If you’ve found yourself tossing, turning and having difficulty falling asleep more over the last 18 months, you’re not alone. A global study found the pandemic was leading to poor sleep. On top of that, results from the ABC’s Australia Talks National Survey shows technology was having a negative effect on sleep, with a third of Australians getting less than the recommended seven hours of sleep.
Not-for-profit Common Ground, which works to amplify First Nations people through stories, knowledge and culture, has partnered with Snapchat on a new podcast that can help lull you to sleep, while also uplifting Indigenous traditions.
It’s called Dreamy, and features five sleep stories told by First Nations storytellers. The series draws on an 80,000-year-old oral tradition of bedtime stories, with each episode featuring a different tale accompanied by music and nature sounds.
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Wiradjuri poet and filmmaker Jazz Money narrates Bilabang, which explores the interconnectedness of the river and stars. Journey to the Centre, by Arrernte and Jamaican artist Aurora Liddle-Christie, takes you into the red rock hills and eucalyptus leaves of country and its healing nature.
Ocean waves crash against the shore in Moon Holds Water, with Dr Romaine Moreton (Goenpul Yagerabul Minjungbul Bundjalung from Tjerangeri, or Stradbroke Island) recounting her childhood in Fingal Head. Torres Strait Islander storyteller Ghenoa Gela speaks about the stars in the sky – “those beautiful, floating lights forming patterns across the infinite navy blue” – while Bundjalung man, writer and educator Dakota Feirer invites you to slow down and take in the freshwater, saltwater, flora and fauna around you.
Each story also features artwork and illustration by Southern Arrernte, Kaytetye and Anmatyerre artist Carmen Glynn-Braun, with gentle and soothing animations. Registered psychologist Greta Bradman was also enlisted to help bring the project to life, with the goal being to lull listeners into a mellow, dreamy sleep.
“These stories allow the listener to unhook from the ‘if onlys’ and ‘what ifs’ of their day, and settle back for a journey of guided imagery into some really special places,” Bradman said in a statement. “The use of the voice along with sounds that really embed the listener in the place they’re taken to make for an immersive experience. All up, these stories offer a wonderful way of helping elicit a state of calm and relaxation in preparation for sleep.”