February 24, 2019
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Casper announces the Glow — a portable, sleep-friendly light

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Over the past few years, mattress company Casper has expanded its product lineup to include everything from dog beds to nap pillows. (It’s also opened its own nap store.) The latest addition: the Glow, an $89 light.

While the company has never made this kind of Internet-connected hardware before, Chief Strategy Officer Neil Parikh pitched the Glow as part of Casper’s mission to improve sleep. And although there’s already a whole category of light bulbs designed for the same purpose, the Glow has a couple of smart touches that could make it particularly appealing.

The basic use of the Glow is pretty straightforward. You turn it on by flipping it over, and it fills your room with warm LED light. The light then dims to darkness over a 45-minute period — as Chief Experience Officer Jeff Chapin put it, it’s “mimicking the setting of the sun and it helps you get sleepier as it dims into lower and lower amplitudes.”

You can control and customize the Glow with a smartphone app, but Chapin said, “There are some people who are never going to download the app and that’s fine.” That’s because the Glow can also be controlled by gesture — flipping it to turn it on and off again, twisting it (when it’s set on a flat surface) to adjust the brightness and wiggling it to get a low light.

The Glow is also portable, so if you wake up in the middle of the night and need to get a glass of water or use the restroom, you can just pick it up and carry it with you, rather than turning on a bright kitchen light. You can also set a wakeup time so that the Glow gradually lights up again.

“We’ve leveraged the good and the bad of light so that it would help you fall asleep, stay asleep and go back to sleep into the night,” Chapin said.

In fact, if you’re a frequent traveler who struggles with jet lag, you can even “freeze” the settings, pack the Glow in your suitcase and take it with you to your destination, though Chapin admitted, “We don’t know how many people are going to do that.”

In addition to buying a single Glow for $89, you can also get a two-pack for $169. The light comes with a small base for wireless charging.

The Casper team sent me a couple of Glows to try out for myself. I wasn’t able to download the app, but the Glow was indeed largely controllable by gesture. (My only real complaint is that the wiggle-for-dim-light only worked sporadically for me.)

Keep in mind that I didn’t have a particularly sophisticated or sleep-friendly lighting setup before this, and that it’s hard to know how I would have slept on any given night without the Glow. Still, I can say that I found myself getting sleepier as the light dimmed, and I seemed to pass out more quickly and reliably than normal. And since the Glow is pretty small (five inches tall and three inches wide), it was easy to find room for it in my cluttered bedroom, and to carry it around when necessary.

It sounds like Casper has plans more products that go beyond bedding, addressing broader environmental factors that affect sleep.

“You can expect a lot more from us in the same vein, trying to help people [sleep] across the board, in a multivariate way,” Parikh said. “It’s a very complicated problem.”

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Casper opens a storefront for $25 naps

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Casper is opening a storefront designed specifically for sleepy New Yorkers in need of a nap.

In The Dreamery, you can reserve nooks for 45 minutes at a time, at a cost of $25 per session. These nooks are basically giant wooden “O”s with curtains and soundproofed backing, and of course they’re stocked with Casper beds.

It’s easy to dismiss or giggle about a nap store, but it seems a lot less funny when it’s a warm afternoon and you’re having trouble keeping your eyes open at work. In fact, I will happily confess to taking advantage of the TechCrunch New York couch after a big lunch, or after a morning that started stupidly early thanks to deadlines and embargoes.

The Dreamery, of course, is a lot fancier than the office couch, as I discovered when I dropped by for a quick tour. Beyond the nooks themselves, there are also lockers to drop off your stuff, private washrooms to get cleaned up, a lounge for hanging out and drinking coffee before or after, plus additional amenities like pajamas and Headspace “sleepcasts.” (And yes, a Casper spokesperson assured me that the sheets are changed between each session.)

“The Dreamery is about making sleep and rest a part of our regular wellness routines — similar to how many people prioritize a workout class,” ​said COO Neil Parikh in a statement. ​“The concept enables us to pilot new ways of bringing better sleep to more people and to more places — whether that’s here, the workplace, airports, or beyond.”

Oh, and this new storefront is located on the same New York City block as a Casper sleep store, so it should be a pretty quick walk if you love the experience so much that you want to take a mattress home.

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Casper launches a $35 nap pillow for sleeping on-the-go

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Casper is launching a new product today — the Casper Nap Pillow, a small pillow that you can carry in your bag.

While the startup remains best-known for its mattresses, it’s expanded to offer not just pillows and sheets but also dog beds. It also partnered with American Airlines to provide sleep products to higher-end flyers.

“The long-term vision of the brand [is] to help people sleep better, whether in your bedroom, in the air, wherever that may be,” said co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Neil Parikh.

But sometimes it can be hard to get the recommended eight hours of sleep at home. As Parikh put it, “I don’t even sleep eight hours and I run a sleep company.” So the Nap Pillow can help you get some extra sleep on “trains, buses, airplanes, the subway, the beach” — or even at your desk at work.

Parikh said the travel pillow was created by the company’s research division Casper Labs. It’s basically a shrunk-down version (10.25 inches by 15 inches) of the regular Casper pillow, deploying what the company calls its “pillow-in-a-pillow design” — namely, combining a supportive inner layer with a fluffier outer layer.

The Nap Pillow comes with a pillowcase and a travel bag. In fact, Veanne took the pillow with her to Tel Aviv, and she said it’s well-made and provides decent support, but feels more like a child-sized Casper pillow for the office or home, not the travel pillow that she’d hoped for.

But don’t worry, she has suggestions for improvement! Like: A suction cup to stop the pillow from slipping into the gap between the airplane wall and window seat, a detachable hoodie for privacy (seriously) and a pocket to hold iPhones and wallets.

The Casper Nap Pillow costs $35 and is currently available for purchase.

Casper Nap Pillow

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American Airlines teams up with Casper to offer new in-flight sleep products

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American Airlines and Casper are announcing a new partnership that could help passengers (like me) who have trouble sleeping on flights.

They’re not going as far as putting Casper mattresses on planes. Instead, they say they worked together to create eight new sleep products designed to improve in-flight slumber.

Those products include a mattress pad that fits over your seat, a regular pillow and a lumbar pillow, a pillowcase, a duvet, a blanket, pajamas and slippers. The plan is make these products available to passengers in First class, Business class and Premium Economy in December. (So those of us in regular Economy are out of luck for now.)

Beyond the benefits to passengers’ sleep, this seems like an important deal for Casper. The company has been pretty aggressive with its marketing (at least, judging from its seemingly ubiquitous podcast and subway ads), and this rollout could expose the brand to a whole new group of people.

By the way, American isn’t the only airline making premium sleep products available to its higher-end customers. United recently announced a similar partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue.

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