When Drew Ackerman talks, more than three million followers fall asleep. His podcast, Sleep With Me, which delivers rambling bedtime stories in a dozy monotone, was borne out of Drew’s own struggles with insomnia. Six years on, his global fan base of late-night listeners has turned him into an unlikely expert on what it takes to really get good shuteye.

Here are his top tips:

  • “Have a pleasurable wind-down routine – it might be a bath, a natural therapy, or a bedtime story. An hour before I want to be asleep, I do some yoga stretches and then I’ll read fiction. Even if I can’t fall asleep, at least I feel a little bit more relaxed and nourished, instead of harried, like, ‘Oh, God, I’ve got to stop what I’m doing and go to sleep!’ ”

  • “Avoid over-stimulating things at bedtime, even stimulating conversations (another reason to put your phone away).”

  • “Having a dark room is really important, and studies back that up. Light pollution is something that researchers are looking at now. There are so many lights that you may not even be aware of, like LEDs on seemingly every device. I keep a roll of painter’s tape and I put it over those LEDs and it really does make the room darker.”

  • “Find a way to give yourself a bit of empathy and compassion. Often times, if we can’t sleep, we start to blame ourselves. So try thinking how you’d take care of a friend. You’d say, ‘Hey, that’s tough and you do deserve a good night’s sleep and I know that you’re going through this rough time.’ It might not solve things, but sleep can be such a loaded issue for people that just loosening that knot a little bit can help.”

  • “Just for peace of mind, talk to your doctor about your sleep issues. See if there are any underlying health issues, and ask if there is anything else you can be doing to help you fall asleep.”

Drew’s Aussie podcast episode, Australia Sleepy Slang Tour, was sponsored by natural sleep medicine ReDormin Forte by Flordis.

© Prevention Australia