Sometimes your best efforts at a good night’s sleep are futile, forcing you to research why you are chasing your own rest. Everything from your choice of sleep products, to your weight, sleep position preference, and the many other details that influence your sleep comfort can influence why you may not be getting the rest you deserve.
Advances in technology now allow you to map your own sleep patterns without having to make regular visits to your doctor. Although this technology may not be as advanced and accurate as what a specialist can offer, it can begin to pinpoint what issues may be the root of your lack of rest. The iSense Sleep Pillow is such a product and was created to help track your nights. The Sleep Judge Review Team has had the opportunity to personally review this product, and our results are found below.
iSense Sleep Smart Pillow Specs Sheet
Filling: Cross-Cut Foam and Polyester
Comfort Positions: All
Warranty: 36 month limited
iSense Sleep Company History
Founded by a 30 year Australian veteran of the sleep industry, the iSense Sleep Company came about due to frustrating conversations between customer service representatives and consumers in need of adjustable comfort. Roughly 5% of beds sold are adjustable, and depend upon air technology for adjustable comfort, but with the introduction of iSense advances in the industry the company has provided an entirely new way to approach your sleep. Personal comfort is the company’s number one priority and is applied to all aspects of the products they sell. Their mattresses and pillows are backed by unparalleled customer support, and a comfort promise to ensure your investment is everything you expect.
Breakdown of the iSense Sleep Smart Pillow
Engineered to help you sleep better, the iSense Pillow is fully adjustable to meet the needs of all sleep positions. It also is designed to be naturally conforming, and includes various layers of fill to help support your head and neck in proper spinal alignment, and give under pressure. Unique to the iSense brand is their patented smart sleep tracking system that provides a detailed map of your rest each night. Run through a downloadable app, it also provides personalized tips, an easy wake alarm, and music to fall asleep to that are fully controlled by you.
Although the pillow came within its own branded box, it did arrive on my front porch in a plain brown box to hide what the product was. The product box provided a lot of information itself about the capabilities of the pillow. The pillow was wrapped protectively, and came with a detailed manual of how to set the pillow up to work as it should.
At first glance the pillow looks like any other. It has a smooth, quilted top that I have learned to recognize as fairly typical of a material that breathes well, and it was lightweight. The packaging and information provided with the pillow was impressive- as the pillow was well protected and obviously care was taken with it prior to shipping. The manual looked fairly straightforward and easy enough to follow, and had me anticipating how well the technology would come together in order to use the pillow as it was designed to be used. These directions are also provided in multiple languages.
In order to take full advantage of this pillow you have to get it charged and set up. The setup of the tracker that plugs into the sensor was easy enough. A few simple steps, and a quick downloadable app and sync has you rolling in no time. I HIGHLY recommend that you look online at their directions and watch their video despite how easy their manual reads. There is a rather large discrepancy that I will explain below. My set-up time took a bit longer because of it, even though it was no big deal in the long run.
Rechargeable Sleep Tracker
The sleep tracker is a thin device about 3 to 4 inches long that plugs into the sensor and slides into a little pocket that you can secure with a button. It has a large, flat button that you can use to turn it on and off if you wish, but it is considered perfectly safe to keep turned on to take advantage of automatic settings you can set through the app (as it will begin and end recording on its own). This tracker speaks to the app (explained below) via bluetooth to take advantage of a wide variety of options. When you first get your pillow the tracker does come with a partial charge, but you will want to charge it all the way. It takes approximately 8 hours to charge completely when it is fully depleted. It does have a red light to show when it is charging, and a green to show when it is completely charged. Mine took about 3 hours to charge all the way on the first charge, and should last close to 3 weeks.
The sleep sensor is a thin device that sits within its own pocket, and runs almost the whole length of your pillow. It is easy to remove, but does take a bit of manipulation to get it back into the pocket. It connects to the tracker via a cord, plugs in securely, and can hold up to 6 months of data without it downloading to the app. This sensor is capable of picking up a variety of readings from your body, and although not overly sensitive, is pretty detailed in what it can sense. Your heart rate, breathing, movements, and sleep cycle are all part of the feedback that you will receive. It cannot, however, tell the difference between you, and say, your child, or pet who decides to place their head or part of their body on your pillow through the night. Since the feedback is very detailed and is displayed at the times it was read, you can, more or less, tell when those events may have occurred so it doesn’t take away from your own information.
