This podcast is so boring it puts people to sleep, and that's why insomniacs love it
The problem with a good podcast is that it is interesting.
That is, it's a problem if you're an insomniac trying to lull yourself to sleep.
And that's where Sleep with Me comes in. The podcast is, intentionally, as boring as possible, and it has thousands of listeners.
Drew Ackerman - or "Scooter" as he calls himself on the podcast - says that on Sleep with Me, he plays the role of "your boring drunk friend".
Each episode opens with the "Dear Scooter" theme song, then Ackerman introduces himself (as "Scooter", of course) and begins to talk, ceaselessly, and in the least interesting way. What does he talk about? It barely matters.
In his spinoff series, "Game of Drones", he simply recaps the entirety of the HBO hit show. The plot of a recent episode is much more straightforward: "The episode starts with a trip to Trader Joe's. Then we make two Super Bowl sandwiches."
"I had tried podcasts before, listening to 'Radiolab' or ('This American Life') or whatever, but they're generally too interesting to ignore," says listener Andrea Grimes.
"And the TV with the light and the things is not great. So as soon as there was this nice-sounding man giving me permission to ignore him - that's all women want - I was like, 'This is fantastic.' I was just immediately into it."
And yes, Grimes is being totally serious about this. So is Ackerman, who first started recording his "boring bedtime" episodes five years ago. His somnolent storytelling skills date back to his childhood.
"So I always shared a room with someone, and I can remember telling boring bedtime stories back then, when my brothers couldn't sleep, these strange, circuitous stories," he says.
And Sleep with Me seems to be the first podcast of its kind in the genre of narrative sleep podcasts.
There's "peaceful noise" playlists, white noise machines, and ASMR YouTube channels. And there's children's bedtime storytelling podcasts, such as "We Love Bedtime Stories" by Leslie Collins - but nothing specially designed for adult insomniacs.
Nothing, that is, until "Sleep With Me."
When the podcast began, Ackerman himself didn't first know how to promote it. He'd tweet at people complaining about baggy eyes and tired brains, but that didn't work.
He says word of mouth among those who struggle with sleep has been the biggest force pushing his podcast.
As of January 2017, Ackerman says, Sleep with Me counts 2.3 million monthly downloads. New fans also download his entire back catalogue - hundreds of episodes - to start at the very beginning.
- The Washington Post