July 7, 2008 12:07 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some headphones comfortable enough to wear while sleeping/trying to sleep.

I currently live somewhere where loud noise persists while I'm trying to sleep, so I've decided that maybe I'll try purchasing a cheap iPod, and load it full of ambiance (the ocean, wind blowing through trees, whales, et cetera), and wear that while I'm trying to sleep to drown out any outside noise. However, I need some comfortable, unobtrusive headphones to wear to bed. I always sleep on my sides, so I can't use normal sized headphones, and I find the headphones that come with iPods to be rather uncomfortable. Does anyone know of some headphones that are comfortable enough to wear to bed? Preferably, something soft, like earplugs, that won't make my ears sore after only a few minutes, and nothing too expensive. Not sure if this kind of thing exists, but it's worth asking.

Additionally, does anyone know of any sites that offer free and relaxing ambiance tracks that I can use on the iPod?
posted by Dreamcast to Technology (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you're going to find anything. Earplugs are probably a better answer. Try getting those rubber in-the-ear ones that are bullet-shaped. That's what I use and they work great.
posted by Class Goat at 12:10 PM on July 7, 2008

The last time I was in a Radio Shack, I saw a speaker meant to go under a pillow that would play music just loudly enough to be heard by someone lying on top. It cost around $8.
posted by LSK at 12:12 PM on July 7, 2008

I've no answer to the earphones question, but you might like to check out pzizz.
posted by Solomon at 12:12 PM on July 7, 2008

While admittedly not the most comfortable things in the world, the 99 cent headphones you can get at Wal-Mart are what I sleep in. They usually end up being pulled out while I sleep, and I feel a lot better know that if they get messed up I didn't pay a lot for them. I usually go through about 3 or 4 pair a semester.

From my experience, comfort and cheapness don't seem to go together. I picked cheap.

As for the noise, Life Hacker just had an article about ambient noise. You could record that. Also, Audacity is able to create static.
posted by theichibun at 12:14 PM on July 7, 2008

I've been extremely happy with my Etymotic ER-6is. (Actually I got these ones. They block out pretty much all outside sound, and they're the first headphones with which I can lay on my side on a pillow and be comfortable.

I recommend the foam tips for sleeping -- the silicone ones are comfortable, but they tend to have a slightly uncomfortable suction/plunger effect when you put pressure on the ear, as you would when you're sleeping. The foam tips are more comfortable.
posted by sportbucket at 12:17 PM on July 7, 2008

You can sleep on your side and only have one headphone from your iPod in (in the ear that is exposed).
posted by fantasticninety at 12:17 PM on July 7, 2008

These are (in my cheap-o opinion) pricey and...dumb-looking, but my cousin swears by them. I tried it/them? on, they're definitely comfortable.
posted by phunniemee at 12:25 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

You may want to consider a pillow speaker (and an earplug for the other side).

I've slept in Shure E3c canalphones (discontinued, similar to above Eymotics) and the cord noise is awful if you move around at all. On the plus side, you'll be able to sleep in a bowling alley.
posted by meowzilla at 12:32 PM on July 7, 2008

I use these for just that purpose: comfy, sound good. At $11, you can't go that wrong. Beware doing this too often, and if you're going to do it often, stay away from plugs that fit into your ear canal: your ears need to 'breathe', and plugging them up all night most nights will do nasty things, not to mention building up great mounds of earwax.
posted by bartleby at 12:50 PM on July 7, 2008

I use the Razer m100 (Amazon) headphones for just this. They have good sound including bass, good sound isolation, and I can lay my head on the side while wearing them.
posted by qvtqht at 1:33 PM on July 7, 2008

As far as music, it's not free, but the following albums work great for me:

Anthony Rother - Magic Diner
Pete Namlook & Richie Hawtin - From Within 2
Global Communication - 76:14
Biosphere - Microgravity

I've slept on the train, riding in a car, at loud festivals, with noisy neighbors, etc.
posted by qvtqht at 1:37 PM on July 7, 2008

I should mention that at some point after I fall asleep, I end up taking the headphones out of my ears, though I don't remember how/when. I don't sleep in them all night.
posted by qvtqht at 1:38 PM on July 7, 2008

Seconding pzizz or the Sleepphones, as binaural beats are great for restful sleep.
posted by notashroom at 3:14 PM on July 7, 2008

I've been looking for the same thing for a couple of years - I sleep on my side too. What I've found is:

- The 'pillow speakers' are no good. Sound is very tinny and, depending on the source, too quiet. They're made of a hard plastic which is uncomfortable under one pillow, yet sliding it under two pillows renders it inaudible. Also the cable on mine started to fail after a few weeks.

- The earbud-style earphones, whatever material they're made of, shouldn't be worn when sleeping, especially if you roll onto your side and put pressure on the ear. I've woken up with some major earaches after doing this.

Currently I just use a cheap pair of earbuds, but employ a little trick:

- Set my MP3 player to switch off after 1 hour, and stuff it securely under the pillow.
- Trail the wire of one earbud only over the top of the pillow, not leaving too much slack.
- Put it very loosely in my 'top' ear (the one not pressed against the pillow) and rotate it 180 degrees, so the wire leads upwards in the opposite to the normal wearing direction.

By doing this I find that the 'phone gets safely yanked out at some point during the night rather than getting stuck in my ear.

Or you could try the SleepPhones. I can't vouch for them as I haven't yet reached the point in my life where I'm willing to sleep in a lavender headband.
posted by boosh at 7:55 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

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