It might sound like a silly idea to wear AirPods while sleeping, but is it actually dangerous? We’ve all heard of the dangers of wearing earbuds at night, so what about AirPods?
There are two chief places where AirPods or other similar wireless headphones could pose problems. The first is if they fall out of your ears and get stuck somewhere in the bedding. If this happens while you’re sleeping, it might be difficult to find them.
The second is when you are sleeping on your side or stomach with the headphones in, especially if they have a microphone. If one of these gets pushed against your pillow just right, it might push into something that could damage it enough to stop working completely.
Don’t worry about accidentally breaking or damaging them too much, they are very durable.
As long as you’re aware of this possibility and take steps to make sure that your earbuds don’t get stuck somewhere in the bedding, then you will be fine.
We’ve heard that our brain still picks up things like conversations at night. For example, many people use this to improve their knowledge of foreign languages. They let on lessons or dialogues during sleep. But people who study the science of sleep know that it goes deeper than just hearing words.
Your brain might pick up more while you’re sleeping than when you are awake. This means that if someone was talking about something peculiar in your earbuds at night, then this information could be registered in your brain.
In this article, we are going to analyze all aspects of sleeping with AirPods on. We will also see if they offer real benefits.
Should You Sleep with AirPods on?
This is a hard question to answer. Many people do without issue. There are pros and cons to this activity. It depends on your lifestyle, how comfortable you feel with AirPods on, and how you use them.
You’ll see that there are way more disadvantages than advantages. But most of the disadvantages have simple workarounds that will let you enjoy sleeping with AirPods on.
Pros of Sleeping with AirPods
AirPods are a tool, and like all tools, it’s all about how you use them. It shouldn’t appear a surprise that people sleep with them on. There are real benefits to it. Here they are:
- Noise isolation. You can use AirPods as earplugs to block out outside noise. If you live on a busy street, or nightlife is very active around you, AirPods could solve the issue. A snoring sleep partner is another potential reason you’d want to block out external noise.
- Relaxation. You can play relaxing music and fall asleep to the sweet tunes. Some people find that white noise is especially useful for them. White noise is the noise you hear when your TV loses its signal. It’s a combination of all sound frequencies. It’s also used to help babies fall asleep faster.
- They can boost your brain. You can listen to podcasts and audiobooks as you fall asleep. These media will improve your cognitive abilities. You can pick up extra words, learn new concepts, and form new neural pathways in your brain. Many people use this system to improve their foreign languages knowledge.
- They are very durable. Even if they fall off your bed or you end up over them during sleep, they won’t break.
Sleeping with AirPods on could be a good idea if you’re always on the go. You won’t know when your next opportunity to sleep will come, and they don’t take up too much space in your bag. If you are an international traveler or work odd hours, this might be especially useful for you.
Cons of Sleeping with AirPods
Unfortunately, the cons outweigh the pros. Our ears aren’t made to be blocked like that for a prolonged time. Plus, there are actual health risks associated with sleeping with AirPods (or any kind of in-ear headphone) on.
- They can disrupt sleep. The music or audiobook we talked about could also wake you up. Our brain never really sleeps, so if it hears something dramatic or unexpected, it might wake you up in the middle of the night. If you wake up at night feeling groggy after sleeping with AirPods on, they are probably the cause.
- AirPods block out external noise. This is a blessing for most people, but it’s also dangerous. Suppose they stop you from hearing your morning alarm, costing you your job. Or worse, they won’t make you hear the fire alarm. Or maybe someone visits you, but you don’t hear them knocking at your door. These could all be avoided by keeping AirPods off during the night.
- They mess with the ears’ natural cleaning patterns. Wax builds up in our ears and then is released during the night. But if you keep AirPods on, it’ll build up and get stuck there. This is easily avoided/solved by cleaning your ears every morning.
- Hygiene’s not the best. If you feel a stuffed ear when you wake up, it’s possible you have gotten a bacterial infection. Clean your ears with a cotton swab drenched in alcohol. Don’t ignore the problem, as it could learn to long-term issues like hearing loss and ear pain.
- Pain. If you are a side sleeper, your position could cause the AirPods to push against the inside of your ear. In the best cases, you’ll have a poor night’s sleep because you felt uncomfortable. But sometimes, you could disrupt your ears’ blood flow.
