Weighted pillow encourages sweet dreams in all ages

Siest Sleeper founder aims to help people suffering from stress due to poor sleep

Siest Sleep founder Síne Dunne: ‘The more I read about the impact of poor sleep on physical and mental wellbeing, the more I realised I had to do something about my poor sleeping patterns.’

Siest Sleep founder Síne Dunne: ‘The more I read about the impact of poor sleep on physical and mental wellbeing, the more I realised I had to do something about my poor sleeping patterns.’

 

In 2018, Síne Dunne was working for Google and struggling to get a good night’s sleep. “I was stressed and anxious and surviving on about five hours a night at the time,” she says. “I knew the stress and the poor sleep were linked, but it didn’t seem so terrible that I needed official help.” Three years on and Dunne is running her own sleep-related business and her company’s first product, the Siest Sleeper weighted pillow, was launched in January.

“The more I read about the impact of poor sleep on physical and mental wellbeing, the more I realised I had to do something about my poor sleeping patterns,” she says and having eventually solved her own problems through research and training, Dunne set up Siest Sleep to help others in the same boat.

Dunne comes from a background in strategy, operations and sales having worked for Deloitte in London and in the creative sector here for five years before moving to Google in 2016. She spent four years with the multinational before leaving to spend more time with her young daughter. She subsequently set up her business in November of last year with the help of Kickstarter funding which saw buy-in from backers as far afield as the United States, Canada and Germany.

Emotional comfort

Investment in Siest Sleep to date, between Kickstarter and personal equity, is about €30,000. The pillows, which are designed to provide emotional comfort and physical support to encourage better quality rest, are sold directly online and are made in Ireland using sustainable and ethically sourced materials.

“Initially I tried weighted blankets to help me sleep, but they were too hot and didn’t feel comforting. I didn’t want to go down the pharmaceutical route and even though I’m ex-Google I firmly think the less tech you have in your bedroom the better,” Dunne says. “Then last year, hugs were taken away from us all with the arrival of Covid and I wanted something huggable that felt luxurious, worked quickly and was really simple. I started designing the product in March 2020 and by the end of May we had a working prototype for testing.

“What makes our product unique is that it’s a positioning pillow that’s weighted like a blanket but soft like a pillow,” she adds. “It is suitable for all ages from five upwards and versatile. It can be used to calm or hug you to sleep, positioned behind you when reading or watching TV or used to weigh your feet down while doing yoga or Pilates. It can also be used between the knees to stop someone rolling over and snoring.”

Dunne has established Siest Sleep as a social enterprise that donates 10 per cent of its profits to mental health charities. Having raised its initial funding through Kickstarter, which also provided Dunne with an informal customer focus group providing valuable product feedback, the company is now growing organically through sales and has already sold out twice over. There are currently two designs available, a lollipop shape and a longer wishbone version that goes between the knees for hip and back comfort/support.

Universal appeal

 “It’s a product with universal appeal for little ones who are still waking up at night to anxious teenagers to adults of all ages in need of a little comfort,” Dunne says. “It supports those with mild hip, back or neck discomfort as it doesn’t go flat like a pillow and stays in place due to the weight. It is suitable for peri and menopausal women as our 100 per cent tencel cooling range is super for those ‘glowier’ nights.”

 The company has recently been awarded an innovation voucher by Enterprise Ireland to research a product for children with additional sensory needs in conjunction with Trinity College’s Centre for Health Sciences.

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