Some of us like to fall asleep to music, or a podcast. It's a great way to calm the mind and close the day.
The problem is that using headphones means having to wake up and take them out again, as it isn't advisable to sleep with earbuds in, or to have headphone wires trailing down your neck.
SleepPhones address this problem with a comfortable head band that uses Bluetooth technology: no wires, no earbuds.
Developed by Acoustic Sheep, SleepPhones are a hugely popular choice for those who like to use music or audiobooks to drift off to sleep, but don't want to have to wake up again to take headphones off.
But are SleepPhones for you?
In this review, I'll take a deep dive on practicality, materials, sizes, safety, and more, including the best place to buy them.
What are SleepPhones?
SleepPhones are “pajamas for your ears”– basically headphones inside a comfortable headband so they can be worn comfortably during sleep.
As opposed to traditional headphones, SleepPhones are fitted around the head and over the ears, so you can enjoy listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts in bed and while you fall asleep.
They can be used for any form of audio, even meditation music, brainwave entrainment music such as binaural beats, white noise and ASMR.
You can use SleepPhones all night, with no need to wake up and take them out. If you fall asleep while listening to music, once it stops, you can carry on sleeping with the headband on.
SleepPhones can be used outside of the home too. You can use them for commuting or traveling as a passenger in the car.
They are also good for working out and jogging, because they don't slip. If you want them for exercise too, go for the Breeze variety (discussed below).
Who Invented Them?
The design was conceptualized by Dr. Wei-Shin Lai, a family doctor who had trouble falling back to sleep after phone calls from patients in the middle of the night.
She wanted to listen to some relaxing music in bed but found normal headphones too bulky and earbuds uncomfortable.
Together with husband, Jason Wolfe, now CEO, they soldered and sewed the first 500 pieces on their kitchen table. She then prescribed them instead of sleeping pills to her patients. Now that's what I call a doctor.
What Makes SleepPhones Comfortable?
SleepPhones are lightweight and made of soft, hypoallergenic material, designed to make you forget that you’re wearing headphones.
You can choose between two types:
- Fleece: Super soft, luxurious, and warm. Ideal for sleeping, relaxing, meditating, and everyday use. 95% polyester/5% Spandex.
- Breeze: Breathable and moisture-wicking. Ideal for running and exercising. Preferred by hot sleepers and those who live in warm climates. 95% polyester/5% Spandex.
The Fleece fabric comes in black, gray, royal blue, and wild orchid; and the Breeze fabric comes in black, gray, and lavender.
Note that Acoustic Sheep also make RunPhones, specifically designed for running.
Unlike earbuds and headphones, SleepPhones aren’t bulky to wear.
You may have experienced the annoyance of earbuds falling out your ears or cans slipping off; and then there's the frustration of getting a wire caught on something and the headphones suddenly getting ripped from your ears.
With SleepPhones, you can focus on relaxing and sleeping and, since the headphones are flat, the design is perfect for side sleepers.
How to Use SleepPhones?
- Put the band over your head, with the label at the back of your head
- Feel the band for the flat headphones inside, and place the headphones over your ears. Look at the marks for the right and left ears. A red fabric is stitched on the right side and a green one on the left.
- If you're using the SleepPhones® Classic, plug the cord into your MP3 player or other device. If you're using SleepPhones® Wireless or Effortless™, pair them with your Bluetooth® enabled device.
Pairing the device is easy. Simply press the power button for about five seconds until a ringtone and beeps can be heard.
The power and volume buttons are located in the headband. The power button functions as a play and pause button, while the top and the bottom buttons are used for volume and skipping tracks.
You can buy SleepPhones on Amazon and from the brand's website. The best deals are had on Amazon, and you can also get some pretty good competitor versions on there too.
Are SleepPhones Good Quality?
SleepPhones do what they are supposed to do very well, and that's providing a practical solution for headphone use in bed.
They aren't noise cancelling headphones per se; however, by nature of the design, they do block out some noise disturbance.
By nature of design (flat) the headphones are never going to be as good as your high-end Bose or Beyer or Sennheiser, but the sound is good; great clarity and standard frequency response. They will certainly be as good as Airpods or similar.
