Mark Zuckerberg’s Sleep Box Invention for Wife Draws Flak

The CEO of Facebook created a box that emits soft light to let his wife know when it's time to get up with the kids. It's drawn mixed responses.

As a mom, getting enough sleep is tough.

From constant dirty diapers and midnight feedings in infancy to early school mornings in childhood and adolescence, mom might get a solid eight hours after 18 years have passed.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, saw that his wife, Priscilla Chan, was struggling to sleep through the night – and that she’d wake up multiple times throughout the night to check her phone and see if her daughters, Maxima, 3, and August, 1, would be getting up soon.

This process stressed her out and made it so that she couldn’t fall back asleep.

Feeling for his wife, Zuckerberg used his engineering prowess to create something that would help, and took to Instagram to introduce his new invention to the world.

View this post on Instagram

Being a mom is hard, and since we've had kids Priscilla has had a hard time sleeping through the night. She'll wake up and check the time on her phone to see if the kids might wake up soon, but then knowing the time stresses her out and she can't fall back asleep. So I worked on building her what I call the "sleep box". It sits on her nightstand, and between the hours of 6-7am it emits a very faint light — visible enough that if she sees it she'll know it's an okay time for one of us to get the kids, but faint enough that the light won't wake her up if she's still sleeping. And since it doesn't show the time, if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she knows to just go back to sleep without having to worry about what time it is. So far this has worked better than I expected and she can now sleep through the night. As an engineer, building a device to help my partner sleep better is one of the best ways I can think of to express my love and gratitude. A bunch of my friends have told me they'd want something like this, so I'm putting this out there in case another entrepreneur wants to run with this and build sleep boxes for more people!

A post shared by Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck) on

The “sleep box,” as Zuckerberg calls it, is a small box that sits on Chan’s nightstand and gives off faint light between 6 and 7 a.m.

The light is not bright enough to wake her, but if she awakens to find that the light is on, she knows that it’s a good time to go get the kids. If it’s off, she knows she’s safe to go back to sleep, without the stress of knowing how many more hours she has or the worry of what needs to get done that day.

Zuckerberg reports that the device has worked better than he expected and that Chan is sleeping through the night.

But while the sleep box gets raving reviews from Zuckerberg and Chan, not all Internet users have been so kind. Some quickly pointed out that this invention has been on the market for years in the form of light-up clocks for kids, while others pointed out that Zuckerberg should just get out of bed to help with his kids instead of expecting Chan to do it.

While I completely agree that dads should be helping with their kids, there’s no evidence that Zuckerberg doesn’t already do that for Chan – though, if he doesn’t, he should definitely start.

Others, however, were on board with the sleep box and said that they thought it was a sweet gesture from a husband to a wife.

Personally, I tend to agree with the latter folks. Zuckerberg recognized that his wife was struggling and then went out of his way to try to support and help her. And if that’s not a sign of a healthy marriage, I don’t know what is.

What do you think of Zuckerberg’s gesture and would you use the sleep box? Tell us in the comments.


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