Eight Sleep’s Pod 3 Cover Might Be the Coolest Solution for Hot Sleepers – CNET

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Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover and the Hub next to the bed.

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  • Adjusts bed temperature to keep you cool and comfortable throughout the night
  • Can track and report your sleep quality
  • Each side of the bed is customizable

Don’t like

  • Extremely pricey; must also purchase software
  • Makes the mattress firmer
  • Can slightly feel the coils on the bed

Product details

  • Type Cooling mattress cover
  • Firmness N/A
  • Trial 30 nights
  • Warranty Five-year warranty
  • Price $$$

Hot sleepers know the struggle of waking up drenched in sweat and trying to cool off in the middle of the night. With the end of winter approaching, hotter temperatures will be here in no time — so what are hot sleepers to do? 

eight-sleep eight-sleep

Eight Sleep in a room. Eight Sleep in a room.

Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover and the Hub next to the bed.

Caroline Igo/CNET

Before testing, I was skeptical of the Pod. I knew how it worked; I just didn’t know how well. Eight Sleep sounds great in theory — you can set the Pod to as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as 55 degrees — although, this wouldn’t matter if you couldn’t feel the temperature from underneath your sheets. I had to examine this claim. 

Thankfully, the Eight Sleep Pod 3 cover doesn’t disappoint; the temperature control is impressive. Even after adding sheets and a comforter to my bed, the mattress can get uncomfortably cold and unbearably hot at the maximum settings. I never found myself needing to set my Pod as low as it could go because just three or four notches was enough. Even then, I was wondering if I was truly a hot sleeper because that was too cold for me. My boyfriend on the other side of the bed, however, set his at -6 on the cold side (-1 is the least cold, -10 is the coldest). This meant that before he got into bed each night, his side was icy. After a few nights of messing around with my starting temperature, I found that I liked getting into a warm bed first but needed to be cooled in the middle of the night when I was hottest. I set my side to +3 (+1 is the least warm, +10 is the hottest). 

Caroline Igo/CNET

Each Pod cover collaborates with Autopilot — the system that automatically warms and cools you throughout the night. It’s important to know that this software isn’t included in the final price; you need to buy a subscription for it, and you can’t buy the Pod without it. While the Standard Autopilot is around $12 per month, it’s also quite impressive, and honestly, it’s one of the biggest selling points for me. While you may set your Pod to a certain temperature at bedtime, Autopilot finds the best temperatures to warm and cool you to in each stage of sleep. For example, while I start each night at +3, the pod cools off to a neutral 0 in the early stages of sleep, then drops to a -1 in later stages and then slowly warms up to +6 to wake me up. By the time my alarm goes off, my bed is so hot that I don’t want to stay in for a minute longer.         

Caroline Igo/CNET

This brings me to another standout feature. The thermal alarm is a great way to gradually wake you. If you aren’t a hot sleeper, you can opt to set the Pod to wake you up to an icy, cold mattress or whatever is the exact opposite of your sleeping preferences. Anything that will push you out of the bed the fastest will work. In addition, you can also set a vibrating alarm. This means that your side of the bed will either be too hot or too cold and will slightly vibrate to gradually wake you up. 

Caroline Igo/CNET

Eight Sleep is also known for its sleep and health tracking. The app reports how well you stick to your bedtime routine, the time spent asleep, the sleep quality, the amount of time spent in each sleep stage and your sleep latency (time spent falling asleep and time getting up). Lastly, each night you receive an overall Sleep Fitness score, anywhere from 0 to 100.  

Caroline Igo/CNET

Both Pod models also track your heart rate, heart rate variability and breath rate. If you’re unsure about a metric, educational material is available for each. Also, the app will alert you if there are changes in your health vitals over time. Especially if you don’t want to wear a sleep or health tracker at night, this feature is really nice.  

Setting up the Pod

Caroline Igo/CNET

Despite arriving in a heavy box that required extra help to transport into my apartment, unboxing the Pod 3 was easy. One half of the box contained the actual pod cover, and the other half was the Hub, also known as the water tank. Once my boyfriend and I unboxed the Pod 3 Cover, we took the original bedding off our bed and pulled the cover over the bare mattress. The app gave us step-by-step visual instructions that made this part a breeze. 

