Travel Technology

SleepPhones Review: Headband with Built-in Earphones

Want to sleep on a plane while listening to music? These quirky headphones might be just the ticket.

SleepPhones Review

Price and Where to Buy SleepPhones: $40 to $100 (model dependent) on or Amazon. Reviewed model is the $30 SleepPhones Classic.

While these headphones are marketed to people looking to sleep in a bed while comfortably wearing headphones, we tested the SleepPhones as an inflight way of blocking sound and listening to music while sleeping using travel pillows or the built-in airplane seat headrest.

Pros: The enveloping headphones deliver reasonably good sound without ear-poking discomfort. They allow you to comfortably lean on a pillow while listening for an extended period of time, and create a light sound barrier that facilitates inflight sleep. It doubles as a sleep mask, and there’s a free app you can download with soothing sounds, white noise, or piano music. They’re also useful if you want to dull ambient sounds or like to fall asleep listening to music at hotels.

Cons: Because the earphones are inside the headbands, and the headbands stretch depending on your head size (the headphones come in three sizes), the placement of the earphones themselves is imprecise—but even so sound was never an issue in the test.

How SleepPhones Rate:

  • Usefulness: 10/10. A great tool for anyone who wants to be able to fall asleep on a plane while listening to music, meditations, white noise, or anything else.
  • Value: 9/10. The $40 SleepPhones Classic model worked well, but anyone looking for a wireless experience, built-in microphone, or built-in volume control can find those features for a higher price.
  • Durability: 10/10. The cord is sturdy and doesn’t tangle easily, and the headband is machine washable (you remove the speakers first, of course).
  • Cool Factor: 9/10. Usually things that facilitate comfort inflight are embarrassing looking, but the SleepPhones just look like a headband.

Final Verdict: It’s hard to use a travel pillow with large, noise-cancelling headphones, and earbuds can cause a lot of discomfort when you lean against them while trying to sleep upright for extended periods. SleepPhones offer reasonably good sound with no discomfort. These headphones are now part of my standard sleep-on-a-plane trifecta (the other two parts of which are the J Pillow and a Benadryl).

(Photo: SleepPhones)

Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and “cool factor.” Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews, or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at

By Christine Sarkis

There's a 95 percent chance Senior Editor Christine Sarkis is thinking about travel right now. Follow her on Instagram @postcartography and Twitter @ChristineSarkis.

Christine Sarkis is an SATW-award-winning journalist and executive editor at SmarterTravel. Her stories have also appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her advice has been featured in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now. Her work has been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008. She is currently working on a travel memoir.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: The Trtl Pillow. It's easy to pack and comfortable, and makes it so I can actually sleep on flights.

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Seeing the Aurora Borealis from the comfort of somewhere warm, like a glass igloo or hot spring.

Travel Motto: Curiosity is an amazing compass.

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: Aisle all the way.

Email Christine Sarkis at

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