A Reformed Insomniac

February 09, 2018
by Heather Huffman

A Reformed Insomniac

I’m a chronic insomniac. I’m not sure I remember a time in my life when I went to sleep quickly, stayed asleep all night, and woke up feeling refreshed. I can’t count the number of nights I’ve stayed up all night watching TV, working, or simply thinking. Not because I wanted to—usually—but because sleep was ever-elusive.

My sister said something the other day that struck me with its truth: Americans are so sleep deprived. We’ve just learned to function with it. Although given the latest statistics on the number of car crashes related to sleep deprivation or the costs the global economy, I wonder how well we really are functioning.

That is so me, somehow functioning despite my chronic sleep deprivation.

Maybe it was turning 40 this year, but I’m tired of being tired. I wonder how many areas of my life it’s impacting—stupid decisions made while driving (dear heavens, I have no idea how I haven’t gotten myself killed with some of them), my inability to lose this last 30 pounds, or the bouts of sadness that spring out of nowhere. I can’t even sit in a quiet office without feeling sleepy. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like I should be able to slow down without instantly wanting to fall asleep.

And I know I’m not alone in this. All three of my three teenage sons are exhausted, each dealing with their own varied fallout from sleep deprivation—something that’s become an epidemic in our country.

When I was first approached about my job here at iSense Sleep, I thought they were selling mattresses. No, my boss corrected. It’s so much more. We’re helping people sleep better. As someone who understands first-hand what a foggy sleepless brain feels like, it was a mission I could get behind. If for no other reason than my own vested interest in the topic.

The first product launched was the iSense Sleep SMART Pillow. This thing is height adjustable, tracks your sleep, lulls you to sleep with the soothing sound of your choosing, and wakes you up at the optimal time in your sleep cycle for the most energy. It’s not smart, it’s brilliant. In the interest of knowing what I would spend the next indeterminate amount of my life talking about, I decided to sleep on my very own iSense Sleep SMART Pillow. OH EM GOODNESS. It rocked my world.

My first night on the pillow, I was so in love with the quality of the cover and the feel of the whole thing that I didn’t even bother adjusting it. I crashed. Hard. And I woke up 7 hours and 48 minutes later with more energy than I’ve had in a very long time. I drove my zombified sons crazy as I cheerfully flitted through the house that morning.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I scared myself when I checked my sleep report on the corresponding app. It said my sleep score was 34 and—had my heart literally stopped at one point? Had I taken sleeping like the dead to a whole new level? I was rather sheepish when I realized that I’d been looking at simulation data and my actual sleep report showed a score of 92 and my heart had not, in fact, stopped even once. I might have been less sheepish had I figured this out in the privacy of my own home and not in front of my boss and boss’s boss.

Since I started tracking my sleep, my worst score was an 86. It wasn’t too hard to figure out what went wrong that night: My son’s puppy decided to land right in the middle of me in the middle of the night. And again two hours later. And an hour after that. Some things even my wonder-pillow can’t fix.

The nice thing about the tracker is being able to quantify your sleep. It’s more than how I feel. How much deep sleep did I get? (Because that’s the stuff that cleanses your brain and body.) How quickly did I fall asleep? Am I getting enough actual sleep (not just time in bed)? Based on these answers, I can make adjustments in my daily habits and routines. And, thanks to iSense Sleep’s adjustable pillows, mattresses, and bases, I can even control the comfort and support I get to find the right mix for me. That “for me” part is important—because what works for me doesn’t work for my partner. (He says he’s seen softer beds in morgues. I say he exaggerates.)

Sleepace App

Remember how I said I was so in love with my pillow I crashed hard that first night without adjusting it? About a week into my sleep journey, I noticed my sleep score started to dip and my neck hurt a bit when I woke up. I chatted with one of our Comfort Control™ Specialists about it and realized that while I felt comfortable with the pillow so high because my sinuses are bothering me right now, it was putting my spine out of whack. So I took a couple handfuls of the foam out. My score instantly bounced back up and the neck pain went away. The extra foam is now stored in a Ziploc bag in my nightstand so I can put some back if I need to later.

Because what my body needs now might not be what my body needs next week or next month. In fact, odds are pretty good it won’t be. My body is always changing, for better or worse. My mood is ever-changing, too. (Just ask my boys; they’ll attest to that with way more conviction than is healthy for them.) I love that my pillow can change with the needs of both.

I took this job because helping people sleep better was a mission I could get behind. Now that I’m truly beginning to understand how important it is and that the products we make can actually change people lives, I’ve become passionate about the iSense Sleep brand and getting the word out about it. (Which is good, as the brand manager and all…)

Want to learn more about this ah-mazing pillow? Check it out here.

Happy sleeping!

EDIT: Our CEO came in this morning and asked "Did our pillow really make that drastic of a difference in your sleep? Reformed insomniac is a pretty strong statement." My response to him was this: Mostly yes. It's like somebody flipped a switch in my sleeping patterns. There are still nightslike last nightwhen I lie awake, but they are much fewer and further in between. I fall asleep faster, stay asleep better, and if I am awoken, I fall back to sleep faster now that I have my pillow. And the night I loaned my pillow out to a family member, I couldn't sleep at all. But my sleep journey isn't complete, and that's why I'm glad the pillow has a tracker built into it. And I'm glad to work for a company that's all about helping people figure out how to get a better night's sleep. 

Heather Huffman

Brand Manager for iSense Sleep. Unrepentant sleep nerd. Mom. Writer. Animal Lover.