Sleep, sweet sleep! Dr. Liz interviews the creator of a custom pillow, Richard Jacobs! Listen in to learn:

  • How your physical environment and something like a pillow, your bed, and your bedroom can help you sleep better.
  • The brain wave states involved in Sleep, Meditation, and Hypnosis.
  • How Richard came up with the product and how it’s helped people.
  • How to get rid of those tiny LED lights in your bedroom.

Jumpt to Transcript

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Listened to in over 140 countries, Hypnotize Me is the podcast about hypnosis, transformation, and healing. Certified hypnotherapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Dr. Elizabeth Bonet, discusses the research behind hypnosis, interviews professionals doing transformational work, and talks to individuals who have had hypnosis. Free hypnoses are also given from time to time. If you’re interested in learning more about the magic of hypnosis, psychotherapy and mindfulness, this is the perfect place to feed your fascination!

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Dr. Liz [0:00]
Hi everyone Dr. Elizabeth Bonet here Dr. Liz Welcome to the hypnotize me podcast. Before we jump in, please note that the podcast is not mental health treatment nor should it replace mental health treatment. If you need psychotherapy or hypnotherapy, please seek treatment from a trained professional. I do hypnosis all over the please feel free to contact me through my website.

Dr. Liz [0:41]
Hi everyone, Dr. Liz here. Today’s episode is all about a product for better sleep. It’s a custom pillow. Now usually I don’t do episodes just on products. But my insomnia episode is listen to so much that I really feel like whatever I can do to help people sleep better is good for them. So this is with the inventor of a custom pillow. Richard Jacobs, who’s an entrepreneur. He lives in Austin with three kids and a wife. And we talk all about not just how he came up with this product, but some good things for sleep to some good sleep tips are worked in there. In both of our personal journeys with sleep, I mean, not the whole complete story, but certainly some good parts of it. If you’re looking for free hypnosis to help yourself sleep better than I have some episodes on the podcast with free wins. I ran one in the very first season the first year that I ran the podcast the original one is Episode 40. And then I ran a replay last year during a break, which is Episode 101. It’s easy to remember, right? 101 insomnia 101. You can always listen to those, either on your app if you search it up or at my website So those are good ones. And then you can always go to my website and see if I’m running an insomnia program. So I’ve decided to start doing programs online online groups around various topics. So you can always visit my website and see if I’m running one of those as well to help you sleep better. Okay, hope you enjoy the interview this weekend. Pick up some good tips for yourself for insomnia. Peace.

Dr. Liz [2:33]
Hi, Richard. Welcome to the hypnotize me podcast.

Richard Jacobs [2:36]
Thank you. I appreciate it.

Dr. Liz [2:38]
So this may be slightly an unusual interview for my listeners. But I did want to tell everyone that I am intrigued by your story, as well as your product in that one of the reasons I had to come on the podcast is because the insomnia episodes that I run Are some of the most downloaded and popular episodes. So they continue to be the most downloaded and popular episodes. Sleep is a big huge issue for most of my listeners, apparently, as well as like around the world. So it’s not just the US that’s having problems. It’s all kinds of countries that are having problems.

Richard Jacobs [3:24]
Sleep. Well, quick, quick question for you in the beginning. How do you perceive sleep versus a hypnotic state? Do you think they have a lot of common or we get tied in right there for a start.

Dr. Liz [3:35]
Yeah, it’s a good question. Right, the question that people have to thank you. So we know that the brain waves go through different states, brainwave states, when someone is going from an active state, like we’re talking about right now into more of a sleep state. So we go through beta and then alpha which is a more relaxed state, more like when you’re Let’s say first laying down for bed right into theta, which is even more relaxed was people often go into for meditation, deep relaxation, hypnosis, we’re often between alpha and theta. Okay, so right in between there. And then they go into delta, which is deep sleep. Now, occasionally that does happen in my office. So I’m falling completely asleep, right? Yeah, it is wonderful because they often come back and are like, Whoa, yeah, well, it’s still effective hypnosis is still effective because their subconscious mind is still listening, and active and processing, right. But generally, when we’re in deep sleep, we’re not in hypnosis, right? But we know that there’s overlap there. So when they do brain studies on people in hypnosis, most people stay between alpha and theta, and some people go down to delta, just like when they study meditators. It’s very simple. Muller longtime meditators, you know, they’re studying like monks and stuff.

