When my husband and I decided to start taking our sleep seriously, we learned that it's hard to go from terrible sleeping habits—late bedtimes, watching Netflix, lazy weekend mornings—to suddenly having healthy sleeping habits. My husband suggested we get a new mattress to kick off one really big effort to reign in our habits, and after some researching, we decided on the Pod by Eight Sleep, which is a smart foam cooling mattress. Not only does the mattress sync with other smart products (which is kind of an obsession for us), but it also uses smart tech and engineering to help you overhaul your sleep health from the bottom up with dynamic temperature controls. Not to mention the fact that layers of foam ended up being insanely comfy and its cooling technology is state of the art.
When we saw Eight Sleep's 4-weeks to sleep fitness challenge we were ready to give healthier habits a shot. Here's how our sleep transformed.
The first week introduced us to something we hadn't thought much about: temperature. Not only does Eight Sleep sync up with smart thermostats, like the Nest, but the Pod also has a cooling mechanism. The Eight Sleep app helped us determine our optimal temperatures, and we were surprised to learn that mine was slightly cooler. Staying cool at night meant sleeping soundly and more comfortably, something I hadn't been able to do in a while. I did a ton of research before buying and there wasn't another mattress that allows this kind of temperature control. Plus it ranges from 55 to 110 degrees, so I can't imagine anyone out there who couldn't find their exact perfect number.
Cooling helped, but now we were on to the heavy lifting: figuring out how much sleep we really needed. After using the app for a week, we were able to figure out that both of us required a solid 8 hours, even though my bedtime was slightly earlier than my husband's since my job has an earlier start time. The next goal was, with the help of the tracking app, to consistently stick to a bedtime of 10:30 pm so I could wake up around 6:30 or 7 and feel well rested.
This is the week we both really started to see the benefits of better sleep habits. My husband found his running times got better, I was much more focused at the office without needing an afternoon pick-me-up, and both of us were feeling way more energetic. We also worked on our room environment this week, which meant putting phones out of reach, dimming the lights an hour before bed, and setting up our smart devices (syncing the Pod and our coffee maker so we could wake up to freshly brewed coffee was life-changing!).
The goal of the final week was to integrate the rest of our lifestyle. Already, we were both feeling less inclined to reach for late afternoon coffee or cookies, but also learned that exercising right before bed perhaps wasn't the best move. 30 days ago, the idea of working out in the morning would have terrified me. Now, with the help of the app's alarm that wakes you during a lighter stage of sleep, we were able to get up and moving earlier without the usual grogginess.
Overall, the challenge ended up having a much bigger impact on our health than we expected, but the best thing about it was feeling energized, calmer, and more focused every single day (not only on those lucky days when you're so exhausted you can't help but sleep deeply). Both my husband and I learned that sleep fitness is about so much more than getting 8 hours--it's about adopting a healthier, more optimal lifestyle. Sleep is really where your best life begins.