I am a terrible sleeper. Even though I go to bed completely exhausted most nights, once I get into position, I find the whole becoming-unconscious thing basically impossible. As soon as I turn off the lights, my mind starts racing with anxieties, usually useless ones that I can’t turn off: Why did I say that dumb thing to Hayden Greenfield in 7th grade? Did people have fun at my wedding? What would I name a poodle if I had one? Even though I usually get in bed early, at least a few nights a week, I’ll find myself still awake at 3 a.m., wondering when my brain will finally switch off.
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I’ve tried everything to get some sleep. I’ve literally counted imaginary sheep. I’ve played soft music. I’ve imagined my body slowly filling up with sand (a tip from a therapist that ended up just making me worry about serial killers). Nothing helped. Until I discovered Sleep With Me.
Sleep With Me is a podcast designed to be incredibly boring. But there’s a good reason: It’s so boring that people with insomnia will fall asleep to it. It sounds crazy, but it works. It’s hosted by Drew Ackerman, who is—by his own admission—not a sleep expert, just someone like me who has struggled his whole life with insomnia, which means he gets how frustrating it can be to not be able to fall asleep. Drew speaks in a low, soothing voice and puts his listeners to sleep by telling stories that have absolutely no point.
You know how your high-school English teacher told you stories have to have a beginning, middle, and end? Not on Sleep With Me. The stories Drew tells are impossible to follow. He goes off on boring tangents, never comes back to main points, and rambles softly in a stream-of-consciousness narrative that goes nowhere.
Every episode is a new kind of boring: He makes up a fairy tale, he reads recipes, he retells episodes of Star Trek from memory. Each podcast is about an hour long, which is enough time that you don’t have to worry whether it will be over before you finally fall asleep, but I even set a sleep timer so they turn off automatically. The podcast is incredibly calming—it distracts me from my own thoughts without getting me invested in a story.
Drew notes that you’ll probably need to listen to it a few times before it will work, and he’s right: It took me a couple tries before it started putting me to sleep. At first, I was kind of interested in how someone could possibly fill an entire hour with such a boring story, so I ended up staying awake for the whole thing, even though the episode was just him describing a house he once lived in. But after a few tries, it clicked—and now it puts me to sleep within a few minutes. In fact, I almost never remember what he talked about in each episode because I fall asleep so quickly. Goodbye, worrying about my non-existent poodle’s name. Hello, sleep.
Lucy Huber is a writer, multiple cat owner, and sufferer of Reverse Dawson’s Creek Actor Syndrome, which is a disease she made up for when you are 30 but look 15. To see her other work or ask more specific questions about her cats, visit lucyhuber.com.