If you like to listen to your choice of music and podcasts while dropping off, and sleep on your side, the SleepPhones are the best sleep headphones for you. They are good value too, but lack advanced features such as noise-cancelling or sleep tracking.
- Comfortable for side sleepers
- Can play any audio
- Long battery life
- Machine washable
- No sleep tracking
- No noise cancellation
- Headband is hotter than headphones
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The best sleep headphones are often incredible feats of engineering: they are miniature devices, like the Bose Sleepbuds II, that sit comfortably inside the ear to help you drop off by blocking external noise or playing soothing sounds.
However, even the smallest headphones can be uncomfortable for side sleepers and the SleepPhones, made by Acoustic Sheep, take a more basic, though arguably more effective, approach. They take the form of a soft headband containing Bluetooth speakers that can play any audio from a connected device. It’s a comfortable set-up however you sleep, and the simple design means they are cheaper than other sleep headphones.
SleepPhones Wireless: Price And Availability
The SleepPhones Wireless are available now and cost $99.95 in the US and £79.99 in the UK. There is also a corded version, the SleepPhones Classic, which costs $39.95/£39.99.
The SleepPhones Wireless are available in four colours and three sizes, and you can also pick the material used for the headphones. I opted for the lightweight Breeze fabric, which is more breathable than the Fleece, which is softer.
Within the headband there is a Bluetooth receiver that houses the battery and connects to two speakers. The speakers are flat panels with a soft fabric covering so it’s not uncomfortable to lie with your ear on them when side sleeping. The speakers and Bluetooth unit can be removed easily in order to wash the headband, though getting them back into the headband in the right place is a bit of a faff. Once they are in the right place, the soft covering on the speakers means they stay in that position inside the headband.
The battery lasts for 12 hours on a charge and there are volume and play/pause controls built into the main Bluetooth unit, which sits in the middle of the back of the headband. In the US the latest generation of the headphones lasts for 24 hours on a charge, but this version is not available in the UK yet.
As a side sleeper I often find that even the smallest sleep headphones can become uncomfortable over long periods. The SleepPhones are an improvement on that front. The flat speakers don’t dig into your ears and it is easy to drop off to sleep while wearing the headband.
I also much prefer listening to my own audio when falling asleep. I have listened to podcasts at night for years and so it is always an annoyance to use sleep headphones that are limited to playing soothing sounds from a small library. With the SleepPhones you can listen to whatever you want, including those soothing sounds or mindfulness sessions. There are many apps and websites with free audio along those lines.
However, the downside of the headband design is that it is bulkier than just wearing headphones and this was uncomfortable at times on hot summer nights, even with the Breeze fabric. There is also no noise cancellation with the band, either passive or active, so if you’re trying to drown out the sounds of the city or a snoring companion, noise-cancelling buds like the QuietOn3 may be a better option – though a more expensive one.
Are The SleepPhones Wireless Worth It?
The SleepPhones are a simple and affordable option for those who want a comfortable way to listen to audio while falling asleep. They have advantages over sleep headphones, mostly in the extra comfort offered by the headband design to side sleepers, but lose out on some features, like noise cancellation, and it can be hot to wear a headband all night.
As a side sleeper, the SleepPhones are the most comfortable sleep headphones I’ve tried and I’d say it’s worth giving them a closer inspection before investing in more expensive options, like the Bose Sleepbuds II or Kokoon Nightbuds. You may find the SleepPhones do everything you want for much less, especially as you can play any audio through them.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.