Review: The Sabai Sleeper Sofa Is a Power-Nap Powerhouse

The NYC-based furniture company makes a comfy, REM-ready couch

The Sabai Sleeper Sofa against a background of blue sky and clouds.
Whisk me to the clouds, Sabai.

Resolved: power naps are A-OK. You just need to be mindful of two core concepts: sleep inertia and sleep hygiene. 

The former occurs when you descend too deep into the sleep cycle during a siesta — and thus wake up from your nap groggy and confused, as opposed to energetic and refreshed. During naps, it’s better to stick to light, non-REM sleep. Look to NASA: the agency’s pilots are in the habit of taking 26-minute power naps, which (according to the research, at least), can improve performance by 34% and alertness by 54%. 

As for sleep hygiene, know that it’s also better to take those naps somewhere other than the bedroom. This way you don’t compromise the sanctity of your usual sleeping area — which might interfere with your sleep-wake cycle or invite bouts of insomnia. Instead, aim to nap somewhere dark, cool and comfortable in a different area of your home. We’d vouch for a basement, spare room or even terrace, if you’ve got one. Outdoor naps are excellent for sleepers of all ages. And the Platonic ideal of naps, of course, is in a personal library by a great bay window. Dare to dream. 

But if you live in a normal-ish place, with limited square footage, you could do worse than splurging on one great couch, especially a well-made sleeper, which can handle nightly TV time and occasional nap time with equal aplomb. As of late, we’ve been rocking with Sabai’s Sleeper Sofa. Here’s why we love it (and the brand in general). 

Sabai and Sustainability

The new kid on the design block, New York City-based furniture company Sabai was founded in 2019 and has garnered rave reviews from the likes of Architectural Digest, Design Milk and Apartment Therapy.

Sabai is big on sustainable creation and ethical production. The studio’s seemingly thought of everything: they manufacture in domestic factories in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Michigan (all of which pay a living wage); source non-toxic materials for their chairs, sofas and sectionals (think Sustainable Forestry Initiative-certified wood and coconut waste fabrics); and offer both a buyback program and a revival program, so your furniture will never feel like an albatross (or end up in a landfill).

At the moment of writing, Sabai is throwing a “F*ck Greenwashing Sale,” an allusion to a misleading industry practice in which companies pretend to be environmentally-conscious…except it’s all in the branding. Sabai, meanwhile, knows exactly what it’s about.

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The Sabai Sleeper Sofa

Sabai also really knows how to make a sleeper sofa. I had the pleasure of sampling the brand’s sleep bundle for the last month, and can confidently declare it a power-nap powerhouse. Here are a few things I liked:

  • Upcycled fabric doesn’t mean uncomfortable fabric: It’s understandable that the idea of “recycled velvet” or “upcycled polyester” might sound scratchy. But trust me, it’s far from it. I’ve been rocking with the latter, in the oat color, and it’s soft on the skin, while simultaneously channeling a robust, old-world feel. The latter impression is probably because I’ve grown so used to mass-produced sofas. This couch really feels like someone handmade it.
  • Multiple boxes is a win: Sabai’s Sleeper Sofa arrived in five different boxes. I live in a fourth-floor walk-up, so this made for a heart-pumping day…but, crucially, not an impossible one. I was easily able to get the boxes through the various thresholds of our apartment unit. As for assembly, I timed it at about 20 minutes total.
  • Power naps, eight-hour sleeps and more: As the name suggests, this sofa isn’t just for lounging or reading. It’s for shut-eye. It’s good on that front, too. You can either sleep on the couch as is (it’s over eight feet long including the armrests, so even an NBA power forward would be comfortable), or “convert” it, by placing the sofa seat — which is one continuous cushion — next to the sofa platform, and by putting a mattress topper over the whole operation, which Sabai offers in a bundle.

Does that take long to do? Not really. Here’s a video to see the process in action. And unlike conventional sleeper sofas, which require repeated pull-outs of an interior bed and can get damaged and sink over time, this technique protects each individual section of the sofa. Plus, you can wash the cushion cover after it’s touched the floor.

Our take? Instead of taking too-long naps that leave you feeling cranky, take five minutes to set up your sleeper sofa just how you like it…and then snooze for a crisp 26 minutes. Sabai’s stuff isn’t the most affordable on the market, but you’re paying for their sustainable quality and your sustainable energy. Hard to put a price on that combo.

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