- Impedance: 32 Ω
- Frequency: 20-20 kHz
- Power: 300/500 mW
- RoHS compliant (lead-free)
Normal battery life is between 10 and 12 hours. The device is charged using a micro-USB cable, the same as is normally used for charging smartphones.
What are the Available Models?
SleepPhones come in two main models, Classic and Wireless.
The SleepPhones Classic are wired and compatible with most standard audio devices, while the cord-free SleepPhones Wireless pair with Bluetooth devices.
SleepPhones Classic uses the standard 3.5mm stereo jack plug, and has a 48-inch cord that can be plugged into a music device or player.
SleepPhones Wireless is paired to any Bluetooth-enabled device within a range of 15-30 feet.
Wireless come in two types, Simple and Effortless. The key difference is that the Effortless model has wireless charging: simply place the SleepPhones on the charging base, and via magnetic induction the SleepPhones will charge through the fabric.
There is also a wireless version with built in microphone.
What Sizes Do They Come In?
You can choose from small, medium, or large, each dictated by the circumference of the headband.
The small size suits those whose heads measure around 51-54 cm, making it perfect for women.
The medium size at 55-59 cm is a general fit-all average size.
The large size that can be stretched at more than 60 cm is designed for larger men.
Refer to the sizing guide to make sure the headband fits you well. Remember, SleepPhones work best if they fit you perfectly; the band should not slip.
How Do You Clean SleepPhones?
The sleeping aid needs to be washed regularly to ensure sanitation.
With daily use, dirt and oil from the skin and hair will accumulate in the headband and cause it too wear faster. The good news is that you can hand-wash SleepPhones:
Here are some things to remember:
- To wash, simply remove the speakers using the Velcro opening in the headband.
- Never use bleach when washing the headband.
- Any water temperature will work when washing, but it is suggested to use warm water, which helps remove dirt and oil much more effectively.
- Avoid using fabric conditioner, as it will weaken the wicking barrier of the fabric.
- Air-dry the band to maintain shape and quality. If you’d like to use a dryer, use the lowest available heat setting
- Don’t dry clean or iron SleepPhones; this will stretch and weaken the fabric.
Are SleepPhones Safe to Wear all Night?
SleepPhones are RoHS and CE certified. This means it meets all EU directive standards for manufacture and sale.
The device is also free from lead and latex.
For those concerned about Bluetooth, due to conflicting/lack of research over long term safety (1), might choose to stay with the wired SleepPhones version if planning on going through the night.
How Much Do SleepPhones Cost?
The corded SleepPhones Classic is priced at $39.95.
SleepPhones Simple is priced at $99.95, and the variant with a microphone for phone call use is priced $109.95.
The Effortless model costs $149.95.
That being said, prices do vary due to model type, promotions, and availability.
Is the Device Covered by Warranty?
SleepPhones are covered by a 30-day return policy and a one-year limited warranty. If you don't immediately love them, send them back!
A quick note on this. There are similar, what one might deem copy versions on Amazon, and these might not come with a warranty like the official brand. Do check before you buy.
Are SleepPhones Suitable for Vegans & Those with Allergies?
SleepPhones are suitable for vegans and those with common allergies to material fibers.
The headphones do not contain wool or any other animal products. Neither do they contain plant fibers that may cause an allergy problem. The product is not treated with any fabric softeners or conditioners.
My Thoughts, In Summary
Sleep doesn't come easy for many. Our hyper-paced world can be stressful, and the brain is perpetually stimulated by technology, worry, anxiety and external noise.
This, combined with dietary stimulants such as processed sugars, additives and caffeine, is a recipe for poor sleep.
Instead of addressing the root cause of poor sleep, doctors are quick to recommend medication in the form of sleeping pills. These are addictive and impact long term health.
A far better choice is good sleep hygiene: regular sleep and waking times, good diet, and regular exercise.
In addition, relaxation techniques such as meditation, Yoga and listening to relaxing music like binaural beats, ASMR recordings, or a podcast before sleep are all ways to calm an overactive mind.
And SleepPhones can be a positive part of your good sleep hygiene routine. With the wireless option, you can leave your phone or mp3 player well away from your sleeping area.
Sure, it's not perfect, in that ideally we would just get into bed and drift off immediately – no music, no headphones, no aids. But for those who struggle with sleep and need a way to detach from the world, if it works for you, then go for it.
It is a much better option than taking pills.