For some of us, the only way to get your brain to slow down enough to get some sleep is to let the thousands of ASMR Youtubers serenade you into dreamland. For others, it is by listening to the calming sounds of rain in the Amazon rainforest. If that is not the case for you, maybe you simply want to stay up binge-watching the newest season of your favourite show.
Either way, all of these options put you at risk of falling asleep with your AirPods in. Once your eyelids have started to droop, it is almost inevitable. So the question you are asking yourself now is ‘How bad would it be if I slept with my AirPods in?’ and we have the answer.
What happens when you sleep with something in your ears?
Putting any foreign object in your body regularly will have side effects. Unwelcome bacteria can lead to an ear infection. In this case, putting anything in your ears overnight could lead to the earwax in your ears being pushed further back into your ear canal. This can cause earwax buildup. When in excess, earwax usually exits the ear canal and is naturally washed away. But earwax buildup is a blockage which can result in:
- Temporary hearing loss
However, sometimes using Airpods while sleeping is essential to elevating your quality of sleep. As they allow you to block out noise in a loud environment or to calm yourself down. Here are a few points that will help you to decide if the advantages of sleeping with your Airpods outweigh the disadvantages.
Were AirPods made for you to sleep wearing them?
Airpods are very durable. They can withstand drops from a height of about ten feet and a good amount of accidental mishandling. The AirPod pros are even sweat-resistant and water-resistant.
If you are sleeping with a pillow or any other soft, cushioning device to support your head. Your AirPods should be safe. In the worst-case scenario, if you are laying on your side your Airpods could be pushed against something which could damage them.
But a problem could arise if your AirPods fall out of your ears while you are sleeping. If they get stuck somewhere it could make them hard to locate once you wake up.
So there is no need for you to worry. As long as you are careful about staying away from any small crevices and you ensure that your Airpods are not pushed up against something hard/rough that could damage them.
Can you sleep with Airpods in?
Pros of sleeping with your Airpods in:
- Adjustable noise cancellation controls. Airpods can be a substitute for earplugs. The AirPod Pro and AirPod Max version have three noise control modes which you can switch between depending on how much of your surroundings you want to let in. This could help if you live on a noisy street or have to share a room with a partner who snores.
- They can handle it. As we mentioned above, AirPods are very durable and are likely to not get damaged during your sleep.
- Relaxation. If you suffer from insomnia or restlessness, wearing AirPods to sleep could help you relax by playing calming sounds or songs to help your mind block out distractions.
Cons of sleeping with your Airpods in:
- Sudden noises could wake you up. Any unexpected or drastic changes in sound could pull you out of REM or wake you up. This could be detrimental to your sleep. So using AirPods to play music, sounds or white noise is a double-edged sword.
- Complete isolation. This may be what you are aiming for. However, if you are not in a safe environment or if you live alone this could put you in danger. Being able to hear what is going on in your surroundings in some situations could be the difference between life and death.
- Comfortability. This could be avoided by sleeping on your front or back in order to avoid putting pressure on your ears. If you sleep on your sides, having your AirPods in could result in some pain. This would make wearing them redundant as it would decrease your quality of sleep.
- Health risks. Regular usage can lead to increased build-up of ear wax or ear infections. Which could impair your hearing.
Maximizing safety while sleeping with your AirPods in
Here are some steps you can take to ensure that you have a positive experience if you decide to sleep with your AirPods in your ears:
- Only use them when you are going to sleep at night. It could be bad for you if you force your brain into sleeping whenever you take naps or are resting with your Airpods in. This could mess with your natural sleeping patterns. So to avoid destroying your internal sleep cycle, reserve the use of AirPods as a sleeping aid for deep sleep only.
- Get a softer pillow. This will prevent your AirPods from being pushed too deep into your ear canal when you sleep on your sides.
- Use them at low volume. This could be beneficial in maintaining your spatial awareness. Loud volumes for an extended period of time could damage your hearing overall. So keeping the volume low protects you and your ears.
Here is an article that explains how to sleep with headphones in:
Top five alternatives?
If you have decided that sleeping with AirPods is not the route for you, then here are some alternatives that could fit your sleep routine better.
- Sleep headphones
- Bose sleepbuds
- White noise machines.
There are also other options which do not involve noise aids. Such as aromatherapy. Yoga. mediation, breathing exercises, essential oils and in some cases sleeping pills. For some of these, you would need to consult your general practitioner in order to get the best possible diagnosis.
Sleeping with your Airpods in is beneficial in many ways. From noise-cancelling to relaxation, for most people, it will definitely make your sleeping experience better. However, there are pros and cons to everything. So as long as you are aware of the short and long-term effects of sleeping with your AirPods in, then give it a try and see whether your reinvigorated future self will be thanking you for it.