Richard Jacobs [5:03]
Right, right.

Dr. Liz [5:05]
Yeah, it’s a good question. How did you get into the sleep field? Let’s say, how did you get interested in sleep?

Unknown Speaker [5:13]
Oh, it’s easy, because I’ve had problems sleeping for a long time. And they were getting worse. You know, my kids will say, Daddy snores and I remember, we were going to go on vacation one time, and I thought, Oh, no, you know, I probably better get to hotel rooms because I don’t want to keep them up all night. How are we going to go on vacation? So it was it was embarrassing, and expensive. And then I was waking up tired more and more often, no matter how long I would sleep. And so, you know, I I realized I probably have sleep apnea. And again, you know, my wife said, I started real loud. So I had to get that looked at and fixing it’s not so easy. You know, you could try and C-Pap machine which is like this. (Yeah), you know, again, it’s embarrassing to have nd us and etc. And it’s it’s Sometimes they work sometimes they don’t. It’s very hard to get used to. So I wanted to find a better way. And I remember having this conversation where they’re just, it was probably about Yeah, a year ago now. You know, I woke up, we’re laying there and I was complaining about the pillow I was using, because it was really soft and it gets switched over time. And I said it in another pose things no good. And she said, I’ll take your pillow. I said, You’ve had like 10 different pillows this year. What do you want this for? So I you know, mine are no good either. Maybe this one’s better for me. So I said, you know, what they really need to have is a custom tailored pillow for people like prescription eyeglasses are tailored suit, so that it fits my shoulders and my head and all that and I can sleep more comfortably. As part of my problem was also taking a while to fall asleep on certain nights. It was just uncomfortable. That’s miserable, you know? So she said well, you know, you’re always thinking and doing once you go do that. Is it okay, I’ll that’s what I’m gonna do. That’s how it started.

Dr. Liz [6:58]
Really? Oh, so I didn’t realize that this this product is that new, the custom pillow.

Richard Jacobs [7:04]
Yeah, we started selling it this year, the beginning of April. Wow. Yeah. I want to move fast. I don’t want to take forever to get some out there. So I’ve been pushing as hard as I can.

Dr. Liz [7:15]
What were you doing before? were you working like a day job where you have your own products or like other products.

Richard Jacobs [7:21]
You know, I still work. I run a marketing company. We do marketing for lawyers. And the thing that that helped give me the idea too, is I run my own podcast, but it’s on like future technologies. I’m always getting ideas from that. So I still do those things. But this has become like my main project.

Dr. Liz [7:38]
Awesome. Awesome. So then, how do you go into like r&d research and development? Did you just test them out? Did you have to find someone to make the first one for you? Like, how did that work?

Richard Jacobs [7:52]
It was a couple different angles. So you know, I love to interview people and ask questions. So I started finding sleep professionals. So I interviewed probably like 100 20 of them so far, you know, Ambien people snoring, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, I mean, all, you know, narcolepsy people, and then, you know, I work with a large office of people for the marketing business. So I said to them, Hey, can we get? Can we set up a bed in the spare office? And take pictures of all the people that work there? You know, we close on, obviously, but you’ll have lay on the bed. Yeah. And say,

Dr. Liz [8:25]
p days I bring up Jason and we’ll take some pictures. I

Richard Jacobs [8:29]
yeah, just lay how you normally sleep. And you know, on your side and your back. And so I looked at like dozens of photos of people and I tried, you know, then I started making prototypes. And seeing Oh, this works, but it hurts my neck. This one. You know, back in, you know, so there’s this development cycle, but for a while it was every single day you were making, you know, a pillow and tweaking it and all that that was really exciting. And it was getting close to the point where it’s working. And then we hit on it and I found a design that It works. And then we started selling them. We started getting reports from people like whoa, this is really comfortable. I didn’t wake up during the night like I usually do where my neck pain is gone or I had insomnia and now I’m falling asleep like really quickly. And some, you know, we’re getting great feedback. So, so good.

