Sleep products at CES 2018 — from the eye of a scientist
Being genetically prone to poor sleep, I’ve spent all my life searching for sleep solutions. I’ve tried countless sleep products on the market that make sense from the scientific standpoint: blackout curtains, melatonin, sleeping pills, white noise apps, meditation, and finally cognitive behavior therapy with a sleep doctor in Stanford Sleep Clinic. My passion for solving the problems of my own led me to start a sleep company. While we are still developing prototypes, I realized that I should see what new technology is available for sleep problems at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV.
It was a technology feast for me as both a tech entrepreneur and a consumer. Truly fascinating. More than 30 companies were sharing their sleep technology, ranging from market-ready products to early-stage prototypes. As a startup founder who researches and talks about sleep products all day, I often see the problem of products selling promises more than science. Is it the case for the products at CES? With this thought, I went out to try different sleep products at CES.
Mattresses are getting smarter
As an essential element of sleep, mattresses are getting the spotlight at CES. Sleep Number Bed has an “experience” section where I could lie on the bed and watch from a screen above my head. Possibly the dream bedroom setup for many people, except that it’s not good to have an TV in your bedroom if sleep is an issue for you. The Sleep Number Bed provides choices for firmness and positioning, which can be automatically adjusted according to your body position. However, the mattress seemed to be overly soft for me, even when on its firmest setting. Beds that are too soft could potentially cause lower back pain, so you should pick what’s most comfortable for you. I learned it the hard way. My boyfriend’s super-soft mattress caused me severe lower back pain from sleeping for just a few weeks. I realized the issue and started sleeping on a layer of blanket on the carpet. Just like magic, the back pain quickly disappeared only days after I started sleeping on the carpet. For me, adjustable firmness is a must.
On top of the adjustments, I’m amazed by how mattresses are getting smarter in integrating sleep tracking functions. Besides offering firmness and positioning adjustment, Magniflex monitors the room temperature and noise, and tracks sleep quality by heartbeat and respiration rate. The European mattress NG Matt allows you to adjust the firmness from the app while maintaining the surface level soft enough to eliminate pressure points. It felt very comfortable when I lied on it. NG Matt has pressure sensors to track sleep through heart rate and respiration. They are also integrating with the under-the-mattress sleep tracker Emfit. You can imagine what powerful sleep tracking can result from the marriage of these two.