Downloadable Sleepace App
This is where I went sideways with the pillow. The manual says to download the iSense Sleep app (available in both Apple and Android versions), which I did (by the way, I am using an Android phone). It was easy to find, downloaded fast, and looked to connect easily enough. Except, when it asked to sync, there was no pillow option: it was specific to their mattress.
I searched online for help and immediately found their FAQ page, and in a bright orange disclaimer it tells you which app to download: the Sleepace app. Obviously I am not the only one who has had this problem. I removed the other app, and this one downloaded just as easily. Set up was super quick as it read my sensor and confirmed the ID number on the side.. This is where I went wrong again. I am in such a habit of connecting bluetooth through my phone I automatically went into my bluetooth settings. Under there I saw the iSense pillow to connect- except it refused to sync no matter what I did. Now- this was purely operator error on my part, but I can’t help but think it is a pretty common mistake. This pillow syncs directly via bluetooth through the app; you DO NOT need to connect it to your phone in any other way (in case you needed that said, because I certainly did). Luckily I figured it out and got rolling.
How Sleep Tracking Works: Sleep Score Math
The app is very easy to use and really doesn’t take too long to figure out. I have found that occasionally it does not open very quickly, but that is random and so I am unsure if it due to my connection, or the app itself. From the start the app walks you through a quick setup and provides some simple instruction. There are only a few main buttons for navigation to keep it simple: home, reports, start/stop sleep, device info, and ‘me’ for personalized settings. Everything the sensor records is put into a database, charted in a graph, and provided to you in a report nightly, weekly, and by month. You are provided a daily sleep score based on this information, with points taken off for restlessness, abnormal breathing or heart rates, and length of sleep to name a few. Plus, you can edit your information to provide any insight as to why your score may be what it is- for example- dogs were barking in the neighborhood all night and kept you up, or a storm rolled in and scared your children into your bed. These are all detailed for you to read up on if you wish.
Your breathing is tracked and displayed through the night. This is part of what helps determine where you are in your sleep cycle. It also picks up on breathing issues such as abnormal breathing (such as snoring), tachypnea, and bradypnea, explains what they are, and shows you exactly when they occurred. This can be helpful to determine if sleep apnea could be a problem.
Your pulse is also recorded and charted to show your heart rate in relation to your breathing. The graphs show also if you are within normal, average rates, or is there is a concern, such as bradycardia, or other abnormal heart situations and how long those lasted.
How often you turn over, shift, or get up through the night is charted and made note of. I did notice that this is a sensitive measurement and that the recording of turning over may record as my shifting the pillow, or tucking it under my head a bit more.
You should naturally cycle through lighter and deeper periods of rest through the night. These periods are measured and graphed for you to reflect upon. Deep, mid, light, and awake moments are all color coded and assigned a percentage so you have both a visual of the cycle when these occurred, as well as the length of each. How long it takes you to fall asleep are also included.
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Added App Features
The app is pretty nifty, and has a variety of other options you can take advantage of. As mentioned, you can set it up to begin recording at a specific time each night under the main controls. Personally I do not like to leave the sensor on and prefer to manually turn it on and off. From there, in the app I simple hit the start sleep button to begin tracking my sleep. If I were to forget to turn it off it will automatically do so after an hour of no movement. Overall the app is fairly comprehensive, but does have a few oversights that could use attention for consumer use. My take? It works pretty darn well and doesn’t seem to be at all buggy. The longer this product is out for will probably see an increase in added features through the app.
The sleep aid is a setting you can use to drift off to sleep with gentle, downloadable music. It is designed to turn off automatically after you have fallen asleep, and provides you with options to cycle through one or multiple sound or song choices. Although there are many choices to choose form pertaining to the sounds, I did have some issues with downloading. They did download, but didn’t always do so in a timely manner which didn’t seem to have anything to do with my internet connection.
