Self-Managing your Sleep Schedule

This is a review of the podcast Sleep With Me by Drew Ackerman. Keeping a healthy sleeping schedule is incredibly important but can also be incredibly difficult. This particular podcast worked wonderfully for me and I would like to recommend to all those who have difficulty sleeping at night.

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Many will experience restlessness and an inability to go to sleep over their lifetime. Whether that be caused by thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, changes in time or temperature or routine or habits, I offer you a podcast that can distract you and keep you company. Drew Ackerman is the founder of Sleep With Me, a podcast created in 2013 that “combines the pain of insomnia with the relief of laughing and turns it into a unique storytelling podcast.” [1]

With rising anxiety, boredom, and a lack of activity during the lockdown, I was definitely someone you could describe as having trouble sleeping. That was until my friend and fellow Laidlaw Scholar, F. Langham, recommended that I listen to a podcast as I fell asleep. The first time I listened to Sleep With Me, I stayed awake for the whole 60-minute show but was left calmed and relaxed enough to drift off as the story came to an end. Every time after that, I have been asleep within 15 minutes of hearing the familiar voice speaking familiar words. I have effectively given myself a Pavlovian response, and I find myself so much healthier and happier for that. I wanted to write this recommendation because I truly believe in the positivity this podcast brings, and I haven’t found anything quite like it.

The structure of the show is quite simple. At the start, there are a few minutes of business that are needed to keep the show going. This usually includes mentioning the Patreon that funds the podcast but can also be an advocation for charities (e.g. the Waterwheel Foundation). You can find the causes Drew puts his own money towards in the show notes, but he then encourages you to take your own steps to find your local community organisations that help maintain safe places or establish new ones. [2]

The next section is the introduction, my favourite part of the show, that lasts for 10 – 15 minutes. This part is where new listeners can find an explanation of what the show is and how it operates, and for regular listeners it acts as a welcome to the episode. Many listen to it as a wind down from the day, maybe as they are brushing their teeth, or as they are getting settled. Drew attempts to create a safe space where you can set aside whatever is keeping you awake. He does this but using lulling, soothing, creaky dulcet tones, pointless meanders, and superfluous tangents. The best way to consume this show is by passively listening and not trying to make too much sense of it.

Then the show begins. This takes up the rest of the hour and each episode varies in topic. Whilst creating original stories, Drew also recaps TV show episodes from some of your favourite shows. My recap of choice is The Good Place, but he also covers Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Star Trek, and many others. He avoids spoilers by only talking about mundane details, like how many plants are in Michaels office or a complete description of a poster than was shown in a single shot. The way he speaks and the stories he tells are just interesting enough to concentrate on if you wish, but also dull enough that you won’t feel like you’ve missed anything important if you fall asleep.

The episode ends with a few thanks and well wishes sent to you across the deep dark night. The best part of Sleep With Me is that there is no pressure given to you as a listener. The podcast can be played while you drift off to sleep, as opposed to putting you to sleep, to keep you company. You don’t even have to keep the podcast to the night-time, it’s a calming piece of media in the daylight too. Each episode is self-contained so you can listen to them in any order. There are almost one thousand episodes at the time of writing, so you won’t run out of content anytime soon.

 

Find Sleep With Me at https://www.sleepwithmepodcast.com/

[1] D. Ackerman, Meet Scooter, Sleep With Me, https://www.sleepwithmepodcast.com/meet-scooter/

[2] D. Ackerman, Mistletoe Junction – Happiest Holiday Shop #1, Ep. 724, [Dec 2018]

Annie Layhe

Student Researcher, University of St Andrews

I am a fifth-year studying Theoretical Physics at the University of St Andrews. My research is about quantum thermodynamics, more specifically on how a two-level quantum dot behaves in a dissipative environment with memory. I am also the President of the Physics Society, where we aim to foster a strong community and host academic and careers focused events that help the students learn and network. I can usually be found knitting a scarf or two whilst enjoying a good cup of tea.

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