Review: Eight Sleep Pod 3 Mattress – deep sleep at any cost
You won’t want to go back to a normal mattress.
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The Eight Sleep Pod 3 Mattress can give you a great night’s sleep, but you’ll pay for the privilege, and some functionality is locked behind a $15+ monthly subscription.
Most of us don’t get anywhere near enough sleep daily, which is why sleep tech is big business.
Whether that’s because of small children in the house or simply fitting tasks into our daily routine, sleep often becomes an afterthought.
That’s made even worse by the clocks changing by an hour twice a year with Daylight Saving Time. Until laws are passed removing the changing of the clocks, there’s always some smart tech to help.
Eight Sleep is one of the well-known brands in the sleep tech space. Its latest smart bed is the Pod 3, which improves sleep-tracking functionality and temperature-regulating features.
Eight Sleep is an established player
It stands out in the sea of companies claiming cooling tech in their mattresses because Eight Sleep’s cover layer is active.
That means a gel grid gets cooled or warmed water pumped through it by the Pod to keep each side of the bed at the desired temperature.
I have used the original Eight Sleep Pod with Mattress since early 2020. That gives me a little more insight into what’s changed in the third iteration we’re looking at today.
The spoiler? Once you sleep on a mattress with thermal regulation, you won’t want to return to a normal one.
It’s a literal game-changer for the quality of sleep you’ll get, backed up by biometric measurements every time you hit the hay.
What is the Eight Sleep Pod 3?
The Eight Sleep Pod 3 is a two-part system that brings smart tech to your bed.
The main part is the Cover, with its Active Grid for thermoregulation. This network of embedded water channels goes over the mattress to cool or heat the surface between 55 and 110 Fahrenheit.
The Cover is also dual-zone, so if two people are sleeping on the bed, they can be at different temperatures.
The Active Grid in the original Cover could be felt while lying on it. The new Cover in the Pod 3 has fixed that, so you must press your fingertips to feel the water channels.
The bonus here is that when filled with water, the Cover adds to the firmness of the mattress.
The Eight Sleep Cover tracks your biometrics
That’s not all the Cover can do. You get biometric tracking, including sleep stages, sleep time, heart rate, and heart-rate variability (HRV). Those metrics get sent into the Eight Sleep app, which we’ll discuss further down.
On the Pod 3 Cover, Eight Sleep uses “invisible sensing,” which studs the sensors through the cover for more accurate measurements.
The Cover also has haptic feedback, which can be used as a gentle alarm clock. Alternatively, you can set the Pod to warm or cool your side of the bed as an alarm.
I love both of these features, as having an audible alarm puts me in a bad mood all morning.
The Cover is fed by the Eight Sleep Pod 3. This is the smart hub for the system, covered in knitted fabric.
It holds a reservoir of additional water and uses thermoelectric devices to either heat or cool the water going through the Active Grid.
The Pod also connects to your Wi-Fi via 2.4GHz or 5GHz (new to the Pod 3), sending your metrics to the companion app.
Do I need the Eight Sleep Mattress?
Eight Sleep knows you might be perfectly happy with your existing mattress. Maybe it’s new; maybe you don’t like memory foam.
That’s why they sell the Pod 3 Cover, which puts all of Eight Sleep’s smart tech onto your existing mattress.
If you’ve got an older mattress or want the full Eight Sleep experience, think about getting the mattress.
The normal Pod 3 mattress is 11″ and has five layers to relieve pressure points and ensure the Active Grid cover has enough contact with your skin to work its best.
The Pod 3 Max adds one more layer, an inch-thick foam infused with graphite, silver, and copper to help with thermal transfer.
Both mattresses (and indeed the original version I already owned) are all medium firm. The newer model is slightly firmer and is a few inches thicker than my original one.
I’m on the heavyset side with minor lower back issues. The mattress gives me enough support, whether sleeping on my back, side, or front.
You have to be careful around the edges, however, as there isn’t any edge reinforcement like you’d find on a coil-sprung mattress.
Installing the Eight Sleep Pod 3
If you’ve never bought a “bed in a box” mattress, it’s one of the things we recommend everyone experience at least once.
Nothing quite prepares you for when the inch-thick, vacuum-packed roll gets opened—watching the mattress reinflate to its usual size.
Remember this is either a 12- or 13-inch mattress on your bed. Once it’s back to its usual size, you unfold the Cover and zip it onto the mattress.
That stops the cover from shifting while you’re lying on it, and it’s a more secure system than any other we’ve used.
The Eight Sleep app walks you through the setup, which takes maybe 20 minutes once you’ve wrestled the mattress roll out of the shipping box.
Then it’s time to plug the hoses and USB cable into the Pod. There’s only one way that this goes onto the Pod.
You also want to ensure your bed frame is slightly away from the wall, so you don’t kink the cables.
Adding water to the mix
Water comes next. You need about a gallon of distilled water (the Pod + Active Grid holds about 3.2 liters depending on the bed size) and a couple of cups of hydrogen peroxide 3%.
The hydrogen peroxide ensures the tubes won’t get gunked up with algae or other bio-contaminants.
Then you power on the Pod, create or sign into your account, connect it to your Wi-Fi, and prepare it for use.
Before using the Eight Sleep Pod 3 for the first time, you must prime the Active Grid. This takes a while, as the pump in the Pod pushes water into the grid and removes any air bubbles that would be noisy when in use.
You must prime it twice, then top the water reservoir back up again. Every few months, you have to refill the tank; the system tracks that for you and reminds you.
