I’ve never counted sheep, but I’m no stranger to tossing and turning. A victim of insomnia from time to time throughout the years, I’m forever anxious about getting enough sleep. I need eight hours, but I can work with seven. I know all about all the things that’ll supposedly help me get the rest that my mind and body need. Limiting alcohol and caffeine intake. Reserving the bedroom for sleep and intimacy. Sticking to a schedule, whether it’s a Tuesday or a Saturday.
And yet knowing what should work and experiencing what actually happens are two totally different things. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that. But if you haven’t yet discovered the Sleep With Me podcast, then you do need me to tell you this: It’s a game-changer. To anyone who’s ever struggled with getting good sleep (or can’t sleep at all), that’s enormous praise.
Drew Ackerman, known to his fans and listeners as Dearest Scooter, is the 42-year-old creator and host of the silly stories’ podcast meant to lull you to sleep. In each episode’s intro, Ackerman explains that it’s a safe space for both people who have trouble falling asleep and for those who have trouble staying asleep.
As someone who typically falls into the latter camp, I appreciate the acknowledgement of middle-of-the-night wakefulness. Because the thing is, like many of my fellow insomniacs, I’ve got the bedtime routine down, and I can fall asleep usually within 10 minutes of my head hitting the pillow; my issue is with remaining in REM.
There’s nothing I can do to rid myself of the occasional insomnia that strikes, but I can fight it, thanks to Scooter.
Last night when I found myself bug-eyed a little before 5 AM, not an insanely early time to rise for the day but far too early to wake up and expect a full day of productivity, I turned to the podcast and was hooked—er, fast asleep—yet again.
Nora Caplin-Bricker explains it perfectly when she writes for The New Yorker, “…the brilliance of Ackerman’s technique is the way in which he calibrates his monologues to grab you ever so slightly: He seems always on the verge of being funny or interesting or profound, but, like narrative tantra, he never quite lets himself go all the way.”
That’s exactly it! The beauty of the stories, all of which have an ending and don’t just trail off, is that they don’t make you care about the end or feel like you missed something the way a TV show or movie does. You’re engaged enough to stop the obsessive thoughts, but not so much so that you fight off sleep.
What works for one person won’t necessarily work for the next, but if its place on the top 50 podcasts last year (it’s currently holding strong at number 87 in iTunes charts) is any indication, Sleep With Me may be your answer when dreams elude you.