The Sunday Magazine

Meet the woman who writes bedtime stories for grown-ups

Ms. Smith is a storyteller for an online audio app called "Calm Sleep Stories," aimed at lulling busy brains into slumber.
( Jade Heritage (Calm))

Originally published on January 20, 2019.

We live in a world that is so harried and hectic that our brains are heavily overstimulated. When we crawl into bed and turn out the lights, it's really not surprising that so many of us find it hard to slow down enough to catch some zzz's.  And that's why a UK company launched "Calm Sleep Stories."

It's an online app designed to lull adults into slumber. And if numbers are any measure of need, there's a ton of us who need help. In the two years since the app launched, 100 million people have tuned in.

One of their star writers is Phoebe Smith. She crafts bedtime stories especially for this purpose, and while her "day job" is as a travel writer, she's really good at putting people to sleep. For instance, Blue Gold, which is narrated by Stephen Fry, the English actor, comedian and mental health advocate, has been played 15 million times.

Click "listen," above, to hear Phoebe Smith talk to Michael Enright about how she fell into this line of work.