At least once in our lives, we will experience the frustration of waking 10 minutes before the alarm is set to go off, feeling like we haven’t gotten a wink of sleep. And what about entire nights spent tossing and turning; too hot, too cold, or somehow both at once?
Imagine owning a bed that can sense what you need before you do, creating the perfect environment for you to actualize that coveted evening of uninterrupted sleep. Luckily we live in an age where what was once a pipe dream has become an attainable reality thanks to smart bed technology.
Join me as we explore what smart beds are, their characteristics and benefits, who can benefit from a smart bed, and what you should consider to find the right smart bed for you.
What Is A Smart Bed?
Simply put, a smart bed is a bed that uses technology to help improve your sleep. This can be made of a smart mattress, a smart bed frame, or both. Sensors in the bed gather various points of data, like body temperature, movement, heart rate, and movement, which can be used to perform various pre-set functions.
In some cases, a smart bed may simply be a multifunctional bed frame with features like integrated bluetooth speakers, an electronics charging station, a massage chair, or some other type of seating option. There are many types of smart beds available to suit your personal needs and tastes.
What Makes Smart Beds So Special?
Smart beds offer the gift of better sleep and more comfort within your own home. The market is growing quickly, and fierce competition is driving companies to make more technological advances that work to your benefit. Let’s take a look at the unique features that elevate smart beds over the competition.
Sleep Quality Tracking
To realize the goal of sleep improvement, a variety of data needs to be gathered. Sensors in the mattress and/or frame gather data on movement and heart rate. Other types of data gathered may include temperature, ambient noise, light, and humidity.
These data points are used to accurately track sleep and make various adjustments to firmness, temperature, or even bed position. In smart beds that simply track and don’t make automatic adjustments, this knowledge can still help the user track habits and make changes to their lifestyle to enhance their sleep health.
Adjustments can be made to the firmness of a smart mattress using air pumps that connect to chambers inside the mattress body. These chambers add or release air as needed based on movement and data tracking or manual control. Depending on the design, the air chambers may even be separated into numerous zones so firmness can be adjusted to relieve pressure where your body and the bed meet.
The firmness feature of smart mattresses are available for single sleepers or for partners that prefer different hardnesses.
The position you sleep in not only affects your sleep quality, but your overall health. Automatic and manual position alignment is controlled via lift motors installed at several points in the frame. Changes in sleeping posture such as head height, leg elevation, or a zero-g position can help with congestion and illness, increase circulation, and improve overall comfort.
Adjustable bed frames are also often separated into two areas for those that share a sleeping space. Some smart beds even offer app controls that allow partners to adjust sleeping positions to alleviate snoring.
Sleeping too hot or too cold is a common problem. In fact, up to 41% of the population has experienced a night sweat at least once in the last month. Temperature control can be especially difficult for partners in relationships that have different preferences. Many smart beds use materials like gels and memory foams that are designed to help regulate temperature. Other smart mattresses offer temperature control through layers of bedding that direct warm or cool air when needed, and others offer water-based climate control.
Maintaining temperature ideals during sleep helps users experience deeper, better quality sleep overall.
Not only do smart beds have proprietary apps and tracking sensors but they are also imbued with IoT integration technology to better track sleep data. SleepIQ beds by Sleep Number, for example, can connect to Fitbit to share workout and fitness data, and Apple Health for sleep session tracking. The Eight Sleep mattress can connect to smart home devices like the Amazon Alexa and Google Home, as well as fitness wearables.
This interconnectability allows sleep tracking algorithms to help establish patterns and behaviors that affect the user’s sleep–whether positive or negative.
What Are The Benefits Of A Smart Bed?
The most obvious benefit of a smart bed is overall sleep quality improvement. Like it or not, the quality of our sleep affects every aspect of our lives. It is essential for both your physical and mental well-being. Improved sleep can help with brain function, weight control, blood pressure, immune system function, and cardiovascular health.
During deep sleep, called restful sleep, our brains are given the opportunity to unpack the events of the day, processing the information and storing it in long-term memory. Sleep scientists theorize that this stage of sleep also promotes the removal of waste products from the brain, improving overall function. Adults typically experience 4 – 5 cycles of REM through restful sleep a night, and maximizing the potential of these sleep cycles may alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Current research is pointing to a promising future for tracking overall health. It is a well-known fact that individuals with a pattern of long-term sleep disruptions have an increased risk of some kinds of cancer. By providing preventative sleep care, it is possible to lower this risk for some individuals. In a recent article published by Healthline.com in December 2022, smart bed biometric tracking has displayed the ability to track early symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza. The sheer amount of data gathered alone has huge potential for advancements in health.
What Are The Best Smart Beds?