The alarm clock is probably my favorite extra feature to take advantage of. You can set an alarm through the app which allows you to choose from a variety of different sounds, including nature and orchestra music. You can allow the app to apply a smart wake up set between 15 and 30 minutes prior to your alarm time to gently begin to wake you in our lightest cycle of sleep. This also turns off the monitoring. The only downside to the alarm is you cannot specify which days you want the alarm to go off and have to manually go into the app to turn the alarm on and off if you don’t want it waking you on the weekend after a long week of work.
Features and Benefits
Let’s get down to the details of the pillow comfort shall we? The technology of this product isn’t all it has going for it- it is pretty darn comfortable as well. After all, you aren’t going to want to sleep on it if you don’t find it soothing.
The pillow comes in a queen and king size option that seem to measure within the acceptable average measurements of these sizes (26 x 30 and 26 x 36 inches respectively). I personally was trying out the queen size pillow which fits easily into a queen size pillowcase. In my opinion a king size pillow for the purpose this is made for may be a bit much overall as you would have a lot of extra surface area to pick up movement from a partner, children, or your pets.
What makes this a pillow serious worth getting (because no matter how great the technology is, of you can’t get comfortable what would the point be?) is the adjustability. The design of this pillow is best described as a pillow within a pillow as the casing is lined with a soft, polyester fill that encompasses a double sided, cross-cut foam filled chambers. The sensor lies in the middle of the inner pillow. You can access either side of the pillow via a zipper to remove or add foam as needed to meet the needs of all sleep positions. Since the foam is all cut to exact measurements, you don’t get small bits and pieces that stick to your hand and everything else due to static electricity when trying to adjust your pillow. Not to knock other adjustable pillows, because I am a huge fan of many that I have reviewed, but this lack of mess was a nice touch. As a stomach sleeper I took out a few handfuls of foam from either side to create a much lower loft than the almost 9 inches it measures when full. This made it perfect to use when laying on my stomach as I like to angle it a little to help keep my head and neck a bit more in alignment with my spine.
As mentioned, there are zippers to provide access to both the technology and the filling. These are well sewn and lay flat, and the out cover zipper wraps slightly around the entire end in order to provide easy removal of the inner pillow. The zippers to the foam are located on the sides of each chamber length and are easy to open to access the foam.
Cross Cut, Cooling Foam Filling
Unique to iSense Pillows are the cross-cut foam design. These are made to form and shape under your weight without clumping or creating an uneven surface. They also are designed to never go flat and provide consistent support. Plus, they are really easy to remove or add for adjustment purposes and store in a simple plastic bag without creating a mess. These foam pieces are also infused with a temperature regulating gel to help pull heat from your skin surface through the physics of conduction to help regulate your sleep temperature. You can even order a sample of the foam in advance to check it out prior to purchase!
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Smooth, Quilted Outer Cover with 2 inch Breathable Gussets
The outer cover is a polyester blend that is quilted for maximum breathability purposes. It is smooth and soft, and feels a bit plush overall. It also has moisture wicking properties which works in conjunction with the gel foam within to keep you cool. The gusseted sides are 2 inches in height, and are a breathable mesh to keep air flow, and heat dissipation constant throughout the night as well.
Poly Stuffed 100% Cotton Inner Covers
The outer casing which encloses the polyester fiberfill has an inner cotton liner which further supports airflow and protection to the sensor strip within. This ‘pillow-like’ case provides a plush sleep surface and help the pillow hold its shape even if you remove much of the inner foam for your own personal preferences.
How to Care For the Pillow
Ok- this is where things get confusing. The website says the pillow is machine washable, but it is not clear about whether the pillowcase, pillow, or the entire pillow can be machine washed and dried. Therefor I went looking for labels. The label on the case AND on the pillow both say to spot clean only. Being confused, I went looking at the frequently asked question page and found that it recommends that you DO NOT wash either case or pillow to avoid ruining the moisture wicking properties, and the gel infused foam.
That’s right, their own webpage contradicts itself. Personally I will spot clean if needed, but probably will hand wash in cold and hang dry after removing the foam (and of course the sensor) if the situation ever arises that I feel I need to wash the pillow. It is considered hypoallergenic since it uses materials that are not conducive to allergens- but, bottom line? Be sure to use a pillowcase, and maybe even a protective cover.
