To Compete With Mattress Startups, Tempur Sealy Plugs Into Data

For greater than 130 years, Tempur Sealy has been within the enterprise of sleep. In 1889, again when it was simply the Sealy Corporation, the corporate patented an invention that pressed cotton to make mattresses. It trademarked a kind of spring mattress designed for orthopedic help, known as the “posturepedic.” Then in 1992, Sealy’s predominant rival Tempur redefined luxurious sleep with the Tempur-Pedic, the reminiscence foam mattress that you might soar on with out spilling the glass of pink wine perched proper subsequent to your prancing toes. The two opponents finally merged in 2012, and the brand new company Tempur Sealy grew to become “the world’s largest bedding provider,” a venerable king amongst mattress suppliers.

But heavy is the top that wears a crown. Threats to legacy mattress makers at the moment are coming, it appears, from all sides. A foam mattress simply ain’t what it was once—now they’re commodity, offered in all places, for a fraction of the worth of a Tempur-Pedic. And posturepedic, schmosturepedic: A “luxury” mattress now refers to 1 that dynamically adjusts the temperature in a single day, to delay varied sleep phases; or a mattress infused with “AI” to “optimize” your sleeping patterns over time. Even “dumb” mattresses pose a risk. Casper, the five-year-old firm that invented the mattress-in-a-box class, raised one other $100 million this 12 months at a $1.1 billion valuation, and has ambitions to change into a full-fledged sleep tech firm. The competitors aren’t sleeping giants. They’re sleeping unicorns.


Legacy mattress manufacturers have been compelled to adapt. Today, Tempur Sealy introduced its newest bid to win again your bed room: a wise sleep “system” known as Sleep Tracker. It makes use of an array of sensors to observe your coronary heart fee and your respiration, plus environmental circumstances within the bed room, like temperature, humidity, and air high quality.

The actual clincher, although, is the brand new “snore detection technology,” which leverages all that sensor knowledge to detect the faintest whiff of a snore and gently reposition your head to make you cease. “It automatically elevates the head of your bed, between 11 and 13 degrees,” says Tom Murray, Tempur Sealy’s common supervisor. “For many people, that inclination can help to alleviate the snoring. It will be the first product to market that does that automatically.”

Murray, who admits to being a snorer himself, says Sleep Tracker makes use of know-how to assist folks in two methods: “through information, at a time when people are craving that, and by helping them to automatically sleep better when they’re in bed.” He hopes that it’s going to earn the corporate a brand new cohort of snore-free, easy-sleeping prospects.

Arielle Pardes covers private know-how, social media, and tradition for WIRED.

But for these of us who are supposed to sleep on all of those high-tech piles of springs and foam, this deepening reliance on “smart” beds is starting to go bitter. Tempur Sealy, together with its legacy mattress-making ilk, takes us additional down the know-how rabbit gap. We at the moment are on a hedonic treadmill of sleep tech merchandise, the tempo of which exhibits no signal of slowing.

The quest for digital snooze optimization now begins in infancy, with merchandise just like the Snoo Smart Baby Sleeper, a robotic bassinet that rocks and shushes your child to sleep. From there, you’ll be able to spend money on any variety of sleep lights, just like the Casper Glow, which emits a yellowish luminance and dims down earlier than bedtime. While in mattress, you’ll be able to put on a scarf to observe mind exercise or a pair of $250 “sleep earbuds” to dam exterior noise. An “anti-snore” Motion Pillow inflates like a robotic lung when loud night breathing is detected, to reposition somebody’s head and open their airwaves. It prices $378 and pairs with an app, which tracks sleep high quality. The actual investments are the mattresses, a few of which supply built-in “systems” like Tempur Sealy’s that mix many of those components into one four-figure buy. All of this has turned sleep know-how, from mattresses and pillows to wearables, right into a $70 billion enterprise.

But the good perception of those merchandise has at all times been advertising. The authentic Tempur-Pedic marketing campaign described its foam as “a marvel of molecular physics” that used “NASA’s anti-G-force research,” conjuring the picture of gravity-defying, space-age slumber. (This, for a lump of froth!) Today’s mattress choices aren’t so completely different.

Simmons, one of many main mattress manufacturers, launched its personal sleep monitoring system in 2016. It pairs its mattresses with a “smart base” to trace sleep cycles, respiration, and coronary heart fee, in addition to physique actions all through the evening. Serta, one other legacy model, makes an app known as SleepGPS that provides “dynamic sleep coaching.” The bedmaker Sleep Number provides a “SleepIQ Score.”

The authentic Tempur-Pedic marketing campaign described its foam as “a marvel of molecular physics” that used “NASA’s anti-G-force research.”

What’s so good about these mattresses? Mostly the advert copy. The analysis on whether or not these so-called techniques enhance sleep is skinny, when it exists in any respect. Few of those beds are medically endorsed, and the claims that you’re going to sleep higher from monitoring your sleep phases or giving every evening a rating? Well, that is advertising fluff too. “We’re in this Wild West of, well, let’s see how many different products we can put out there,” neurologist and sleep professional Christopher Winter put it to me earlier this 12 months. “There’s not numerous science behind them, however they give the impression of being cool. And now that individuals are focused on making their sleep higher, we will capitalize on their emotion.”

Tempur Sealy claims that its system is completely different—particularly as a result of, in contrast to different “smart” mattresses, this one truly autocorrects for disruptions like loud night breathing. (Evidence does counsel that loud night breathing may be alleviated by altering the place of the top.) Its new system combines a Tempur-Pedic mattress, one in all its adjustable bases, and a processing unit that plugs into the wall. It can tip that base up or down and provide a each day sleep report in a companion app that shows all the info it collects.

“The sensors have humidity checks, temperature checks, and it even checks for volatile organic compounds,” says Allen Platek, Tempur Sealy’s VP of latest product improvement. “It’s GDPR compliant,” he provides.

For somebody who sleeps subsequent to a snorer, that is perhaps sufficient to pony up for a brand new mattress. For the remainder of us, it is perhaps time to assume onerous about our actual sleep issues—and those we will remedy ourselves by merely shutting our eyes.

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