Buying Guide – How to Shop for a Smart Mattress
‘Smart mattress’ is a loose term referring to any mattress model with sensor technology designed to monitor the sleep patterns and routines of its owner(s). Today’s smart mattresses can track how long a person sleeps and the duration of their REM cycles, as well as physiological factors like body temperature, heart rate, and breathing.
Other functions of a smart mattress may include alarms, adjustable climate control with warming and cooling functions, and internet connectivity. Additionally, some smart airbeds enable owners to adjust the firmness settings of their sleep surface using remote controls.
In today’s market, many smart mattresses utilize app technology that allows owners to adjust controls using their phone, tablet, or other compatible devices. Smart mattresses are somewhat rare, and tend to be much more expensive than the average mattress model. Although some smart mattresses have below-average price-points, the majority cost at least $1,800 in the standard Queen size – and some are twice to three times as expensive.
What Can Smart Mattresses Do?
Smart mattresses offer some – if not all – of the following functions:
Sleep Tracking: Smart mattresses feature sensors that connect to hubs via wireless technology or electrical outlets; they do not require sleepers to attach equipment to their bodies. Using sensors placed throughout the cover, smart mattresses are designed to monitor the following data points:
- The time you physically get into bed
- The time you fall asleep
- The amount of time required to fall asleep (i.e., 15 minutes after getting into bed)
- The time you wake up
- The time you physically get out of bed
- The ratio of deep sleep to light sleep you experience during the night. For example, the monitor might read ‘45% deep sleep/55% light sleep’
- Number of sleep breaks of interruptions when you are awake for a significant amount of time after initially falling asleep
- Your sleep position(s) during the night
- The number of times you toss and turn throughout the night
Body and Environmental Monitoring:Using the same sensors for sleep tracking, smart mattresses can monitor these factors:
- Heart rate
- Breathing cycle
- Body temperature
- Temperature of the bed surface
- Room temperature
- The amount of light in the bedroom
Sleep Scoring: Taking these body and environmental factors into account, many smart mattresses generate ‘sleep scores’ for users based on the quality and duration of their sleep. Some programs feature functions that allow sleepers to set goals based on their previous sleep scores, as well.
Mattress Adjustment: More advanced smart models – including airbeds – allow sleepers to customize certain mattress settings, such as:
- Firmness: Adjustable controls in smart airbeds allow sleepers to increase or decrease the amount of air in each individual chamber, resulting in surfaces that are less or more firm than before.
- Climate Control: Customizable cooling and warming controls are often included, and in some cases allow owners to set different temperatures for each side of the bed to accommodate sleep partners with different preferences. In some cases, up to 30 minutes may be needed for temperature changes to take effect.
- Bed Position: The smart technology may connect to the bed base, allowing owners to adjust the head, foot, and midsections of the bed. Elevating the head of the bed while keeping the rest of the surface flat can be beneficial for those who snore. Elevating the legs and/or midsection can also aid people with lower back pain or leg cramps.
- Environmental Settings: A common term associated with smart technology is the Internet of Things, or IoT. This refers to systems that link various appliances throughout the house – such as lighting fixtures, thermostats, coffee makers, and televisions – using Wi-Fi connections. Some smart mattresses offer IoT connectivity, and may also be programmed to intelligent personal assistance programs like the Alexa from Amazon Echo. This allows owners to adjust various settings in their bedroom, such as lighting and temperature, and also adjust mattress qualities like firmness and bed temperature using intelligent personal assistance programs.
Other Functions: In addition to those listed above, smart mattress technology often features the following applications:
- Alarms with customizable ringtones.
- Playable music, as well as white noise.
- Guided meditation programs designed to help you sleep better.
- Connectivity to fitness trackers and other devices that monitor daily activities. Some smart mattress apps include energy input tracking for activities that affect sleep, such as exercising or consuming caffeinated beverages.
Which Smart Mattress Model Is Right for You?
Now that we have discussed smart mattress functionality and some common features of these products, let’s look at smart mattress models from three leading brands and how they compare with one another.
Eight Sleep offers smart all-foam mattresses. The company’s current selection includes the following two models:
The Smart Bed (formerly known as the Jupiter) is made with a memory foam comfort layer, a polyfoam transitional layer, and a high-density polyfoam support core. The Smart Bed’s cover is equipped with sensors that coordinate the smart technology. Using a compatible wireless app, owners can use the sensors to track several sleep metrics, such as REM/deep sleep cycles, heart rate, and respiratory rate.
The cover also offers heating for both sides of the bed and has a smart alarm that wakes sleepers up during periods of light sleep, resulting in more alertness. The Smart Bed measures 10″ thick; in terms of firmness it is considered ‘Medium Firm,’ or 6.5 on the 1-10 scale.
The Pod, Eight Sleep’s newest mattress, uses similar smart technology as the Smart Bed. The Pod is built with polyfoam and memory foam comfort layers, a polyfoam transitional layer, and a high-density polyfoam support core.
The Active Grid layer (positioned above the comfort system) is connected to the Hub, which is located next to the mattress base and controls different settings. Owners can program the temperatures for each side of the bed; the estimated range is 55° to 115° Fahrenheit (12° to 46° Celsius). Sleepers can also track sleep data with the Eight Sleep app using the Active Grid’s built-in sensors. The Pod is considered ‘Medium’ (5.5) in terms of firmness.
The table below breaks down each Smart Collection mattress in terms of height, firmness, layer components, and other specifications.