Warranty: 36 Month Limited and 120 Night Sleep Trial
With the type of technology offered in this pillow, a 36 month limited warranty covers the workmanship of the pillow as long as everything has been used correctly. The electronics have a 1 year warranty. They also provide a 120 night sleep trial guarantee as long as you have tried the product for 45 nights. There are no return shipping fees as long as you send it back in the original packaging, however, if you do not have it, you can get the company to send you one for a cost.
This is a new concept and design, and like anything new does have room for improvement as I have noted, and detail further below. Despite that, it has some pretty fantastic initial reviews. Like myself, most people are very impressed with its capabilities and the overall accuracy it provides to your sleep health. Some complaints are mentioned pertaining to the confusion surrounding the app (which seems to be addressed by the company already), and data reading, but there are no complaints in relation to the pillow comfort. Many consumers mention that it helps support their posture and keeps neck pain from occurring, and almost everyone is impressed with the adjustability and coolness it provides. They also like how they don’t have to fluff it to make it comfortable again.
My Sleep Trial Experiences
Although I have provided quite a bit of my own experiences above, it’s important I detail my use of the pillow here as well. As a stomach sleeper I’m well aware that the use of a pillow only creates further chaos with my spine at night, which is why I made it fairly thin. I do try to sleep more on my side as well, and usually bunch a soft pillow up under my head and neck so it can conform to me when I shift through the night.
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I was hesitant to try and manipulate this pillow due to the sensor as it mentions in the instructions not to fold or bend the pillow. I did kind of squish it up towards the middle to accommodate my combo sleeping and it didn’t seem to affect my sleep data at all, and met my comfort needs. I did find the pillow overall very comfortable. It is cool, provides plenty of filling to fit a wide variety of needs, and adapts well under weight without flattening out, or lofting up. The tracking device and technology is truly top notch in what it offers, and so far seems accurate overall from what I can tell. The only thing I don’t like it that it cannot be washed, and I do not trust to leave the sensor and tracker plugged into one another in the on mode when I am not home. I have no doubt that it is safe- there is absolutely no heat or anything to cause me concern other than I am my paranoid self. That means I do need to physically unzip a part of the case and turn it on and off each night and each morning.
Overall Rating: 4.6
I want to give this pillow a 5.0 – I really do, but the discrepancies with the setup and contradictions with both the app and pillow care are all things that can result in a pretty frustrating situation. I’ll admit, I was frustrated with the app and felt I shouldn’t have to search for an answer when I had a perfectly good manual in front of me. The app is also lacking in a few details overall and is a little buggy pertaining to downloads. Nothing that is a deal breaker, but definitely leaves room for improvement. Directions, both in the manual, online, and in the app, are slightly lacking in grammar and detail- which has me thinking that they were originally written in something other than English. This, of course is perfectly fine, but the translation is in need of edit, and did force me to pause and reread a few times to make sure I was getting the correct information. Despite the above, this is an awesome pillow that truly is a new technology. It really has set a standard pertaining to tracking your sleep health, and is fairly groundbreaking. Plus, the materials used, and the adjustability really does make it a comfortable pillow for just about any body, big or small. It is easy to adjust without any mess, and truly does conform well without shifting or clumping. Plus, it sleeps very cool! This is such a new technology, that all that I have noticed that needs improvement is sure to be a part of their constantly evolving advances in both what the pillow can provide in terms of information and comfort. I honestly did not know what to expect, and the amount of detail it provides, and the extra options seriously blew me away. I am more than impressed with this concept than I can even share, and I look forward to seeing what else this company introduces within the sleep industry.
If comfort and technology in your search for a better night’s rest is a priority, I’m not sure if I could recommend a better product as the writing of this review. The iSense Sleep Smart Pillow is well designed and executed, and is well worth checking out. This is truly a comfortable sleep, and with incredibly eye opening tracking data. Although there is room for growth, there is not much that this company hasn’t thought of and attempted to apply to your overall experience- which has left me impressed with the product.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What sleep position is this best suited for?
Side, Back, and Stomach.
Will I experience a lot of offgassing?
Is it organic?
What’s the warranty?
36 months limited.