Sleepphones Effortless review: ultra-comfy headphones for side sleepers

The Sleepphones Effortless have a soft headband that's comfy to wear, no matter how you like to sleep. Here's our review

Woman wearing Sleepphones Effortless headphones
(Image credit: SleepPhones)
T3 Verdict

The Sleepphones Effortless might look a bit daft away from your bedroom but they're some of the comfiest headphones you can buy. And their soft headband means they work just as well for side sleepers as they do back sleepers. It's effortless stuff till you encounter the charger.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Incredibly comfy

  • +

    Ideal for side sleepers

  • +

    Induction charging

  • +

    Machine-washable headband

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Only really any good in bed

  • -

    Charging isn't perfect

  • -

    Buttons awkward to use

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The Sleepphones Effortless are incredibly comfy. That's their main selling point. While some of today's best sleep headphones are focused on being headphones first and being comfy later, these aren't like that. Instead, they wrap around your head via the plush headband so they're warm but very comforting. With hypoallergenic materials, sensitive types won't have to worry there either. 

Because of their unusual design, it can be tricky to get to the buttons underneath the soft headband and there are no extra features like a battery-level indicator but for the most part, they do the job. While there's no official active noise cancellation, the fabric helps block some noise out and if you're sharing your bed, they shouldn't hear a thing unless you're listening on full volume. 

Overall, these are good headphones to pair up with your favorite podcasts or ambient sound app.

Sleepphones Effortless review: price and release date

Sleepphones Effortless are best bought via the Sleepphones website directly. Available for £117/$150, it's possible to pick up clearance models for less with barely any difference to the quality of the product. 

Third-party retailers such as Amazon also stock them so it's worth shopping around for the best price.

Sleepphones Effortless review: setup and use

The Sleepphones Effortless don't require an app or any form of complicated setup. Simply put them into pairing mode and you can pair it up with your smartphone just like any other Bluetooth gadget. That takes a matter of seconds, however charging them is a little more awkward. 

They charge via induction which initially seems like a great idea but you'll need to get things lined up a little more carefully than you might like. In theory, it's a matter of placing the headphones onto the pad and leaving it to do its thing but when you can't see the inner workings without taking apart the headband, the reality is harder. Still, you'll get used to it so it's not the end of the world and we've certainly come across other devices with slightly finicky chargers without it ruining everything.

Sleepphones Effortless laying on a bed

(Image credit: Jen Allen)

Sleepphones Effortless review: features

The Sleepphones Effortless keep things simple. They're headphones. They don't track your sleeping ability, they don't have a dedicated app with meditation or white noise, they're solely headphones. That's what keeps their price lower than a lot of the competition as you'll need to pair them up with music or white noise that you've sourced yourself. Of course, app stores are full of options including Calm, Headspace, and other non-subscription based services so this isn't an issue for many users. 

Instead, the Sleepphones Effortless's main features come from its comfort. It's well-designed. It has a Bluetooth unit on the back of the headband along with the ear cups of sorts that you place in the relevant places before donning the headband like some kind of sleep ninja. Because it's so comfortable, it's easy to wear as a side sleeper – something that many headphones make near impossible. 

Sleepphones Effortless laying on a bed

(Image credit: Jen Allen)

Bear in mind though, because you can't see the relevant components unless you take apart the headband, that means there's no battery-level indicator in sight and the buttons can be a little awkward to tap when you can't see them for yourself. There's a certain amount of rearranging each day but it's not a huge issue when they feel this comfy at the end. 

On the plus side, battery life is pretty good. Expect about 12 hours from a two hour charge. Of course, your mileage will vary particularly if you remember to set up your music, podcasts, or calming sounds to stop after a set length of time via your smartphone.

Sleepphones Effortless review: audio performance

You won't be wearing the Sleepphones Effortless outdoors. Sure, you could, but they'd look a bit silly and you'll much prefer using them solely in the bedroom where you want everything to be snuggly and comfy. They sound pretty good here too. While you shouldn't be counting on a bass-heavy performance (you're trying to sleep, after all!),the sounds you do listen to are pretty crisp and clear. It's ideally suited for listening to something relaxing before you hit the hay. 

Crucially, you can turn them up reasonably loudly without the sound leaking towards anyone you might be sharing a bed with. You won't have to worry about disturbing them unless you really crank things up and vice versa – only the loudest of snorers will get through. While the Sleepphones Effortless don't have active noise cancellation, the fabric headband does a lot to ensure this isn't really an issue.

Sleepphones Effortless review: comfort and fit

Comfort is the Sleepphones Effortless's greatest selling point. They really are a joy to wear although we're guessing hot weather and a furry headband won't really mix that well, but we mostly used them in cooler weather. AcousticSheep reckons it's a breathable fabric so that should help a fair bit with avoiding too much overheating in anything but the hottest of nights. 

Unlike something like the Kokoon Sleep Headphones, these work brilliantly whether you're a side or back sleeper, as each speaker is suitably padded and comfy. You'll know you're wearing it but it feels good nonetheless. 

Made using hypoallergenic material, we didn't notice any marks on our forehead afterwards either, and despite our sensitive skin, there weren't any itchy moments either despite extended sessions using them overnight. 

For the sensitive head and skin, you really can't go wrong with the Sleepphones Effortless.

Woman wearing Sleepphones Effortless headphones

(Image credit: SleepPhones)

Sleepphones Effortless review: verdict

The Sleepphones Effortless aren't the most feature-packed sleep headphones out there. Effectively, they're 'just' exceptionally comfy headphones but that's often all you need from sleep headphones. While they won't track your sleeping habits and they don't have their own app to connect to, such simplicity comes with the benefit of doing their job well. 

Incredibly comfortable to wear no matter how you sleep, paired up with some meditative music, they're soothing in all the right ways. A decent battery life makes up for the slightly awkward charging method, and they do a fantastic job of blocking out sound from surrounding areas, even if they don't boast active noise cancellation. 

Like the name suggests, effortless is the word you'll come back to with the Sleepphones Effortless. They simply just work and the little things like being able to toss the headband in the wash soon become very useful when you turn sleep headphones into a long-term habit. 

Sleepphones Effortless review: alternatives to consider

The best alternatives to the Sleepphones Effortless depend on what you're looking from with sleep headphones. 

If you want headphones that also offer extensive white noise options and meditative features, the Kokoon Sleep Headphones are an ideal option but they're also much more expensive. Plus, if you're a side sleeper, you may find them awkward to use. 

Alternatively, there are similar wraparound headphones to the Sleepphones Effortless, such as the CozyPhones Sleep Headphones. Cheap and cheerful, they don't feel as high-end as the Sleepphones Effortless and lack Bluetooth connectivity but they give you some insight into what to expect from headband based headphones.

A different direction could take you to the Lcdolida Sleep Eye Mask Wireless Headphones which are placed over your eyes as well as your ears. Offering protection from light leaks, they lack great sound quality but they're a good all-in-one solution for those on a budget.

Jennifer Allen

Jennifer Allen has been writing about tech for nearly a decade. Her specialisms include fitness wearables, Bluetooth speakers, and all things Apple.