I've always been a night owl. As a child, I would avoid going to bed—that often involved manic screaming at the top of the stairs, dramatically swinging myself around the safety gate. As I got older, I found ways to amuse myself, playing, reading and colouring late into the night. Generally, though, a bedtime story would help me drift off to the land of nod.
There's something relaxing about someone else reading you a tale of true escapism. For me, that was Roald Dahl or my dad's made-up stories about human-like rabbits that lived with robots and giants (that was one progressive household) or tales about fairies who lived in a flat (that was also a tree) at the end of the garden. I miss those stories; I also miss being able to fall asleep without worrying about emails and to-do lists and what my mates are up to on Instagram. And with only a single night's sleep standing between us and the magic of Christmas day, sleeping tonight is going to be even more difficult.
Thankfully, as with most of our modern-day woes, there's an app for that. Calm is a stress-busting app with guided meditations (so far, so standard), but it also has a section called Sleep Stories. Think bedtime tales on all sorts of winsome subjects that won't remind you of the stressful meeting you have tomorrow. Sleep Stories are so popular that Calm even persuaded Stephen Fry to record one. Keep scrolling to find out what the five most-downloaded stories are, plus shop chic bedroom accessories that will help you relax.
#5: "The Butterfly Sanctuary"
No wonder this story is so popular—Clarke Peters has a voice so relaxing it would probably put you to sleep on a roller coaster.
#4: "The Trans-Siberian Railroad"
Okay, so this may seem like unusual subject matter, but this is the fourth-most-popular download.
#3: "The Velveteen Rabbit"
A true childhood classic, this nostalgic story is a joy to listen to.
#2: "The Waterfall"
There are few things more relaxing than flowing water, and this quick 20-minute story read by Calm's in-house narrator, Tamara Levitt, will send you to sleep in no time.
#1: "Blue Gold"
Are you surprised that a story about lavender read by Stephen Fry and his iconic voice came in at number one? We're not.
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Opening Images: Yolke