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The Founder of This Innovative Sleep Device Unpacks the Science Behind Good Rest — and How We Can All Get More of It Ann Crady Weiss, co-founder and CEO of sleep technology company Hatch, knows what it takes to unwind and refresh.

By Amanda Breen Edited by Jessica Thomas

Key Takeaways

  • Ann Crady Weiss and her husband co-founded Hatch to improve your sleep
  • The company's latest device for adults, Restore 2, launches March 14
  • Weiss talks the value in routine and showing up as a "whole human"
Courtesy of Hatch

If you're like many adults in the U.S., you're not getting enough sleep. Even though people aged 18-60 need at least seven hours of sleep per night, one-third of Americans say they usually get less than the recommended amount, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you struggle to fall or stay asleep or never seem to wake up fully rested, developing healthy sleep habits can start to feel like a complex code you just can't crack.

But "sleep is not a job," Hatch co-founder and CEO Ann Crady Weiss tells Entrepreneur. "It's something our bodies want to do."

It's up to us to help them do it. But how?

That was the question that led Weiss and her husband Dave Weiss to start their quest for better sleep. As new parents battling sleepless nights, the duo needed a solution — so they founded Hatch, formerly Hatch Baby, in 2014, drawing on strategies from cognitive behavioral therapy to inform their approach.

At first, their innovative sleep device, which features sounds and lights designed to optimize rest, was geared toward infants and children. But it wasn't long before adults, including the Weisses, wanted in on the sleep revolution.

Today, Hatch offers sleep devices for both children and adults in the form of its Rest and Restore models, and on March 14, the newest iteration for adults, Restore 2, will launch just in time for Sleep Awareness Week.

Related: How to Improve Your Sleep and See Greater Success

Entrepreneur sat down with Weiss to learn more about how Hatch incorporates the science of sleep into its products and the way she leads her own life and company with rest-work balance in mind.

"The principles are pretty darn straightforward. It's all about developing great habits."

Getting a good night's sleep doesn't have to be complicated. "The principles are pretty darn straightforward," Weiss explains. "It's all about developing great habits: going to bed and waking up around the same time, following the same kind of rituals."

Hatch's sleep products make developing and sticking to those routines easy. The Restore 2 gives users access to sleep sounds including stories, music and guided rest, and light options that mimic sunsets and sunrises, allowing for gentler wind-downs and wake-ups.

Another bonus? The Restore 2 can help people remove cell phones from their nightly routines once and for all. "We really believe in giving people the option to not have to use their phone," Weiss says. "We set up all of our content, alarms and everything in a way so that you can set it up in the app and don't have to touch it again. You subscribe to a channel of content, and then every day you get a new piece of content from that channel. You don't have to hunt and peck around for a track."

According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should stop using electronic devices like your cell phone at least 30 minutes before bed. Otherwise, you're exposing yourself to harmful blue light, increasing your alertness at night and decreasing it the next day, and diminishing your total amount of REM sleep, per SCL Health.

Weiss acknowledges that many of us are dependent on and distracted by our phones, but she stresses that shaming people about their relationship with technology isn't effective. Hatch isn't suggesting anyone get rid of their phones; rather, it aims to provide a "holistic experience" that makes rest better.

Most of us dread the sound of our jarring alarms in the morning, and Hatch strives to put a stop to that too with its gentle sunrise feature. But the colored light that brightens gradually isn't just a more pleasant wake-up call overall — it's also rooted in science.

"When your eyes are closed, you perceive the light through your closed eyelids, which releases your wake-up hormone — cortisol," Weiss explains. "So then by the time your chimes, singing bowls, birds or whatever wakes you up, your body's ready to wake up."

The Restore 2 is also designed to be a seamless part of any bedroom — not just a "chunky piece of plastic." Its neutral, rest-promoting aesthetic doesn't sacrifice any functionality either; Weiss says the large "rest" and "rise" buttons on the top of the device were built for "sleepy hands."

Image credit: Courtesy of Hatch

Related: Not Getting Enough Sleep? Blame Your Job.

"It really is a respite — a break from the chaos and craziness of life."

We're all busier than ever these days, living fast-paced, technology-tethered lives, Weiss says. That's not necessarily a bad thing (we are more efficient in many ways), but it underscores just how valuable routines — and the space to breathe they give us — are.

"Our minds are always racing with all of the things that we need to be doing," Weiss explains, "and a routine helps you be intentional about things like, Okay, now is my time to shut that off, and here is the behavior that I'm going to do now. And it becomes habit, routine, something that [we] don't have to think about. And it really is a respite — a break from the chaos and craziness of life."

We all have routines, whether we recognize them or not. Just brushing our teeth and getting into bed every night is part of a routine, Weiss says, noting that the intentional addition of just one or two extra elements can help us get those breaks we all need.

I listen to my waves the rest of the night. And then in the morning, I have my beautiful sunrise alarm that starts at 6:30, and I listen to chimes.

Naturally, Weiss has made Restore 2 a part of her nighttime routine, which she says is "pretty consistent."

Although she doesn't always go to bed at the same time, she's generally in bed by 9 p.m., often browsing Twitter before she sets her phone out of arm's reach to avoid seeing the time. Watching the minutes go by can cause anxiety and interfere with sleep, research shows — that's why Restore 2 gives users the option to remove the clock from its screen altogether.

"Then I touch the top of Restore and listen to our astronomy channel," Weiss says. "I get a new piece of content every night. I have a routine too, but after my piece of wind-down content, I listen to my waves the rest of the night. And then in the morning, I have my beautiful sunrise alarm that starts at 6:30, and I listen to chimes."

Image credit: Courtesy of Hatch

Related: Improve Your Sleep — and Your Life — With These 8 Tips

"We hire people that are really great at what they do, and we also believe that part of you being your very best is you taking care of your whole self."

The busy lives so many professionals and entrepreneurs lead today can make taking time away to rest a challenge — especially when burnout is sometimes worn as a badge of honor.

As a founder and CEO balancing rest and work herself, Weiss has made sure to live by Hatch's company values, one of which is the belief in "whole humans."

"We hire people that are really great at what they do, and we also believe that part of you being your very best is you taking care of your whole self," Weiss says. "And so we very much emphasize how important that is — and that means taking vacations, taking time for you every day. It means different things to different people."

Related: Here Is Why You Should Send Your Employees on Vacation

Weiss also strives to lead by example. At Hatch, open calendars allow everyone to see what's on everyone else's schedule (though things can be kept private by choice).

"I have a workout class three mornings a week, and I go no matter what with a group of girlfriends," Weiss says. "We have a nice trainer who leads us, and it's blocked on my calendar. I have my weekly therapy appointment also public because that's a time I don't miss; it's really important to me, and I absolutely believe in setting an example."

Hatch offers employees a number of therapy sessions free of charge and regularly encourages discussions about what it means to be a "whole human."

"We do walk the walk, and we talk the talk," Weiss says.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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