Sleep is serious business. If I get less than eight hours, I'll need a cold brew with coffee ice cubes and an afternoon Diet Coke chaser to function the next day. So I was pumped to test the queen-size Eight Mars+, a $1,399 Wi-Fi-connected mattress with temperature control that tracks how you sleep and connects to other smart home devices. I was eager to see if all this technology could help me get more restful sleep, or at least help me learn why I wake up groggy some mornings.
Eight sells smart mattress sets that include a normal mattress and Sleep Tracker cover, which is what makes Eight mattresses smart. The cover is filled with sensors that track events that happen while you sleep and it records your breathing and heart rates. It connects to a Wi-Fi-enabled hub, and you can access your sleep information through the Eight app (available for iOS and Android). Eight also sells the mattresses and Sleep Tracker separately -- the mattresses start at $349, and the Sleep Tracker is $399.
The Mars+ is one of Eight's smart bedroom sets that include a foam/coil hybrid mattress and the Sleep Tracker. The best feature of the Mars+ is its connections to other smart home devices through its IFTTT channel, which the and lack. IFTTT, which stands for "If this then that," is a free service that lets you create rules for different actions connecting products in the internet of things, apps and more. For example, through IFTTT, you can enable the warming feature of the Mars+ to turn on if your Nest thermostat drops below a certain temperature, or you can have your Philips Hue lights come on when the smart alarm in the Eight app goes off. Plus, Eight has an Amazon Alexa skill, so you can ask your Alexa-enabled smart speaker how you slept the night before, or give a voice command to start heating the mattress.
But the Mars+'s best feature is also its biggest weakness. Without IFTTT and Alexa, the smart mattress cover is just a sleep tracker, and there are wearables like the Fitbit that have similar features for a lot less money. Other downsides include discrepancies in sleep data and the lack of proactive sleep insights from Eight's app.
The Mars+ is a good option for folks who want to know a little more about how they sleep without being attached to a wearable 24/7. Even though the mattress itself is comfy, you can save yourself some money if you buy the Sleep Tracker cover separately and put it on your own mattress.
Setting up the Mars+
Like other mattresses you've seen in internet ads or heard about on your favorite podcast, the Mars+ arrived at my door rolled into a box. Once I hauled it upstairs (you'll need some help that that -- the box is heavy), I unrolled the mattress onto my existing box spring, where it sprang to life and had fully expanded by the time I went to bed that night. (You can buy a foundation for the bed on Eight's website for $275.)
The mattress cover holds sensors placed in a grid, which makes it a bit thicker than a normal cover. You connect the Eight hub to the mattress cover and plug it in to a wall outlet. Follow the instructions within the app (available for iOS and Android) to connect the mattress cover to your home Wi-Fi network. From there, you indicate which side of the bed you sleep on. If you share a bed, you can identify which side of the bed the other person sleeps on so the mattress tracks that data, too. Then, all you have to do is sleep.
Mars+ tracks info on your slumber
To test the Mars+, I slept on a queen-size version of the mattress for about a month. I also went to bed each night with myon my wrist so I could compare my sleep stats from Fitbit and Eight.
As a mattress, the Mars+ was a comfy option for sleeping. It's made up of three layers of foam and a layer of sleeved coils. This combination made for a firmer bed than my typical pillowtop mattress, but I slept fine despite the change.
The mattress cover can heat in two divided zones, so you can warm up your side of the bed without having to worry about making your loved one sweat. Granted, you could accomplish this with a heated blanket, but it's nice having this feature built into the cover.