Kingsdown Sleep Smart Intuitive review: Paying a king's ransom to sleep like a king

Americans crave sleep more than sex, according to a survey by the Better Sleep Council, a non-profit organization supported by the mattress industry. And yet many of us who don't hesitate to upgrade our smartphones, smart TVs, and tablets every couple of years tend to sleep on the same old BeautyRest for a decade or more. And when we do (excuse the pun) spring for a new mattress, few of us spend more than $1000.

Well I've spent the last two months testing a $10999 Kingsdown Sleep Smart Intuitive queen-sized mattress. And while I find it strange to say "testing" when it comes to sleeping, because I'm not awake for most of the evaluation, this high-tech mattress is worth its very high price tag.

It's quite unique in that it evaluates your quality of sleep--monitoring how much you move while you're asleep--and then automatically makes adjustments to the amount of air contained in 21 chambers spread over six zones to keep you in la-la land as long as possible. My test model made a slight whirring sound during these adjustments, but Kingsdown says they've since corrected that issue.

The reason we sleep poorly is often because the mattress we're sleeping on doesn't provide the right amount of support in the right areas. With this mattress, I felt as though I was sleeping on shifting sand--and I mean that in the best way possible. As a result, my own sleep improved over that two-month period and is trending upward according to the data, which is collected by an app running on an 8-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 tablet that's included in the purchase price.

That tablet has been on the market for almost three years, so it might not be useful for anything beyond running Kingsdown's app and controlling the mattress: You can use it to manually adjust its firmness, and raise the head (for reading, watching TV, or to alleviate snoring, for instance) thanks to its adjustable base. You can make similar adjustments to the foot of the mattress. If you manually set the bed to a particular level of firmness, it will limit its automatic adjustments to a range within that setting.

The mattress also has a variable massage mode (for your entire body, just your feet, or just your head) and a mode that creates a pulsing sensation that can affect the whole mattress or be isolated to particular areas of your body, such as your lower back. The massage mode reminded me of those "magic fingers" beds they made fun of in old movies, but it did help to loosen up my body after a long day at a computer. The pulsing mode was even better at relieving my chronic back pain, and it made me feel a little more limber in the morning. It wouldn't serve me breakfast, though.

Your mileage may vary, of course. My wife's certainly did. According to the Kingsdown app, she moved an average of 102 times per night in December, and that increased to 108 times per night in January. Her Quality of Sleep rating was at 75 percent in December, but it dropped to 68 percent in January. (The mattress adjusts independently for each person.) 

Is it too expensive

There's no getting around it: $10999 is a lot of money. I spent less on my last car. But the Kingsdown Sleep Smart Intuitive isn't priced outrageously higher than some other top-of-the-line beds that don't have its automatic-adjustment technology. A queen-sized Sleep Number x12 with SleepIQ, for instance, reports statistics on your night's sleep and is adjustable, but it doesn't have the massage feature: It's priced at $7999.

If you can give up the adjustable base, the price of the Kingsdown Sleep Smart Intuitive drops to $9399. Sacrifice the active adjustment and a few other other gee-whiz features and the queen-sized Kingsdown Sleep Smart Progeny model can be purchased for $4399. You still get the adjustable base, dual firmness controls, ventilated edge support, and recommended for support settings. But you'll need to make the adjustments yourself. 

After sleeping on this bed for two months, I've concluded that I personally can't justify its price tag. The Kingsdown Sleep Smart Intuitive didn't dramatically  improve my sleep, and it didn't help improve my wife's sleep at all. But that's a personal decision that I can't let color my bottom-line score for this product. And who's to say I wouldn't end up sleeping like a king after the mattress has had a year to analyze my sleep and adjust accordingly The quality of this mattress's material, its construction, and the technology behind it make it an excellent product. It's a very impressive mattress.


John Brandon

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