I’ve always had trouble sleeping, for a variety of reasons. In desperation I’ve had ultimately useless operations to try to fix physical issues, installed fans and air conditioners, and used headphones and ear plugs to try and remedy some of the environmental issues, and practiced meditation to the point of disappearing into the mountains for two or three weeks a year to try and combat the mental issues, but even when all the stars align, and I can breath and it’s quiet and cool and I’m feeling relaxed, I’m apparently so out of practice when it comes to actually falling asleep that it usually remains elusive.
Enter Drew Ackerman, or Scooter as he is better known to devotes of his nodcast Sleep With Me, a podcast that puts you to sleep. Scooter does this by telling you a bedtime story using lulling, soothing tones, surrealist humour, and abstract associations.
I was obviously severely under slept when I discovered Sleep With Me, as I don’t remember exactly how or when I found it. I do remember that the first episode I listened to didn’t do much for me. It would have been a few days or even weeks later, in an all too familiar but nevertheless desperate attempt to end the standoff between the ten thousand things that prevent me from sleep and that beautiful sweet nothingness that I would have resorted to Sleep With Me again, and to my surprise, I found myself falling asleep.
What kind of alchemy is this? How does it work? Well, I’ve spent way too much time trying to figure out what I need to fall asleep, so I can at least offer my perspective. For me to fall asleep I need to follow a train of thought into a dream. If I get interrupted, I’m shocked awake, and I have to start the process all over again. I get interrupted more often than not, usually by abrupt noises, physical discomfort, or competing thoughts. But what if someone was telling you a story, so even when there are interruptions, they manage to keep the thread going?
Sleep With Me usually starts with an introduction in which Scooter attempts to explain the purpose of the podcast. As he trips over the pronunciation of a word, or struggles to find the right one, he finds himself distracted with loosely related ideas, and as the connection to the original story seed grows increasingly tenuous, you might very well find yourself drifting off to sleep.
If you’re still awake after fifteen minutes of increasingly surreal and dreamlike meanderings there’s no need to despair, you’re in good hands. From here you’ll be treated to a bedtime story that might be a scene by scene narration of Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, with appropriate and occasionally hilariously inappropriate comments thrown in for good measure, or an entirely made up story based on the what happens to be trending on Twitter, or if you’re really lucky, you’ll find out what’s happening in the surrealist story worlds that are The Tales of Lady Witch Beard or Get Besos.
These days I never miss an episode, but even just a few months ago I was a little more selective. When I first started listening to Sleep With Me, the sound quality wasn’t nearly as good, and Scooter was still fine tuning his bedtime tone. It wasn’t that these old episodes weren’t effective or generally amazing, it’s just that recently things have gotten better, and exponentially so.
Scooter has somehow managed to balance his obsessive pursuit of perfection with a strict adherence to a rather grueling schedule of three new episodes per week. His being able to do this is at least partially due to the more than 1,100 people who have contributed to his Patreon campaign. This has allowed him to pay Chris ‘Posty’ Posterson to help with the editing, and it sounds like he has been able to upgrade his audio equipment too. This is Patreon at its best. The show is better for every single listener irrespective of their ability to contribute, but there’s enough patrons to make Scooter’s life a little less stressful by his being able to outsource the complex and incredibly time consuming task that is sound editing.
Scooter isn’t done yet tho. There’s plans for his being able to work part or even full time on the podcast, which would be great news for me and my fellow insomniacs. He isn’t just asking for handouts tho, he is offering quite a bit in return. On top of being able to improve the quality of the podcast and continue to put out twelve episodes a month, he also offers patrons other little extras too. We had a Q&A session before the AMA he did when the Facebook group reached 1000 members, and he also offers other little extras, including special audio downloads, ad free episodes, and behind the scenes access by way of show notes and bloopers, and if all goes well there’s plans for live streams and more!
Sleep With Me has changed my life, and my being able to give back in even the smallest of ways is a privilege in itself. But many people are giving back in a small way, and on top of the show being better as a direct result of that, the creators life has been made a little bit better too. This is the Internet, and our crazy technology infused modern day life at its finest.