James Wilson – The Sleep Geek

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James Wilson

As a former sufferer of insomnia, I trained as a sleep practitioner to help solve my own sleep issues. I now use my knowledge to help children (through The Children’s Sleep Charity) and adults sleep better.

I look at a number of lifestyle issues such as environment, temperature and light, but I also look at product. I’ve been involved in sleep products from a young age as my family had a bed and mattress company, so I’ve been around these products for a long time and I genuinely believe that we need to consider what we do as manufacturers.

Too often there is ‘too much sizzle and not enough sausage’

Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of brilliant manufacturers out there, and lots of products which are also brilliant, but too often there is ‘too much sizzle and not enough sausage’, and as manufacturers we should not be making claims that can’t be substantiated.

People have sleep problems for any number of reasons – heating issues, support issues, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Consumers don’t change their mattresses as often as they should, and I think this is largely because they were not sold the right product in the first place so they have a lack of trust. This is something that we need to change.

If a retailer asks the right questions, and has been provided with the right information from their manufacturer they can sell a product that will actually help the consumer. But the problem is, they don’t offer a solution, instead they will try to sell a product. Maybe on the brand name, or the celebrity endorsements but not on what is right for the customer in front of them.

When I worked as a retailer, I always used to ask the questions, but ultimately the manufacturer should take responsibility. We need to get the basics right and actually sell the products that we say they are - what we need is an ingredients list for mattresses. We currently sell them in the same way as cars, and a mattress is not a car, it’s a health product!

As someone who works in lots of different areas of the market developing sleep products and services, the bed and mattress industry lags other industries, such as the Tech world, when it comes to developing products that solve real sleep issues and proving the products solve these issues. We need proper, in depth clinical evidence if we want to make claims about our products. Unfortunately, at best we get short trials with small sample sizes which don’t prove the quality of a product over its lifetime.

I’m passionate about sleep, and helping people to get a better night’s sleep, as I know how frustrating it can be when you struggle with a sleep issue. When it comes to the consumer, it’s not about buying the most expensive mattress, but buying the right mattress. That way, we can build that trust back again, help the consumer and sell more mattresses - so everybody wins.