Sleep is very important me, and I'm sure most of you can relate. I work long hours, go to industry events after hours, and try my very best to maintain a social life in between. All of that adds up to less sleep than I'd like and certainly fewer hours than every doctor suggests. To keep my life (seemingly) together, I tend to spend my weekends lounging, napping, and repeating that same cycle all over again. Because, according to Jordan Stern, MD, of BlueSleep, "Hundreds of medical studies confirm the beneficial effects of napping for your overall health and well-being.
Try to keep it under 20 minutes and at least five hours before bedtime."
Another variable, however, is adding another body into the mix. When it comes to bed companions, "loud, continual snoring is not just annoying; it is frequently associated with sleep apnea, a killer disease that affects up to 30% of the adult population," says Stern. I rarely have trouble falling asleep—unless there's someone else in bed with me. This is something I've dealt with for as long as I've had sleepovers. But I didn't think there was any real solution. I accepted that if I slept next to someone else, I could essentially kiss a good night's sleep goodbye.
Cut to an interesting pitch I found floating in my inbox about a mattress that can regulate not only your sleep patterns but those of your S.O. as well. As a happily single woman, gathering data on a permanent partner isn't particularly applicable, but I wondered: What about someone new? Essentially, this app can tell you if you and the person you're sharing your bed with are compatible—when it comes to sleep patterns at least. And if not, perhaps it's worth it to move on in favor of someone for the sake of more restful nights.
Eight, a company that focuses on sleep technology, spent two years developing the first Eight Sleep Tracker. It's a sensor layer that fits over any mattress and instantly turns your bed into a smart bed. You can use it in conjunction with the Eight Smart Mattress (which I did) or you can put it over your current mattress. It's connected to a Wi-Fi–enabled pod that tracks your sleeping patterns and adjusts accordingly. Eight has two sets of controls—one for you and one for a partner. The technology layer of the Smart Mattress tracks your sleep, changes the temperature of the bed, and wakes you up at the right time every morning.
After analyzing over 1.8 million hours of sleep data and collecting feedback from more than 10,000 people who used the app, the founders uncovered a few tidbits of interesting data. Apparently, "users lost sleep the day after—not the day before—the U.S. election." Well, duh. This is where it gets interesting: "People who share a bed with someone get a higher sleep score than those who don't (73 compared to 71). Overall, the people with the worse sleep are those who sleep alone in bed but share the bedroom with someone else, getting a 65 average sleep score and just 16% deep sleep (below the healthy range of 18% to 25%)." So essentially, it's those in relationships who get the best sleep.
I decided to give it a try myself, sleeping alone most nights and then gathering data on the nights I shared the bed. It's a dating game of sorts, allowing me to rate my compatibility with a partner based off of how well we sleep next to each other. Let's get started, shall we?
After the first contender left, I immediately pulled up the app. It told me I tossed and turned 56 times, with a light sleep of 60% and a deep sleep of 40%—not great. I also preferred a much cooler mattress than he did. (I hate being hot.) In the end, my restful sleep score was mediocre. I vowed to stop seeing him until I found a better match. (Like I said earlier, sleep is extremely important to me.)
On my second try, the results were very different. The app recorded 80% restful sleep and only 20% light sleep. I barely tossed and turned all night, and my partner and I matched up perfectly on our affinity for a cold bed. I have to admit, I did wake up feeling more rested. I logged the information and decided to take the app's advice. Maybe this is my new S.O.? Perhaps my productivity in life and at work is about to skyrocket? Time will only tell—but for now, I'm enjoying the comfortable mattress and soundly sleeping for the first time in a long time.