The soothing sounds of an Irish waterfall are helping thousands of insomnia sufferers get a good night’s sleep.
Irish artist Johnny Lawson recorded the serene sounds of the water flowing down the River Bonet and uploaded a video on to YouTube. His intention was to share the tranquility and peacefulness of the Irish countryside with the world.
However, his video developed an unexpected following, of people struggling to drop off after a long day.
The positive response prompted Lawson, from Co Leitrim, to produce more calming videos and there are now dozens available on his YouTube channel.
The videos have now been viewed by millions of people, and Lawson is understandably overwhelmed by the reaction to his work.
He told the BBC: “People who were finding it difficult to sleep began writing to me from all over the world – North Korea, the Central African Republic, Beijing and across the UK. They started leaving me messages, saying the recordings were helping to relieve their insomnia. I’ve even had people watching my videos from inside the Vatican.”
The serenity of the Irish countryside is not just being used by insomniacs in their homes either, as a group of top hospitals are using the videos as part of a sleep study trial.
Dr Dorothy Wade is a health psychologist who works in the intensive care unit at University College Hospital, London. She explained: “The aim of the trial is to prevent intensive care patients from being traumatised and to cut the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder found in ICU survivors. As part of the therapy, nurses give patients tablet computers with different relaxation materials on them. This includes Johnnie Lawson’s videos of tranquil nature scenes.”
The surprising response has obviously delighted Lawson, who first started making relaxation videos five years ago. He revealed that he has increased the length of his films, after requests from his supporrters: “I consider myself lucky to live in the unexplored and peaceful hills of County Leitrim. Insomnia suffers would fall asleep listening to some of my videos, but they’d wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of silence.
“That’s when I started making eight-hour long videos, like the waterfall on the River Bonet. If people woke up during the night, they’d be met with the sound of nature. It would put them back to sleep again.”
The videos vary in length from 13 minutes for those wanting a quick break from the daily grind, all the way up to the full eight hours for those in need of some help in getting a good night’s sleep.
Watch one of the shorter videos below, or visit Lawson’s YouTube channel to select a longer one.