At first, sleeping with headphones may seem a bit strange. Isn’t something you would only do on accident? It’s like falling asleep with your glasses on isn’t it?
Well, it can be. On the other hand, there are some benefits to sleeping with your phones on. As long as you follow some basic rules that is. You certainly don’t want to cause damage to your hearing, or wake up with painful ears. The key is learning how to sleep with headphones in a way that is safe and comfortable.
First The Risks of Sleeping With Your Headphones
We can’t deny it. There are a few risks that you assume when you decide to wear your headphones while you sleep. Just remember that these are pretty small, and they are largely avoidable. Still, it’s good to know. So here we go:
This is an irritation of your outer ear canal. This mostly happens to people who wear the kind of headphones that can block the ear canals. The biggest concern here is if the irritation leads to infection. This would need to be treated with antibiotics or other medication.
Now the good news. You can nearly eliminate this risk. Just avoid wearing ear bud style headphones to bed, and engage in basic hygiene by cleaning your ears and wiping down your headphones. If you start to feel some irritation, take a night or two off.
Ear Wax Buildup
Another small risk is that irritation could cause an excess production of earwax. While this is uncomfortable and a bit bothersome. It’s not really dangerous, unless so much builds up that it causes pressure or temporary hearing difficulties. Still, this is the kind of problem that should be quite noticeable before it needs serious intervention. Again, good hygiene and awareness is key. So is avoiding ear buds.
Is it bad to sleep with headphones on? When most people ask this question, their primary concern is noise exposure and hearing damage. This is a valid concern, and people must understand what is and isn’t safe. First and foremost, that means not listening to anything 60 db or louder. In many cases, even quieter is better. After all, you are trying to sleep. However, 60 db is about the sound level of a normal conversation. So, that should be safe for most people.
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If you go louder, that can cause ear damage over time. One thing that you will need to be careful of is falling asleep to videos or podcasts where the volume can vary significantly. If you’ve ever listened to one youtube video at normal volume, and then had the next one blare away, you’ve experienced this effect. If you choose to sleep wearing your earphones, be sure that you consciously pick things to listen to. Avoid autoplay options that simply broadcasts whatever song or video that is next.
Now The Benefits
People who sleep with their headphones do so because it can actually help your sleep. Check out these:
- Noise Blocking: A good pair of over the ear headphones can block out a significant amount of noise. If you live in a busy household, or are just sensitive to sounds while you try to sleep, this can be an absolute Godsend. Yes, there are other options, but none you can control more than your own set of headphones.
- White Noise: If you take a decent pair of headphones, and combine that with a white noise app, then your sleep can be improved even more. This allows you to shut out external noises. Then, you can focus on soothing sounds that are specifically designed for sleep.
- Relaxing Music: Some people prefer listening to something that allows them to focus a bit more intently. If white noise won’t do, try some relaxing music. Another option is to use ambient noises such as the sounds of the rainforest. Turn on something that relaxes you for about 45 minutes, and you may fall asleep with ease.
- ASMR: Have you learned about this trend yet? ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. It describes a pleasurable feeling that many people get when listening to certain sounds. This includes paper tearing, scratching, whispering, and brushing. ASMR isn’t something that works for everyone, but for those it does, it definitely acts as a sleep aid.
- Learning And Behavioral Changes: Can listening to something while you sleep help you to learn it? Can you stop smoking or lose weight simply by listening to subliminal messages overnight? The jury is out, but some people do report that they are better able to retain information this way. It’s certainly a low risk behavior, and worth seeing if it works for you.
Should You Give it a Try?
Since the risks are so low, mostly harmless, and largely avoidable, you should definitely try sleeping with headphones. You may find that you get a better, more relaxing sleep. If it doesn’t work for you, then you’ve really lost nothing of importance. We recommend you follow these simple rules:
- Avoid earbuds. They aren’t as sanitary as they should be and can cause irritation.
- Try headband style headphones for ultimate comfort.
- Position headphones so that you are comfortable.
- Pick your listening materials carefully. Be sure you are in control of what you are hearing overnight!
If headphones fail to improve yourself, don’t be discouraged. It’s simply a sign that you should explore other options to help eliminate common sleep issues.