No matter how much you might love your spouse, it’s hard to hang onto that affection when their snoring jolts you awake in the middle of the night.
That buzzsaw sound cuts through us like nails on a chalkboard, sometimes triggering irrational rage—even though we know it’s not being done deliberately. But a new bed from an Italian manufacturer aims to restore peace in the bedroom.
Magniflex, an Italian mattress manufacturer, has recently started selling the Magni Smartech in the U.S., a $20,000 smart bed that, in addition to tracking things like heartbeat and sleep quality, will automatically sense if someone is snoring and adjust their position to stop them without waking them.
Elevated beds are nothing new, of course. Sleep Number has, for years, touted its technology that lets partners raise and lower the opposite side of the bed if someone is snoring. But Magniflex says it’s the first to offer a bed that does so automatically (meaning no one has to fumble around looking for the controller).
It works like this: A small microphone is embedded between the two people in the bed. Before going to sleep, users can turn on the monitoring function for one or both sides, When the microphone picks up the sounds of snores, it raises that side of bed slightly.
Sales have been fairly slow so far. Marco Magni, president of Magniflex, says the company sold 25 of the beds in Europe over the past six months. U.S. availability will become more widespread over the next three months.
”Once we start selling here, in the second quarter, we will be in 15 countries with this bed,” Magni says. “We expect to sell 100-150 beds every six months in Europe. … In the U.S., we expect the same kind of numbers.”
That’s not exactly market dominance, but if it hits those goals, that could mean sales of up to $12 million per year—a nice supplement to its existing mattress business. And the market for smart beds is growing quickly. TechSci Research says it expects an annual growth rate of 11% for the category.
To achieve those sales numbers, though, Magniflex will need to convince customers to bypass Sleep Number, the market leader among smart beds. And it won’t have the advantage of automatic snore adjustment for long.
In the back half of this year, Sleep Number’s 360 Smart Bed will roll out a new feature called “snore sense” that automatically detects snoring and adjusts the bed. (Customers will have to have the company’s new FlexFit3 adjustable base to utilize the feature.) When the bed’s hardware recognizes snoring, it will raise that side by 7 degrees, improving breathing quality.
Sleep Number beds aren’t cheap either, but the top price for a king-size Smart Bed 360 is $10,500—well below Magniflex’s current cost.
So who would pay $20,000—or even $10,000—for a bed? As it turns out, even this niche of technology has its enthusiasts.
“People expect us to have a product that is on the forefront,” says Heather Chala, a Sleep Number store manager. “Early adopters are willing to pay more.”
There’s certainly a market for anti-snoring beds. The National Sleep Foundation says approximately 90 million American adults snore—37 million on a regular basis. In many cases, spouses and partners are forced to take refuge in another room when it gets bad. Magniflex and Sleep Number both say they’re trying to bring those people back together.
“We call it the marriage saver,” says Chala.