Putting his body on the line, MF’s editor Isaac Williams conducted months of gruelling sleep testing to produce this Eight Sleep Pod 3 review…

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Eight Sleep Pod 3 review

£2,245 + optional (but recommended) £18/mo subscription, eightsleep.com


  • Can genuinely improve your sleep.
  • User-friendly app.
  • Fast and effective temperature control.
  • GentleRise vibration feature nicer and more effective than traditional alarm.


  • Will set you back over £2,000, plus pricey monthly subscription.
  • Sleep Fitness Score not always reliable.
  • Large Hub needs to be positioned on the floor beside the bed.

Insights: 4/5
Comfort: 5/5
Effectiveness: 5/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

Eight Sleep Pod 3 Hub

The Hub, which contains a refillable water reservoir, pumps heated or chilled water through the Pod 3 – depending on your preference

First, a disclaimer: I am not a qualified sleep specialist. But what I lack in certification, I make up for in experience: a quick Google reveals that I’ve spent roughly 10,950 nights (or 76,650 hours) in the Land of Nod. Granted, I wasn’t conscious for any of that time, but as someone incapable of functioning after a restless night, if Eight Sleep’s Pod 3 didn’t make a difference, my deep-purple eye bags and general irritability would know about it.

Eight Sleep out the box

While this particular product is a ‘mere’ mattress topper (Eight Sleep’s range also includes entire mattresses), this isn’t the sort of thing you can pick up for twenty quid in Wilko. For a start, it costs about the same amount as an all-inclusive trip to the Mediterranean – £2,245, to be precise – but in terms of sheer set-up and size, it really is something else. 

On delivery, you’ll have a few medium-sized boxes to contend with. One contains the Cover itself, and the other two contain the all-black ‘Hub’ – about the size of a desktop computer – plus various accompanying wires and attachments. Confused? So was I.

There’s a fair amount to get your head around, but Eight Sleep has done its bit to make the unpacking and set-up process as easy as possible. Download the Eight Sleep app, enter your unique verification code, then watch the intro video – all will become clear. 

In very short detail, set-up involves fitting the Cover to your mattress (different sizes are available when you order), plugging the Hub into your nearest socket, then attaching the two with the ‘hose’
– essentially three covered tubes that pump the temperature-controlled water from the hub to your mattress.

Eight Sleep Pod 3 Hub and mattress cover side by side

The extra-soft Pod 3 Cover is connected to the Hub via a ‘hose’ (not pictured) – embedded tubing that pumps the temperature-regulating water

The hardware

The Pod 3 Cover’s USP is its ability to change temperature at the tap of an app. Impressively, you can divide your bed in two and change both sides simultaneously. If, like me, your partner’s dream sleeping conditions are somewhere between ‘Earth’s inner core’ and ‘surface of the sun’, that’s an incredibly useful feature – allowing her to crank up her side to +5 (out of 10) and me to hover around 0 (colder settings are also available). 

It does all that via what’s called the ‘Active Grid’, a network of enclosed tubing that carries cool or warm water – from a detachable water reservoir that sits at the back of the Hub – to each side of the bed. It heats or cools at some speed, too: no more than around 15 minutes.

And if ‘network of enclosed tubing’ doesn’t exactly scream comfort, the small pockets of water underneath provide an extra layer of cushioning, and it’s actually a dream to sleep on. 

Man sat up on bed using Eight Sleep app to check his sleep fitness score

Check the app for your Sleep Fitness Score when you wake up

The software 

Now for the techy stuff… smart sensors line the Active Grid, and Eight Sleep is understandably keen to make a big deal of the information they provide. After a week-long testing period – during which the Cover learns your sleep patterns, ideal temperature and so on – every morning you can access a wealth of in-app sleep analysis stats.

There are too many to cover here, but standouts include sleeping heart rate, heart rate variability (an important indicator of exercise recovery) and a graph showing your ‘sleep stages’: the time you spent in light, deep and REM sleep. 

Based on all the information those sensors gather during the night, Eight Sleep provides you with a ‘Sleep Fitness Score’, along with total time slept, how long it took you to fall asleep and how long it took you to get up. That score is displayed as a percentage out of 100 – though I find results to be a bit hit and miss at first.

Some mornings, for example, I rise feeling fully alert and rested, only for my Sleep Score to be 50-odd per cent and the app to tell me that, much to my surprise, I spent large chunks of the night awake. However, it improves considerably the more you sleep on it.

More useful, in my opinion, is the Pod 3’s ‘Autopilot’ feature. This is the ability of the mattress to constantly and automatically adjust temperature throughout the night, to keep you in as deep a sleep as possible. Because it relies on the information gathered each time you sleep, the longer you use the Pod 3, the more effective Autopilot becomes. There is the option to turn this feature off, but I’m not sure why you would; both my partner and I have slept noticeably better since using it (at time of writing, about two months).

The real star of the show, though, is something you might easily overlook: the alarm. Rather than the traditional ear-piercing noise-based approach, Eight Sleep utilises the power of vibration. Set your ideal wake-up time, along with your vibration level (in truth there’s not much difference between 1 and 10) and you’ll be woken up by a gradual buzzing.

You can also set the temperature, so you wake up toasty warm or, if you want more incentive to leave bed, freezing cold. The whole thing is not only much nicer than a conventional alarm, but more effective, too.

Eight Sleep app screen displaying thermal temperature settings

Set your ideal pre-bed temperature and wake time with the tap of a button

Is the Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover worth buying?

Despite the many positives, the major sticking point that will undoubtedly put a lot of people off is the price – not just for the Pod 3, but for the additional monthly subscription. That’s not to say it’s not worth it. There’s no shortage of cutting-edge tech involved, and every aspect of the product has a premium feel. But the simple fact is that not many people will be willing to part with over £2,000+ for a mattress topper – albeit an incredibly advanced one.   

For anyone struggling with their sleep, however, and looking for a solution beyond ‘stop looking at your phone before bed’, Eight Sleep’s Pod 3 can be a genuine game-changer. It’s made a noticeable difference to my sleep quality – and subsequent next-day moods – and once you’ve tried the temperature controls, you’ll wonder how you ever went without. 

As a final aside, if you’re worried about the amount of electricity involved with having this thing on all the time, fear not. While there is some usage involved, it’s supposedly no more than a digital alarm clock. Instead, the Pod 3 relies entirely on your home WiFi, with all settings controlled on the Eight Sleep app.