Having Trouble Sleeping? These 15 Best Noise-canceling Devices for Sleeping Will Help

Everyone says that to have a good night’s sleep, you just need to switch off your phone and go to bed early.

It’s such bullshit, isn’t it?

Most of the time, neither of those things will make any difference to your sleep quality at all. 

That’s because even with the phone off and your head hitting the pillow at a reasonable hour, you’ll still need to deal with the darn noise that prevents you from sleeping.

Want some good news? In this post, you’ll discover 15 wonderful noise-canceling devices that can help you do just that – mask that noise and finally fall soundly asleep.

Intrigued? Let’s get started.

What Noise-canceling Devices to Use When You’re Trying to Get Some Sleep

Let’s face it; sleep is beyond critical.

We function better after a good night’s sleep, after all. Sleep recharges our bodies. it improves our focus, keeps our immune system strong, and even keeps our mental state in check.

Unfortunately, the opposite is true too.

When we don’t get enough sleep, we fall apart.

Our internal clocks go through the window. We gain weight more easily. Many of us suffer from anxiety attacks. And overall, we’re not in our best moods then, and our cognitive functions wane too.

The problem is that we seem to be getting less and less sleep every year. Look at the research below, mapping the drastic change in the amount of sleep we get across a 20-year period.

Research showing the change in the amount of sleep we now get.

(image source)

It’s crazy!

But that’s not all. The research reveals that the older we get, the fewer of us get more than 6 hours of sleep a night.

And so, as our bodies become weaker with age, we also don’t give them enough sleep to recover fully.

The thing is – We can blame it on our busy and hectic lives, but that’s only part of the story.

Much of the problem also relates to noise, be it from the outside, or caused by loud walking neighbors upstairs, for example.

Years ago, when the above research only began, we lived in a much quieter environment. There weren’t as many loud stereos, TVs, and other devices. Traffic outside was calmer too. The buildings we lived in were built better, and we were separated from our neighbors by more than thin walls. We had less technology blasting loud music or sound all night long too.

The good news is that various devices can help you block that noise and regain the peace you need to sleep soundly at night.

Each tackles the noise differently, and you use them in different ways too. So, before we dive into specific products, look at the categories below to figure out which option is the best for you.

Overall, there are five different types of noise-canceling devices for sleeping

#1. Noise-canceling sound machines

Also known as white noise machines or sleep machines, these devices play either white noise or a combination of other sounds, like nature sounds, to reduce other sounds.

They work on a simple premise – By playing sounds containing equal quantities of all frequencies audible to the human ear, white noise machines create a masking effect that prevents you from being sensitive to any changes in frequency.

In other words, they don’t really block out noise per se. They make you not notice it anymore.

(Which works perfectly fine when you’re trying to sleep.)

What’s more, the sounds they play also have a soothing effect, helping many people fall asleep more easily. Here’s the science behind it.

#2. Noise-canceling headphones

There are two types of noise-canceling headphones:

Passive ones ensure that no sound from the outside gets into your ear canal.

  • Passive noise-canceling earbuds do it by taking up all the space in the ear, leaving no space for airborne sound to come in.
  • Over-ear headphones, on the other hand, enclose your ear and create a tight seal, again, to prevent airborne sounds from entering.

Active noise-canceling headphones target noise differently. These headphones use what’s known as “phase-inversion” to create “anti-noise” and ultimately physically cancel the noise out.

This graph illustrates it quite well. The top wave is a sound wave – the noise you hear. The other is the “anti-noise” that an active noise-canceling system generates. Note that it’s the exact mirror image of the actual sound wave. Combined, they cancel each other out, leaving…well, silence.

Phase inversion in active noise canceling.

(image source)

#3. Sleep headphones/ Earmuffs/Sleep Bands

There is only one difference between ordinary headphones and sleep headphones – The latter have been designed to be worn while sleeping.

Traditional headphones are often too bulky to wear while in bed. They don’t allow you to position your head the way you want, and you might often experience fatigue after wearing them for some time.

The situation is no different with many earbuds. These often fall out when you move at night or cause pain in the ear after prolonged use.

Sleep headphones eliminate those problems. They feature a design that makes them comfortable to wear in bed and keep on for longer.

#4. Sleep buds

Sleep buds are a type of sleep headphones that act just like traditional earbuds, except for their sleep-friendly design.

#5. White noise apps

White noise apps work similarly to white noise machines, except that you install them on your phone.

This is a downside of them, however, as they often require internet access and your phone to remain switched off and prone to sending you notifications.

What to Look for When Selecting the Best Noise-canceling Device for Sleeping

#1. Device Type

As you’ve seen above, there are at least five different types of devices you could use to block noise when sleeping. Each of these devices works differently and provides a different method of masking or canceling the noise.

Unfortunately, this means that you might need to research and try at least some of them out to see which type works best for you.

#2. Type of Noise Cancellation

If you’re considering using headphones to cancel noise while sleeping, aim for those that offer the active noise-cancelation.

As you’ve seen from my description above, these headphones analyze noise and create “anti-noise” to cancel the sound that’s bothering you entirely.

