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Could the Shipping Forecast Work for our Sleep Ailments Too?

There are numerous items for sale that claim to help you sleep, including special masks, aromatherapy diffusers and hypnotherapy audios. However, I encourage you to try a low-cost approach that I discovered.

A few years ago, I lay in bed late at night unable to sleep. Not knowing what to do, I turned on the radio to BBC Radio 4 and started listening to the shipping forecast. For those who are unfamiliar with this British institution, allow me to explain.

Carried away on radio waves

The shipping forecast traces a route around the entire waters surrounding the British Isles, dividing the sea into zones that are given exotic-sounding names, such as Cromarty, Lundy, Fastnet, Rockall and Fair Isle. The weather conditions at sea in each of these areas are read out by a newsreader. An extract from a recent forecast illustrates this:

“Trafalgar, northerly four or five increasing six at times, but easterly six to gale eight in far south west. Rough becoming moderate later, except in far south west. Weather mainly fair. Visibility good.”

If you are a sailor or sitting in a boat somewhere off the UK’s coast, the shipping forecast may be interesting and sometimes vital. However, for landlubbers like me, it’s, well, a bit dull.

The effect it had was to send me to sleep before the announcer had reached German Bight. I then realized that any time I had trouble sleeping, all I had to do was turn on the radio and wait for the shipping forecast, which is broadcast at ten to one each night.

An alternative audio sleep solution

A friend of mine loves a popular podcast, which she listens to in bed late at night. She never manages to listen to the end of an episode, however, because it sends her to sleep after a few minutes. Unlike the shipping forecast, she did not need to listen to boring talk to help her sleep, as things she found interesting worked for her. She now regularly uses such audio chats if she has trouble sleeping.

She tried listening using earphones but found these uncomfortable, so her solution was to buy a special headband. This is similar to the sweatbands that people wear when exercising, but with tiny speakers inside.

The next time that you have trouble sleeping, try listening to talk radio or audiobooks. This could be the cure you are looking for, but if you are still having trouble, a new mattress could be called for.

Comfort is key