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Hug Sleep Pod Review: A Cool Product, but Not for Every Sleeper
The Hug Sleep pod helps reduce anxious feelings and promotes better sleep. It worked, but only some people should buy it.
Taylor LeameySenior Writer
Taylor Leamey writes about all things wellness, specializing in mental health, sleep and nutrition coverage. She has invested hundreds of hours into studying and researching sleep and holds a Certified Sleep Science Coach certification from the Spencer Institute. Not to mention the years she spent studying mental health fundamentals while earning her bachelor's degrees in both Psychology and Sociology. She is also a Certified Stress Management Coach.
ExpertiseBachelor of Science, Psychology and SociologyCredentials
Sleeping with anxiety is no joke. If you're like me and struggle to fall asleep at night, you might be looking for a product to help relax you. Hug Sleep gained popularity with its debut on Shark Tank in late 2020. It's a relatively simple product -- a sleep pod that cocoons you while you sleep. It's made of specialized four-way stretch fabric tight enough to hug you but stretchy enough to give you room to move. Think of a Hug Sleep Pod as a giant swaddle that applies light pressure across your entire body.
It's one of the most unique sleep products on the market, and I had to get my hands on it to test it out. My experience testing and writing about sleep, paired with my base level of anxiety, makes me the perfect person to test the Hug Sleep pod. It's one of the weirder ones I've tested, so buckle up; I've got thoughts.
If the concept of a weighted blanket is familiar to you, then think of Hug Sleep Pods as a thin weighted blanket that swallows you up at night. It's tight, but getting into it is easy enough. All you have to do is step into it and pull it up around you. Your clothes will get bunched up as you slip into the sleep pod, so you'll need to adjust those before you get in bed. The pod is tighter around your chest and looser as it goes down. I'm not a person who likes their feet constricted, and I can vouch that there is more than enough room in the foot pouch.
Machine washable. Hug Sleep suggests flipping it inside out when washing
Made in the US
That's the high level. Let's dig deeper into what sleeping in the Hug Sleep Pod is like.
What is it like sleeping in the Hug Sleep Pod?
I tested the Hooded Move model for a few weeks, which includes a hood and feet holes. The first thing we must address is how much of a learning curve there is with this product. Not so much how to wear it, but there are some mental gymnastics for adjusting to being unable to move with the normal range of motion.
The first time I put it on, I did not like it. When you first open it, it's tight, especially around the top band, which is fine if you have it pulled all the way up, but if you have it down around your chest to free your arms, I found it to be a little too much pressure for me. This meant I spent a lot of time with one arm inside, which was much more comfortable as long as I didn't want to roll over.
Then after the first few days, something happened. I can't say how much of it was getting used Hug Sleep or the fabric stretching after I moved around in it enough, but it got easier and more enjoyable to wear. I found that it was relaxing.
I got some of the best naps in the Hug Sleep Pod. I attribute this to how little I move while napping and the fact that I slept on my side. Sleeping in the Hug Sleep Pod at night was a different story entirely. It's supposed to be tight, but moving and stretching sideways was harder than I wanted. Most nights, I woke up with the Hug Sleep Pod pushed to my knees and my arms completely out, which equated to a super tight bodycon dress. At that point, it wasn't the most comfortable thing to sleep in. If I ordered again, I would size up to give myself more room to move around.
Hug Sleep performance
OK, the Hug Sleep Pod had good and bad parts. Remember, everyone has different body types and sleeping styles, so what didn't work for me may not be an issue for you. In that spirit, let's break down how Hug Sleep performed in the key areas of movement, temperature and relaxation.
The Hug Sleep Pod is meant to be tight on your body; otherwise, it won't deliver the intended calming effect. That said, you can somewhat move inside the pod. It's extremely stretchy. You're not restricted to the point that you can't move your arms and legs around.
