A ebook at bedtime: the upward push of sleep story apps

Stars light up the darkness as a thin coat of hoarfrost starts to shape on the grass out of doors my window. Sitting at the sofa, I’m snuggled up with a blanket, with the fire roaring and a cup of hot chocolate via my side.

It would possibly sound like a suitable recipe to result in an amazing night time’s sleep for me – but that’s now not my goal. In truth, I’m working. Perched on my knee is a laptop and I’m writing my state-of-the-art bedtime story, one that I desire will ship tens of millions of sleep-starved grownups into a soothing and relaxing night time’s slumber.

The call for audio stories has seen a full-size increase during the last 5 years. Not best have an income of audiobooks doubled on account that 2012 (with HarperCollins reporting that they now account for more than 25% of its revenue) but an increasing number of people are turning to our smartphones to get our restore of aural stimulation.

I need to understand: I’m sleeping storyteller-in-house for Calm, a nap resource and meditation app that hosts greater than 16 of my travel tales narrated by way of Stephen Fry and Joanna Lumley, to name but two. My stories, together with the others on the app, were listened to one hundred million times on account that they have been released in December 2016, and regularly entice more than 9m listens a month.

Each one is written in such a manner that the listener must by no means make it to the give up. They are complete of descriptive prose and, crucially for my memories, a journey that’s exciting enough to capture the imagination and make someone need to listen to it, but soothing enough to make them doze off.

The idea harks returned to while we were kids and an person might study to us to make us fall asleep It’s an old style, however, attempted and tested method that, for some cause, we gave up.

“There’s a paradox to sleep, in that it comes when you’re not trying,” says Dr. Steve Orma, a scientific psychologist in San Francisco who specializes in treating humans with insomnia. “When you attempt to sleep, your mind monitors your efforts, which then keeps you wide awake.

“So, doing something calming before bed – like being attentive to a sleep tale – that’s designed that will help you allow the move, will put together you for sleep.”

So, with the aid of charming you with my story, it’s stopping you disturbing about without a doubt going to sleep, which, satirically, then sends you immediately to the land of nod in – going by means of the emails I often get from listeners – approximately 5-to-10 minutes.

But it doesn’t have to just be a descriptive travel tale that will help you forget about your worries and go with the flow off to sleep. A buddy directed me to a popular podcast referred to as Sleep With Me, which has an altogether exclusive method.

Rather than a targeted story, the host, Drew Ackerman, as a substitute enables more than 3.3m listeners to doze off every month with the aid of speaking approximately all way of things – from episodes of Star Trek and Doctor Who to rambling, and frequently weird, memories approximately made-up characters based totally on Twitter trends – which often burst off on tangents.

“I offer an alternative narrative to the only that is probably walking in the listener’s thoughts,” explains Ackerman. “They may already be telling themselves a tale, approximately their day at paintings, getting their taxes performed, the continual ache they’re experiencing or approximately some worrying event that impacted them. A bedtime tale, where preferably there are no private stakes, can shift their mind or disengage the gears, simply sufficient to float off to sleep.”

And, it appears for a few, words themselves aren’t even vital. Sound and especially tune on my own is distraction sufficient. John Powell, the writer of Why We Love Music, says he believes tunes are an even greater effect.

“The human body incorporates an internal ‘pharmacy’ which dispenses chemical substances to assist us to deal with numerous situations effectively, including adrenaline and cortisol which energize us in horrifying “fight or flight” conditions, and norepinephrine, which complements vigilance,” he says. “Soothing tune reduces the quantity of sleep-depriving pressure hormones on your system and facilitates you go with the flow off to sleep.”

Ultimately sleep is essential – to both our physical and our mental health – and with insomnia at the growth, whether you prefer to nod off by way of taking note of song, a meandering mumble on Sleep With Me or one of my personal sleep stories at the Calm app, understanding that I can doubtlessly be part of the solution permits me to sleep that little bit sounder too.