The 7 Best Earplugs for Sleeping of 2021

Cancel out the noise for a sounder sleep

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Bose Sleepbuds II at bose.com

"Hailing from the veteran audio brand, this pick fuses passive noise blocking with noise-masking sounds to help you doze faster."

Best Pink Noise: Soundoff Sleep Noise Masking Earbuds at soundoffsleep.com

"Complete with six different volume settings to choose from, this affordable pick features nature-like sounds."

Best for Active Noise Cancellation: QuietOn Active Noise Canceling Earbuds at quieton.com

"It boasts an ability to effectively block out sounds coming through walls and only requires one hour of charging time."

Best No Frills: Flents Ear Plugs NRR 33 at Amazon

"If you prefer simplicity, this portable pick can be worn for more than just sleeping and needs proper insertion."

Best Non-Intrusive: Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs 12 Pair at Amazon

"Wearable when sleeping or even swimming, these moldable earplugs are made to specifically fit the contours of your ear."

Best For Smaller Ears: Eargrace Noise Reduction Earplugs for Sleeping at Amazon

"Perfect for smaller ear canals, these were made to seal into the ear canal tightly to provide more effective noise blocking."

Best Fitting Pick: Howard Leight by Honeywell Laser Lite Foam Earplugs at Amazon

"This option expands inside the ear once inserted to create a perfect seal, making them compatible with any ear size."

There’s no arguing about the benefits of quality sleep. People who skip on sleep are much more likely to be stressed than a person who’s had a full night’s rest, and research has shown that better—not necessarily longer—sleep is associated with superior cognitive function, including better memory, learning, and overall mood.

Granted, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration when it comes to setting up your ideal sleep conditions. While what bedding you use and the drapes covering your windows to block out light are entirely up to you, sound may not be as easy to control.

It’s no wonder why we’re seeing more and more earplugs for sleeping (and technical advancements for them) on the market. Whether you live in a busy city with excess street noise or simply share your bed with a partner who snores, the right earplugs can help reduce the impact of extra sound on your sleep. 

Here are the best earplugs on the market for sleeping. 

Best Overall: Bose Sleepbuds II

Bose Sleepbuds II

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • 90-night risk-free trial

  • Pairs with easy-to-use app

  • Features Bose Sound Library, including sounds to sleep by

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Must play a noise-masking sound

Bose is one of the top players in the audio game, creating everything from speakers and home theater systems to headphones. It was only a matter of time until they got into the sleep space. These Sleepbuds combine what they call passive noise blocking with noise-masking sounds to help users fall asleep faster, according to a University of Colorado stdy. 

The Sleepbuds II gets up to 10 hours on a single charge, and an additional three charges inside the charging storage case. They also tote an auto on/off feature to help preserve that battery life over time, and users can set an alarm using the Bose Sleep app.

Ear Piece: Earbud with three size tips | Battery Life: 10 hours

Best Pink Noise: Soundoff Sleep Noise Masking Earbuds

SoundOffSleep Noise Masking Device

Courtesy of SoundOff

What We Like
  • Improved comfort tips

  • Specifically designed for those that sleep with snorers

What We Don't Like
  • Charging case is not wireless

SoundOff Sleep Noise Masking Earbuds play pink noise, proven by researchers to relax the brain and help a person sleep bettr. The brand describes this sound similar to those occurring in nature, like the rustling of leaves, rainfall, or a waterfall. Choose one of the six different volume settings that suits you and your comfort level for optimal shuteye. 

Ear piece: Single size earbud | Battery Life: 16 hours

What is pink noise?

Similar to white noise, pink noise is a type of sound that contains all frequencies. However, what distinguishes it and makes it easier on the ears is that higher frequency (higher pitched) sounds are less intense. A study of pink noise on sleep showed "significant enhancement" of "stable sleep time".

Common pink noise sounds come from nature, including the sound of waves crashing on a beach, rustling leaves, and rainfall.

Best for Active Noise Cancellation: QuietOn Active Noise Canceling Earbuds

QuietOn Sleep Earbuds

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Small size

  • More comfortable than other options

What We Don't Like
  • No alarm feature

  • No app

These noise reduction headphones are advertised to be effective to block out ambient sounds coming through walls, airplane cabin noises, and snoring. Unlike other options on our list, this pick is not bluetooth enabled and there is no additional sound broadcast. 

Users can also upgrade with additional accessories, including memory or comply foam tips, as well as QuietOn’s sleep mask. One hour of charging time restores the headphones to full battery. 

