The Sleepy Home


How much would you be willing to pay for a good night's rest?

This is a series on the environments you can create if you really went all-in on the smart home. Today, we talk about sleep. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about safety the “cool factor”.

Let’s start with a hypothetical: you have unlimited resources, and you’re able to get any kind of smart device you want. How would you create a good night of sleep?

Here’s how we would do it.

What Affects Sleep?

Let’s start off by thinking about the factors that affect sleep.

  • Temperature: ever had a night when you couldn’t sleep because it was too hot? I had.
  • Light: it’s harder to sleep when there’s light pollution, and easier to wake up to natural light.
  • Bed: a more comfortable bed allows you to sleep better.
  • When you wake up: if your alarm rings in the middle of a sleep cycle, you’re more likely to feel groggy in the morning.

Every single one of these factors correspond to a solution. Smart thermostats like Nest take care of the temperature. Smart lights like emberlight, Hue, or GE’s Link can automatically fade into full brightness in the morning. There’s no device save for a good mattress that can make your bed feel good, but there are sleep trackers that track your sleep cycles to wake you up at the best possible times.

Here’s how a night might look like.

The Sleep Optimized Night

It’s a bit late. You climb onto bed. You glance over at your phone, and press a single button to dim/shut off all the lights in the house. The eight monitor on your bed detects that you’re going to sleep, and automatically sets the temperature to a cool, ambient 65 degrees. You didn’t have to touch a thing. It knows that you’re supposed to wake up sometime before 7 AM, so it automatically sets a range of time to potentially wake you up before then.

You sleep through the night. It’s around 6:30, and your sleep cycle is at its lightest. The monitor knows this, and automatically start to turn on your lights at a low brightness. Good news for you: you have a lightbulb that emulates the color of natural sunshine and it’s glowing gradually from an emberlight socket. Simultaneously, a smart blind slowly lifts up from your window and natural light streams in from the outside.

In reality, you only need the smart light or the blinds. But this is not reality. This is a blog post assuming that anything is possible.

So over the course of 10 minutes, you slowly fade into being awake. A quiet alarm plays, its volume capped by the smart bed software. The Nest thermostat goes from sleep mode to day mode, where it raises the temperature to a nice, ambient 72 degrees.

You stroll out of your bed and have a great morning. The smart lights recede as the glorious morning sun shines through your windows.

How Much Would You Pay?

How many times do you wake up in the morning every year?

We hope it’s 365. That means you’re affected by the previous night of sleep every single day. There’s quite a lot of value to a good start to your morning, every single day.

It’s this perception of importance that leads people to spend nearly a thousand on comfortable mattresses. It’s this idea that fuels the entire mattress industry, essentially.

Now, you have another option. You can automate your morning in the exact bundle we described, for roughly $500 (half of which is a smart thermostat which will pay for itself in a few years).

That’s not too bad, isn’t it?

Pricing calculations:
Nest: $245.99
Eight: $100
3 Emberlight: $150. You can probably get a nice set of smart lights that way.
Smart Shades: $100
Total: $500