this thing's incredible

I Haven’t Slept a Night Without My Headphone Headband in Three Months

Photo: Chelsey Pippin Mizzi

I’ve always been a restless sleeper, unable to settle without background noise. Unfortunately, having my bedtime stories playing on speaker can cause problems: My partner prefers the quiet. Plus, I travel often and share rooms with friends, so my much-needed background noise can be bothersome to others. Earlier this year, after sharing a studio flat with a friend on a trip abroad and getting only a couple of fitful hours of sleep each night, I decided I had to find a solution that would allow me to sleep without forcing my friends or partner to listen to Rosamund Pike read Pride and Prejudice for the 22nd time (though it would be their loss). I first saw the headband several years ago when it came up in an exhaustive Amazon search for total blackout sleeping masks. At the time, its goofiness was too much of a turnoff, but the headband stayed in the back of my mind until I caved and ordered it earlier this year. Now, I haven’t slept a night without one in the past three months.

It’s a simple concept: The headband has a small, flat speaker installed in a little pocket on each side, and you can manipulate the placement of the speakers with your fingers so they fit just so against your ears. I sleep in the headband all night, and it stays put until morning, even when I toss and turn. It’s genuinely comfortable to wear: The soft, stretchy material hasn’t irritated my sensitive skin at all, which is never a given for me. The flat speakers inside mean that nothing is jamming against my ear or poking me in the night. The little pockets where the speakers are sewn in are pretty snug, so the speakers don’t slip around inside — I’ve only had to adjust them a couple of times in the past few months.

As regards to the sound quality, for the purpose of sleeping, it’s great. The audio comes through clear — no tinny static or flattened sound, and the range of volume is decent. The battery life is also pretty good — I can use it for two or three full nights between charges, and it powers back up fast — it’s usually close to full again within two hours of charging. However, I will say that if you’re looking for noise-canceling headphones, these aren’t it. I recently took a long-haul flight and definitely wished I’d packed something a little more heavy-duty than this headband to dull the engine noise and plane chatter (but I still used them every night of the trip while sharing a room with my sister, so no regrets).

I suppose I should address the fact that I look kind of goofy wearing it. The control panel on top is a bit cumbersome and blocky (despite not including a pause button), and the whole thing is a little wider than a typical headband. But while I wouldn’t make it a staple accessory while out and about, wearing it on a dog walk, to the gym, or at the airport doesn’t bother me at all. And now that I own it, the headband follows me around. My mom was recently gifted one by a friend who has her own, to help her sleep on an upcoming cruise where she’s sharing a room. Here’s hoping it helps her sleep as soundly as I do.

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I Can’t Sleep Without My Headphone Headband