SHEFFIELD BUSINESS AWARDS: Young business person

Stuart Cutforth, of sponsor Chesterfield College, left, and Richard Mills standing in for James Bird
Stuart Cutforth, of sponsor Chesterfield College, left, and Richard Mills standing in for James Bird
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Young businessman James Bird hit the ground running when he joined Sheffield start-up company SleepCogni.

James, 21, graduated from The University of Sheffield Business Management course in June 2015 and took on a brand-new role.

His role, social media and customer relations manager, has played a vital role in the company’s fantastic expansion.

He has successfully worked on the project of engagement with potential customers through social media, pioneering a global sleep questionnaire to better understand human sleep behaviour.

There have been over 1,000 completed questionnaires as a result of personal emails to over 6,000 users, as well as posts on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Sheffield inventor Richard Mills launched SleepCogni to combat years of sleep deprivation, with the help of Heaven 17 star Martyn Ware.

The device, which features a hoop on an arm over the bed, produces sounds and light patterns designed to send people to sleep.

It also monitors heart rate, mental alertness, skin temperature and movement.

Martyn Ware developed the sound element of SleepCogni, while students from Sheffield Hallam University ran clinical trials which show 50 per cent of insomniacs reported better quality sleep while 40 per cent slept longer at night.

The invention also has the backing of international sleep expert and founder of the London Sleep Centre Dr Irshaad Ebrahim.

Richard said: “SleepCogni actually desensitises the user through a mathematical sequence of sound and light patterns that use the opposite wavelengths to those that normally stimulate you. NASA has recently used the same LED technology on the international space station...

“It monitors the body and – unlike any other device on the market – interacts with it, to produce a programme of audio, visual and tactile cues to induce sleep.

“SleepCogni also works as a training programme, which means it becomes more effective the more it’s used.”