However, normal sleep movement isn't easy, which was a bit frustrating, especially during the first few nights. I tested the Hooded Hug Sleep Move with a hood and foot hole. I hate having my feet confined, so the foot hole came in handy, though it's not easy to get in and out of the foot hole without using your hands. The hole is on the front of the pod, covered by a flap you have to peel back. More than once, it felt like I would rip the fabric to free myself. Though the extremely stretched fabric never tore. It's designed this way to make sure your feet don't accidentally slip out at night, so it's not a design flaw, just another thing you have to get used to.
I didn't use the hood at all while sleeping. Each time I flipped over or changed sleeping positions, it twisted around my head. For me, it was more trouble than it was worth.
Overall, it's hard to move around in the Hug Sleep Pod if you have your arms inside. It's tight around the shoulders and chest, which makes it difficult to change sleeping positions at night. If you don't move all that much at night, then you won't experience this.
In the sleep space, temperature is one of the most important factors. Because of this, "cooling" has become a buzzword that almost any mattress or sleep product uses. But that doesn't mean that the products are cool to the touch. Like many of the best cooling mattresses, Hug Sleep products aren't actively cooling. Instead, they regulate temperature, meaning they won't trap heat at night. The fabric is extremely thin, which is great for summer. I never got too warm while wearing it; I had the opposite problem. I got too cold.
That's likely because my pajamas are a T-shirt and shorts, no socks. The sleep pod is hard enough to get on and situated without the added bulk of long pants or a sweatshirt. Other people may be able to happily wear pants and socks with the Hug Sleep Pod and sleep comfortably and avoid this problem entirely. But I wasn't willing to sacrifice any of the space inside of the pod for extra clothes.
I had to add a blanket on top of the pod when I got cold overnight. The combination took away the calming effect and made it feel restrained. It's not something I would recommend during the colder months unless you're blasting the heat or ready to wear long clothes while using it.
As I mentioned, I never slept through the night with my entire body in the Hug Sleep Pod due to the constriction and my need to starfish across my bed. That said, I enjoyed the calming effect of this product. I wore it while reading before bed, and it amplified the relaxation of my nightly routine. Yes, it was a little work to figure out how to hold a book with my arms pinned to my chest, but I got tired quicker than normal when I figured it out.
As an anxious person, I can vouch for the physical relaxation I felt with Hug Sleep. That part is real, even if I didn't love sleeping in it all night.
Who should use the Hug Sleep Pod?
Let's talk about sleeping position because this determines whether you should buy a Hug Sleep Pod. I am a combination sleeper, spending most of the night on my stomach. Though if you can imagine a rotisserie chicken rotating while being cooked, you get how I sleep at night. I toss and turn all night. Which the Hug Sleep Pod doesn't let you do -- even with the feet holes. The pod is too constricting to bend your legs while sleeping on your stomach, and if your arms are in the pod, you don't have the leverage to turn over without waking up.
If you sleep like the dead, then the mummy-style compression of the Hug Sleep will be great for you. As I said, the compression was nice, and it relaxed me while I was in it. I simply move too much to continue reaping the benefits for a full night.
Strict back and side sleepers who don't move around much will enjoy wearing Hug Sleep to bed. Anyone who sleeps on their stomach or rolls around too much will likely be frustrated, which counteracts the calming effect.
Final verdict: Is Hug Sleep worth it?
After a few weeks of testing, I've concluded that Hug Sleep is one of those products that people either love or hate, like the Hyper-Elastic Grid of the Purple mattress. Not everyone will like how confining it is, and depending on how much you toss and turn, it might be hard to move around in. That said, when I was awake while wearing it, I enjoyed the Hug Sleep Pod. I felt calm and comfortable.
At $150, the Hooded Hug Sleep Pod is too expensive to buy on a whim. I recommend this product only if you know you don't move in your sleep and like being swaddled. Or you're ready for the learning curve of getting used to it. My appreciation for Hug Sleep did grow the more I used it, and I got used to sleeping in it. It just took a while.
It may even be a great product if you're serious about training yourself to sleep on your back or side because you simply cannot sleep comfortably on your stomach. I tried.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.