- You can lose them in your bed. This isn’t really an issue, more of a slight inconvenience. If the AirPods fall off during the night, you might lose them. Recovering them in the morning is easy. Either you play loud music and follow the sound, or you use Apple’s pinging system. But it’s an extra annoyance in an already stressful life.
- There is a minuscule chance you could swallow them. Yeah. It happened. Since they have small pill batteries, you really don’t want to eat them. Luckily, you’d notice it immediately, and a visit to the hospital will fix everything with no long-term damage to your body. Still, something to consider.
- Battery life and usage. By keeping AirPods on at night, you are considerably shortening their lifespan. And since they’re expensive, it’s best to preserve them. The long usage will also drain the battery, so unless you have time to recharge your pods, they won’t have much autonomy left by morning.
You can sleep with AirPods on if you take precautions and listen to music that won’t wake you up. But otherwise don’t do it. It might seem like a good idea at first, but the cons outweigh the pros by far. If not sleeping is an issue for you, try other alternatives.
Best Practices to Sleep with AirPods On
If you decide to sleep with AirPods on, here are some tips to improve the experience.
- Keep the volume low. I know we said that music and audiobooks might help you fall asleep faster, but it’s possible to put the volume too high. If your ears ring when there is no noise around you, lower the volume level.
- Sleep on your back or stomach. While this makes it more likely for the AirPods to fall off, you’ll avoid them from pushing against your ear, which is uncomfortable.
- Get a softer pillow if you are a side sleeper. This will make it less likely for the AirPods to push against your ear.
- Wash your ears every morning. This is the best way to keep them healthy and clean, even if you sleep with AirPods on. Go for a deeper cleaning and disinfection once a week.
- Don’t use them when you take a nap. Naps are meant for resting our brains and bodies, but sleep differs from napping (though related). If we try to force ourselves into sleeping with AirPods on, it will mess up our natural processes that happen during sleep. So, keep them off during naps as well.
If you decide to take the risk and try sleeping with your AirPods on, be sure not to push yourself too far. Take it slow and force nothing if things seem uncomfortable or dangerous. Your health is important — but so are those pretty white earbuds.
The Science behind Learning while Sleeping
Have you ever heard of sleep learning? The technique entails listening to a recording while sleeping, hoping some information will be kept. It’s been widely used in Russia since the 1920s and is one way scientists have learned new languages overnight or memorize complex texts without forgetting it all after a few days.
AirPods are the easiest way to implement this into your life.
The science behind sleep learning is the process of memory consolidation. This means that our brains are trying to solidify what we’ve experienced in order for it to be remembered more efficiently and persistently. When you’re sleeping, your brain sorts through all memories gained throughout the day, choosing which one’s need reinforcement so they can stick better during waking hours.
Therefore, you might experience a vivid dream about something that happened during the day. Your brain is reinforcing what you’ve learned, so it can be recalled with ease in the future.
Sleeping while learning Russian or how to play piano may sound crazy — and some studies have shown that sleep doesn’t actually help much when trying to learn new concepts as compared to staying awake. However, what’s important to note is that the brain needs sleep in order for this process of memory consolidation to take place.
Scientists have also found out that playing music while studying can make it easier for students to remember information during an exam (in case you were wondering). This means that listening to some tunes before hitting the sack could be a good way to solidify facts and figures about your coursework.
It’s also been observed that people who sleep after learning something new remember it better compared to those who don’t. It could have something with the fact that sleeping allows us to go through this process of memory consolidation, which makes us more likely to remember certain facts over others.
Editor’s note: If you’re studying or learning something new, it’s best to do so during the day and wait before going to sleep until a few hours later. This way, your brain can process everything that was learned during waking hours and merge all memories for future reference while you snooze away at night.
Sleeping with AirPods on is fine if you take precautions. You can use this cool piece of technology to improve your quality of life. Sleep is a necessary component of our life, and it’s important to make it as comfortable as possible.
The main issues come from potential health risks associated with keeping our ears plugged during sleep. It’s unhygienic and can cause infections. That’s why it’s important to keep your ears clean if you sleep with AirPods on.
There are—also—many potential upsides to sleeping with AirPods on. So, try to sleep with them on. Do you find them comfortable? Did your sleep quality improve or drop?