I Tried the Peloton of Mattresses — Here’s What I Thought

published Aug 30, 2021
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As someone who has seen the Disney Channel original movie “Smart House” one too many times, I’m generally pretty wary of too much tech in my space. (If you haven’t seen it, please know the LeVar Burton-directed film takes the premise of a “smart house” to its furthest logical conclusion, which is to say, the Singularity.) I keep my printer and lightbulbs off the WiFi, I don’t have any voice-activated assistants, and I open my door with an old-fashioned key rather than a battery-operated pad. While there are plenty of cases to be made for the ways in which certain tech can make living more accessible and less stressful for those who need it, I generally ascribe to a philosophy of, “If the low-tech version works, why reinvent the wheel?”

That is, until I was given the opportunity to test out the Pod Pro mattress from Eight Sleep. (Full disclosure: Eight Sleep sent me a queen-sized mattress, which retails for $3,095, but you can snag it during the brand’s Labor Day Sale for $150 off.)

And, OK, to call it just a mattress is grossly oversimplifying the concept. It’s an entire sleep system, comprised of a foam mattress, a high-tech topper with various sensors and modalities, and a modem of sorts that you stash near your bed. So, it’s basically a mattress with a computer attached to it — and it provides outputs that are broadcast to an app on your phone. (Yes, my mattress has my WiFi password. No, I’m still not over it.)

The Pod Pro‘s arrival was deceptively quotidian: Because the mattress is made of foam, it was shipped to me rolled up much like many other DTC-favorite foam mattresses. Setup is just as easy, and requires hoisting the mattress out of its box, cutting open the packaging, and allowing the mattress to inflate on the bed frame that will be its new home. It’s a pretty firm mattress, too, with just enough give so that a hardcore side sleeper like me doesn’t have to worry too much about dislocating a shoulder mid-snooze.

But it’s the topper that turns this top-of-the-line mattress into one that’s truly high tech. You connect it to the mattress with a zipper so it doesn’t move overnight, and to the modem by a giant tube that connects at the head of your bed. (My one pain point here is that the tube makes using a bedbug protector pretty tough, as mine now does not zip all the way shut.) It includes sensors that cool and heat the surface of your mattress at key points overnight, and which you can customize through the app based on your sleeping preferences. As someone who sleeps hot, for example, I programmed my mattress to its coolest setting around my bedtime. You can get really granular with it if you share your bed with someone else; simply program each side of the bed to your corresponding space.

The topper also features an alarm clock mode that gently shakes you awake, a sensation that took me a few days to get used to — but is honestly the most effective alarm I’ve ever encountered. (My hungry cats are a close second.) You turn the alarm off through the app on your phone, and there have been some mornings when my WiFi signal didn’t effectively broker the communicate between my mattress and my phone. As a result, I unplugged my mattress from its modem and reconnected it to the WiFi in order to reboot the alarm.

All of these modes compile in the app, and give you a detailed readout of your sleeping habits. I can see everything from when I first tucked myself in for sleep, the time it took me to finally fall asleep, if and when I woke up in the middle of the night, and how many times I tossed and turned. It also monitors your heart rate, REM cycle, and how many hours you’ve slept. If you’re aiming to hit seven to eight hours a night, you can track the information accordingly.

I don’t yet know what I’ll do with all of this information, or even if this bed changes my thoughts on welcoming high-tech versions of low-tech things into my home. But when the robot overlords come for us all, at least I can tell them that I’m getting a great night’s sleep — and have the stats to show for it.

Buy: The Pod Pro Mattress, Queen Size, $2,945 (normally $3,095)