The amount of stress and anxiety we go through daily is staggering. We already have our hands (and minds) full during the day. So, why’s it so hard to tap out when it's time to hit the sack?
Stress impacts sleep quality, which means you’re deprived of deep and restful zzzs. A lack of quality sleep affects the way you’re able to cope with stress. (It’s a chicken and egg kinda thing.) You’re also shortchanged of the energy you need (and deserve).
One way to quiet a mind that won’t quit is to listen to sleep-inducing noise or music before bed. In case you’re new to this, the link between sound and sleep isn’t all bad. The right kind of sounds can soothe and mask harmful noise. And earbuds and headphones are the go-to devices.
But there's some doubt when it comes to the safety of sleeping with these on. (Often-asked questions are: Is it bad to sleep with earbuds in? Or is it bad to wear headphones to sleep?) If you're one of those who are unsure, then consider a sleep mask with headphones.
But it doesn’t end there. Side sleeping comes with its share of quirks (constant shifting and proper body alignment to name a few). It’s hard enough to find a sleep mask for side sleepers. Throw in headphones and it seems near impossible.
A sleep mask with headphones is like a headband with headphones. Except for a major difference. It’s worn over the eyes to deliver sound and darkness in one sweet go.
Don't confuse it with the clunky gadget you slip over your head (those are over-ear headphones). Or earbuds, which go inside your ears.
A sleep mask with headphones houses small speakers in its interior, so you get none of the bulk and all of the sound. It typically uses Bluetooth technology to pair with your device of choice.
Are sleep mask headphones safe?
Sleeping while listening to music is safe as long as you take extra care keeping the volume low. Sleep mask headphones are a safer alternative to earbuds because they don’t go inside your ear canal. Wearing earbuds (especially dirty ones) may prevent air from circulating in your ears. If you’re not careful, there’s a risk of infection.
On the other hand, wearing over-ear headphones is doable but uncomfortable. (Imagine the bulk!) If you want to sleep sideways while listening to sounds, it’s simple. Use a sleep mask with headphones for side sleepers.
Either way, it's important to keep the volume at a safe level. It’s dangerous to listen to sound with a volume of 85 decibels and up for 8 hours. And if you’re sleeping while listening, Decibel Meter Pro says to keep the volume at 40 decibels and below(1). And if you’re gunning for good sleep quality, maintain it at 30, which is pretty much a whisper.
Choosing the Best Sleep Mask with Headphones for Side Sleepers
There are several factors to consider here. Sleep masks with headphones for side sleepers don’t come cheap. And if they do, think twice because quality is everything.
That’s because it’s a sleep product that fulfills specific needs. These are light-blocking, sound delivery and side sleeping comfort. These call for special features. If the sleep mask you pick falls short, consider it a poor sleep investment.
Here are factors to consider.
Choose one with a superior light-blocking feature.
As with any sleep mask, look for one that blocks the light out 100%. The whole point of owning one is to sleep in complete darkness.
When it comes to sleep, light isn’t just uncomfortable. It tells your body it's time to be awake. Light makes falling asleep harder and causes frequent awakenings.
Darkness tells your body to wind down. It also signals your brain to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone.
The less pressure on your eyes, lashes and temples, the better.
Some sleep masks come with convex eye cups. They don’t just seal out the light. They also put space between the mask and your eyes and lashes. And because there’s no pressure on your eye area, you’ll also sleep in greater comfort.
The problem with most sleep masks with eye cups is they create extra bulk on the temples. This can cause extreme discomfort for side sleepers. They already have to contend with a pillow.
The next section also talks about what to look for in eye cups. (Don’t compromise!)
Choose one that’s specifically designed for side sleeping.
As a side sleeper, you know only too well that you need to shift from left to right during the course of the night. And if you’re wearing a sleep mask, chances are it’ll slip off with movement.
Most of the time, a flimsy elastic strap won’t do. So, choose one with a thicker head strap. This is for a snug yet comfortable fit.
Another thing to consider is bulk. Side sleepers like you experience more pressure on the ears and temples. A sleep mask with bulky speakers isn’t going to do you any favors when it comes to comfort. Choose a sleep mask with thin speakers.
Now on to the eye cups. If your sleep mask has them, make sure that the eye cups flatten on the sides of your head.
Pick an adjustable one for a personal fit.
There is no such thing as a good-for-all when it comes to head size and eye positioning. So, make sure to choose one that’s infinitely adjustable.
If your sleep mask comes with eye cups, it would be ideal for them to be fully adjustable, too. That way you get a custom fit. Plus, it’s more likely your mask will stay on instead of getting swallowed by your sheets.
Look for one with decent sound quality and battery life.
Expectations. Expectations. Manage them when it comes to side sleeping. Because the thicker the speaker, the more uncomfortable you’ll sleep.
You might not have the aural experience you’ll get from premium over-ear headphones. But that doesn't mean you should settle for something that sounds tinny or has a limited volume range. Good things come in small packages, too.
When it comes to gadgets, good battery life is one of the top considerations. And it should be yours.
Choose one that you can wash.
That you can’t wash a sleep mask with headphones is a frustration shared by many users. Water could damage the electronics.
Now here’s the thing. Just like anything you wear next to your skin, a sleep mask needs washing every now and then. It’s just not hygienic (or even safe) since you wear it over your eyes.
You may have slim pickings, but thebest sleep mask with headphones for side sleepers is washable. As you’ll see below.
The Best Sleep Mask with Headphones for Side Sleepers
We offer the best sleep mask with headphones for side sleepers. It’s the most comfortable one to boot, too. (No holds barred, here.)