Dr. Liz [9:19]
Fantastic. Yeah, it’s a major factor like part of what we do when we are treating insomnia with hypnosis or CBT. cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia is we do look at the bedroom, right? Like is it comfortable? Is your bed comfortable? Do you have curtains such a light? Do you have like a little basket beside your bed where you have some books or some nice smelling sensor, you know, whatever that is, right? We absolutely take a look at the setup. And pillows are big for people. I rarely find a person who like loves their pillow. 100%

Richard Jacobs [9:58]
right. Well customized. No, they’re just like,

Dr. Liz [10:02]
yeah, they’re not customized, right? And then when you do find someone who loves their pillow hundred percent, they will often travel with it. I had a friend who took his pillow out was it he’s like, I can’t sleep without this pillow. That’s important. So you hit on a design, but then you’re saying that people were happy with it. But really, what you do is you customize it correct?

Richard Jacobs [10:25]
Yeah, what part of the thinking was this like, so I need it. I need a pillow. I can go on Amazon and look and small, medium large, farmer soft. I don’t know if it’s gonna fit me. Or I can go to a store and I can kind of smoosh two pillows in my hands, which I’ve done. And, again, I don’t know if it’s gonna fit me. And then if you even can lay down on a bed in a mattress store with a pillow, your mattress at home is different. So one of my big thoughts was like, all right, this is gonna work. It’s gonna be really easy. I got helped to create an app that uses machine vision. So all you have to do is Have a picture taken of you know by a friend or you can even do it as a selfie. You know with our, the app and then we get that we use machine vision AI to extract like 14 of your physical measurement measurements. You know the height of your head with your shoulders, etc. And that’s what creates the custom pillow. We have that we have designed rules we said alright, this person’s head is shaped this way and you know make we make the pillow certain way based on that.

Dr. Liz [11:26]
Oh, so is this picture you have to take a picture of yourself laying down on the bed or is it standing is it from like behind or you can do that just from the front?

Richard Jacobs [11:36]
Yeah, if you want if you sleep on your side, then I have a picture of you facing the camera from the front. If you sleep on your body, you know we have a picture of you with the profile view. Because if you if you lay on your side, for instance, do you have really wide shoulders or narrow shoulders Do you have like a round head or a flathead that governs how you lay on the pillow and if you’re a back sleeper You know, does your head really far forward? Or is your head like straight up and down like a military pose? You know, with those pictures I can tell and, you know, use the algorithm and all that to customize a pillow for you. Ah,

Dr. Liz [12:13]
what about someone who moves around?

Richard Jacobs [12:16]
that’s harder there’s a trade off here. So most people that we work with are side sleepers. Because when people have sleeping problems, they usually end up going on their side. So like, first of all, stomach sleepers you’re not even supposed to do it’s never really good for your neck. And if someone sleeps like that, yeah, we’re not in that area. Like 72% of people are side sleepers, according the stats, and we’ve seen probably like 98% of the people we deal with their side sleepers, so that’s usually fine for them, you know, where they’ll be a back sleeper, but the people that transition a lot. I found actually a lot of them if they could, they would stay on their side most of the time or on their back. And they’re transitioning a lot of news. They’re restless, their sleeps, not as good as it could be.

Dr. Liz [12:58]
Yes, definitely true. I’m sorry. Transitions a lot, and I’ll end up on my stomach out of like, not desperation because I don’t really suffer that much. Like I’m taking all this suffering off of it off of sleep. Just more like, maybe this will work now, you know, it’s that kind of feeling.

Richard Jacobs [13:17]
Well, yeah, like part of that is because of you made me uncomfortable or you may be having, you know, breathing problems, slight or heavy breathing problems. People that snore, for instance, they’re not aware of it. Most of the time, they find out they’re embarrassed, but they didn’t know. Because they’re sleeping. They’re not aware. So same thing with how you are in bed. Like it’s hard to figure out what’s going on because you’re not 100% aware state. You’re this, you know, altered state where, again, things aren’t perfectly clear.

