How to Sleep with Headphones on – Is It Medically Safe?

Last Updated on July 29, 2022

There might be a couple of reasons for which you might want to sleep with your headphones on. First and foremost, you might want to avoid any kind of background noise coming from outside. Secondly, you might have a partner that snores while sleeping, and putting on your headphones may be a way out for you, or you might simply want to fall asleep while listening to your favorite music.

In this article, you will find out how to sleep with your headphones, what are some of the benefits of sleeping like that, and if there are any pitfalls to avoid.

How to sleep with headphones on?

Now, people sleep in various positions and they can be broadly categorized into back sleepers, stomach sleepers, and side sleepers.

If you are a back sleeper, then you can wear any kind of wireless headphones or earbuds and sleep. The only thing that you have to watch out for is that the headphones or earbuds that you wear should be comfortable to wear while sleeping.

However, things get kind of complicated and problematic in the case of side sleepers. If you prefer to sleep on either side (whether right or left), you might find it really uncomfortable to sleep with your headphones or earbuds on.

Apart from the discomfort, you always run the risk of either breaking or damaging your headphones or earbuds. Not just this, wearing headphones while sleeping may make you exert too much pressure on side of your head or ear and this could result in pains and aches when you wake up in the morning.

If this is the case with you and you find it uncomfortable and painful to sleep with your headphones on then it is time to invest in a headphone pillow.

Headphone Pillow

What is a headphone pill and how can it help you sleep with your headphones on?

If you are a side sleeper who sleeps with his/her headphones on then a headphone pillow is nothing short of a blessing for you.

The main purpose of this pillow is to reduce pressure on your ear and this could be really helpful for people that already suffer from hearing issues or other ear problems.

A headphone pillow with a hole to put your ear in it while you sleep on your side is perhaps the best and of course, the only accessory that you would need to sleep with your headphones on. By putting your ear in the hole, it reduces the pressure of your headphones against your ear and thereby, relieves discomfort and pain.

Now, there are 3 different kinds of headphones which include on-ear, over-ear, and in-ear. It’s important to note that side sleepers must avoid in-ear and over-ear headphones. They must wear over-ear headphones and it is these kinds of headphones that a headphone pillow can be used with.

Moreover, all kinds of sleepers must avoid headband headphones or those that come with wires. This is because they can be a big nuisance because they would get tangled while you sleep in them. What is even worse is that they can also get tangled around your neck lead to suffocation and a big health hazard.

Is it bad to fall asleep with headphones on?

It is not out of the ordinary that a lot of people can only while listening to music, a radio show or even a podcast. It becomes more of a habit for such people and they cannot sleep without listening to something.

This trend seems to be more common in the cities and one of the reasons behind it could be to block the outside noise. Another case is that of people trying to sleep while traveling. They would want to block all sorts of noises so that they can sleep peacefully.

And this leads to the big question – Is it safe to sleep with your headphones on?

Unfortunately, there cannot be a clear answer to this. It can be safe if headphones are used properly and it can be harmful when they are not used properly.

For instance, if you have the volume too high, then it can damage your ear canal over time.

Similarly, if you wear earbuds and they are not the right fit then can exert pressure on your resulting in ear-canal damage over time.

is it bad to sleep with earphones every night


This is a condition that is associated with the death of tissue in your ear causing excruciating pain and also causing damage to hearing ability.

If you sleep with headphones or earbuds that do not fit properly and exercise too much pressure on your ear canal, you are likely to suffer from Necrosis over time.

Safety Issues

Another problem that could arise as a result of you wearing headphones or earbuds while sleeping is that you might miss hearing security alarms which can prove fatal at times. Imagine missing out on a fire alarm and how potentially dangerous it could be.

What are the benefits of sleeping with headphones?

There are many benefits of sleeping with your headphones on and some of them are listed below:

Noise-cancelling properties

The most significant reason why people want to wear headphones or earplugs while sleeping is to avoid noises that might be coming from the exteriors. Now, these could include traffic noise, people speaking as well as the snoring of their partner.

If this is the case with you, then you can try listening to some calming or soothing music while you go to bed.

More importantly, you must choose your headphone or earbuds carefully so that they do not exert extra pressure on your ears while you sleep.

listening to music while you sleep


Relax with white noise

White noise is often used by many people to drown out annoying noises in the background and coupled with soothing music, it can really help you sleep peacefully by lowering your breathing and heart rate.

Another benefit of listening to music while sleeping is that it can help clear your mind. Now this, helps a great deal in making your body relax putting your mind away from all the tensions and happenings of the day.

Having said that, if you have music on while sleeping you must make sure that it is not too loud lest it would damage your ears over time.

Treating insomnia and PTSD

Insomnia is a health issue that seems to be on a rise these days. So many people suffer from it and find it hard to sleep without any sleeping aid.

In the case of such people, headphones and earbuds can be a big help since they can help them doze off while listening to their favorite or calming music. It is also known to improve their quality of sleep.

Stimulating Serotonin

Serotonin is the feel-good chemical produced by your body and it plays a major role in making you feel happy.

While listening to music as you sleep, your body is likely to produce more of this hormone serotonin, making you feel happy. Now, this tends to have a very positive effect on your sleep. It will not just make you fall asleep but will actually improve the quality of sleep too.

Wearing earbuds to sleep and how to keep them in?

Earbuds are much smaller than headphones and you can easily put them in your ears while sleeping. However, one of the major problems with them is that they can fall out while you are asleep, which I am sure you don’t want to happen.

So, here are 5 easy and simple steps to prevent your earbuds from falling out while you sleep:

1) Use Wireless Earbuds

Just like headphones, earbuds also come with and without wires. Now, wearing wired earbuds while sleeping is not such a wise choice. They can easily fall off every time the wire is jerked as you sleep. The best course of action, therefore, is to use wireless earbuds.

2) Insert the buds into your ear more firmly

Earbuds are designed to fit in the ear canal and it is always better to have them firmly placed in your ear so that they do not fall off. All you need to do is gently push the earbud into your ear until you feel they are more secure.

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

Most earbuds and headphones come with certain attachments and their very purpose is to ensure that the earbuds are placed firmly in your ear. Try them out to find if you can secure your earbuds more firmly with them in your ears. If so, use them.

4) Buy specialized attachments

If such attachments do not suit or fit you perfectly, you must look for those that do. You can try various models and choose one that fits your ear perfectly. You might have to spend some time doing this but it is going to be worth the effort.


Can sleeping with headphones kill you?
I don’t see that happening ever. The worst that can happen is that listening to too loud music while sleeping may damage your hearing over time, but I don’t think this is something that is life-threatening.
Are headphones bad for your brain?
Eaverything has its pros and cons. Headphones generate electromagnetic waves that can be bad for your brain if you use them regularly.
Is it bad to sleep with music on all night?
While there’s no harm in having music on throughout the night, the earbuds or headphones that you use should be comfortable, lest they damage your ear canal and affect hearing in the long run.

Final thoughts

Sleeping with headphones is not for everyone. However, it can be a big help for those that are in habit of sleeping with music on. It is also a great help for others who want the outside noises to drown away while they listen to soothing and calming music as they sleep.

I have listed some of the best ways to sleep with headphones on. Try them and I am sure you would be amazed at the difference they can bring about in the quality of your sleep.

I am the content director at SleepOnBest and responsible for reviewing various mattresses and other products. Over the years, I have reviewed more than 100 mattresses. When I am not busy doing reviews, I love to spend time with my beautiful daughter and lovely wife.

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