The Eight Sleep Pod Cover 3 changed the way I sleep | CNN Underscored (2024)

How often do you wake up feeling really, truly rested? For me, it’s a constant struggle. Between a busy schedule and general distractions of day-to-day life, I don’t usually get the recommended seven to nine hours per night, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. And let’s face it: Even when I do fit them in, I’m never sure if the quality of my zzz’s will keep me energized throughout the day. Which is why I decided to review Eight Sleep’s Pod 3 Cover, a smart (and pricey) mattress cover that not only tracks how well you sleep but allows you to create a personalized slumber and alarm experience. This also means you won’t have to switch out your entire mattress if you have one you’re happy with.

An adjustable temperature and customized routines are created with the combination of a free app, embedded sensors and a router-sized Hub filled with water — all of which claim to improve sleep quality by up to 32%, according to the website. But could the futuristic Pod 3 Cover really help improve my life? I slept with it for just over a month, and here’s what you need to know before you spend the whopping $2,245 (along with an added subscription fee of either $15 per month for the standard Autopilot functions or $24 per month for the enhanced membership) on this one-of-a-kind sleep aid.

What I liked about it

Customizable sleep temp and routines

The Eight Sleep Pod Cover 3 changed the way I sleep | CNN Underscored (2)

The Pod 3 Cover offers three features for sounder sleep: sleep tracking, temperature regulation and a built-in vibration alarm. It can also personalize each side of the bed if a couple has different preferences, which I’m sure has saved more than one relationship.

Before my first night’s sleep, I simply fit the mattress cover on my bed, set up and filled the Hub with tap water, and created an account on the free app (available for iOS and Android). And because it uses that water to both heat and cool, it doesn’t have to be plugged in.

To set my preferences, I went to the simple-to-navigate app, which lets you choose from three general choices: warm, cool or cold. Because I tend to be a hot sleeper, I went with cool, and the app selected 84 degrees Fahrenheit as my ideal climate,though you can always manually set it anywhere between 55 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Eight Sleep Pod Cover 3 changed the way I sleep | CNN Underscored (3)

Why such a huge chasm in temperatures? Alexandra Zatarain, co-founder of Eight Sleep, believes this is important because body temperature has a huge impact on how we sleep. “Science shows that body temperature affects not only sleep onset but also sleep quality and the time spent in different sleep stages,” she says. “Temperatures that aren’t comfortable enough to sleep in will keep you alert (and awake) for longer and prevent you from entering deep sleep. But what is comfortable for one individual doesn’t necessarily apply to others.”

Next, I was prompted to set my bedtime and a morning alarm so the Pod would know when to start adjusting the temperature. Though I could feel the mattress cover getting warmer about an hour before bed, I decided to turn it down to 81 degrees Fahrenheit in the end. An Autopilot feature then uses built-in sensors to monitor things like temperature patterns, sleep stages and external environment to keep you comfortable all night, tracking heart rate, breath rate and wake times to determine what stage of sleep you’re in and for how long. It will then switch temperatures throughout the night to acclimate.

In the morning, the mattress cover automatically increases the temperature, and I woke to gentle vibrations from inside the mattress cover (though, if you’re a deeper sleeper, you can also choose medium or heavy). I will say this took some time to get used to. In fact, the first few nights I ended up feeling too warm and woke up way more than usual. But after a week, I was amazed at how constant and deep my sleep had become. And though I’m not there yet, Zatarain mentions that the Pod Cover has helped people with menopausal symptoms, as well as those experiencing hot flashes from chemotherapy or pregnancy.

Tracks quality of sleep

The Eight Sleep Pod Cover 3 changed the way I sleep | CNN Underscored (4)

What sets the Pod 3 Cover apart as a sleep tracker is its lack of a wearable element. For me, this was a huge plus because in the past I had participated in a few sleep studies that required me to wear uncomfortable equipment, which paradoxically ended up keeping me awake. Here, the mattress cover tracks your sleep cycle, heart rate and respiratory rate, then gives you a health score based on those metrics. I noticed that the few days my score was lower, I felt significantly more fatigued.

The Eight Sleep Pod Cover 3 changed the way I sleep | CNN Underscored (5)

But what I enjoyed most about the data was being able to follow my sleep stages to see if I had woken up at any point, if even for a few moments. The mattress cover also tracked how long it took me to fall asleep each night, which became progressively shorter as I continued to use it. I also noticed that my resting heart rate was becoming consistently lower, which led to better-quality sleep and more energy during the day.

Sleep tracking for couples

Another key factor is that the Pod can track up to two people at once in the same bed. So a couple can set two different preferences for either side and Autopilot will monitor and adjust for each person. And I love that it also allows for two different vibrations — perfect for anyone with a partner who wakes up earlier with a noisy alarm clock.

What I didn’t like about it

The price

The Eight Sleep Pod Cover 3 changed the way I sleep | CNN Underscored (6)

The Pod 3 Cover may be unlike any other mattress cover on the market right now, but its price is yet another factor that sets it apart. There is no denying that this type of technology comes at a premium, and a $2,295 list price, plus a $15 to $24 monthly subscription cost, is most definitely a splurge.

If you struggle with poor sleep on a regular basis, this mattress cover’s personalized experience would be a good investment to improve your sleep over time and help you feel better during the day. While I think it would benefit anyone, it’s obviously not something everyone needs at this price point.

How it compares

The Eight Sleep Pod Cover 3 changed the way I sleep | CNN Underscored (7)

As mentioned, you won’t find a direct competitor for the Pod 3 Cover, but if you’re looking for sleep-tracking metrics, there are other, less expensive alternatives to track this kind of data. The Withings Sleep Tracking Pad can track your sleep cycles, wake times and heart rate, but there’s no temperature-adjusting feature or alarm. The Oura Ring may be a less uncomfortable wearable option and offers the same data, while the Whoop Strap 4.0 is one of our favorite all-around fitness and wellness trackers.

There are also cheaper options if you don’t need the sleep tracking and are just looking to regulate temperature while you sleep. The Perfectly Snug Smart Mattress Topper starts at $1,399 and uses air to adjust the temperature automatically as you sleep.

Bottom line

The Eight Sleep Pod Cover 3 changed the way I sleep | CNN Underscored (8)

Using the Pod 3 Cover has led to some of the best (and frankly, most expensive) sleep I’ve had. Yes, at over $2,000, this is no easy purchase, but if you struggle with your slumber, it could significantly improve your life. The app is user-friendly, and the entire system makes for a super-personalized sleeping experience, even for couples. In the end, depending on your priorities, that kind of lifestyle upgrade could wind up being priceless.

The Eight Sleep Pod Cover 3 changed the way I sleep | CNN Underscored (2024)


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