Is It Safe to Sleep with AirPods?

Airpods

Listening to music or audiobooks is a great way to wind down before bed. The gentle sound of rain or soothing melodies from a piano instantly places the mind at ease. With AirPods, you don’t have to deal with a long wire or tangled mess. They’re also lightweight and comfortable to wear.

But are they safe to use while sleeping? They may be safe if the volume is kept low enough, and no pressure is placed on the ears. Fast or loud music can keep the brain active and alert. It may also increase heart rate. This can affect the quality of your sleep. Prolonged use may cause earwax buildup and potential hearing problems.

Some, however, may find it beneficial to sleep with AirPods. For example, if you sleep next to someone who snores or next to a construction site, white noise or gentle sounds can help block it out.

Be mindful of how you sleep with them. Do you feel well-rested in the morning? Are you able to get throughout the night without waking up? Do you have a sore ear in the morning or lots of earwax buildup? Take note of how they affect your sleep and determine if they’re beneficial for you. Sleeping with AirPods depends on the individual, their comfort level, and what they’re used to.

Take a look at three popular Amazon products excellent for anyone sleeping with AirPods.

PureComfort – Side Sleeping Pillow
(view on Amazon)
Mkicesky Side Sleeper Contour Memory Foam Pillow
(view on Amazon)
The PureComfort pillow has ear cutouts to prevent ear pain during the night, and allows you to sleep more comfortably on your side. The Mkicesky Side Sleeper Contour Memory Foam Pillow has a contoured shape to protect your AirPods from pressure, and will also promote proper alignment for your neck and back.

It’s important to understand the potential dangers of sleeping with AirPods. Let’s take a closer look at them as well as some of the benefits they offer.

Dangers

Closeup Photo of Apple Airpods

Earwax Buildup – Prolonged use of the AirPods may prevent earwax from coming out naturally. If you sleep for 7-9 hours per night, the earbuds can cause ear canal blockages and further problems such as hearing loss, pain, and infection. If you wear AirPods every night, make sure to regularly clean your ears to remove excess wax. Be careful when you do this since the ears are very delicate.

Disturbed Sleep – When there’s a constant sound in the ear, no matter the volume, it can disturb sleep. You may be fast asleep, but the sound may prevent you from achieving a deep, relaxed state required for the body to fully recover. This can lead to morning fatigue and drowsiness.

Otitis Externa – Otitis Externa is an infection of the ear canal caused by bacteria. Most common with swimmers, but the infection can also affect people who wear headphones. Symptoms include ear pain, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness in the ear. Clean your AirPods regularly by gently removing the earwax out of the earbud. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe away any debris and bacteria.

Necrosis – Necrosis is when there is a lack of blood flow to cells and tissues in an organ, causing them to die off. This happens if headphones don’t fit well since extra pressure may be placed on the tissues within the ear canal.

Safety – Using AirPods while you sleep can block out important sounds, depending on the volume level. This can prevent you from hearing the fire alarm, a knock at the door, or someone calling. Try sleeping with only one in instead.

Easy to Lose – If you toss and turn during the night, an earbud may fall out and get lost under the sheets, onto the floor, or somewhere you cannot get back. Some sleepers tend to brush their head or face during the night. Since they’re half asleep, an earbud can easily be knocked off. If this happens, you can use the “Find My iPhone” app to locate your AirPods on a map.

Not Waterproof – AirPods are not sweat or waterproof; however, it’s been noted that they do hold up well in the rain. Some sleepers sweat during the night, which may lead to hardware problems and malfunction. It can also make the earbuds dislodge more easily if there is moisture.

Benefits

Woman Sleeping in Bed

Although there are a number of dangers associated with using AirPods while sleeping, there are some benefits if used safely. For instance, they can be beneficial in noisy environments. Here are some of the benefits Apple AirPods offer for sleeping.

Blocks out noise – Sleeping with AirPods can be a great way to block out noise. Using both earbuds can act somewhat like earplugs, even if you’re not listening to anything. If you play music or use a white noise app, loud, obtrusive noise such as construction, cars, or a loud roommate can be blocked.

Wireless – AirPods don’t use a wire which can easily get in the way while you sleep. Being wireless, you won’t have to worry about accidentally pulling them out of the ear or rolling onto the wire and damaging it.

Relaxing – Listening to music or podcasts before you sleep is a great way to wind down. Sometimes when we get into bed, our minds start to race. We think about all of the stresses of the day, whether it be a long day at work, an upcoming interview, or an important exam. It’s important to take your mind off of that stuff so that you can sleep. Listen to something positive, something you can enjoy, and that puts you at ease. Here are some ideas:

  • White noise
  • Audiobooks
  • Podcast
  • Gentle music like classical or piano
  • Nature sounds

Easier to Sleep – Having some background music play while we sleep can help take your mind off distractions and help stimulate the mind. This can lead to more restful sleep and a feeling of alertness in the morning. Things that we enjoy listening to promote serotonin production or the “feel-good” chemical in our brain. If you went to bed in a bad mood, enjoyable music could help liven up your spirit.

Will They Fall Out?

AirPods are a lot more manageable to wear in bed since they are wireless. The wired headphones would always tug, especially if you rolled onto the wire or accidentally tangled it. The AirPods also have a longer stem than the old, wired ones, which makes them more sturdy.

It’s important to note that how they fit depends on the shape of your ear. In general, AirPods are very lightweight and comfortable. If meant to stay in during regular activities, laying down shouldn’t be an issue. If however, you’re a restless sleeper and move around a lot, there is a chance they may brush up against your pillow and fall out. Sleep on your back and surround yourself with pillows which may help prevent you from rolling onto your side and having them fall out. Sleeping on them may cause damage.

How Loud Should the Music Be for Sleep?

The noise level should be kept low to avoid disturbances throughout the night. It should be at 60 dB or lower, which is comparable to the sound of air conditioning or restaurant conversation. Even if you can sleep at higher volumes, the quality may be poor, and you may wake up feeling sluggish.

One way to avoid being disturbed is to set a sleep timer on your phone so that it shuts off once you sleep.

How Much Battery Life Do AirPods Have?

AirPods can get up to 5 hours of battery life. If you plan to sleep a full night with them in, note that they will most likely need to be charged in the morning. This can be a hassle if you like to use them for your commute or morning workout. For a quick nap, their battery life should be fine.

External Speakers

Consider using external speakers to avoid prolonged use of headphones. This way, you can still listen to music without placing headphones in your ear. The speakers can be placed on the desk close to your bed. Program some of your favorite songs or sounds at a low level. You can also just have the radio play which can be really nice to wake-up to.

Kris Peter

I am a lifelong advocate of sleep, continually learning, and striving to be better than I was yesterday.

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