetooth technology, they tend to be bulkier to hold batteries, speakers, and controls. However, smaller earbuds have small batteries confined inside a small space in the earbuds. This forces you to find a compromise between the earbud size and battery life. Most regular earbuds can give you up to three to four hours of battery life for continuous music streaming, while the more expensive earbuds offer an extended battery life of up to five hours or six hours.

While this wouldn’t be a problem if you only need wireless earbuds to listen to music to fall asleep, it would be a major concern if you can’t stay asleep throughout the night without music. This is where sleeping earbuds become the best solution for you. Unlike regular earbuds, sleeping earbuds must have durable battery life since they need to be functional during the recommended eight hours of sleep.

Though the Bose Sleepbuds II are very tiny to fit securely in your ears, they feature a powerful nickel-metal hydride battery for more hours of use and a longer battery life. The tiny battery can power the device to provide a soothing sound for a full night’s sleep. With Sleepbuds™ II, you can get up to 10 hours of battery life.  The storage case will not only store the Sleepbuds when not in use but also acts as a charging case to provide up to three additional full charges.

Sound and Alarm Functions

Most people want their earphones or headphones for sleeping to block off unwanted noise and disturbance, but not important alarms or calls for help. When you wear regular earphones or headphones to sleep, you may miss important sounds you need to wake up to, such as your alarms. However, you can synchronize sleeping earbuds with your smartphone or smart devices to play music or sound.

For instance, the Bose Sleepbuds II can be connected to your smartphone to receive a phone call alert when your smartphone is ringing, although you’ll have to answer the call using your smartphone. Sleepbuds II also features an alarm function that allows you to set alarms to wake you in the morning. You can customize a personal wake-up alarm that only you will hear through the Sleepbuds II without disturbing your sleeping partner. You can choose a soundtrack from a specially curated sound library to help you to fall asleep more easily and you can schedule the masking sound timer.


Sleeping earbuds can be very helpful for music-lovers who love to sleep with music, those who live in a noisy environment and need to shut out disturbances, snoring, and ambient noise, and those who have difficulty in falling asleep and want some sort of white noise in the background at night. Sleeping earbuds are also ideal for those looking to improve their sleep patterns.

Many of us may have experienced the difference in energy levels after a good night's rest versus troubled sleep involving frequently waking up in the middle of the night. The Bose Sleepbuds II are among the best-in-class among sleep headphones and can make a difference to your sleep quality through its noise-cancelling capabilities.