The Smart Bed Revolution
The Smart Bed Revolution
Two co-workers wait in line to get their breakfasts at Benny’s Bagel & Coffee Bar before going up to their 11th floor office. Joe says, “You look mighty fresh today, Mike. Must have had a good night’s sleep.”
“I did,” says Mike. “I’ve been sleeping better since we bought that new bed a month ago. Even better now than when we first got it.”
“What kind of bed is it?”
“It’s one of those new smart beds.”
“Smart bed? You’ve got to be kidding! Beds aren’t smart. You can move a few things around on some to make them better, but smart??
“No kidding. This bed is smart. It knows how I sleep. It knows how I am through the day. And it adjusts the bed to make it better.”
“Tell me more. I think I could use one, too.”
What Mike was introducing to Joe is the Smart Bed Revolution. Running concurrently with the Boxed Mattress Movement, it is changing the way beds are made and marketed. While boxed beds make buying a mattress more convenient and less expensive, smart beds promise to give you better, more restorative sleep.
It is easy enough to see how beds can be squeezed and packed into boxes, especially memory foam, latex and pocket coil innerspring mattresses. But how can a bed be smart?
First, what do we mean by “smart bed”? By smart, we mean the bed is able to make adjustments on its own without the user actively changing settings. This is a form of mechanical intelligence. Basically, these are feedback systems. A common example is the thermostat. Set on heat, when the temperature drops below the setting it turns the furnace on. Set on cooling, when the temperature exceeds the setting it turns the air conditioner on. A dual setting thermostat has a set temperature range. Above that range, air conditioning is activated. Below that range, heating is activated.
Some smart bed systems are passive, some are active. Passive systems operate without any input from users. They are preset as made.
One of these systems, phase change materials (PCMs) is used in performance fabrics and in some foams. PCMs use changes in their physical state to keep temperatures within a preset range. Unlike thermostats, you cannot change the setting.
Another preset adjustment system is load transferring. This is done with some sort of see-saw mechanism. Two of these reviewed on Beds.org are winged slats by Thomashilfen and the Lever-Support System used by Strobel Organic Mattresses in their Supple-Pedic mattresses.
More technologically advanced, and the kind of smart bed technology now expanding, is electronic intelligence. This ranges from a largely monitor-and-report function to the bedroom equivalent of modern automotive ECMs (electronic control modules).
The trend toward smart beds actually began with pressure mapping, a means of measuring and recording the amount of pressure put on vulnerable joints by lying on a mattress. This was first used to test the effectiveness of presure relief in mattress cushioning materials, such as latex and memory foam. Later, it was used by a few mattress manufacturers and their retailers to find the best mattress for a customer. Now health care providers can use sensor pads on beds to monitor the pressure on a patient’s body or alert staff when the patient gets out of bed.
Control modules for some smart beds use pressure mapping to adjust air pressure in an air bed, not only in heathcare, but for home bedrooms. More than pressure mapping, these brainy beds also monitor a sleeper’s pulse, blood pressure, temperature, movements and breathing. In a water-air hybrid, the air pressure and temprature are optimized. If the mattress is on a smart adjustable bed, the position is also fine tuned to address issues like snoring, and apnea, and restless leg syndrome.
A popular children’s Christmas song says Santa “knows when you are sleeping, knows when you’re awake.” Some smart bed apps also follow you throughout your day. For instance, Customatic‘s iFit Sleep System uses the personal activity monitor from Icon (the manufacturer of Nordic Track and other fitness devices) to record the user’s body signs during the daily activities. These are analyzed and used to adjust the bed’s settings to optimize your performanc and health.
Smart beds and systems already reviewed on Beds include Supple-Pedic by Strobel, Sleep Number‘s X-12 and Sleep IQ for Kids, Customatic iFit Sleep System, Simmons Beautyrest Smart Motion Adjustable Base, Serta Motion Custom II, and the Kingsdown Sleep Smart Bed.
Some of the new smart beds and systems are the RestPerformance ReST “Smart Beds” by PatienTech (using BodiTrak Pressure Mapping), new options for the World Luxury Collection by King Koil, Smart Beds Technology by BAM Labs (used by Sleep Number), the Eight Bed using the Luna smart bed cover, Smartress, SONUM Smart Bed Linen, and the Beddit Sleep Tracker. Some of these, not being actual mattresses, may be discussed while covering beds using them.
How smart is your bed? Is it smarter than you think? Do you really want to know?
This entry was posted
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
and is filed under
adjustable beds, airbeds, beds, cover, firmness, health, latex, memory foam, PCMs, Phase Change Materials, purchasing a mattress, reviews, smart beds, support
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