As a long-term insomniac I have been searching for many years for a way to help me get to sleep and then stay in the land of nod for the entire night.
Therefore, I was intrigued by the news that Penguin Random House is teaming up with a number of charities and sleep organisations to create a series of stories designed to act as a soundscape to send listeners off to sleep. These tales will be offered as a sort of audiobook/ background music designed to help listeners to get themselves off to sleep without the use of drugs, which is the holy grail for anyone with troubles getting their evening rest.
Designed specifically with users in mind, the stories draw on the Sleep Council’s research into sounds that help people get themselves off into a relaxed state of mind, such as waves lapping on a shore, soft rainfall and birdsong. These noises will, presumably, be included alongside the words to create a unique tool.
Bedtime stories have been a tradition for hundreds of years, with children and even adults enjoying listening to hearing the sound of someone to read to them to help them get to sleep. Also, it’s long been known that reading before bed is supposed to help you get to sleep; however, I’ve always believed that this is more because it helps people to get away from their screens than any actual benefit that the reading gives you.
Whilst I think that the idea of stories to help you sleep is a good idea, it’s clear that Penguin Random House has planned for its tales to be more like a white noise machine than actual stories that listeners will be interested in, with engaging plots, exciting characters and thrilling conclusions.
As white noise machines, apps with certain specific noises and even CDs of whale music already in existence with the same sort of aim, it seems to me like this is merely another product in the already vast industry that does the same job as several others.
Something I’d really like to see is an app or network where people can read bedtime stories in a calm way and record them for others to listen to at their leisure. Sort of like audiobooks, but more personal. It’s possible that audiobooks may work just as well, although my idea would make it more fun for people who want to hear only certain stories or who are looking for something with less background noise and alternating voice tone. To be honest, you could probably find something similar if look hard enough on YouTube, or you could just make your own, or have a friend do it for you.
In all, the point I’m trying to make is that tales designed to send you off to the land of nod is not a bad shout, but they’ll probably do the same sort of job as any other solution on the market. You need to try and find the solution that’s right for you, and if the sleep stories from Penguin Random House don’t work, then they’ll be something else out there to help you. After all, every aspect of the healthcare market is capable of being monetised, and insomnia is one of the top sectors out there. They’ll be something, even if the sleep stories don’t work out. But they might be a good place to start.