Ewan the Dream Sheep inventor went from sleepless nights to big business

Lynda Harding, the inventor of Ewan the Dream Sheep, in her office
Lynda Harding, the inventor of Ewan the Dream Sheep, in her office

In the wee small hours, when the baby starts screaming, exhausted parents all over the world thank their lucky stars that Ewan the Dream Sheep was invented. 

Until he came along, it could be long nights spent struggling to settle tots, walking up and down for hours with little ones who flatly refuse to doze off. 

Bradley Harding with mum Lynda Harding

Bradley Harding with mum Lynda Harding

But speak to the parents who discovered Ewan, and you’ll hear a different story. 

Ewan is a small fluffy sleeping aid who emits the soothing sounds of a pregnant mum’s womb and gives out a warm red glow.

Once he is tucked up with the baby, as if by magic the crying stops and the little one nods off to sleep again. And grateful parents can get their heads down too. 

Eight years on from its launch, sales of Ewan have reached more than 800,000 – not bad considering it was invented by Waterlooville mum Lynda Harding who was desperate to find something to get her child off to sleep.

Back then she was running her busy children’s nursery, Woodside, in Purbrook, and combining that with looking after six children. It was around this time she hit upon the idea for Ewan. And, like all the best ideas, it was borne out of necessity.

Lynda, now 54, explains: ‘My youngest son Bradley was the inspiration for Ewan. He was a nightmare sleeper. In fact, he didn’t sleep through until he was three years old. 

‘It was a really hard time, sleep deprivation can have a big impact on your mood. It makes you grumpy, which is why I was determined to try and come up with the product so that other families didn’t have to go through it. 

‘I was desperately looking around for something to help settle him off to sleep but there was nothing out there. I realised that when I was rocking Bradley in my arms while vacuuming at the same time it lulled him to sleep.’

Lynda, who has a degree in early years education, worked with scientists at the University of Portsmouth and carried out experiments on Bradley using recorded sounds at specific frequencies.

She discovered the pink noise frequency brought on a deep and peaceful sleep in infants.

But how she managed to launch Ewan, look after her huge family, and run the nursery is mind-boggling.

‘When you look back now it all seems a bit mad, doesn’t it?’ laughs Lynda. ‘How did I do it all?

‘When the children were younger they all attended the nursery. It meant the social aspect and their learning was catered for.

‘And once you have one or two you just get into the swing of things.

‘At the time you just get on with it. It’s a matter of juggling everything.

‘When the children were younger I dedicated quality family time and when they went to bed I would catch up on emails until about 1am or 2am, but I would be up at 6am.’

Thirty thousand people follow Ewan the Dream Sheep on Instagram and he has 40,000 likes on Facebook.

Parents have asked for an adult version of the sleeping aid while one couple asked for permission to use the heartbeat melody at their wedding. 

A streak of entrepreneurial spirit runs through all Lynda’s children, especially 16-year-old Bradley.

The teenager’s business acumen was tested when he took part in the Enterprise Challenge 2016 and won an award for innovative business when he sold helium walking balloons and raised more than £1,000 for charity.

And he’s delighted that his late-night screaming inspired his mum to create a best-selling children’s product.

He says: ‘It’s really amazing to think that from me not sleeping at night all those years ago, my mum has developed Ewan and he now helps so many babies sleep all around the world. I feel really proud to be the inspiration behind Ewan.

‘It makes up for me keeping my mum up all night when I was younger and when I see Ewan in the shops I still can’t believe it.’

Despite the international sales, the incredible power of this fluffy sheep hit closer to home when Lynda’s eldest son Bernard, 29, had his mum to thank for his two children’s peaceful night sleep. 

Lynda says: ‘I come from a small family, it was just me and my brother. But my children love coming from a big family. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Ewan would be this successful.

‘But I do always think positively which is why I created the product in the first place – so that Ewan would help out other families at night time.’