Ear Piece: Earbud with three size tips | Battery Life: 20 hours

Best No Frills: Flents Ear Plugs NRR 33

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Highest Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) for earplugs

What We Don't Like
  • Degree of noise reduction depends on proper insertion

  • Single-use

Not only geared toward sleep, these classic soft foam earplugs have a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 33, which is the highest available for earplugs and impressive considering these are without fancy noise-blocking tech. Simply pinch the foam, insert the earplug, and let it expand to fill your ear canal to block out noise. Foam earplugs are meant to be single-use items, so they aren't the most sustainable option.

Ear piece: Single-use foam | Battery Life: N/A

Best Non-Intrusive: Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs 12 Pair

Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs 12 Pair

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Silicone material molds well

What We Don't Like
  • Not made specifically with sleep in mind

  • Only molds to outer ear canal

If you wore earplugs when you were younger to get into the pool, they were probably something like these. Made of soft, moldable silicone, these earplugs are made to specifically fit the contours of your ear. They are rated to reduce noise by 22 dB, so they won't cancel noise as well as some other options.

Ear piece: Silicon molds to outer ear | Battery Life: N/A

Best For Smaller Ears: Eargrace Noise Reduction Earplugs for Sleeping

What We Like
  • Ear hooks for secure fit

  • Washable and reusable

  • Convenient storage bag included

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for bigger ears

Modeled in the shape of the human ear canal, these plugs from Eargrace were made to seal into the ear canal tightly to be more effective at blocking outside noise. The package includes three different sets of earplugs in different sizes, so different members of the family can find their perfect fit. And you can sleep soundly as these earplugs are rated to reduce noise by 31 dB.

Ear piece: Three pairs of earbuds | Battery Life: N/A

Best Fitting Pick: Howard Leight by Honeywell Laser Lite Foam Earplugs

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Vibrant color makes them hard to lose and noticeable

  • Contoured shape molds well

What We Don't Like
  • Single-use

These earplugs expand inside the ear once inserted to create a perfect seal, which makes them ideal for both small and larger ears. The bright color can be great if you’re wearing these around other people, so that they can identify that you’ve got plugs in. This foam pick is notably great for travel—each pair is individually packaged, which makes them easy to store in a carryon bag (though it does make them a less sustainable option).

Ear piece: Single-use foam | Battery Life: N/A

Final Verdict

Everyone has a different preference when it comes to earplugs. If you’re looking for a style that is no frills and comfortable and a reasonable price, you can’t go wrong with the Honeywell Laser Lite Foam Earplugs. If you’re hunting for something with noise-masking sounds and are willing to make an investment, the Bose Sleepbuds II are a solid option. And if you’re just looking for a little extra noise cancellation without the added soundtrack, then lean into the QuietOn Active Noise Cancellation Earbuds.

What to Look for in Earplugs for Sleeping 

Type:

There are essentially three different types of earplugs you can lean into for sleep: noise-masking, noise-cancelling, or noise-reduction. The noise-masking and noise-cancelling options are typically more costly, and include tech features that helps them to play certain sounds that promote better sleep. Whereas noise reduction options can be basic (often made foam and intended to be single-use), without any tech whatsoever.

Size:

It’s really important that you look for an option that has either multiple sizes of tips or specifically cites its ability to expand to fit your unique ear. While some options will only cover the external ear, others will insert deeper into the canal. Knowing your fit preference and comfort level will help you determine which style is right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is wearing earplugs better than using a white noise machine?

    Both options have benefits. Studies have shown that a white noise machine can help people get to sleep faster than those who go without one, dropping sleep onset by nearly 40% compared to patients who don't use these devices. However, if you’re sleeping right next to a snorer, you may need something that’s a little closer to the ear canal. Plus: earplugs themselves are also much more portable than white noise machines, which means you can take them with you on the road.

  • Should I be worried about using an alarm and earplugs simultaneously?

    Despite being great at blocking out sound, even earplugs with the highest noise reduction rating don't block all sound. If you’re highly concerned, look for one of the options on this list that has a built-in alarm feature. 

  • Can you wash earplugs?

    Instructions on best-care for each product will be included on the packaging. Some higher end models will suggest occasional cleaning of the product with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide and a small cloth or tissue, leaving them for a few minutes so that the solution can penetrate any wax build-up, and then wiping them clean. 

Why Trust Verywell Mind?

As veteran wellness journalist and certified trainer with a decade’s worth of reporting under her belt, Emily Abbate understands the importance of reliable reviews that empower us to live healthier, happier lives. She’s always exploring the latest and greatest wellness tools, gadgets, and machines, and understands the value that a good investment can add to your wellbeing. 

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Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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