The Eight Sleep App
Once everything is set up, the Eight Sleep Pod 3 is all app-controlled. The app has sections for setting individual bed conditions for the left and right sides, or you can have the entire surface to yourself.
The central control is of the thermoregulation in the Cover. This is handled by setting plus or minus numbers for the main sleep stages, Bed Time, Deep, REM, and Wakeup.
The first step is setting your usual bedtime and the temperature offset you want. The Pod 3 will start heating or cooling your side of the bed roughly half an hour ahead, so it’s the perfect temperature when you lay down.
Eight Sleep categorizes the Deep sleep section as roughly four hours after you’ve fallen asleep. You can also set a wake-up alarm, with the bed waking you with gentle vibrations and a gradual temperature change.
Over time, the Pod 3 learns your sleep profile, including your temperature preferences. It then takes into account ambient temperatures, outside weather conditions, and user feedback to create an Autopilot algorithm.
That Autopilot then adjusts the Pod 3’s temperatures while you sleep. This can keep you in more restful sleep for longer, benefiting every area of your life.
You do need an additional subscription for Autopilot, though.
Your comfort is paramount
At any time, you can head over to the temperature dial and change the current temperature offset. That’s handy if you don’t immediately feel comfortable.
Those manual adjustments also feed into the Autopilot algorithm, so it knows where your comfort zone lies.
When you wake up, the app crunches all your measured metrics and gives you a Sleep Fitness score for the night out of 100. Over time, you can use this to adjust your sleeping habits to get your best sleep every night.
While heart rate and variability are nice to track, it’s the additional metrics that I really value.
Things like how many times I tossed and turned during the night. The periods of deep, light, and REM sleep that I managed. How my respiratory rate changed through the night.
The charts and scores all give a picture of your sleeping profile. It’s gamified sleeping, and I’m extremely here for it.
Eight Sleep 8+ Pro subscription
Some of the features of the Eight Sleep Pod 3 are locked behind a paywall. The 8+ Pro subscription is $19 a month (billed annually) or $15 a month if you subscribe when you buy your Pod.
It’s optional, as you can always manually check the same data, but it does automate a few things.
The first is temperature autopilot, which learns which temperatures are best for your sleeping habits and ambient conditions and adjusts the bed accordingly.
Then you get monitoring of your sleep stats and biometrics, with the app telling you ways to improve or if anything is abnormal.
That could remind you to sleep earlier because you didn’t sleep your usual time the night before, or your HRV went out of your baseline.
You also get relaxation-focused exercise content, like yoga, meditation, stretching, and guided breathing. Again, it’s optional, but it might help you build better sleep habits.
We wish that temperature autopilot and biometric features were part of the unpaid section of the app. With the mattress’s cost, premium features shouldn’t need a secondary subscription.
We’d much rather see the relaxation classes and other content built out to bring added value to the subscription.
Alternative options to the Eight Sleep Pod 3 Mattress
Smart beds are still a relatively new market. Some of Eight Sleep’s competitors offer devices that cover your existing mattress to regulate your temperature and track your biometrics.
The same goes for Eight Sleep if you really like your existing mattress. Or you could go complete luxury and buy a smart bed that adjusts its positions, temperature, and firmness, like those from Sleep Number.
Eight Sleep Pod 3 CoverIf You Already Love Your Mattress
|Learn MoreRead the Reviews|
BedJetBest Budget Pick
|Learn MoreRead the Reviews|
Cube with ChilipadAlternative Choice
|Learn MoreRead the Reviews|
Ooler with ChilipadNext Best Pick
|Learn MoreRead the Reviews|
Sleep Number Climate360If Money Is No Object
|Learn MoreRead the Reviews|
Pros and Cons
- Impressive cooling and heating abilities
- Well-laid-out app
- Thermal and haptic alarms
- Easy to maintain
- Now has 5 GHz Wi-Fi support
- It’s expensive, starting from $2,095 for the Pod and Mattress
- Additional subscription for some features
- Might not be compatible with all bed frames
Will the Eight Sleep Pod replace my normal mattress?
The Eight Sleep Pod has already replaced my regular mattress. It’s hard to think about returning to a time before I had temperature control of my bed.
In the warmer months, you can have it cool you down to save on air conditioning costs. In the winter, you can get your bed toasty warm before you get in.
After a training session in the gym, you can set it to warm away knots, then switch to cooling to calm down inflammation. The tracking of your sleep cycles and biometrics is also handy.
It’s hard to say any downsides to this mattress other than the high starting price.
That puts it out of reach of many potential customers, which is a shame because everyone should be able to get the benefits of a temperature-controlled bed.
Temperature control is a game changerIf you struggle with being too hot or too cold when you sleep, this temperature-regulated smart bed is the solution you’ve been after.
Trackable metricsTrack Heart-Rate Variability, light or deep sleep periods, sleep deficits, and more.
Perfect for athletes and fitness buffsNothing will aid your recovery after a heavy training day better than warmed muscles and a cold sleep surface for deep sleep.
Where to buy
Eight Sleep only sells direct to consumers from their website. Pricing starts from $3,095 for the Pod 3 Mattress in Full size.
They have regular sales, and until November 25, you can save up to $500 off the Eight Sleep Pod 3 and Mattress, and $250 off the Pod 3 Cover.
Eight Sleep Pod 3 and Mattress
Regulate your sleeping temperature for the deep rest you deserve after your hectic day. You won’t want to go back to a standard mattress.
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