Worth to note: Because these noise-canceling systems need to analyze the sound and issue an inverted sound wave, they work best at blocking persistent and long sounds. They won’t be able to drown out short percussive noises, however. This is because these systems won’t have enough time to analyze the sound and create the inverted wave.

#3. Sleep Position

How you sleep is irrelevant when picking a white noise machine, for example. But if you prefer sleeping with headphones, then your preferred sleep position will affect which ones to choose.

Sleeping with headphones isn’t natural, and you might need to adjust your sleep position or simply get used to earbuds in your ears.

Overall, however, there are several factors that will help you consider which headphones are the best option to help you sleep.

First, as you can imagine, avoid any wires. Wireless headphones work better for sleeping. That’s why I included only those in my recommendations below.

If you sleep on your back (or upright), over-ear noise-canceling headphones might be your option. These headphones enclose your ear in a headphone cup, further increasing the effect of the active noise-cancelation.

If you’re a side-sleeper, earbuds are for you. Wireless earbuds are small, discreet, and often shaped to sit comfortably in your ear for long.

However, if you often change sleep position, then you might consider a sleep band. It will sit comfortably around your head, with headphones over your ears.

With all that in mind, let’s review the best devices to help you block out noise and finally get some sleep.

15 Best Noise-canceling Devices for Sleeping

For your comfort, I organized those noise-canceling devices by category. So, below, you’ll find the best sleep buds, sleep machines, noise-canceling headphones, sleep headphones, and earbuds that will help you have a peaceful sleep at night.

Best Sleep Buds for Sleeping

#1. Bose Sleep Earbuds II

Bose Sleep Earbuds best noise-canceling earbuds for sleeping.

I admit it; at first sight, these little beauties look just like any other earbuds. Well, they’re not. First, Sleep Earbuds II has been designed for sleep. Secondly, they use a clinically tested sleep technology to help you sleep better.

How? Sleep Earbuds II do not stream music or podcasts. Instead, they plan original content through the Bose Sleep app. With that, you get access to a library of over 50 specially curated sounds to calm your mind and block any unwanted noises.

But that’s not all! Earbuds II use Bose’s proprietary noise-masking technology to block noises that usually keep you up at night.

Check the price and get Sleep Earbuds II on Amazon

#2. Amazfit Zenbuds Smart Sleep Earbuds

Another example of noise-masking earbuds for sleeping.

Amazfit is similar to Bose Sleep Earbuds II. These little earbuds have been designed specifically to sit comfortably in your ear for long and let you sleep in your favorite position. Amazfit fit comfortably across your ear ridge and provides additional noise-blocking by preventing the sound from getting into your ear.

Just like Bose’s amazing earbuds, Amazfit plays soothing sounds to help you fall asleep. And once you do, they gently switch off the music to let you rest, while noise-canceling features block any sounds from waking you up.

Check the price and get Amazfit Zenbuds on Amazon

Best Sleep Machines for Sleeping

#3. Marpac Dohm Classic

Dohm Classic sleep machine.

It’s true – Dohm Classic isn’t likely to win any design contest, but that’s fine. It gets the job done, though, and that’s all that matters. That’s because Dohm Classic is not a new entrant to the market. It has been on the market since 1962, and the company had plenty of time to perfect its functionality.

Dohm Classic doesn’t play digitally generated sounds to block noise. Instead, it creates a natural white noise with a built-in fan. Because of that, Dohm is ridiculously simple to use. You just need to choose between two-speed options to generate the sound and mask the noise that’s bothering you.

It’s that simple.

Check the price and get Dohm Classic on Amazon

#4. SNOOZ White Noise Sleep Machine

SNOOZ white noise machine.

SNOOZ is not only a great Dohm Classic alternative, but it will also look much nicer on your nightstand. And with an almost perfect score from 5000 ratings on Amazon, SNOOZ is certainly a great sleep machine to consider.

Now, I deliberately called SNOOZ a Dohm Classic alternative. That’s because SNOOZ also uses a built-in fan to generate white noise and mask unwanted sounds from noisy neighbors, street noise, snoring, etc.

Check the price and get SNOOZ on Amazon

#5. Adaptive Sound Technologies Sound+Sleep SE

AdaptiveSound advanced sleep machine with adaptive noise-canceling technology.

The Adaptive Sound Technologies sleep machine goes far beyond what SNOOZ and Dahm Classic offer and is a perfect option if you’re looking for more than just a white noise generator.

First, you won’t find a built-in fan in this sleep machine. Instead, you get access to a whopping 64 sleep sound profiles designed to help you sleep better. You can fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean, rain, brook, meadow, waterfalls, rides, and crowds. But Adaptive Sound also offers different types of noise – white, brown, and pink – as well as natural sounds of small or large fans.

But what truly makes this device stand out is the adaptive sound technology that listens to your environment and responds by adjusting the volume and sound mix instantly.

Check the price and get the Adaptive Sound Technologies machine on Amazon

#6. HoMedics Sound Spa

Portable white noise sleep machine.

HoMedics Sound Spa is a relatively simple sleep machine. It plays six different sounds, including thunder, ocean, summer night, rain, brook, and white noise. It features simple volume controls and a timer, and… that’s it.