Saatva’s Solaire mattress is a popular option for individuals that like comfort and pressure adjustments. It comes with 50 firmness settings through separate air chambers that allows each sleeper to confirm their own firmness. It is made from plush layers of breathable cotton, latex, and gel-infused memory foam. When combined with the Adjustable Base Plus, the bed can be elevated at the head, foot, or both for zero gravity positioning.
This bed was developed with plush comfort in mind. Lower-tech than other options on this list, the Solaire offers only manual adjustments using a wireless remote, and it does not integrate with smartphones or other IoT technology. As of early 2023, the split king mattress combined with the adjustable base costs approximately $7,650.
Eight Sleep Pod 3 Max Mattress
Eight Sleep is a big name in the smart bed world. Designed for customized cooling and heating, the Pod 3 offers medium-firm support that cannot be adjusted. It is made from several layers of foam, temperature control gel, and flex-springs to support your frame and keep you cool. It comes with a separate hub attachment that connects to wifi and uses the ambient temperature of the room to actively route cooled or heated water to various zones inside the bed.
This mattress is lined with multiple sensors that measure your sleep and health, the room around you, and has a built-in vibration alarm to wake you gently. Eight Sleep’s 8+ Pro Membership is an online monthly membership that sends automatic temperature updates, sleep coaching, and other news. The king size option is available for $4,400, and expect to pay approximately $20 a month for the 8+ Pro Membership.
Tempur-Pedic Ergo Extend Smart Base
Tempur-Pedic’s line of smart bases offer a wide variety of adjustable comforts. The Ergo Extend Smart Base works with any mattress to provide a smart bed experience. This base automatically raises head position by 12 degrees when it detects snoring. It comes with built-in vibrating massage technology for the head and foot, and can support zero gravity positioning.
Ergo Extend offers sleep tracking that can be monitored using an app or with a Google Home or Amazon Alexa device. Users can track their sleep quality and even set an alarm to trigger during their lightest phase of sleep to wake up feeling refreshed. The split king option costs approximately $4,700.
Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed
The Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed has a huge list of features for individuals and partners and is one of the best smart mattresses on the market. Not only can individuals adjust their own firmness, but it will responsively adjust firmness based on movement. It has automatic temperature control, uses fabric integrated with cool sleep technology, and comes with a proprietary app.
The top tier FlexFit 3 Smart Base comes with the Partner Snore feature that adjusts head position, foot warming, integrated LED lighting, and zero gravity positioning. In 2023, expect to pay approximately $9,900 for both the split king mattresses and base.
Who Is A Smart Bed Suited For?
Smart beds are best suited for anyone who takes an interest in using technology to improve their sleep and are willing to pay a higher price point for a quality mattress.
Individuals that regularly struggle with snoring, back pain, temperature issues, and interrupted sleep stand to gain the most from integrated sleep technology, while data lovers will rejoice at the knowledge available at their fingertips.
5 Things To Consider When Buying A Smart Bed
When choosing a smart bed, there are various items that should be considered. This includes the cost, the features that will be beneficial to you, and how a smart bed can enhance your living space.
The first thing to consider when researching smart beds are the features that will be best-suited for you. There are beds on the market that are specifically geared towards temperature comfort, while others specialize in adjustable firmness and support.
Becoming familiar with your expectations of a smart bed will help you navigate the market and choose which options are best for you and which you can go without.
Spouse or Partner
For those that sleep with a spouse or partner, both their needs and their partner’s needs should be weighed equally. Typically, a smart bed with dual controls will be best suited to couples to allow total control across sleep zones.
For those that are tight on space, like single bedroom and studio apartment renters, smart frames may be the answer to maximizing living space. There are smart frames available on the market that come with built-in massage chairs, extra seating, under-bed storage, lamps, and electronics charging stations.
Smart beds are not an inexpensive buy. The current price of smart beds falls in the moderate to high range, and should be considered an investment. Not only are smart beds more expensive than traditional mattresses, their quoted prices often do not include the addition of a smart bed frame.
The combined cost of a smart mattress and frame can easily cost between two and three times a traditional bed. This is especially important to note for those that are interested in smart beds with position adjustment. A smart bed frame is required to use this feature and will affect the budget. Some of these bases also come without decorative headboards and footboards, which will also need to be accounted for.
Due to the weight of some smart bases, the additional cost of shipping should also be accounted for.
When investing your hard-earned money in a larger purchase, a quality warranty should be a top priority. Unfortunately, technology doesn’t come without complications. Not only do warranties provide peace of mind, they also can save thousands of dollars in replacements and repairs. A standard warranty should cover defects in workmanship and materials for a minimum of 10 years.
Smart beds make up a growing market that has huge potential for health management and improvement in the future. Whether you’re seriously looking to buy or simply putting out feelers, knowing what options are available and how you plan to harness the technology can help you maximize your sleep benefits.