We put a lot of time and research into designing Manta Sleep Mask SOUND. We engineered it to deliver and not cancel sound. And you can expect complete darkness, good sound quality and ultimate side-sleeping comfort. (That said, it’s also comfortable for the other sleep positions, too.)
This sleep mask with headphones is 100% blackout. Listen without distractions and sleep without glare.
Position the detachable C-shaped eye cups anywhere within the mask’s interior. Their convex shape puts zero pressure on your eyes and lashes.
The eye cups flatten near the temples for side sleeping comfort. Each one has a smart air bubble, which expands when you switch sides. No light leakage here!
The mask has an infinitely adjustable head strap. It secures around your head with a micro hook and loop closure. Use the over-head strap for extra support.
It’s extra durable with its 2-layer construction. And also breathable because it's made with cooling perforated foam.
The mask is fitted with razor-thin speakers for side sleep comfort. Pull on the convenient tabs to adjust the speakers to your preferred position.
It has zero audible notifications so your sleep and sound sesh stay uninterrupted.
The volume controls are on the front of the head strap for no-brainer adjusting. The mask comes with a USB cable for easy charging and has over 20 hours of battery life.
All you gotta do is pair it with your Bluetooth-compatible device and you’re good to go.
The inner layer of the head strap is detachable and machine washable. It comes with a storage/laundry case for quick and easy cleaning. The eye cups are detachable, too.
Sleep Mask with Headphones Reviews
Now that you know its features, here’s feedback from Manta Sleep Mask SOUND users.
"Got my mask yesterday and used it last night for the first time (I’ve been using Manta Sleep masks since it was on Kickstarter). The battery life is good as I was able to listen to ambient noise for my full night of sleep. Sound is good. The only issue I experienced was that the mask either slid up off my ears or down under my ears. I’m going to use the included head strap to see if that helps. Overall, I think it’s great and better than using a sound machine. 💤🎵 I forgot to mention. I used a thunderstorm ambient noise last night and at one point I forgot I was wearing the sound mask and really thought it was raining. Even had a pretty vivid dream about a storm haha. My Whoop sleep data said I was in deep sleep for the majority of my sleep last night so I think in a lot of ways, it improved my sleep. It was better than I expected! I thought the speaks would be uncomfortable and would have, at best, mediocre sound quality. But you can't tell, by feel, that they're there, even when side-sleeping! And the sound is very-much on par with my Bluetooth over-the-ear headphones!"
— Nicky A.
"So I have just received my set of Manta Sleep Mask Sound... I have used manta sleep masks since they first started on kickstarted, and have always loved their products. When they mentioned that they were releasing the SOUND a while ago, I was excited but also concerned. I am a complete audiophile, have spent thousands on speakers and good headphones in the past, and I always go to sleep listening to music or rain noise. I expected that the frequency response on the sleep mask would be unbelievably "tinny" due to how thin the speakers are... however… I am absolutely astounded by how they sound! They are brilliant for the size and this is a total game changer for me when I travel around and have to calm my mind to sleep when others are in the room/I am not able to bring speakers with me. I cannot recommend highly enough, comfy, block out all light, well made, and sound great!"
— Rowan W.
"Manta sleep masks are wonderful, I own a handful of types. I just got my sound earlier in the week. I’ve tried every sleep band headphone I’ve seen. I finally settled on AirPod pros 2 years ago. I'd sleep with one in my ear for my (top) ear and a earplug in the other to drown out my husbands snoring…and my sleep mask. The other headband ones I’ve tried have very hard speakers on the side, so they’d end up pressing in my ear and it hurt. This manta sound has little (like dime size) speakers wrapped in square padding (but still super thin) and I seriously can’t feel them. And being able to move the speakers easily is a huge plus. Now they don’t block out the snoring like the noise canceling AirPod but I can have surround sound which will drown out most of the snoring. TLDR: Speakers are dime sized wrapped in foam, tiny but powerful and they don’t stab your ears like other sleep Bluetooth headbands. The light blocking is great as with all other mantas."
— Julia W.
"So, I am an average person, who can't have any light when I sleep, the Manta Sleep mask is lightweight, and blocks out ALL light, THEN they added the sound, oh my! When my neighbors are throwing a party or the hurricanes are making too much noise, I just turn on my Bluetooth music (sleep sou ds) and drift off. Well worth the money! Fully adjustable, easy for side sleepers, you can launder the headband, adjust the eye cups, etc. If you can't sleep without complete darkness and "white noise", these are WORTH every DAMN DIME"
— Jody N.
"Last night I used it with my Calm App (and my CPAP) and everything worked great! I love it so far. I was already accustomed to the Manta so adding sound was a really nice improvement because I had struggled with earphones slipping out during my early sleep. Happy Camper Here. Thanks for the extra help."
— Melanie B.
"Just got mine in mail yesterday. You can actually adjust the location of the speakers and the size of mask is adjustable since it’s used Velcro straps to fit your head. I love it! The manta eye mask has been my go to eye mask for years. The sound mask is a game changer as an overnight worker I’ve looked for an eye mask and music/background sound combo that works for a long time."
Want a better sleep and sound experience? You can’t go wrong with the best sleep mask with headphones for side sleepers like you. Why not give our version a go? Let us know how it works out by dropping a comment below.
(1) “What Is 50 Decibels Compared To Other dB." Decibel Meter Pro, decibelpro.app/blog/what-is-50-decibels/. Accessed 21 December 2022.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website or provided through our blog, e-mails, or programs is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your healthcare professionals.