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Creativity Secrets From The Man Behind The “Sleep With Me” Podcast

Source | FastCompany : By VIVIAN GIANG

Always-on technology and digital devices creeping into our bedrooms have turned all of us into insomniacs. It doesn’t help that we live in a culture that celebrates the “secret to success” as getting by on as little sleep as possible.

Long before mobile screens illuminated our pillows, a young Drew Ackerman was suffering from insomnia. But unlike many who spend nights unable to fall asleep, Ackerman’s insomnia took him through a decades-long creative process that resulted in the podcast Sleep with Me.

Currently, three episodes air weekly and draw around 70,000 listeners for each show. Users download episodes around 1.3 million times each month. In 2014, Sleep with Me appeared on iTunes’ list of top 50 podcasts, alongside brands like NPR, Earwolf, and ESPN. Ackerman, who also works as a librarian in San Francisco, recently hired two freelance editors and attributes the show’s success to his ability to tell a good boring story—which all started in the room he shared with his little brother.

Throughout their childhood, the two would tell each other boring stories to help them fall asleep. The adult Ackerman continued telling what he calls “long, boring, leisurely plodding-plot stories” to help lull loved ones, from significant others to his 9-year-old daughter, to sleep.

In 2013, when another project fell apart, Ackerman decided he would use the time he’d already put aside to start the bedtime-storytelling podcast he’d been dreaming of for years. “It was weird, I never have well-adjusted thoughts like this,” Ackerman tells Fast Company, “but the project imploded and on that day, part of me was like, ‘why don’t you do that podcast with that time that you already set aside? I thought, I guess I will listen to whoever’s voice this is.”

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