Bedtime stories for adults catch on

Bedtime stories for adults are poised to become a new wellness trend, much as coloring books for grown-ups have become in recent years. With one in three adults in the U.S. and UK not getting enough sleep, new services have emerged to help them relax their minds and lull them into a peaceful slumber.


While there’s no shortage of sleep-inducing tools, from peaceful noise playlists to white noise machines, there are few bedtime stories for adults specifically to help distract their racing minds. To fill this void, Drew Ackerman, who struggled with insomnia for much of his life, created a podcast for this audience that’s intentionally designed to be so boring that it puts them to sleep. The series, dubbed “Sleep With Me,” had 2.3 million monthly downloads as of January 2017. Ackerman reports that fans are even downloading his whole back catalogue of 100 45- to 90-minute episodes.


The aptly named book Bedtime Stories For Grown-Ups by Ben Holden is an anthology of more than 70 stories that seeks to separate people from technology and re-engage them in the childhood bedtime ritual. The collection consists of poems, letters, short stories, essays, and fairytales from renowned authors throughout history, including Roald Dahl, Nora Ephron, Williams Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, and Walt Whitman. The growth of such offerings is an extension of the presence of mind movement in which people are trying to free themselves from their always-on lives and become more focused in the moment and feel more relaxed.


Betting on the growing market for sleep aid, meditation app Calm added Sleep Stories—recordings of tales that combine music, sound effects, and soothing voices to help adults drift off more easily. The app offers 23 stories narrated by celebrities; most are original works, while others are slow-tempo recordings of classic children’s novels. Each sleep story, which lasts between 20-30 minutes, is meant to take listeners to a simpler mental state and let their brain relax before falling asleep. While the app has several Sleep Stories aimed at children given their frequent sleep struggles as well, it’s mostly focused on bringing adults into a calmer mental state.