Anyone who has perused direct-to-consumer mattress options online understands just how many are out there, differentiating themselves through firmness, foam, coil or cushion. And, undeniably, many of them really are quite extraordinary and well-priced. But Eight Sleep—thanks to their Pod Pro smart mattress—sets itself apart in an almost unfathomable way. It’s a five-layer premium foam mattress that’s 12 inches deep, with an integrated contouring foam topper. It also features a skin that encloses a thin layer of water (moderated by an included technology tower) so that sleepers can regulate the temperature on their side, heating it up or cooling it down as per their desire. This surface tracks sleep (from twists and turns to heart rate) and reports it to a dedicated app and provides a vibration technology, affixed to a timer, that gently wakes you in the morning. It’s a suite of functionality that reimagines what a mattress can do for an individual.
Supporting sleep is the Pod Pro priority, but health and fitness are the means by which it does so. “We want to compress your sleep and save your life,” Matteo Franceschetti, co-founder and CEO of Eight Sleep, tells us about his grand ambition for the company. “Compress your sleep means, what if you could sleep only six hours and get more rest than when you were sleeping eight? It’s about efficient sleep. Ultimately, we want you to gain two hours back every day.”
“Saving your life means, what if going to bed was more valuable than going to your doctor? What if we could scan your body while you are asleep to detect what’s going on inside? Even if you are only spending six hours in bed, you’re still doing it every night. We can maximize this time. We are working on technologies to achieve this. We are improving people’s sleep. We are already reaching almost medical-grade accuracy in a bunch of different dimensions. We are within one heartbeat per minute compared to a medical-grade EKG.”
If sleep itself is the tip of the iceberg, the technology they’re developing is what lies beneath. It’s been a process of discovery, as well, beginning with the Pod Pro mattress cover. “We launched with the cover, which was essentially a non-wearable sleep-tracker. No one wants to wear a device when they sleep, but without data you cannot personalized something,” he says. “When we started fine-tuning that part of the technology, we knew what was coming after: sleep enhancement. There’s plenty of medical evidence that to improve sleep you need to optimize temperature and needs vary between people, so then we built the Pod Pro mattress.”
The hardware was only a step toward understanding sleepers—and this summer Eight Sleep launched the SleepOS software, which reads your biometrics and puts temperature control into autopilot mode. As with the manual control and the vibration wake-up technology, SleepOS can be viewed through and modified from the easy-to-use dedicated app.
Sleep is fitness. When you go to bed you are putting in the time to be healthy. You are investing in your longevity, your lifespan and your happiness the next day
It’s important to mention that this isn’t a waterbed. In fact, it’s nothing like one. Water enters the epidermis through the sleek technology tower (designed by the firm behind Nest), which is attached via cable. It needs to be filled once a quarter. “Water is one of the elements with the best thermal properties,” Franceschetti says. “There’s nothing like water. The challenges were being able to circulate the water with as little noise as possible and leveraging the maximum thermal transfer. There’s an engine in the hub. That is the key to being able to heat and cool very fast.” It’s silent, except when recalibrating before bedtime.
“Everything started with me wondering why I had to sleep eight hours,” Franceschetti adds. “So, I looked into it. There is no real reason. It’s the time that it takes for your body to reach a certain level of recovery.” By supporting sleep through science and technology, he believes he’s on the path to shortening sleep requirements.
That said, Franceschetti is a big supporter of sleep. “Our concept of sleep is different from anyone else,” he says. “A lot of people used to say ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead.’ But sleep is core to your health. Sleep is fitness. When you go to bed you are putting in the time to be healthy. You are investing in your longevity, your lifespan and your happiness the next day.” All of us who have had a good night’s sleep can agree.
Images courtesy of Eight Sleep