When I first set out on making my home smart, a mattress was the last thing on my mind. Sure, I knew that there were smart light bulbs and automated thermostats that I could operate at the touch of my fingertips, but a mattress that could track my sleeping patterns, put me to sleep using a meditation track, and turn on my coffee machine when I woke up? Let me introduce you to Eight, which does all that, and, in fear of sounding like a total cliche, more.
“Eight uses movement, heart rate, and respiratory rate to infer when you are asleep and awake, and also to identify sleep phases,” says Alexandra Zatarain, co-founder of Eight. “It uses ballistocardiography, which makes it more accurate than devices that just use movement to tell if you are sleeping.” (So, yeah, it’s better than the tracker you wear on your wrist.)
The mattress arrives in a surprisingly small package. After you roll it out from its tightly wrapped bundle and onto your bedframe, you have to cover it with a sensory layer, that looks and acts as a pad, and connect it to the discreet tracker, which I’ve since left underneath the bed. While you can opt to just get the sleep tracker, having tried both separately and together (yes, at one point, for a day, there may have been two mattresses in my house), I recommend spending a little extra and getting the mattress, too, because it’s the most comfortable surface I have ever slept on, a fact that Zatarain confirms: “We focused on making a comfortable mattress first. We had already developed the technology, so the mattress comfort became our main priority.” In addition to basically acting as a cloud to hold your resting body, once you register your mattress and fill out your personal details (including which side you sleep on; so, yes, if you have a partner you share a bed with, you can see their metrics and compare) on the Eight app, it will be able to track your light and deep sleep, give you an overall score for the night and notify if you missed or achieved your sleep goal, and record your body temperature and heart rate at various increments of time.
In addition to tracking your daily patterns, the Eight app will also pull up the date from the last seven or 30 days, providing you with an average score, time slept, and number of toss and turns you make during the night, as well as your deep sleep average (which turns out to be pretty low—18 to 25 percent—for me). Upon first getting the mattress, as someone who’s obsessed with my sleep, I checked the app religiously as I made my way from the bed to the shower. It turns out, I am not alone.
“For our parents, sleep was not a priority because it wasn’t a part of the conversation. As millennials entered the workforce, the obsession with sleep and mindfulness grew because we realized that the old standards of eating well and exercising were not enough. Our generation doesn’t build boundaries between personal and professional lives: we work from home and while on vacation, but we also shop from the office,” says Zatarain. “Plus, we live in a more connected world that fights for our attention. So we have to be intentional about our resting hours in order to prioritize them. This can only be done by being aware of how much we rest, and how long and how well we sleep. Tracking is step one towards better rest, and, in turn, a balanced life.” If I wasn’t already convinced by that statement, the number of people who have asked me to show them the app after hearing about the mattress, were all the proof I needed.
And I haven’t gotten to the best part: There is a bed warming feature, which is naturally a dream come winter time but also, as it turns out, an add-on whose necessity is backed up by science. “Sleep occurs during the part of the circadian cycle when core body temperature is dropping, while our body heat loss is maximal. So we naturally look for something to cover our bodies with—like blankets—because we need our surface temperature to be warm enough to send the signal to our brains that we can go from an alert state to a relax state and enter sleep.” Plus, it’s just really nice to get into a warm bed on a cool night, or, like, crank up the heat on your partner’s side during a hot summer eve and see when they notice.
Eight, The Smart Mattress, $855, available at Eight.