We’ve all been in that situation where no matter how tired you are, you just can’t fall asleep. And the more you stress about how tired you’re going to be the next day, the harder it is to actually drift off. It’s frustrating, to say the least!
In this unfortunate situation, it’s tempting to pop something on Netflix to help put you to sleep. But although it might help you doze off initially, we all know the blue light emitted from your screen isn’t exactly conducive to a good night’s sleep. Plus, the sound of Gilmore Girls blaring from your laptop is likely to wake you up a few hours later.
Podcasts seem like the logical solution, given they only go for a certain amount of time (unlike Netflix, there’s no automatic ‘continue listening’ feature) and you can play it on your phone on the other side of the room. But by their very nature, podcasts are meant to be engaging and interesting — not sleep-inducing! It’s a dilemma that makes us wish we were kids again, so our parents could read us a soothing bedtime story to put us to sleep.
While our parents may have deemed us a little too old for ‘story time’, a meditation app called Calm has made the next best thing possible. They’ve released a ‘sleep stories’ feature — bedtime tales designed to lull you to sleep. Narrated by celebs like Stephen Fry and Nick Viall from the US version of The Bachelor, there’s a mix of original stories and classics like Sleeping Beauty. The original stories are written to be engaging to begin with (to distract you from worrying), then gradually become calmer and softer with longer pauses between each word.
Calm also have a range of sleep-focused meditations and music. But considering the ‘sleep stories’ feature was downloaded more than two million times in the first month of release, we have a feeling they’re onto a winner.
Insomnia is a huge issue, and we’ve been exploring a number of ways to help people fall asleep without resorting to medication. We loved having bedtime stories read to us as kids and thought it could be fun and highly effective to create similar stories for grownups.We are helping the mind shift from a beta state of brainwave activity (typically 12-40 hertz) to an alpha state (8-12 hertz) and then into theta (5-8 hertz).
-Michael Acton Smith, co-founder of Calm via Fast Company.