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We Have Created a World that We Can’t Switch Off From

Hear from three sleep app creators about the best and worst of creating sleep apps

Podcasts to Fall Asleep To

Niall Breslin, Podcaster, Musician and Mental Health Advocate, Wake Up/Wind Down Podcast, Ireland, Abbe Opher, Narrator, Voice Actor and Host, Koko Sleep Podcast, UK, Hayden Bailey, CEO, Sleepist, UK

How do you make a stimulating listen for people going to sleep?  Hayden from Sleepist replied that there is more to it than boring people to sleep, it's about giving people the space to go to sleep.  The Sleepiest app started because Hayden was struggling to get to sleep and looked at creating bedtime stories for adults, sleep meditation and now also for children.  The interesting he thought about podcasts is building an app, this takes years but creating and testing a podcast is only weeks.

Niall from Wake Up/Wind down talked about our culture for example, the CEO of Netflix said that their biggest competitor is sleep.  That’s not normal.  Our culture frames everything in terms of threat and risk but we have created a world that we can’t switch off from.  The podcast was started in the pandemic, the idea with sleep is familiarity is important; a reflection in the morning and a meditation in the evening.  There is a fine line of being supportive and intimate but not creepy.  Meditation isn’t about falling asleep it is about falling awake, sleep meditation is about bringing the central nervous system down.

Abbe from Koko Sleep podcast is a narrator on Koko sleep a kids podcast. Developed for the ages of 4 or 5 to 12 it also has older listeners as well.  Whether a child or adults sleep podcast they are similar as it' is about drawing people’s attention to you, your voice and what you are communicating in a soothing but not boring way. Abbe said that when she started working for Sleepist in 2018 the audition notes said to read in progressively slower however it isn’t about slowing down, but needing to pause and bond your words together differently plus using silence and pay attention to the rhythm.

The panel talked about voice and using voice plus ad placement which Niall said is frustrating as the mood is ruined by the adverts. Hayden discussed the commercial quandary of ads so how does Sleepiest make money?  Hayden said they tried to get partners for a few months and had great numbers but the ads are different for this kind of podcast so they are looking at how a premium subscription can support the programme.

Niall also spoke about podcasting during the pandemic, he had a podcast already which was exclusive to Spotify but during the pandemic it was turned into its current reincarnation and had different themes and topics each week.  It was needed by people, including him and was as much of a solace as him for others.  Once the pandemic was over it had to stop.

Abbe is still working as a freelancer whilst she and Hayden are talking strategy about the kids podcast.  Hayden has been creating more podcasts: sleep meditation, children’s bedtime stories and subscriptions for the whole family to cross promote across the whole network.  Organically it can grow quicker than the app industry.  Niall is looking at the documentary space of podcasting.

A lot of people make podcasts that are listened to at night, Hayden says it depends on the network you work with and the quality of the ads, offer an ad free subscription.  Ask your audience if they listen to fall asleep, you could even get a producer to repurpose content particularly for sleep time.


Written by
Rosie Smith

Tue 4th October 2022