I was ready to love the Eight Sleep Pod 3.
To be honest, I was sold immediately. I had heard about the use of a cooling system to regulate bed temperature from my physical therapist, who after my “meh” experience is still part of Team Eight Sleep, and was excited to try the Pod 3 duvet on my loved one Casper mattress.
Unfortunately, I got off the hype train at the first available station, but I’m willing to admit that the Pod 3 might work for you just because it wasn’t right for me.
What is the Eight Sleep Pod 3 case?
Touted as the “ultimate sleep fitness device”, the Pod 3 is the latest generation of the Eight Sleep Pod, bringing dynamic cooling technology into the bedroom to provide your ultimate sleep experience And biometric tracking.
The way it works is ridiculously cool. The Pod 3 cover is basically the fanciest mattress cover you’ve ever seen – and it’s packed with technology that makes thermoregulation a breeze. With temperatures between 55 and 110 degrees Celsius, the Pod 3 uses temperature autopilot to set the perfect temperature for you throughout the night to support optimal sleep.
Sounds epic right? That’s because it is. While the Eight Sleep companion app provides recommendations on the optimal temperatures for each sleep stage – including bedtime, deep sleep, REM phase and wake up – you’re in complete control. This means you can create a completely customized temperature schedule to suit your personal preferences and, thanks to dual-zone heating and cooling, both of you And Your partner can set your own temperature preferences for your side of the bed.
Test report on the Casper pillow: A down-like, springy fleece for combination sleepers
In addition, the Pod 3 also offers you extensive biometric tracking. The Pod 3 cover has discrete sensors that allow you to monitor a whole range of metrics including sleep stages, disruptions, heart rate, heart rate variability, and even respiration rate—all without a wearable.
So why didn’t I like it? Well, actually me did I like it, but it was more of a love-hate relationship than anything.
Setting up the Pod 3 cover was an absolute nightmare
I’m not afraid to admit when I’ve made a mistake, and I definitely made one when it came to setting up the Pod 3 cover, because I did pathetic unprepared for such a Herculean feat. The sleeve for the Pod 3 came in three separate boxes, making getting from the post office to my apartment a workout in itself. From there it was all downhill.
The whole process of setting up the Pod 3 cover was one frustration after another. The packaging was unintuitive – I couldn’t even get the bulkiest item out of the box – and quickly replaced my excitement at tackling this project with irritation. And that was just the boxes.
Attaching the Pod 3 cover was stressful. Eight Sleep’s website marketed the cover as nearly effortless, allowing you to “transform your sleep in five easy steps.” However, those five steps masked the difficulty of assembly, which the instructions said would take around two to three hours. First I put the cover over my mattress. This is essentially an ultra-thick fitted sheet, probably designed to protect your mattress, but fitted with love despite its 5ft 10in size weightlifting — I couldn’t get it over the corners of my mattress without help.
Eight Sleep’s website also failed to mention the three adjustable straps as part of their Perfect Fit package, which involved sliding the mattress off the frame (I definitely cheated and didn’t do that part) and two straps on the Hooking Side of Bed – Slide under mattress and hook on other side – and fasten another strap from head to foot end of bed. From then on, both my partner and I had to don the Pod 3 Active Grid—which was responsible for thermoregulation and biometric tracking—and tighten the three adjustable straps tightly around the mattress.
The separate hub powers the Pod 3 cover.
Photo credit: RJ Andersen / Mashable
The next step involved unpacking and plugging in the Pod 3 hub, the brains of the operation, featuring a quad-core CPU as well as 5GHz WiFi support. The hub was a little larger than I expected but incredibly high quality. It only took a few minutes to get everything connected to the Eight Sleep companion app, which appears to be iOS-only. However, I then had to ‘prime’ the Pod 3 cover twice by filling the water tank in the hub with a mixture of water (Eight Sleep recommends using distilled water) and hydrogen peroxide.
Sleeping on the Pod 3 made me feel like Goldilocks, but not in a good way
Here’s the thing. The Pod 3 looks great, feels great and works great, but it also works a bit to great for my taste. I was thrilled to slip into bed that first night, notably how fresh and cool my sheets were, but after following the recommendation to set the mattress to a cooler temperature to aid in a sound sleep, I woke up in the middle of the night. The night was absolutely freezing. I quickly adjusted the temperature and fell asleep again, but it kept happening.
Each night I switched the temperature schedule to something new, but I still woke up freezing most nights — or occasionally sweating — and it seemed like I couldn’t find my “happy middle ground” in between. I was exhausted and frustrated and it only got marginally better the longer I used it. While the Eight Sleep app advertises an Autopilot feature that automatically adjusts your body temperature to reduce waking, it was only available with the 8+ Pro membership. And considering the Pod 3 protection already costs a whopping $2,445, adding a $19 monthly fee for a better user experience is pretty crappy.
What I liked about the Pod 3
While this may seem like a harsh review, there were things I really liked about the Pod 3 cover. The quality of the product itself was surprisingly excellent and actually seemed worth the high price. I also liked the GentleRise alarm feature, which gradually increases the temperature on your side of the bed while gently vibrating to wake you up.
I also loved being able to turn on my Pod 3 cover during the day when I needed to warm up or cool down, especially after a particularly strenuous workout. Also, as someone who tends to sleep warmer than my partner, being able to customize my temperature schedule to suit my preferences was ridiculously cool.
The Pod 3’s core functionality was also amazing. It does Excellent for heating and cooling your mattress, but the extra bells and whistles wasn’t worth it to me.
What I didn’t like about the Pod 3
Obviously I struggled installing the Pod 3, but other online reviewers didn’t seem to have the same level of difficulty as I did. That being said, the Pod 3’s other features are unacceptable in my opinion. The temperature control was too finicky – even after finding a temperature schedule that worked for me, I still felt like my overall sleep quality had slipped. Eventually I had to revert to my regular mattress because I was just too exhausted to keep trying and I slept better straight away.
I also felt that the sleep fitness elements weren’t that great. My first night on the Pod 3 showed me that my sleep fitness was at 100 percent — which was definitely not true given how many times I woke up and how light-headed I felt — and I couldn’t figure out how to use the app to do that Accurately measure my “time to get up.”
Also, the sleep reports didn’t feel as meaningful or helpful as I’d hoped, and while they were certainly data-rich, I didn’t like that you couldn’t get trends or insights without paying for the 8+ Pro membership. The Eight Sleep companion app also offers a library of sleep tools, including meditation, guided breathing exercises, nature sounds, and even wake up/relaxation exercises. Again, however, these features were all part of the 8+ Pro membership.
Is the Eight Sleep Pod 3 case worth it?
If you’re someone who loves optimization, high tech, and all things biohacking – and if you have more patience than me – then by all means. The Pod 3 would be a great purchase for someone looking to dive deep into sleep fitness and improve their overall sleep quality. It clearly has some awesome features and lots of intuitive features to choose from.
However, for most people, I just don’t see how it could be worth it. The Pod 3’s learning curve was way too steep – much like the price – and the performance, while definitely cool, wasn’t transformative enough for me.