Caroline Igo/CNET

We then answered a few preference questions on the app, such as the temperature we wanted the bed to be when we first got in it, our bedtime and the time we wanted our morning alarms. After, we added water and hydrogen peroxide into the Hub. The next step is known as Priming, and it took the longest. 

Caroline Igo/CNET

During Priming, the Pod fills the coils and cycles the water for the first time. Priming took two to three cycles, and each step was around 45 minutes. After about an hour and a half, we checked the mattress, and it hadn’t cooled at all. The Hub also hadn’t taken any of the water. We worried we had done something wrong and told the Pod to prime again. However, by the time it was halfway through its second Priming, we looked at the time and were ready to bed. We canceled the second cycle and went to bed. Be aware that Priming will take a long time, and you may have to do it more than once. 

The next day, we changed the water, added more hydrogen peroxide (Eight Sleep recommends adding this during the Priming process) and tried Priming it a third time. Thankfully, it worked that time, and we were ready to test the temperature settings.  

Is the Eight Sleep Pod noisy?

I was concerned that the Pod would be noisy. However, it’s only slightly loud during the Priming process. If you listen closely, you can hear the water rushing through the coils, and the Hub makes a low humming sound. However, an overhead fan can drown it out. Besides the Priming process, I don’t hear the Eight Sleep Pod at all. 

My experience with Eight Sleep

While there is a slight learning curve to the Eight Sleep Pod Cover, as I described above, once I got the hang of it and found the right starting temperature setting, I started seeing small improvements in my sleep. Here’s the data I have to prove it.

Caroline Igo/CNET

Pictured above is my sleep data on the Eight Sleep app from Jan. 23. This was about one week after I first started using the Pod consistently. In the chart, the top five orange lines indicate instances where I was waking up, and the bottom four purple lines indicate deep sleep. 

Caroline Igo/CNET

Flash to a month later; the above sleep data is from Feb. 21. While the time I spent asleep is about the same, there’s a difference in the time I spent awake. The only orange line indicates that I was awake only before falling asleep.     

While this isn’t a dramatic shift, it’s there. Especially with sleep, small changes over time add up to a lot. On top of increasing deep and REM sleep durations and lessening wake periods, it helped me go to bed and wake up at the same time. 

However, my biggest testament to how I enjoy the Eight Sleep Pod Cover is how I miss it when I’m gone. During this trial period, I was out of town for a wedding. Instead of having my Eight Sleep, I had to suffer a bare hotel mattress. I admit, now, I’m spoiled, and the Pod might have ruined other mattresses for me forever (in the best way possible).

Drawbacks to be aware of

In addition to the price and the noise during the Priming sessions, the Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover has a few drawbacks to keep in mind. Before adding to your cart, know that these downsides might be deal breakers.   

Set-up: The set-up is a process that can be frustrating. While the instructions were helpful, and the app is great, I wasn’t prepared for how long it would take. Also, I had to Prime the Pod multiple times since the Hub wasn’t taking the water.       

Mattress firmness: Another gripe I have with this cover is how it makes my mattress feel. My boyfriend and I have a Casper memory foam mattress, and I like that it’s very neutral in terms of firmness — it isn’t too soft or too firm. However, the Pod Cover definitely adds firmness to the mattress. While I wouldn’t say it would turn a soft mattress firm, it’s a difference that I immediately felt.  

Feel the coils: In addition to the firmness of the mattress, the coils of the Pod can be slightly felt when you are lying down. I did eventually get used to the feel, but it’s a little jarring at first. Thankfully, the coils aren’t painful by any means. I’ve never felt them jetting into my hip when I’m on my side. However, for the price, this shouldn’t be an issue. I wish you weren’t able to feel the coils at all.      

Eight Sleep Pod pricing 

The biggest drawback to the Eight Sleep Pod is the price. To compare, my favorite cooling mattress — the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe — is around $1,865 for a queen size. However, when it’s on sale, it is under $1,400. At that price, the Pod Cover 3 is almost $800 more than a brand-new mattress. Remember that the software, called Autopilot, is an added subscription that you need to purchase on top of the overall price. 

Testing the Eight Sleep Pod Cover Testing the Eight Sleep Pod Cover

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