Elon Musk Might Be Right About Eight Sleep’s Temperature-Regulating Pod 3 Cover

With celebrity endorsements from Elon Musk and Danny Green generating plenty of biohacking buzz, you may have heard of Eight Sleep’s Pod 3 Cover. It’s a mattress cover that can heat or cool your bed to help you sleep better. You can tweak the temperature in the Eight Sleep app or have the autopilot mode adjust it automatically, and the Pod 3 can provide in-depth, accurate sleep tracking.

To unlock the smarts of this system, including autopilot and sleep tracking, you need an expensive subscription (from $15 per month), and that’s on top of the astronomical asking price (from $2,045). The UK Super King cover I tested costs £2,495 (around $3,175), which is far more than I could ever justify spending on a gadget like this. (The US equivalent is a Queen, roughly $2,145.)

High prices and billionaire endorsements are a turn-off for me, so I approached the Eight Sleep Pod 3 with a healthy dose of skepticism. Turns out rich people have nice things. Closing in on a month with the Pod 3, I’m a grudging convert. It is far too expensive, and I don’t need another subscription in my life; not to mention there are some quirks I’m not keen on. But my wife and I have both been sleeping better, and that kind of trumps everything else.

Make Your Bed

The Eight Sleep Pod 3 is a thick mattress cover with a network of rubber tubing inside and a soft, plush black material on top. It is elasticized for a snug fit on your mattress, but I’d advise enlisting some help to fit it. There’s a sticker to ensure you put it on the right way around with the connectors at the top. The brushed fleece top is soft, and I found the cover very comfortable. It doesn’t feel as though it’s filled with tubes with sensors.

Photograph: Simon Hill

A device that resembles a desktop PC with a big 8 on the front connects to the cover via a double tube. I slipped mine next to my bedside cabinet. This unit is the brains of the operation, with a quad-core CPU inside, and it pumps chilled or heated water through the mattress cover.

Hooking up the app and Wi-Fi was a five-minute job; the app walks you through every step. The first time you set it up, you need to fill the Pod 3 with water. A cylinder slides out of the top with a clear fill line. You have to do this a couple of times, and it takes around 90 minutes after each fill to pump the water into the system and calibrate, so don’t start the installation right before bedtime.

The cover has two distinct sides, so your partner can configure different settings, which is ideal if one of you runs cold and the other warm. It was easy to invite my wife from the app, so we could both control the Pod 3 from our phones. It took maybe four hours to prime the system, but most of that was waiting.

Logging Some Z’s

On my first night with the Pod 3 Cover, I slept like a log. My sleep score was 100. Like, actually 100. I fell asleep in less than five minutes and got seven hours and 55 minutes of blissful slumber. I woke refreshed and bounded out of bed, ready to tackle the day. This is rare for me. I usually take up to an hour to drop off and frequently wake through the night. But this auspicious start was not to last.

Dark grey mattress on light wooden bedframe. Black towershaped device placed on the floor between the bed and nightstand.

Photograph: Simon Hill