New York isn’t the only city that never sleeps! In the US 70 million people are reported to have some kind of sleeping disorder, including insomnia, sleep apnoea and sleep deprivation (American Sleep Association, 2019), Bad sleep affects a startling 1 in 3 people in the US (ASA, 2019).
In the UK, 74% of the population sleep less than 7 hours per night, while again, roughly 1 in 3 people suffer a sleep disorder (Sleep Council, 2017).
Things don’t look much brighter in the rest of the world: globally over 60% of adults suffer from insomnia or other sleeping issues (Harris Poll, 2018).
Insomnia has a significant impact on people’s lives: 41% feel irritable, 39% lack concentration and feel demotivated (Harris Poll, 2018).
So what are the solutions that millions of insomniac are using to try to get to sleep? 36% are listening to soothing music, 32% set a schedule for bedtime, 19% try with meditation, and 29% take drugs – either over the counter or prescribed (Harris Poll, 2018).
However one of the new trends to fight insomnia is coming from the same device that most threatens it - our smart phone!
In the last 5 years the demand for audio stories has dramatically increased. Sales of audiobooks have doubled and sleep apps have been downloaded by millions of desperate users who’d do anything for a bit of sleep. Calm [CLICK HERE] and Headspace [CLICK HERE] – are counted among the most popular apps – with over 10 million downloads each, and they include both guided meditations and bedtime stories.
What is the need for beautiful bedtime stories and where does their success lay?
When we fail to sleep, we get obsessed about not being able to and start counting the hours which adds to our stress. In attempting to sleep our mind gets more awake, as it’s now trying to accomplish something, and as a result we won’t fall asleep. Bed time stories can be a distraction for our mind from its main goal, calming and releasing all the tensions of the day.
Like it or not, we are creatures of habit. Having the same ritual every night before going to bed is fundamental to achieving a great night of sound sleep, as I pointed out in this article [CLICK HERE]. If the ritual is completed by listening to a bedtime story, success may just be assured! For once, sleeping close to your phone isn’t a bad thing! Make sure you switch wi-fi and reception off though, or your sleep will get disturbed by the harmful radio waves.
3. Mindfulness & Sounds
Not all people are willing to sit and meditate. We may feel more comfortable listening to relaxing music or a charming voice. The act of actively listening to someone speaking is calming and comforting, regardless of the story. With an appropriate tone of voice, I could read to you my grocery lists for the last year and have the same effect of reading Cinderella to my niece. In fact, words aren’t important at all: science demonstrated that adequate music and sounds can reduce anxiety (Amiri et al., 2017).
We all yearn to feel like when we were children again: carefree, cheery and safe. Work, conflicts, bills and the news expose our brain to problems – quite often without solution – and it’s hard to switch your mind off like with the lights! With bedtime stories though, we can once more feel free to imagine, to rejoice and feel protected like our father was tucking us into bed.
We may no longer be children but what’s better than falling asleep, cradled and nourished just like the old days?!!