Best Earplugs for Sleeping
Best Earplugs for Sleeping: Block Out Snoring and Other Night Noises
Whether it’s a noisy neighbour blasting their music, a partner snoring loudly, or the sound of sirens blaring past your window, noise can be a major factor in not being able to fall, or stay, asleep. And without a good night’s rest we can end up in a poor mood, unable to concentrate, and at higher risk for a number of health problems. But there’s a simple and effective solution to help block out snoring and other noises keeping you up at night – earplugs.
Choosing the best earplugs for sleep may seem overwhelming at first, as earplugs vary widely in quality and come in a variety of different materials, including wax, foam and silicone. Earplugs don’t all fit the same purpose either. For example, the best earplugs for flying aren’t necessarily the same as the best earplugs for going to a concert, or the best earplugs to block out snoring.
To help you find the best earplugs for sleeping we’ll look at the benefits of using earplugs for sleep, things to consider when buying a pair of earplugs, and finally, the different types of material used to make earplugs, including the pros and cons of each.
Benefits of Using Earplugs for Sleep
Science has linked sleep deprivation to a number of short- and long-term health problems. The research shows that poor quality sleep may increase your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, heart attack and depression.
Lack of sleep also affects your memory and concentration. It leaves your brain exhausted and less able to concentrate or solve problems. Not getting enough sleep can also weaken your immune system and lead to weight gain. Sleep loss can even put you at greater risk for accidents. According to the Sleep Foundation, getting too little sleep can be as dangerous to driving and drinking alcohol.
But earplugs can help. In a study simulating the light and noise of an ICU, researchers found that using earplugs and sleep masks improved sleep quality significantly. They found participants wearing earplugs and a sleep mask showed an increase in the amount of time spent in REM sleep (the most restorative part of our sleep cycle); fewer awakenings; and elevated levels of melatonin, the hormone involved in helping us sleep.
Things to Consider When Buying Earplugs for Sleeping
There are several things you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing the best earplugs for sleep.
Comfort Level of the Earplugs
You’re going to be wearing your earplugs for 8 hours at a time, so they need to be extremely comfortable. They could end up making it even more difficult for you to sleep if they are irritating in any way. Make sure they are comfortable when you are lying on your side. Ideally, they should be comfortable enough that you don’t even notice you’re wearing them.
Earplug Noise Reduction Effectiveness
One of the most important aspects you’ll want to consider is how well your sleeping earplugs block out noise. While you may not be able to block out snoring completely, earplugs can help significantly reduce the decibel levels to an intensity that doesn’t interrupt your sleep. You also want to make sure they don’t block out important noises like your alarm.
Some earplugs can only be worn once and then need to be discarded. Others are reusable. For reusable earplugs you’ll need to consider how well they’ll hold up to being re-moulded to fit your ear each night. The best reusable earplugs also need to be able to stand up to being cleaned frequently.
Ease of Use
How easy are they to put in and take out? You should never feel any pain or discomfort when inserting or removing earplugs. Also, if you find them difficult to use they’re likely to end up in the rubbish bin instead of your ears.
Earplugs can vary widely in price, from a few pence per pair up to hundreds of pounds for custom-molded versions.
Types of Earplugs for Sleep
The main types of earplugs for sleep are foam, wax, silicone and premolded. Let’s take a look at their history and the pros and cons of each type.
Inventor Ross Gardner first created foam earplugs in 1972 after being inspired by the foam padding in headphones. Foam earplugs are made from either polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane foam and are generally very easy to use. You simply roll the earplug between your thumb and index finger to form a thin cylinder, then insert into your ear canal, using your finger to hold the earplug in place until it fully expands.
Advantages of Foam Earplugs for Sleep
In addition to being easy to use, foam earplugs are generally very effective at blocking out noise since they expand to fit the ear, so they are generally fairly good earplugs for snoring. The best foam earplugs are usually soft and quite comfortable to wear throughout the night.
Disadvantages of Foam Earplugs for Sleep
Foam earplugs aren’t very durable. They normally need to be thrown out after only a couple of uses, so they aren’t very environmentally friendly. They can also cause an uncomfortable feeling of pressure in the ear canal. They can be difficult to insert and stay in for women and others with smaller ear canals.
The use of wax earplugs goes all the way back to ancient Greece where they are first mentioned in The Odyssey. In this epic tale Odysseus is advised to make earplugs out of beeswax so he can block out the songs of the sirens and avoid being lured to his death.
Wax earplugs are made of paraffin and wax mixed together then covered with cotton. These mold-able earplugs are placed over the opening to the ear instead of being pushed inside the ear canal. Hard at first, you have to knead the wax with your fingers to soften it before placing it in your ear.
Advantages of Wax Earplugs for Sleep
Wax earplugs are generally comfortable to wear and don’t cause pressure inside the ear as some foam earplugs do. The ingredients in wax earplugs are hypoallergenic and soft on the skin, so can be worn by most people. The best wax earplugs are easy to insert and remove.
Disadvantages of Wax Earplugs for Sleep
Wax earplugs tend to block out less noise than foam earplugs. They can also be a bit awkward to put in and many people don’t like the sticky residue left on their fingers from kneading them. Wax earplugs can also leave a greasy spot on your pillow.
Developed by Ray and Cecilia Benner, moldable silicone earplugs first hit the market in 1962. Silicone earplugs are similar to wax earplugs in that you mold them to fit your ear. But unlike wax earplugs they bounce back in a similar way to foam earplugs, fitting inside the ear more tightly and blocking noise more effectively. Silicone earplugs are often the best earplugs for sleeping with a snorer due to their comfort and effectiveness.
Advantages of Silicone Earplugs for Sleep
Silicone earplugs are reusable and last much longer than wax or foam earplugs. They are comfortable to wear through the night for most people and don’t have the greasy quality of wax earplugs. The best silicone earplugs can be used for a variety of purposes, such as SleepDreamz Premium Silicone Earplugs.
Since they are discreet and form a tight seal within your ear, they can be used sleeping, snoring, swimming, travelling, concerts, shooting, studying, DIY and more.
Disadvantages of Silicone Earplugs for Sleep
Silicone earplugs are more expensive than foam earplugs. Some people find them a bit difficult to get used to when they first try them.
Pre-molded earplugs are usually made of silicone rubber or PVC foam. They are called pre-molded because unlike foam earplugs they don’t have to be molded before putting them in your ear.
Pre-molded earplugs can be difficult to wear for some people, as the plugs are quite dense and don’t always fit the ear canal properly. They generally aren’t as comfortable to wear for long periods of time, so usually aren’t the best earplugs for sleeping.
Advantages of Pre-Molded Earplugs for Sleep
Pre-molded earplugs are more durable than foam. They can be used multiple times as long as they are washed and cared for properly.
Disadvantages of Pre-Molded Earplugs for Sleep
Pre-molded earplugs aren’t usually as comfortable as foam, wax or silicone earplugs since they don’t mold to fit your ear. This also makes it harder to find a pair that fit tightly enough to block sound effectively.
Best Earplugs for Sleeping Wrap-Up
Earplugs can be an inexpensive way to address a major problem. You may not know how to stop snoring, but you can sleep soundly with the right earplugs, even if your partner snores or you need to block out other external noise.
Remember to look at comfort, noise reduction, durability, ease of use and value when deciding on the best earplugs for you. Have a look at the store to see if any of their earplugs suit you.