An exploration of sleep and insomnia, with a single destination in mind:
a good night's sleep.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The YouTube Video That's Putting People to Sleep

By Ken Mallows

A video intended to show off the beauty of Ireland has become an internet phenomenon with more than 10 million views, but that's not why I'm telling you about it.

The video is helping people sleep. Insomniacs and others who have trouble getting to la-la land are using the video and the accompanying audio to help lull them to sleep.

According to the BBC, the video has proven so successful that it’s even being tested in several London hospitals.

The videographer is Johnnie Lawson, an artist from County Leitrim. He told the BBC: "People who were finding it difficult to sleep began writing to me from all over the world North Korea, the Central African Republic, Beijing and across the UK… They started leaving me messages, saying the recordings were helping to relieve their insomnia."

The bucolic scene of a small rapids and stream in Lurganboy forest is accompanied by the sounds of singing birds and gently flowing water. Users report that it's the sounds more than the video that helps them get some shut-eye.

The video is 8-hours long so there's no need to put it into an endless loop mode.

Here are some typical reports from users that were written in the YouTube comments section:

"I read online that this video is supposed to help people sleep the last few weeks I've had very restless night's sleep so I said I try it, thinking this couldn't possibly work. Left the last 20 minutes play in the background on my phone next to my pillow. Fell asleep almost immediately and woke up never feeling more refreshed."

"I listen to this to help go to sleep and if I wake up in the middle of the night, it's still on so I can get back to sleep."

Some people just find the sounds relaxing and conducive to other activities:

"I was so stressed out because of these two tests I have to take tomorrow, but then I found this and it's really helping me to study. Thank you."

"This is healthy - my headache is gone after a while. So I skip the pills. Thx Johnnie!"

To those who study sleep disorders, these comments come as no surprise. Many people respond to the natural sounds of streams and birds and find them soothing. For others, alternative sounds work. You can find a slew of additional sounds designed to relax, comfort and put you to sleep. We like the many choices at Spotify. They're free. Go to the website and sign up, then head over to the 'Browse" area and then click "Sleep." I'm sure you will find a sound that suits you, anything from rain on a tin roof (W.C. Fields's cure for insomnia) to wind, tropical rain forests, ocean waves and more.   

Give it a try, and let us know what works for you.

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