BY: JESSICA BEUKER
Remember when you were a child and your parents would read you bedtime stories to help you fall asleep? There was nothing more soothing than mom or dad’s soft voice lulling you into a dream-like state where you would go on adventures with Matilda, or visit your furry friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. Bedtime was a time of relaxation – long before cellphones, laptops, televisions and tablets swooped in and ruined everything.
Today, people are more stressed out than ever, and insomnia is a huge problem. According to Fast Company, Americans spent more than $40 billion on sleeping pills in 2015 alone, and they often have harmful side effects. “Insomnia is a huge issue, and we’ve been exploring a number of ways to help people fall asleep without resorting to medication,” says Michael Acton Smith, one of the co-founders of Calm, a company and app devoted to meditation. The company’s latest idea is the addition of bedtime stories, which are designed to help insomniacs. “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,” adds Smith.
The stories start out engaging and then slowly become calmer, with the narration gradually getting softer and slower. The stories differ in themes; some might be about travel, while others might be nature focused. Quiet music and sound effects play lightly in the background to enhance the relaxation. Each story is 30 minutes in length.
Currently, and for a limited time, the app is available for free on the app store.