It's a People Thing

August 15, 2018
by Heather Huffman

It's a People Thing

Last week was a bit of a treat for me. I got to escape the confines of my cubicle to spend my days at the Ozark Empire Fair, sharing my favorite pillow with hundreds of new people. Sometimes, I spend so much time submerged in the business of marketing these pillows and mattresses that it’s easy to forget why I fell in love with this company to begin with.

I’m not here to market. Not really.

I’m here to help people sleep better—and that means I’m here to make people’s lives better. There are entire books written on the subject, but the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute sums it up pretty well on their site if you don’t want to take my word on the importance of sleep.

As much joy as I got from seeing the look on people’s faces the first time they felt the pillow’s filling or ran their hands along the cover, it was nothing compared to the moment when someone ran up to me, excited because they’d gotten their first full night’s sleep in YEARS, thanks to their new pillow.

Yes, I needed a week away from the office and the act of marketing to meet people face-to-face, to reconnect with the people using our products, and to remember how lucky I am to have a job that helps people sleep better. Because anyone who’s gone without sleep can attest that it makes all the difference to their quality of life.

Sometimes, that transformation is instantaneous. Sometimes, not so much.

Paul Longman, our founder and CEO, was proudly showing off his sleep score the other day. When you work for a sleep technology company, these are the conversations you have. He was pretty excited about consistently getting a nearly perfect night of sleep since dialing in to his optimal blend of comfort and support on his Comfort Control™ Spring mattress.


I have to admit: I’m a skosh jealous. I’m still trying to find my perfect mix.

Even our Creative Manager had an easier time finding his best night’s sleep. Two adjustments and he was sleeping blissfully, the back pain from his old bed gone.

When I first got my Comfort Control™ Air mattress, I made the same mistake I’d made with my pillow—I crashed without bothering to make any adjustments. It felt so danged comfortable. But by the next day, the small of my back was telling me I needed more support. So I turned it up, but I think I turned it up too much. I should have moved in smaller increments because now I’m not sure if I need to go up or down to get it right. Luckily, I’m right around the corner from our Comfort Control™ Specialists, so it’s easy enough to get help from people who know what they’re talking about.

My partner is a chronic toss-and-turner. As a 6-foot-3 mechanic with a bad shoulder, he’s in a constant battle to find something that offers enough support but is comfortable enough to take the pressure off that shoulder.

Our first night on the bed, his tossing and turning stopped because his shoulder stopped hurting so much at night. Sometimes I wonder if the name “Comfort Control™” is misleading. Firm or plush, the mattress is always comfortable. What we’re still trying to dial in to is the right amount of support for our individual heights, weights, sleeping positions, and body conditions.

That’s not as easy as it sounds.

A few years back, Duke University did a study showing that a mattress that’s right for you reduces pain, improves your quality of sleep, and improves your daytime function. They also found that we’re incapable of picking that right mattress for ourselves. In fact, random chance was more successful at choosing a bed than the study participants were.

If you stop and think about it, it makes sense. We choose a mattress when we’re awake—often feeling a bit awkward and tense, lying on a bed in front of total strangers. When we use the mattress, we’re asleep. Our muscles more than relax; we become, in essence, dead weight. That’s when our body tells us whether or not we’ve got the right mix of comfort and support in our bed.

Here’s the thing: I could have settled for good enough. A bed that kind of met both of our needs. In fact, Paul pretty quickly had his mattress to good enough. But he adjusted it one more time, just to see what happened, and realized his body needed something much firmer than he expected.

I’m old enough and busy enough that if I have any hope of conquering the mountains of my life, I need to be at the top of my game. I can’t do that with good enough. That’s why I’m taking the extra time to adjust my mattress until I find out what truly works for not just me, but my partner.

Last week, our Operations Director said something that really stuck with me: People mattress shop because they have a problem. Whether it’s back pain, a worn out mattress, or something else, nobody just decides to mattress shop for the giggles of it. We’re in business to not only solve the problem they have today, but to keep solving their problems for the next 5 years, 10 years, and beyond.

He’s right. And my week at the fair has put a face to the problems we’re solving. In an industry rife with confusion and conflicting information, for iSense Sleep, it’s a people thing. We’re here to help people sleep better and live better lives because of that.

And that’s something worth doing.