“The Chilisleep Dock Pro ME is a smart mattress with a lot of promise, but it's currently undergoing growing pains on its way to live up to its potential.”
- Great at controlling temperature
- Easy operation
- More affordable than the competition
- Not securely attached to mattress and bunches during the night
- Frequent app connectivity issues
Sleep deprivation is the new smoking. According to SleepFoundation.org, 35.2% of all adults report sleeping less than seven hours per night — and almost half of all Americans say they feel sleepy during the day numerous times per week.
We need sleep, and smart technology might be able to help. Smart mattresses can provide greater levels of comfort and temperature control while simultaneously adjusting the temperature to keep the user asleep.
Half of all Americans say they feel sleepy during the day numerous times per week.
I tried the Chilisleep Dock Pro Sleep System for several weeks. While it definitely does some things right, there is also quite a bit of room for improvement.
Nighttime comfort is lacking
A comfortable bed is key to a good night’s sleep. In that respect, the Chilisleep Dock Pro let me down a bit. I reviewed the Dock Pro ME, which is the single-user version of the device, and I should note that the Dock Pro WE covers the entire bed, and likely wouldn’t have the same problems.
The Dock Pro is made up of three primary components: The pump mechanism, which is placed on the floor or table beside the bed; the mattress cover itself; and the hose that connects the two together.
The mattress cover slides onto your existing mattress. You secure it with two straps that fit under your mattress. In theory, that should work — but not in practical application.
My situation might be different. Neither my wife nor I are what you would call sound sleepers — we toss and turn a lot during the night. The Dock Pro cover would bunch up and create lumps underneath me during the night, which only led to more tossing and turning. I found myself flattening out the Dock Pro each night before climbing into bed. The cover itself is comfortable enough to lay on, but the mechanism for securing it to the bed needs improvement. It would work better on a twin bed, but not so much on a queen.
Another thing to note is the sound. While it isn’t much, the pump does make noise. You can position it at either the head or the foot of the bed; if possible, I suggest placing it at the foot. That minimizes the noise that you’ll hear. For people who enjoy white noise at night, though, this might be a boon. According to the specs, the volume is anywhere from 41 to 46 decibels at 1 foot away.
One of the best examples of temperature control
Now, on to the good. The primary purpose of the Dock Pro is temperature control, and it excels at this. I’m hot-natured and often find myself tossing the covers off at night, but the Dock Pro actually made me cold. You can adjust the temperature from 55 degrees Fahrenheit all the way up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, although neither extreme is suggested. You can manipulate the temperature through on-device buttons or via the app.
The Dock Pro can wake you by gently warming you, rather than shaking you awake or playing a loud noise in your ear.
If you keep a consistent schedule, you can set times for the bed to automatically begin warming or cooling to your preferred temperature. It might take a bit of experimentation to find the ideal temperature for your sleeping habits, but once you do, you will sleep better.
Another benefit is the warm alarm. During sleep, your body temperature drops by one to two degrees (and this is one of the reasons a colder room is more conducive to sleep.) When you start to wake, your body slowly begins to warm up. The Dock Pro can wake you by gently warming you, rather than shaking you awake or playing a loud noise in your ear. It’s a far better way to wake up, and leaves you less groggy and more alert.
A missing feature is sleep tracking. It will be possible in the future through the sleepme Insight Tracker, but it’s not yet available. The lack of this feature made the product feel incomplete; understanding how well you sleep each night is vital to figuring out the ideal temperature setting, and since the feature isn’t available yet, it seems a bit like wandering blind.
Maintenance and connectivity
One strong selling point of the Dock Pro is that it has no electrical connections or wires within the mattress cover — only water tubes. As a result, it’s completely machine washable and dryable. The lack of electricity is safer, and it also means no EMFs, or electromagnetic fields.
Studies have shown that low-frequency magnetic fields can have adverse effects on sleep cycles. The pad emits none of these, and it’s possible to switch the Dock Pro pump to Airplane Mode to minimize the field it produces.
Maintaining the pump is simple. The reservoir holds 20 oz (600 mL) of water. Use distilled water when you fill it. Every so often, you will need to clean the reservoir, but the instructions for doing so are easy.
Unfortunately, the app isn’t so easy. The first time I set up the Dock Pro, I had to reset the app and the Dock Pro itself before either one could recognize the other. Since that time, I routinely lose connectivity and am forced to fiddle with the pump or power cycle it just to reconnect the app. It’s frustrating, to say the least. The good news is that I can adjust temperature settings on the Dock Pro itself, but I found myself wishing it were simpler.
Pricing and affordability
In terms of smart beds, the Dock Pro is actually on the more affordable side. The Dock Pro ME Sleep System I tested is only $999 for a Queen, but the WE — the full-sized version for two people — starts at $1,699 for a queen and $1,899 for a King or California King.
It’s still a lot of money, but less so than other smart beds on the market.
The ChiliSleep Dock Pro Sleep System has a lot of promise, but is still experiencing growing pains. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad product at all — if sleep tracking becomes available soon, it would be a solid value, especially if the bunching problems are addressed.
Is there a better alternative?
Smart mattresses have yet to become prevalent throughout the market. If you’re looking for only a topper, the Eight Sleep Pod Pro is $1,745 for a Queen and it fits the entire bed.
How long will it last?
The mattress cover is durable, and the Dock Pro is hefty enough to withstand constantly moving water. With care, this system should last at least five years — but even if something does happen, ChiliSleep offers a three-year limited warranty.
Should I buy it?
That’s a solid “maybe.” If you want an affordable, easy-to-use smart mattress for a single person, the Dock Pro ME is a decent option. If you’re sharing a bed with someone else, you might want to consider the full-bed versions. Few things are less comfortable than a bunched-up bed in the middle of the night.
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