If you're sensitive to noise, you've probably had challenges falling asleep at one point or another. A snoring partner, a noisy neighbor, or even a loud storm can prove disruptive when you're trying your best to get some shut-eye, so you might try playing music, a meditation, or an audiobook to help shift into sleep mode. But falling asleep while wearing earbuds is uncomfortable, and it can even be dangerous if there are wires involved. Luckily, there's a surprisingly simple solution: Lavince's sleep headphones ($20, was $26; amazon.com).
A pair of sleep headphones is very different from normal headphones. What seems to be a headband made out of soft, stretchy fabric is actually a Bluetooth-enabled device with embedded speakers. When you pull it on, you can hear your music, but the people around you can't—perfect for those who sleep with a partner who doesn't want to fall asleep your rainforest sounds. With no external wires, it's also safe to sleep in because there's no risk of getting tangled.
The headphone speakers embedded inside the headband are thin, and the control module is on the front of the band, so it's suitable for side sleepers to wear. Plus, over 700 reviewers mention how comfortable it is.
According to hearing expert Ben Thompson, Au.D., founder of Pure Tinnitus, sound therapy (which can include white noise, the sound of a fan, or recorded nature sounds) can help those who struggle with insomnia due to tinnitus. "A Bluetooth headband can play relaxing sounds close to your ears," he explains. "This creates a soothing response in the autonomic nervous system and helps prepare the body for sleep." While traditional headphones and a Bluetooth headband are equally safe on the auditory system, he says, a headband is less likely to result in ear soreness or pain from extended wear.
Sound therapy is also helpful for people who may struggle to fall asleep because of anxiety. "For many people, using sounds such as white/pink noise, music, and meditations can decrease the production of cortisol (the stress hormone), increase dopamine, and calm the autonomic nervous system," explains Whitney Roban, Ph.D., sleep specialist and founder of Solve Our Sleep. "As a result, the mind is distracted from anxious thoughts, and the body's physical reaction to stress is slowed down."
Because the headband uses Bluetooth technology, you can wear it to listen to your favorite podcasts, music, meditations—pretty much anything you'd usually access from your phone. Some shoppers have even found it to be a more comfortable alternative to the headphones they'd normally wear while working out, though most use it for its intended purpose: falling asleep.
"I have bad insomnia and no matter what I did I've gotten 5 hours of good sleep AT BEST on a nightly basis," wrote one five-star reviewer. "My first night using this with some brown noise I had the best sleep since I was in elementary [school]."
Other reviewers are impressed with the product's level of comfort. "I struggle with falling asleep because as soon as I lay down my mind starts racing. When I can listen to a book I am able to focus on that, set my Audible sleep timer, and fall asleep quickly," one customer wrote. "I've now slept with this headband on the past several nights and it is exactly what I was looking for! I have only had to charge it once and it's still at 80 percent after several nights. I have no discomfort at all when sleeping in it even though I am a side/stomach sleeper."
While you can't put a price tag on a good night of sleep, Lavince's sleep headphones are budget-friendly and provide a practical, expert-approved benefit.
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