Nicola Beer: Hi and welcome. I’m really excited today to have a really special guest, Richard Jacobs, who has started a new venture to really help people to get a good night’s sleep. And I know that sleeping myself, if I’m not having a good night’s sleep then I can feel very irritated, very frustrated. This impacts my relationship, it impacts my sleeping. Of course, this impacts my eating. And so I’m really honored to learn some sleeping tips and some insights from Richard. So Richard, if you’d like to introduce yourself and share a little bit more about what you do.
Richard Jacobs: Sure. Thanks, Nicola. Yeah. So I’m a serial entrepreneur. I’ve done a number of things throughout the years, working for myself for about 20 years. And then last year, laying there in bed with my wife. We had woken up and I told her the pillow I’m using, it’s collapsed again. I am tired of this. I’m not sleeping well. And she said, Oh, I’ll take your pillow if you don’t want it. I said you had like 10 pillows this past year? What do you need mine? She says well maybe it’ll work better for me because the ones I have, I don’t like either. So I said, what they really need to do is make a custom-tailored pillow for people. So if you have wide shoulders or a big head, whatever it is that it suits you, like prescription eyeglasses. She said why don’t you go do that? I said okay. And that’s how the whole project started.
Nicola Beer: Wow. So literally a conversation in bed one morning or evening and it’s become a massive area for you. So you’ve been growing this area now, how was it developed?
Richard Jacobs: I have a team of people overseas, so we started over there making the pillows and actually selling them overseas. And about two months ago we started selling in the US mostly through Facebook and online. So it’s working and we are selling the pillows and going through that process and creating new pillows and different designs. We created a travel pillow that’s custom but smaller, care to transit pillow when you sit on airplanes and buses and these are all custom to the user. So I think it will make people’s travel and sleep and everything a lot better by having customized stuff.
Nicola Beer: So have you done some research into this then? Like does it really help people to get, when they have that custom pillow, does it make a huge difference?
Richard Jacobs: When I started researching, what I found is that people’s airway is only as wide as a garden hose. So that’s points take 2.8 inches, which is not much. And when it gets kinked or compressed because you’re sleeping in a bad position or you have allergies or let’s say you’re very heavyset again or your bed’s not right it can easily compress that airway and stop you from breathing entirely, which is called sleep apnea. And when you choke in your sleep Oregon, certainly a restricted which worsen snoring. It makes the tissue have to vibrate to get air past into you. When you have a hose and you’re wondering if you can kink it, you notice the water spreads out faster and it makes a noise. Well, the same thing if your throat is not open ideally you’ll more likely to make noise and snore louder. So it helps people that have neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, snoring, and apnea. Those are the main things.
Nicola Beer: Wow. And I know that for a lot of the couples that I work with, that snoring is one of the biggest reasons why they started living in separate rooms, sleeping in the separate rooms and then ended up staying in the separate rooms that it can be a real issue. And I’ve had a couple, sometimes even a holiday can be a bit of a challenge unless there’s an extra spare room within the hotel suite let’s say for one person to be out of the room because of snoring. So I’m sure it can make a huge, huge difference.
Richard Jacobs: Yeah, I’ve had that problem myself. When I went on vacation with my family a couple of years ago they’re joking, well daddy snores, daddy snores and I said, Oh no, what are we going to do? I have to get like two hotel rooms because I don’t want to keep them up. So it’s embarrassing. It’s expensive. And in a home situation you fear that if your partner’s not in the bed with you, chances are you don’t have two beds that are equally as good. So one gets the couch maybe and then you worry what are they doing on the couch? They texting somebody or who knows, so it can really impact your relationship if you don’t sleep together. And the stats I’ve seen is that 25% of all couples don’t sleep together where they may start out that way and not finish because one story and you can guess because the embarrassment, that’s probably underreported so this affects relationships big time.
Nicola Beer: Yeah. And there’s lots of research to show that it really benefits a couple when they do share a bit because it’s that connection. You’re their breathing in the same way that heart is beating in the same way. There’s an unconscious connection that can be very strong to have a couple stay connected. And also the people that I’ve worked with so terrible to keeping their family awake, I made that told unless they want to have a very expensive operation on their nose that may or may not work or the throat then that’s the only option. So it’s great that you’ve developed this. So how can the listeners find out more about how it works or how to order them and how does it work? Do someone send like head measurements or like I’m just curious, how does it work?
Richard Jacobs: The big premise in making this pillow, I wanted to make it really easy for people to get the pillow and have it be prescription, not exactly prescription but attuned to them. So when I would buy pillows, I go on Amazon and I’d look at a small, medium, large firm soft where you go to the store and you kind of bush the pillows in your hands. But what’s unique here is I created an app where people can just have a picture or two take it of themselves. And we use machine vision, AI to extract the elements. So the cool thing is you can get the measurements done like anywhere someone could take a picture of you. We’ve got pictures of people at work. My dad lives in New York and he was dropping me off at the airport and we were in the drop off lane and he said, Oh, you forgot my picture for the pillow. I said, well we could do it right here. He said, what are you crazy? I said, yeah, we could do it. Why not just don’t get hit by a car but stand there and I did his picture. He said I love you, bye. Got on the plane and made him a pillow. So I wanted to make it ultra-convenient. If you’re on the surface of Mars and you can take a picture, that’s all we need and we can do the rest for you.