What makes this device stand out is its size. HoMedics Sound Spa is highly portable, meaning that you can take it with you on travels and ensure that you get a good night’s sleep in noisy hotels too.

Check the price and get HoMedics Sound Spa on Amazon

#7. LectroFan Micro 2

Another portable noise machine for sleeping.

LectroFan Micro 2 is even smaller than HoMedics Sound Spa. It’s been primarily designed to help you sleep and rest as you travel. Micro 2 fits perfectly into a small bag and has long-lasting battery life.

That said, in spite of the small size, it features eleven sounds to help you sleep. It can also work as a Bluetooth speaker and stream music from your phone.

Check the price and get Micro 2 on Amazon

#8. Dreamegg D1

Beautiful sleep machine.

I have to say; Dreamegg D1 is beautiful. It’s, by far, the best-looking sleep machine on the list.

But it’s quite powerful too.

Dreamegg D1 comes with 7 white noise sounds, 7 authentic fan sounds, and 10 nature sounds to help you block noise and sleep soundly. The addition of night light is a lovely feature, making it also a great sleep noise machine for babies.

Finally, D1 also offers you the option to plug headphones and use them to block noise in public spaces like libraries or offices.

Check the price and get Dreamegg D1 on Amazon

Best Sleep Bands and Sleep Headphones

#9. AcousticSheep SleepPhones

Sleep headphones that cancel noise and allow for a better night's sleep.

SleepPhones are, well, as the name suggests, sleep headphones. The product started as a solution to scratch the creator’s own itch. A family physician invented them for herself as she couldn’t find a suitable product to help her block noise while sleeping.

SleepPhones features a design that’s ideal for side sleepers. They are ultra slim and feature flat speakers that do not press on your ears as sleep on your side.

SleepPhones connect with any device via Bluetooth and let you stream any type of sound you want – music, white noise, nature sounds, etc.

Check the price and get SleepPhones on Amazon

#10. Fulext Sleep Headphones

Another sleep headphones.

Just like SleepPhones, Fulext work like a headband that wraps around your head, with flat speakers positioned over your ears. They connect with other devices via Bluetooth and let you stream music directly to the speakers.

Sleep headphones are fully washable, so you don’t have to worry about them eventually starting to smell. You just need to remove the control pod from the headband, and they’re ready to go into the washing machine.

Check the price and get Fluext Sleep Headphones on Amazon

 #11. Musicozy Sleep Headband

Sleep headband example.

As you can see from the picture, Musicozy offers a slightly nicer design to its sleep mask. The product’s functionality, however, remains similar to SleepPhones and Fluext.

Musicozy is a Bluetooth-powered sleep band that rests comfortably on your head and lets you sleep soundly on your side.

Check the price and get Musicozy on Amazon.

Best Noise-canceling Headphones for Sleeping

#12. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Over ear active noise-canceling headphones for sleeping.

Bose QuietComfort 35 is perfect. Naturally, they aren’t the headphones to use if you prefer to sleep on your side. But if you’re a back sleeper or need to cancel noise while taking a nap on a plane, there really is a no better option.

Why? Because, for one, Bose QC 35 features three levels of active noise-cancelation, meaning that almost no sound can get through. They’re also extremely comfortable and deliver sound at an insane quality.

There really is nothing else that you’d want from noise-canceling headphones for sleep.

Check the price and get Bose QC 35 on Amazon.

#13. Sony WH-1000XM4

Another over-ear noise-canceling headphones that help sleep better.

Sony WH-1000XM4 is an ideal noise-canceling solution for long flights and travel. They feature astonishing design, a Dual Noise Sensor technology for providing advanced active noise-cancelation, and up to 30-hour battery life with quick charging.

These Sony’s also deliver incredible audio and will even automatically pause your music when removed.

Check the price and get Sony WH-1000XM4 on Amazon

Best Earplugs for Sleeping

#14. Anbow Earplugs for Sleeping

Earplugs for sleeping.

Earplugs are, by far, the simplest solution to deal with noise while trying to sleep. That said, they’re not the best ones. Still, if you’re looking for a quick, simple, and cheap solution, earplugs might be the way to go.

The Anbow plugs are silicone-based, comfortable, and fill in your ear canal, reducing the amount of noise that’s getting in. They will not eliminate the noise completely. However, if you’re not dealing with severely loud sounds, they might do the job just fine.

Check the price and get Anbow Earplugs on Amazon

#15. Loop Quiet Earplugs for Noise Reduction

Earbuds for noise-reduction.

Loop Quiet looks amazing and work well too. Just like any other earplugs, they will not block noise completely. They can, however, reduce it to comfortable levels.

Loop Quiet has a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 27 decibels, meaning that it can reduce conversations and noise of a similar level. They should reduce how much of your neighbors’ conversations or TV you hear. But they won’t cut down loud music, for example. As a result, they’re ideal for switching off and sleeping if you’re not exposed to any significantly loud noise.

Check the price and get Loop Quiet on Amazon

And that’s it…

Now you know what types of noise canceling devices to use when sleeping and the best products in each category.

What’s left is to test them and pick the best solution to help you sleep soundly at night.

Good luck!