Dr. Liz [13:45]
Yeah, absolutely. Right. A lot of sleep studies will show that and sometimes, you know, someone will wake up and say, Oh, my God, I slept horribly, but their partner will be like, No, you didn’t budge. You know, but it says that feeling that slept horribly. That’s, that’s driving it, you know? And then other times it’s like, yeah, people are really restless and they’re moving around and they can’t get comfortable. And if they only have the right pillow, right, that’s often the thought that goes through.

Richard Jacobs [14:14]
It’s not the only thing that fix it, but it helps you know, it’s a part of the solution.

Dr. Liz [14:18]
Yeah, absolutely. It’s part of the solution. Once the pillow meetup

Richard Jacobs [14:24]
it’s mostly standard materials, the big deal is in the shape. So it’s a wedge shape. So a normal pillow you lay on and the weight of your head is like, you know, eight to 10 pounds. So that the form is the pillow your head matures into it. So now you’re not straight, you know, you’re not straight anymore, you’re at an angle. So this pillows which shape and you sleep in the fixed side of the wedge, because now with the weight of your head, now it’s a flat profile. So it’s deliberately made so that, yeah, that’s part of it. It has certain side walls and to make sure that it doesn’t deform your average pillow after a few weeks, usually it’ll start to really do form a lot. This one’s deforms, much, much slower. It has like an internal, you know, foam piece and get it because of the structure and how it’s made. It doesn’t perform as much and it’s sized properly for you. So when you lay on it, like, when we’ve got it right, the person lays down they go, ha, that’s pretty good. They immediately realize, okay, my head, my neck is straight and I’m comfortable. That’s, that’s what we want. And I literally audibly hear that from people. Oh, that’s pretty good. Then I know great. Got it. You know, they’ll have a good night’s sleep. Yeah.

Dr. Liz [15:34]
What about people with like reflux or GERD or, or something like that, like, would this be appropriate for them or not?

Richard Jacobs [15:42]
Well, usually that’s either they eating too close to bedtime, or they’re eating spicy food, or they’re eating too much, or you know, whole host of reasons. So this pillar will help them I mean, there are pillows there that will literally it’s like a gigantic wedge they’ll sleep on so their whole body is tilted up. That will help some but actually a lot of that goes to diet and what you eat when and all that I’ve had those problems. So that’s something that can you Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. You know, a couple of times you know, I’ve I’ve had too much and I literally like, just about throw up in my sleep. After a few hours I wake up woke up. Oh, it’s horrible. But, you know, I’ve experienced all this stuff. But yeah. What this does is it keeps your head neck back and all that straight. So like, the top four things that people say it helps him with his head, shoulder and neck pain became so straight so they don’t have them. Insomnia, they fall asleep a lot faster because they’re just more comfortable. You know, if you’re not comfortable, you beat the thing up and motion around it. You’re just not going to fall asleep as fast. The other one is snoring usually reduces it cure but it reduces it and some people have said at the there, you know, when they were tracking their scores and all that they were able to sleep a little bit better and feel more rested. So again, a lot of its mechanical is because they’re in this aligned position, therefore more relaxed, their airway is open properly. And that’s what helps people sleep, the acid coming up. So part of that, again, like I said, is diet, but part of it also is, you know, you stepped up, if your nose is blocked, and you have to breathe through your mouth, you’re pulling more of a vacuum on your esophagus and on your the sphincter that leads to your stomach, which can help acid come up more. So if I can reduce that need to, like, work so hard and take a breath, that will help with acid reflux a little bit. It probably won’t cure it, but it may help it a bit too. Hmm.

