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What if you could get an extra hour of sleep a night without changing your routine?

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Whenever that morning alarm goes off, most people would beg, borrow and steal for that extra hour of sleep. So many of us live in a chronically sleep-deprived state. Especially, since it's only recently become apparent that women in particular need more sleep than the seven-to-eight hours men need - something that has typically been the default recommendation.

Sleep of course is critical for your cognitive ability. Your brain simply does not work as well when it's sleep deprived. Strikingly, this is probably the least problematic consequence of poor sleep. Too little or poor quality affects your mental health, can cause metabolic issues and weight gain, it weakens your immune system and increases your risk of developing chronic health conditions like heart disease.

Unfortunately, modern life does not make for good sleep hygiene. We know that late-night blue light from screens, too much caffeine and answering emails in bed are bad for sleep quality and sleep health. But these habits are so normalised that they're hard to shake.

So, what if I told you that you could get that extra hour of sleep each night and without changing your routine at all?

This was the conundrum that co-founder of Eight Sleep Alexandra Zatarain sought to solve.

"We’ve seen technology advance our daily lives in so many ways - and yet, sleep has been largely forgotten. We saw there was a need, and an opportunity, to bring technology to the bedroom," says Zatarain.

Eight Sleep makes what they call 'Pods'. A Pod is essentially a mattress cover connected to a freestanding control system. Together, these two contraptions have the ability to completely change way you sleep. The Pod has in-built biometric tracking that can detect everything from you heart rate and breathing to your temperature. Then, with this information, the Pod cultivates the perfect sleep environment - just for you. In fact, the Pod is split into two, with each side functioning completely independent of the other. Meaning that you can have a completely separate environment to your partner, even if you share the same bed.


How does the Eight Sleep Pod work?

The Pod has three key functions: temperature control, contour comfort and vibration. In order to maintain your temperature, the Pod can both heat and also cool your bed to the perfect climate. You'd be surprised to learn it can cool down to 11 degrees below room temperature. It has been designed with contouring materials to help support your body and allow you to be more comfortable - but without completely masking the pressure of your mattress. Equipped with vibration capabilities, the Pod can gentle vibrate to wake you in a smoother and calmer way to your traditional alarm. Or you can choose to ditch the vibration alarm altogether and opt for a thermal alarm, where the Pod gently raises the temperature of your side by five degrees.

In combination with these key features, the Pod connects to an app which delivers all your tracked data from your last sleep, while helping to customise your next. You can set your desired bedtime and wake up times, and set them differently for each day. As for temperature, there is an autopilot setting that uses your biological characteristics in combination with the weather to create a plan of the ideal bedtime, early sleep, late sleep and waking temperatures for you. All with the goal of keeping you asleep for longer, and helping that sleep be more restorative. But of course, you can change the automatic settings to whatever you please if you prefer to be cooler or warmer.



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How does the Eight Sleep Pod deliver an extra hour of sleep?

Have you ever used an Apple Watch or FitBit device to track your sleep? When reviewing your sleep patterns, did you notice there are a few minutes every hour or so when your were technically awake? Or that it took you 20 minutes to actually fall asleep? These minutes can total 90 minutes or more during an average sleep. This is where the magic of the Eight Sleep Pod comes in. It uses the real time tracking of your heart rate, breathing, temperature and more to gently adapt your environment in order to keep you asleep.

In an average night's sleep, the Pod can help you reclaim up to an hour of sleep that would otherwise be lost. It also helps you achieve more deep sleep, the most critical type of sleep for physical recovery.

"People sleep less now than at any other time in the last century. And, we know sleep factors are a risk factor for chronic conditions. In Australia, it turns out that 48% of adults report two or more sleep-related problems," says Zatarain.

"The technology behind the Pod 4 has been clinically validated to increase total sleep time by up to one hour every night, increase deep sleep by up to two and a half hours a month, and reduce wake time by up to three hours a month."


What can the Eight Sleep Pod measure?

The Pod can measure your temperature and your partners. It can look at your heart rate and heart rate variability. It tracks your sleep phases and their duration. It can also monitor your breathing, and the newest iteration, the Pod 4 can even detect snoring. Using all these metrics, the Pod can then deliver you sleep and health reports through the app.

"What we're working on at Eight Sleep, to eventually turn the Pod into a preventative health device," says Zatarain.

"It makes the most sense that when you go to sleep, your bed is going to track you and the day that a health-related concern pops up, it's going to tell you."


The Eight Sleep Pod system is available from the Eight Sleep website.


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