Can You Sleep with Airpods In? (The Risks)

Sleeping with airpods in can be useful for noise isolation and helping you relax before getting to sleep, but it also comes with some short-term and long-term risks that you need to keep in mind.

Today, many people turn to music to escape from the pressures of everyday life. Putting your earphones in, or headphones on is a common thing that most people do nowadays. But it’s one thing to listen to music while going about your day, and another while you sleep.

The brain needs to rest, listening to music puts a hold on this process in a way, not to mention the damage it can do. Wearing AirPods while you sleep is ill-advised. There are ways to safely listen to music while sleeping but let’s look at the cons and potential negatives in this situation first.

The negative effects of sleeping with AirPods

There are several reasons why wearing AirPods while you sleep can be damaging and ill-advised. From minor/major physical damage to your ear to something as severe as hearing loss.

Potential overexposure and noise-induced hearing loss

The worst-case scenario is the potential overexposure to noise and noise-induced hearing loss. Naturally, if you’ve listened to music only a few times when sleeping this will unlikely be the problem, however, prolonged exposure can seriously damage your hearing or result in tinnitus (chronic ringing in the ears).

Setting a sleep timer is advised when using airpods at night so that you’re not exposing your ears to noise all night long!

The reason why I say overexposure is to stress the constant habit of listening to music while sleeping. Tinnitus is a serious matter and not to be taken lightly and there is no cure for many forms of it, I should know since I have had it for years now. If you have tinnitus, don’t panic and consult your doctor. Also, here are a few tips on how to prevent or put a stop to tinnitus from progressing.

Disrupted sleep pattern

While music is a positive thing for all of us, it can have negative effects, especially if you listen to it at night through your AirPods. The reason is that constant wearing of the AirPods will irritate your ear and cause discomfort, not to mention that music will cause your brain to be active while it should be resting – sleeping. 

This will often result in a disrupted sleep pattern. You might not point the finger at music at first, thinking that it’s because of something else. My advice is if you’re listening to music while sleeping, play it on your computer or phone, not on your AirPods, and listen to calming sounds like the ocean or the rain.

Compromised ear hygiene

Our ears naturally build up wax which is released (usually while we sleep at night). Wearing AirPods through the night will therefore block the ear wax from releasing which then can clog your ears and impair your hearing.

Luckily, there is a solution to this, with a simple visit to the doctor, however, it is very unpleasant and causes pain as well. If you feel your ears are stuffed when you wake up, be sure to check in with your doctor and get them cleaned/unclogged.

Physical ear damage

As mentioned before, constant wearing of AirPods will sometimes cause discomfort and damage your ear. Physical damage to the ear is very likely to happen if you constantly use AirPods, especially while you sleep.

When we sleep, we tend to turn a lot, this can result in a side position and, therefore, push the AirPods further inside the ear – hurting your ear and injuring it in the process.

This is another reason why you should avoid wearing AirPods while you sleep, not to mention if you permanently or highly damage your ear/ear canal. Tread carefully.

Block important sound

The obvious reason why you should avoid sleeping with AirPods and listening to music is that you may miss important calls, alarms, deadlines. This is worth mentioning because we live in a deadline-sorted world today and most of us have an alarm set every day.

Using AirPods with music while you sleep might result in missing an alarm/deadline that might be work-related, or something more important like fire alarms.

Losing your AirPods

Lastly, I’d advise not sleeping with your AirPods because as there is a chance to push them in further, there is also a chance they are likely to fall out while you sleep.

Since they are small, they can easily fall in between your bed frame or roll to the ground, therefore, losing them. They are expensive, so this would be quite terrible no matter who you are. Preserving them is also important so keep a mindful eye.

The positive effects of sleeping with AirPods

There are a few reasons why sleeping with AirPods can be beneficial but all of this consists of a reasonable volume level, being careful, and music selection.

Good for noise isolation

Blocking outside noise is the first and obvious reason why AirPods are beneficial while sleeping. If you are situated in a more busy part of town or a loud neighborhood, the noise isolation that AirPods provide will be welcomed, resulting in better sleep.

There can also be more common reasons like a snoring partner/family member, which is something I can’t stand. However, be mindful and set the volume level low or moderate and choose something calming.

Music can help you relax and fall asleep

Like most people, music helps them relax and fall asleep better. After a stressful day or work shift, most of us turn to music as a way to calm down and relax. Trouble sleeping is a very common problem for many, and this is where music can come in handy.

Again, be mindful of the volume levels and the music selection. Choosing good white noise, a calming audiobook, or relaxing rain/ocean sounds can help you fall asleep at night. If you get a chance, play this on your computer or without AirPods for an even better effect and less-harmful one.

Positive brain effects

A less known effect is that music while sleeping can boost dopamine release and stimulate serotonin levels. This, in turn, boosts your happiness levels and relaxes you at the same time.

Again, an audiobook is advised, or a calming sound that can improve cognitive abilities while you sleep. All of this can positively influence your brain and, therefore, result in a better mood overall and feeling more relaxed.

The best way to listen to music while you sleep

While we’ve gone over the positives and negatives of sleeping with AirPods, here are a few tips on how you should listen to music while sleeping in general.

Low volume

The first and obvious one is low volume. Whether you’re listening through AirPods or your laptop/computer, a good and reasonable low volume is advised. Low volume levels have almost no chance of damaging your hearing or disrupting your sleep pattern. This applies not only to music or calming sounds but to audiobooks as well.

Play music/sounds on your computer or laptop

While we’ve gone through this, I’ll mention it again. If you have a chance to avoid listening on your AirPods, do so. Play music or calming sounds on your computer or laptop, or even on your phone.

Good selection of music/sounds

Choose something ambient and relaxing like white noise, calming rain, ocean waves. An audiobook is also a good choice if you have trouble overthinking before going to sleep, this will turn your attention away and help you fall asleep faster. Naturally, keep the volume levels moderate or low.

Summary

Wearing AirPods can have its positives and negatives while sleeping. It is important to be mindful of the volume levels and choose something calming to listen to.

Sleeping with AirPods can help you block out noise, relax and fall asleep easier, and boost your mood. However, take caution with the volume levels as they can easily disrupt your sleep pattern or cause damage to your hearing.

Play music and sounds on your computer or laptop if you have the opportunity to do so.

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj is a touring and recording bass guitarist who loves to share his passion for all things music.

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