Dr. Liz [17:42]
Well, I’m thinking I’ll get one for my husband, you know, like, he’s a major snorer. And he has sleep apnea to you know, he falls in the category of people who will not use a C pap machine. Yeah, yeah, they’re uncomfortable. People do have a hard time getting used to them,

Richard Jacobs [17:58]
you know? You deal with psychology. So I’ll talk more about the psychology of sleep like insomnia. Why do people have insomnia, you know, various reasons, they’re troubled by things at night. Maybe that keeps them up. Again, they’re uncomfortable, that keeps them up. They’re worried whatever it is, if you can at least make an environment where you could fall asleep faster, because you’re more comfortable, and it suits you, that will help you with insomnia. That’s why I like the CB. And your work, I’m guessing is so helpful because at least the mental portion is soothed faster, or people can self soothe. After they see you. Maybe they can take some of your techniques to bed with them. I’ve tried to do the soothing in a physical way as well. To accompany that, that makes sense. That’s how I can relate it to like what you do and why it would work that

Dr. Liz [18:48]
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I do a combination of CBT and hypnosis. Yeah, it is looking at environment and, and all of that and yeah, it I mean, I think any way that you can reduce the worry about sleep is fantastic, right? It’s like, Okay, well at least you don’t have to worry about your pillow. Right? At least you’d have to worry about snoring so bad. Let’s say if it helps that or waking up your kids or your wife for your husband, waking up your partner.

Richard Jacobs [19:23]
snoring is very psychological. You know, if you’re the one that stores usually you don’t know, your partner tells you then you’re embarrassed, you know? And then you feel bad for them. Oh, no, they’re not going to sleep well with me. I mean, I’ve seen stats that say 25% of all couples don’t sleep together. They may start out together, but then one person leaves the room. Someone’s snoring. So now your people aren’t separate. You just feel like a lack of intimacy. So it hurts relationships, and it’s embarrassing, and in an end, it’s like a very big psychological thing.

Dr. Liz [19:53]
Yeah, absolutely. So you can help fix that problem in a physical way. Wonderful.

Richard Jacobs [20:00]
You’re the mental side. I my goal is to be the physical side. So, yes. So when you when you counsel people on, you know, using hypnosis and CBT I do hear that they tend to have

Dr. Liz [20:11]
it generally when they when someone comes in for insomnia, it’s really about worrying is what they focus on. You know, like, Why can I fall asleep and why can I do this? And so when we’re going through some of the checklist of making your sleep environment more comfortable, then we are saying, you know, is your mattress comfortable? Is your pillow comfortable? Do you have enough blankets? Is your bedroom a cozy place for you? Right, not a place of work. We try and make it not a place of work. But a place of cozy comfort and intimacy and a place to connect with their partner if they have one. And so, generally, that’s how people show up in my office. So if it’s a more of a physical problem, like apnea or snoring or something like that, Then they’re generally in their doctor’s office where the mind, right, their medical doctor. Oh, yeah. So for me, they’re really addressing their ability to fall asleep. And taking off the worries about it, like, you know, there’s primary insomnia where they can’t fall asleep initially. And then there’s the kind where someone’s waking up at night and can’t fall back asleep. So we’re really working on skills for both of those depending on what’s going on. You know, I have tips and tricks to do that, but my ultimate goal for them is independence. Like, I don’t want you to have to put on a hypnosis file every night to fall asleep, right? That doesn’t feel good and that gets boring. Anyway. So I went to the learn a skill about how to put yourself to sleep.

Richard Jacobs [21:49]
I remember telling myself a couple times, you know, you’ve fallen asleep for 40 years. Every night. You’ll fall asleep tonight, don’t worry, but I’ve had to tell myself that a few times, so they had probably What a

Dr. Liz [22:01]
wonderful thing to say to yourself, right? Because that does take the worry off of it. Like, okay, eventually you will fall asleep. And sometimes it just takes someone else pointing that out to someone where they’re like, Well, yeah, that’s true, you know, because they’ll come in and they’ll really feel broken. Like, why can’t I fall asleep? My brain doesn’t work, right? Or my body doesn’t work, right? And it’s like, No, you know, your body has this natural ability. I mean, occasionally run into someone with like a face disorder. But that’s a more specialized problem, you know, where they really have to get their fees back in cycle or it’s, it’s a deeper physical problem going on. But a lot of the time, for most people, their bodies are working correctly, because the mind is keeping