Nicola Beer: Wow, that’s amazing. Brilliant.
Richard Jacobs: Yeah. That part of it is patented. That’s like the uniqueness of it.
Nicola Beer: And do they have like the same firmness, the same thickness or how do you determine that or is there like a standard size that is good for people to have? How does that side work?
Richard Jacobs: We make the basic dimensions of the pillow or what you’d see normally because I didn’t know this at first, but women especially would want the pillows to sit on the bedside by side so that they’re the width of the mattress. So they’re standard sizes, King, queen, etc. But the shape is very different. It’s a wedge shape. And the reason why is when you lay on a normal pillow, the weight of your head is about nine, ten pounds and that compresses a pillow and the pillow bunches up around your face a bit. These are a wedge, so you sleep on the fixed side of the wedge, so the weight of your head makes the pillow flat. Now when you lay on it, it’s perfectly flat and we have interior materials and the design is such that it doesn’t mush up around your face. So it keeps your neck straight when you’re a side sleeper or a back sleeper, know your pick which one you want. So again, it keeps the neck straight, keeps the airway open and it’s very comfortable when people lay on it and we’ve got it right. They go, ah, that’s pretty comfortable. And we’ve had a lot of customers that have fallen asleep faster because they’re more comfortable. Their neck pain and stuff almost always go away because the neck is straight and it’s not being strained all night. Some people, again I can’t promise cures, but we actually have recordings of some customers who were nice enough to give us, is this app called snore lab. So we recorded them with and without the pillow, without the pillow or we started with the pillow, you could hear the snoring is lessened and the raspiness or the strength of the snore is reduced as well, which is really cool to hear. I know it sounds weird to like to be happy about someone snoring less, listening to it is just really cool.
Nicola Beer: Yeah. I mean it makes such a difference. I know myself, whenever I do feel stressed or tense, it’s often because I’ve had a poor night’s sleep and I know that my pillow wasn’t quite right. But when I try my other pillows on my bed, they’re even worse. So I’m actually putting up with the one which I know isn’t right. But I didn’t realize that there were other options. Because when I’ve gone and brought new pillows, I found them way too thick. So it’s like, okay, do I go through the pain of trying to break in a new pillow or do I just keep with my one that is probably too flat and say that’s the dilemma that I’ve been in and now I’m going to definitely check out your site today.
Richard Jacobs: Yeah. I guess it’s a simple concept. This is a mechanical fix, but it’s a fixed that’s really been ignored for people. Like I can tell you about the mattress too, just so listeners know. We weighed at like 50 people and we looked and we saw an average, their hip area is about 60% of their weight. Their shoulders are like 30% and the heads, you know, 10%. So when you sleep on a mattress, the middlewares first because of the weight, then the shoulder and then the head. So if anyone listening knows after a while you’re sleeping uphill and there’s usually a dent in the bed. And if two people sleep, they’ll fall into the dent together. But at the very least, you’ll start sleeping uphill. So any pillow you have, the angle starts changing as the mattress wears. And that’s one reason that, and the flattening of the pillow, you’ll pretty much never have a pillow that will work for you long term. And if it’s not customized, to begin with, you’re just like guessing to see what works for you.
Nicola Beer: And do you ship them around the world? Is it possible to get them shipped to different locations?
Richard Jacobs: Yeah, we’ve got customers in overseas India and Pakistan. We have them in the US. We just started getting one or two in Canada. But yeah, we can ship worldwide. There’s no problem.
Nicola Beer: Brilliant. Okay. And what’s the website, please?
Richard Jacobs: It’s called goodnightssleepproject.com. That night is plural.
Nicola Beer: Yeah. Well, I’ll put a link along with this episode. So thank you. Is there anything else you feel would be good to share?
Richard Jacobs: Yeah. When we spoke you wanted me to mention marriages, which is important because I know you do relationship counseling. Overall what I’ve learned is, and you mentioned this already if you don’t feel good, you won’t treat the people around you well. You’ll be irritable with them. So that means, husband, wife, partner, kids, people at work, whatever, who wants that, who wants to have like snappy conversations with everyone they know and not be in a good mood. So it’s really important to sleep well. Like people don’t realize, they realize, but they don’t really think about it. Like, if you haven’t slept, your whole day sucks, but when you sleep well the whole day is a lot easier. If you have a marriage then to the counseling stage and you’re not sleeping well, like you’re making it 10 times harder I think to get back together. If you’re sleeping better, you can have a clear head and make rational decisions. I think that’s important. And then in terms of eating, now you want me to talk about that you measure it, talk about it. I have noticed myself, I struggled with weight my whole life. When I sleep better, it’s much easier to resist sugary snacks and things I shouldn’t have. Strange but I notice that. And I’ve also read it in the literature and it’s also easier to eat better. And actually it’s easy to lose weight is what it appears to be. I think just because my body’s more rested so everything works better.
Nicola Beer: Yeah, absolutely. And I totally can relate to that. On those days where I’ve had really poor sleep. Then you sort of turn to sugar to keep lifting you up and really your body is just needing rest and relaxation and you sort of tend to go to the sugary foods just to get you through the day and then that makes you feel even worse. Great. Well, it’s been wonderful having you on the show. I’m excited now to go and check it out and order myself one and thank you very much.
Richard Jacobs: Okay, Nicole, thanks. Good to talk to you.
Nicola Beer: Bye. Thank you.