In a desperate quest to get more zzz’ds every night, I recently downloaded Calm. App. It’s been a total gamechanger for this ol sleepless pillow princess. So while I’m on a sleep-buzzed high I’ve reviewed my favourite sleep stories for you.
Let’s start with Harry Styles’ - Dream With Me. Hazz stepped up to voice a story after a heavy-fan-flex requested it during our first introduction to Lockdowns, 500 years ago now. DWM is the most listened to story and crashed the site when it was first released.
I can almost guarantee that as soon as you get horizontal, shut your eyes, don your noise-canceling headphones, and flick on ‘Dream With Me’ you’ll be seeing Mr. Styles in a Gucci loin cloth flying about the Sistine chapel playing cupid with a heart-bow-and arrow. I was. But honestly, his voice, with a backing track of wet violins and wetter piano is so oozy it can only be described as sexy-whisper!
I’m proudly a late adopter of most of the tech whizzes of our world. Tik Tok wot? I’ve nary listened to a podcast, nor a talking book but if you haven’t tried listening to a sleep story when you’re all alone and wide awake in the middle of the night; let me convince you in one word why you need it. Harry.
I had to google, “why did harry styles narrate a sleep story”. To grab a quote from the sweet boy of rock and good god almighty up popped 471,000 results in .54 seconds!
“SLEEP AND MEDITATION ARE A HUGE PART OF MY ROUTINE … FINDING A BALANCE HAS BEEN ENDLESSLY BENEFICIAL TO BOTH MY PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH. IT’S CHANGED MY LIFE! I’M SO HAPPY TO BE COLLABORATING WITH CALM AT A TIME WHEN THE WORLD NEEDS ALL THE HEALING IT CAN GET. TREAT PEOPLE WITH KINDNESS.”
Also, every lusty wench and her apartment-bound cavoodle had already written about him. It.
The co-CEO of Calm states, “Harry’s mellifluous voice is the perfect tonic to calm a racing mind.”
While Elle magazine reported, “Turns out Styles' sometimes rhyming, always rhythmic delivery is counterproductive to the REM cycle.” Elle also noted, “Harry is terrible at putting me to sleep”.
No doubt because every single gal or guy searching for a Tinder date is gonna get quite carried away with Harry’s ‘you’ and ‘me’ narrative. It begins.
“Hello I’m Harry Styles”
And tonight, I’m going to help you drift off to sleep
With some soothing words and calming music
A sleep story just for you!
With all the business of your day I know how hard it can be to get to sleep
So thank you for choosing this story and ME to help you
I wish you a wonderful night’s sleep
So make yourself comfortable take a deep breath in and then out
In and then out … and when you’re ready close your eyes”
Yeah baby they’re closed! I spent 50 bucks on an annual subscription and here I was instantly under the duvet with Harry Styles! He seems to lick his words at the end of every sentence.
“Tonight, we’re going to think about (sexy pause) anything you’d like. 😜
So first let’s visualize some scenes to see us through the night.
Settle back and clear your mind, where heading somewhere special
Beyond the world of consciousness to places more celestial.”
(watery music interlude)
I’d like you to imagine …”
Well, let’s not go there. He does hold your hand. And snuggle with you on a raft. There's even a log cabin with an open fire. I’m not going to let on about the bearskin rug. You will never tire of my #1 Harry but if he’s not your jam …
#2 Cillian Murphy’s gentle Irish brogue will lilt you in an imaginary locomotive across the verdant plains of leprechaun country in the aptly named ‘Crossing Ireland by Train’. Not that this travelogue, circumnavigating the Emerald Isles reads clackety clack. Cillian’s dulcet tones are more of a meditation, a literary lullaby. He points out the landscapes that inspired the enchanted world of Narnia in the C S Lewis classic and quotes Wilde, Beckett and Joyce. This is your thinking women’s bedtime story. A mattress masterclass of sorts through an enchanted green, green land. By the end, you won’t give Peaky Blinders a thought nor see that rude Thomas Shelby haircut again. All hale, Kill-ian. I’ve never been to Ireland. But I feel I want to now. This story can only be described as a polite invitation.
#3 Matthew McConaughey pants his way like a lanky rhinestone cowboy through ‘Wonder’. To claim this is a “story about the mystery of the universe” is a bit of a push. With all these narrations, it’s all about the voice, not the content. While Matthew gets all hippy trippy about the infinite magnitude of the cose-mose, I find my subconscious drifts happily towards come-a-tose. There is probably a smirk on my face as I imagine Matthew chewing a piece of grass in his Wranglers beside the campfire. He’s just polished his cowboy boots, fed me beans with a spoon, and is reading to me as I lie exhausted after a day rustling wild horses on the range.
“Well, hello there I’m Matthew Mac-Con-nay-hay and tonight I’ll be reading a special sleep story called Wun-derrr. Before we begin, as you settle in under the covers with your head eeeeasing into the pillow and your body eeeeasing into the mattress I’d like you to let your mind drift with me…”
I should point out that it is a rare thing to find yourself awake on the conclusion of these readings. Like the child you once were, you will happily listen to them over and over. And never tire of their repetition.
#4 Idris Elba reads ‘Kingdom of the Sky’ a ‘trek across the mountains of Lesotho.’ If you know nothing about this “tiny jewell of a country, nestled in the breathtaking mountains of southern Africa” you might learn a few facts. However, alas, you will also find yourself seeing Idris (Idd-riss) as a middle school geography teacher, not the next James Bond. This is a wholesome Sunday night story of the geographical kind, for all ages.
If you’re not single or middle-aged, or for some strange reason you don’t feel comfortable nestling into your feather topper and deep breathing with a male movie star, there are alternatives.
I have enjoyed ‘Dr Doolittle’ with Stephen Lyons. Stephen’s lively yet calming voice is bound to make you feel like a contented child being read to by a loving grandparent while under a lavender-scented eiderdown.
Former Great British Bake Off judge, Dame Mary Berry reads ‘A Very Proper Tea Party’. This very proper story makes Jane Austen read like a bodice ripper. I’m still alarmed that the host made herself a pot of Darjeeling and enjoyed a cup in the window seat before her guest arrived. WTH?
‘Sienna the Sleep Sloth’ with David Walliams just gave me creepy Little Britain vibes. For some reason, DW’s voice (which is either on fast-forward x 2, or he’s on diet pills) made me envisage a grown man with five o’clock shadow and a dad-bod snug within a wife beater and nappies. IKR! I shut him down pdq. I have no idea what the sloth got up to.
The library is varied and endless. In conclusion, Calm App is a great way to clear your mind and get more health-giving sleep. I’m a convert. Chucking on my headphones at 3am and listening to “Softly Back To Sleep” is a whole lot better than lying wide awake catastrophizing about my current worries. Even a soundscape like “Bamboo Forest” or “Silk Waves” can do the trick.
Lastly, in the hope of improving focus on my book writing projects, I’m eleven days in to ‘How To Meditate in 30 Days’ with Jeff. Jeff promises that once you master the art of meditation your concentration will be next-level! I’m so glad I found Jeff. My concentration is shot. But I’m learning how to shut out the voices in my head. Be present. Yeeha!
ps. I’m not sponsored by Calm App lol. If you fill out a survey on their site you’ll receive a discount voucher within days. Or sign up for a free 7-day trial.
Do leave a comment if you have success, insomniacs.
Sweet future dreams! Nightie night!