How to sleep with headphones

How to sleep with headphones

You may find that sleeping with headphones helps for multiple reasons.

This may be to cancel out any background noise outside or from a sleeping partner, or you may just find that listening to music, the radio or white noise helps you fall asleep.

However, you may be unaware of how to properly sleep with headphones to prevent them from breaking and ensure that you fall asleep without fail.

This article will, therefore, seek to cover the following topics, with the aim to educate you more about going to sleep with headphones:

  • How to sleep with headphones
  • Is it bad to fall asleep with headphones on?
  • What are the benefits of sleeping with headphones?
  • Wearing earbuds to sleep and how to keep them in

Topics covered on this page

How to sleep with headphones

If you sleep on your back, then you can probably wear any form of wireless headphone or earbuds that are comfortable for you.

However, if you prefer to sleep on your side, then you may find it extremely uncomfortable and an inconvenience to sleep with headphones on, since they either fall off, fall out, or end up putting too much pressure on the side of your head and ears.

If you find that your earbuds or headphones are causing you too much pain and discomfort, then you could invest in a headphone pillow. 

Here is a video on the impact of sleeping with headphones.

A headphone pillow is designed for those of us who sleep on our sides, and are designed to reduce the pressure on the ear, particularly in those who have prior problems with their hearing or pressure sores.

These pillows are designed with a hole to put your ear in white you sleep on your side, reducing the pressure of your headphones against your ear, increasing comfort and reducing damage while you sleep.

As well as this, there are many different types of headphones, this can include: on-ear, over-ear, and in-ear.

If you are someone who sleeps on their side, then over-ear and in-ear are not good for you, since they will put too much pressure on your ears.

However, you could wear these if you sleep on your back and know you won’t turn over on to your side during the night. These sorts of headphones are not recommended because of their headband feature, which will make it really uncomfortable to sleep in.

As well as these headband headphones, wired headphones or ear headphones are not ideal to sleep in, as the wires can be a nuisance and become tangled while your sleeping, around your phone or potentially your neck, which is a hazard.

wearing earbuds to sleep

Is it bad to fall asleep with headphones on?

Many people find that they can only get to sleep if they are listening to something, be this music, a radio show, a podcast, or just white noise.

This is becoming increasingly common across those who live in the city, to block out noise from the outside world at night, and in travelers, who may want to avoid listening to other travelers while they try and get to sleep. So, is it safe?

If used appropriately and safely, wearing headphones while sleeping can be safe. If you are using your headphones when sleeping, you should ensure that the volume is not too loud, since this puts you at risk of damaging your ear canal over time.

Likewise, if you wear earbuds to bed, you should make sure they are a good fit in your eat and that you avoid putting too much pressure on the ear as this can also damage the ear canal over time.

"You may be at risk of developing excess earwax if you sleep with headphones on that sit deeply in your ears. This happens when the headphones you sleep in cut off any air circulation inside the ear, which presses wax into the eardrum."

There are some dangerous side-effects of sleeping with headphones, and these are discussed below:

Ear Wax Accumulation

You may be at risk of developing excess earwax if you sleep with headphones on that sit deeply in your ears. This happens when the headphones you sleep in cut off any air circulation inside the ear, which presses wax into the eardrum.

If this happens, and lots of earwax begins to build up over time, then it can be hard to safely and properly remove it without damaging your ear.

Otitis Externa

Typified as damage and irritation of the ear canal, this condition occurs when the skin around your ear canal begins to wear down and fluid enters the ear.

As well as causing irritation on the inside of the ear, the external ear can also become painful and achy. While this condition is more common in swimmers, people who wear ear headphones to bed can also experience it.

Necrosis

Sleeping with headphones or earbuds that do not properly fit your ears can exert too much pressure on your ear canal.

Necrosis, also known as tissue death, can occur over time, causing painful episodes in the future and potentially damaging your hearing.

Safety Issues

If you wear noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones while you sleep, then you may not be able to hear the sound of your alarms going off while you sleep. This can be very dangerous, particularly in an emergency situation, so make sure you can hear some noise before you fall asleep.

What are the benefits of sleeping with headphones?

There are several benefits to sleeping with headphones in, and these are discussed below:

Noise-cancelling properties

If you are easily awoken in the night by any form of sound, then noise canceling sleeping headphones may be for you.

They can help block out exterior noise such as traffic, conversations, or snoring, and if you want you can listen to a calming playlist or podcast to help take your mind off falling asleep.

We recommend researching some quality, well-designed ear headphones that are perfect for listening to music while you are sleeping.

Relax with white noise

White noise can help you sleep comfortably. It has been shown by many studies that white noise, along with calming music, can lower your breathing rate and heart rate, which supports going to sleep.

Furthermore, listening to relaxing music can also help to clear your mind, which allows your body to relax and loosen up to focus on sleeping, rather than worrying about what happened during your day. However, ensure that the sound volume is not too high as this can damage your ears.

Treating insomnia and PTSD

If, like many people, you find it hard to fall asleep and suffer from insomnia, then sleeping with some headphones or earbuds has been proven to help insomniacs wind down and fall asleep, as well as improving the overall quality of their sleep.

Stimulating Serotonin

Serotonin is a particular chemical produced by our brain, which makes us feel happy. By listening to music that you enjoy, your body begins to produce more serotonin, which can make us feel happy and relaxed while sleeping. When you are happier and in a better mood, you will probably find it a lot easier to fall asleep.

Wearing earbuds to sleep and how to keep them in

Earbuds can be a very convenient way to listen to music and other media while you sleep, however, they can be quite inconvenient and prone to falling out while you sleep. The advice below will hopefully provide 5 useful tips to prevent your earbuds from falling out:

1) Hang the cord over your ears

By hanging the earbuds upside down with the cord over your ears, you can prevent the earbud from falling out of your ear every time the wire is jerked as you sleep. Remember, sleeping with wired headphones is not recommended so if you can, invest in some wireless earbuds.

2) Insert the buds into your ear more firmly

These are designed to fit in your ear canal, so you might have to gently push the earbud into the ear until they feel more secure. To do this, you could stretch your earlobe gently with one hand, this opens the ear canal, and then release the earlobe and your ear canal will shape itself around the earbud, securing it.

3) Use the foam or silicone attachments that come with the earbud

Ear headphones often come with attachments that can help the earbud stay in your ear, you should try and experiment with them to see which are most suitable for you.

4) Buy specialised attachments

If the attachments that come with the headphones are not suitable for your ear, you can buy some like them that are different and more tailored to your ears.

You can buy customised earbud attachments that create a more snug fit inside your ear, increasing comfort and reducing the chance of them falling gout while you sleep.

Essentially, you should get what is best for you, to provide comfort and allow the earbud to work ad you want them to without them falling out.

5) Do not clean your ears with cotton buds:

An accumulation of earwax can cause your earbuds to fit poorly and fall out more easily.

If you use cotton buds to clean your ears, then you are probably pushing earwax ain’t the wall of your eardrum, which can cause blockages and discomfort whilst wearing your headphones.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, this article has taught you more about how to sleep whilst wearing headphones.

Most importantly, you should find some earphones or earbuds that work best for you, that help you fall asleep with ease without causing damage to your ears or hearing.

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