Vickie Fee

Falling Fast Asleep with Slow TV

How do you unwind in order to get a good night’s sleep?

If you said reading, you may not enjoy the same kind of books as I do. I read mysteries—cozies, traditional, police procedurals, suspense, thrillers—all of which keep me up reading way past my bed time. And don’t tell me to give up coffee. I’ll admit to being a caffeine addict. I’ve given up trying to give it up. Seriously. Just no.

My husband sometimes plays video games to unwind before sleep, but that hypes me up. Generally, watching TV wakes me up, too. But, I have found some TV viewing options that actually help me sleep.

If you share my struggle with shut-eye, I hope this helps: It’s called Slow TV. It’s a hit in Norway and now syndicated around the world. I view it via Pluto (which is a free network on my Roku streaming device).

The Slow TV movement started with a train journey across Norway. A few cameras are attached to the train, catching the scenery. Some of it is beautiful, much of it is monotonous. It’s amazing how many tunnels they have in Norway, which show up in the video as: darkness. This particular video runs for SEVEN hours. Occasionally they’ll let someone on the train talk. But since I don’t speak Norwegian, it doesn’t keep me from nodding off.

Slow TV has become a phenomenon in Norway. There are other episodes, besides the train trip. There’s one called “National Knitting Night” that starts with sheep being sheared, yarn being spun, and finally people knitting. It runs THIRTEEN hours. I’m a little upset this one hasn’t made it to the American market yet.

Norwegian public television executive Thomas Hellum explained the idea behind the Slow TV episodes, which are broadcast with some music, but without plot or narration. “It’s important that it’s an unbroken timeline, that you don’t take away anything,” said Hellum. “It’s all the boring stuff in there, all the exciting things in there, so you as a viewer has to find out what’s boring and what’s interesting.” And a professor at the University of Oslo describes Slow TV as an “escape valve” from fast-paced “eye candy” television viewing.

I doubt Slow TV will ever catch on in the U.S. the way it has in Norway (About a quarter of all Norwegians tuned in to watch at least part of that train trip)! And, to be honest, I haven’t watched all seven hours. Thirty to forty minutes is usually enough to put me down for the count.

Seriously, though, Slow TV, helps me fall asleep more quickly than herbal tea or counting sheep. And I really, really want to see the knitting episode that starts with sheep shearing and ends with a finished wool sweater.

Readers, what about you. Any tips for overcoming insomnia, getting a better night’s sleep?

 

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16 thoughts on “Falling Fast Asleep with Slow TV

  1. I came across one of the train journeys through Norway and found it fascinating and restful. At the time, I didn’t realize what it was. My method of aiding sleep is climbing into bed with a recorded/audio book. I set the timer on my iPhone to stop the recording after 30 minutes. It usually puts me to sleep after a short time, and if it doesn’t, it keeps me entertained.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Grace, if the narrator has a calming voice I could see listening to an audio book working nicely — as long as the story isn’t too suspenseful!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to say, this really struck me as funny. Since I’ve been writing my mysteries, I’ve been watching way less TV. And I’ll tell you one thing I’m watching particularly less of – the news. That is the opposite of sleep-inducing.

    I can figure out ways to get myself to sleep, but my problem is waking up too early. I’ll wake up at 5 and be, damn! Sometimes I clear my mind and get back to sleep. I’ll put my thoughts on an imaginary board and erase them. Or imagine windshield wipers wiping them away. I’ll also use a sleep mask and ear plugs.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I like the image of erasing thoughts from a chalkboard, Ellen! Or for us writers, maybe hitting the delete button and watching text disappear from the screen. On second thought, deleting text might arouse anxiety!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Reading puts me to sleep. Seriously. On night when I can’t sleep, I turn the light back on and open my book while lying on my side. I am often out in a couple of pages. Every day, I go out to my car at lunch time, read for a bit, doze off for 10 minutes or so, wake up again, and go back to reading. And on the rare nights when I try to go to bed without reading a chapter or two first, my body won’t let me sleep until I’ve read.

    I don’t know what it is about reading that helps me sleep, but I don’t mind when I can’t sleep at night. And on the very rare occasion when it doesn’t put me to sleep on a restless night, I get a lot read.

    It doesn’t matter what I’m reading either.

    I know this is very odd for most readers, but it just proves how odd I am, right?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mark, reading seems to help a lot of people fall to sleep, so maybe I’m the oddball! I love that your don’t mind when you can’t sleep because you *get a lot read*!

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      • A book you’re “not deeply into” means no books by the Chicks then. Right, Hestia?:) I wish reading a couple pages of anything put me to sleep. I’d even read the phone book!

        Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Kellye, just remember you can get off the train anytime you want! It might be harder for me to turn off the knitting episode because I’d want to see the finished sweater. 🙂

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  4. This is truly fascinating! If I didn’t fall asleep while reading, I’d give it a try. (The thing that bugs me most about falling asleep while reading, aside from missing the story, and aside from the times the book falls and hits me on the face, is when I realize I’m lying there with my eyes closed, holding the book. What is that about?)

    And I love this so much > ” I’ll admit to being a caffeine addict. I’ve given up trying to give it up. Seriously. Just no.” Tee hee.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cynthia, getting hit in the face by the book may be keeping you from falling asleep! I’ve never found a comfortable position to read while lying down — maybe that’s why it doesn’t work for me.

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  5. I actually watch late-night TV before bed. For some reason, I find the humor clears my mind. It keeps my hubby awake if I have my nightstand lamp on and I almost went blind with the mini book lite. I did recently invest in an actual Kindle, instead of just using the app on my phone, so that works better. I don’t have any trouble falling asleep but I hate waking up in the middle of the night. I need to try El’s chalkboard trick.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa, I had an ancient Kindle that was so hard to read I was using my phone app, too! But John caught a deal and bought a Kindle Fire. I’ve stayed up late (even for me) reading the past two nights! I need to get back in the train.:)

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