Richard Jacobs [22:49]
people that wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. I can give you a few tips there. stuff I’ve learned if you’d like,

Dr. Liz [22:55]
sure. That would be great

Richard Jacobs [22:57]
the biggest factor I’ve seen as time. Like, there’s nice where it was very dry and I had to keep waking up to drink water. And I got a humidifier which helped but I literally a couple of times got to the point where I’d have a water bottle in the bed next to me, because it would save me like it saved me probably three seconds. I would just pick it up, unscrew the cap, take a sip, screw the cap on and lay right you know, I, I barely had to move I got it down to a science I I did dump the water on me a few times, but, but I figured it out. So didn’t do that. But I’m glad notice that the night is like literally every second counts. So if you can, you know go to the bathroom faster if you have to go obviously with less light, but where if you can drink water faster if you do whatever, and get back to bed faster. You’ll fall asleep faster is what I’ve seen. The longer you stay awake, the worse it is for you.

Dr. Liz [23:49]
Yeah, absolutely. Definitely. It’s funny because my husband used to turn on the light in the bathroom when he’s going in the middle of the night. And I was like how do you do that he’s a great sleeper so you can follow Right back asleep, but then I bought this. It’s a toilet light. There’s no other word for it. I don’t know the visual this. But if it’s motion sensitive and it lights up the toilet bowl can actually flash through the rainbow if you want it to. But typically I keep it on like a blue light so that there’s less light in the bathroom when you’re like getting up and going to the bathroom. And now you fall asleep fast. Back to the

Richard Jacobs [24:28]
bed. No, it’s good. Once we go it says it’s better to have a red light instead of blue. But

Dr. Liz [24:34]
yes, yeah, the red light is good, but I think in the toilet, it’s not making a huge difference, right? Well,

Richard Jacobs [24:47]
you know, it’s funny, like a lot of these sleep product products they have like LED on them and it’s usually blue. And that can put a significant amount of light in the room. Yeah, I guess I’ve got an electrical tape that takes over all these LEDs because When one can like, make the room non completely dark and like really impact your sleep. It was a tiny little light, it makes a big difference.

Dr. Liz [25:08]
Oh my god, I in the same way I used to have this wall mounted stereo. This was a while ago, but it had this little blue light and it didn’t matter whether it was on or off. And I ended up putting painters tape over it because you know, regular same point, even duct tape probably would have worked. But I could not stand this little tiny light. It would keep me up. I really needed it. So yeah, you’re right. Yeah. And I used to fall asleep to a red light. Like I had a little headlamp that had a red light on it. And I was working one time with an ophthalmologist for insomnia. And he explained why the red light was much better but he was like, Oh my god, yes, the red light because it doesn’t wake up your cones and rods or something like that. Right? Anything you can do to help yourself sleep better we think or to drift into sleep easier.

Richard Jacobs [26:05]
If you think about it, what color is a fire? You know, like a campfire? red and orange. What color is the sunset? typically more reddish orange? Absolutely,

Dr. Liz [26:15]
yes. So we are coming to the end of our time here. Can you tell people how to find you and how to order a custom pillow? They’re interested in that. And also your app name. Yeah. So

Richard Jacobs [26:29]
the website is good night’s sleep project. com or nights is plural. So good night’s sleep project calm. And the app is on Android and iPhone. You can look up either custom pillow maker where good night’s sleep project and you’ll find it both places.

Dr. Liz [26:46]
Okay, wonderful. So thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Richard Jacobs [26:50]
Yeah, I appreciate you having me. No problem.

Dr. Liz [27:28]
I hope you truly enjoyed today’s episode. Remember that you can get free hypnosis downloads over at my website, Dr. Liz hypnosis. com Dr. Li seen hypnosis, calm. I work all over the world doing hypnosis. So if you’re interested in working with me, please schedule a free consultation over at my website and we’ll see what your goals are and if I can be of service to you and helping you reach them. Finally, if you like today’s episode, please subscribe to the podcast. Or tell a friend that way more and more people learn about the power of hypnosis. Alright everyone, have a wonderful week. Peace.

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