No matter the time of day, prepare for a good bedtime story

I may have mentioned a time or two that I like to have the odd nap or three during the day. And the evening. And pretty much all night.

Also, sometimes, I like to have a quick snooze between naps. I find it quite enjoyable, and I’m pretty sure one or two experts say a nice siesta is good for a person.

Good old Winston Churchill was a keen napper. He once famously said: “You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner, and no halfway measures. Take off your clothes and get into bed. That’s what I always do.”

For most of us, it might be a bit weird to do that in the afternoon at work, but then again, most of us aren’t prime minister.

Thing is, some people just don’t nap, and some people just can’t. The Better Half is like that; the Rotten Kids were like that – until they got to be teenagers, of course. But then again, they didn’t have something called “slow lit” in those days.

Slow lit? I had no idea there was such a thing until I stumbled across it the other day when I was reading, um, regular lit – I guess.

Slow lit is literature that is slow, and is apparently a legit and popular style of writing that puts you to sleep.

I was busy researching which agents and publishing companies I could submit my writing to so that I can start another large drawer of rejection letters when I noticed a call for “sleep writers.”

What? So I noodled around on the interweb and found that, yes, there are people who make a living writing bedtime stories for adults. And I’m not even making this up.

One such very popular sleep writer is a Toronto dude named Chris Advansun, who pens stories designed to make you fall asleep.

He writes for an app called Calm.com, which is an excellent name, so I checked it out. I found out this online site has more than 120 sleep stories generating more than 100 million listener downloads.

There’s a 25-minute tale of gentle nothingness from Calm.com and posted on YouTube called Blue Gold that is narrated quietly by actor Stephen Fry. It has been clicked on more than 10 million times.

These Calm.com people are clearly onto something. And that something is, almost 60 per cent of us Canucks say we aren’t getting the recommended eight hours of sleep a night.

And this fast-paced, stressful, occasionally scary world is making it difficult for many people to fall asleep. Cue the new sleep story industry.

So how does all this work? Advansun says the story has to avoid excitement and “jarring conflict,” and flow serenely along with nothing really happening. And it has to have a narrator whose sonorous voice, basically, puts you to sleep.

It’s a fine line between being too boring and too dramatic. Stories are usually about a mellow character who goes on a soothing journey. There are a lot of nice flowers and restful forests and peaceful paths and quietly bubbling brooks in these sleep stories.

Advansun says, unlike most stories, the goal is for the listener to not get to the end.

So in the interest of science (and multi-tasking), I am listening to one of Advansun’s popular sleep stories called The Waterfall as I type this column, so I can give you all an accurate review of this new trend.

OK, so, it starts with some relaxation exercises, and then we hear a soothing waterfall and a nice description of a lush, verdant forest, and a person is walking quietly through the woods and … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz …

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.

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