Can Travel Stories Put You To Sleep?

If you are a light sleeper like me, changing hotels across time zones probably disrupts your sleep patterns more than anything else. I always carry my own TempurPedic pillow with me when I am traveling (even though it takes up 1/4 of my suitcase). But now, there’s another sleep-aid I am packing with me, and it takes up no space at all!

Did you know? 1 in 4 Americans suffer from insomnia according to Calm’s extensive research on sleep.

I downloaded the Calm App based on friends’ recommendations and discovered a spectrum of stories, music and guided meditations to help fall asleep.

One of the writers/ narrators is Phoebe Smith, a British adventurer who writes about travel and extreme sleep expeditions. Think dangling from a cliff, on a glacier or in a tree trunk! She was named the world’s first Sleep Storyteller in Residence for Calm.

Image source PhoebeSmith.com

Smith describes the places she travels to in a slow pace, guiding listeners through the sounds and sights, transporting you to the busy medinas of Morocco, cedar forests of North Africa, and the lavender fields in southern France.

Soothing voices of Matthew McConaughey and Stephen Fry narrate some of these sleep stories for grown-ups.

When I first listened to Smith’s story on the Calm App, I didn’t fall asleep right away. In fact, I enjoyed the art of simply laying there in bed and listening in the dark. We are often trying to multi-task during the day – watching tv while eating dinner, driving and listening to music, writing emails while conversing with family. I consciously set aside some time to listen, image and fall asleep using the App as an aid.

Image source Calm.com

I wasn’t successful the first time as my mind wandered through the markets in Marrakech long after Smith’s story had ended. But after listening to a few sleep stories, I am beginning to fall in and out a deep sense of relaxation.

Did you know that Washington, DC is US Insomnia Capital, and that New York is now the city that sleeps like a log?

Most people today try to fall asleep by watching TV or browsing on social media on their smart phones, but the Calm App provides a great alternate to using technology to help slow down.

The Calm app provides scientific based innovative audio content and techniques that is evolving to tackle some of the biggest mental health challenges of today: stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression.

Here are Phoebe’s Sleep Stories featured on Calm. A new story is added each month.

• Blue Gold – narrated by Stephen Fry – A calming journey through the lavender fields and sleepy villages of Provence.

• Elephants of Nepal – narrated by Joanna Lumley – Relax and unwind on a scenic safari in Chitwan National Park, guided by an elephant.

• Morocco’s Hidden Forest – the first of Phoebe Smith’s stories to be narrated by her – Phoebe Smith describes her own experience of sleeping wild in the hidden cedar forests of Morocco.

• The Trans-Siberian Railroad – narrated by Erik Braa – Traveling to the farthest reaches of Northern Russia, to take a trip on the longest train ride in the world.

• Once Upon a Time in Bavaria – narrated by Anna Acton – An enchanting meander through a Bavarian forest to find the most famous fairy-tale castle in the world.

• The River Wild – narrated by Erik Braa – Traveling the famous Mississippi River from sea to source.

• The Orient Express – narrated by Erik Braa – A journey through Europe’s majestic mountains and rolling countryside aboard the historic Orient Express.

• Wild Sweden – narrated by Alan Sklar – Immersing travel into the wilderness of Sweden’s tranquil forests and fascinating wildlife.

• The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague – narrated by Alan Sklar – Travel to the tranquil eastern shores of Virginia and explore the legend behind the famed four-legged residents.

• The Jungles of Madagascar – narrated by Larry Davis – Joining a friendly pack of lemurs to explore the sleepy jungles and wildlife wonders from the African island.

• A Calm Christmas – narrated by Stephen Lyons – A heart felt magical journey of a young Christmas tree called Douglas who helps a family rediscover their holiday spirit.

• A Love Letter to Africa – narrated by Danai Gurira – Celebrating Calm’s partnership with the RED charity with a journey through Africa to experience the beautiful landscape and dream inducing sunsets.

• An Australian Adventure – narrated by Bindi Irwin – An enchanting adventure from rainforest to reef, exploring tropical Queensland.

• Reunion Island – narrated by Aurora De Blas – Exploring the volcanic island known as Reunion, Europe’s most easterly and far-flung outpost, and the island paradise you’ve never heard of…

• Scotland’s Hidden Hideaways – narrated by May Charters – A wander through Scotland’s craggy mountains and tranquil lakes, to discover the magic of the bothies.

• Crossing Australia By Train – narrated by Steen Bojsen-Møller -Cosy up aboard The Ghan, one of Australia’s most historic railways, as you take in the breath-taking scenery of the land down under.

• Stargazing on Stewart Island, New Zealand – narrated by Alan Sklar- Embark on a magical trip Down-Under to explore the colorful cosmos from breathtaking Stewart Island.

Image source News On Screen

Calm.com is the #1 app for meditation and sleep, with over 37 million downloads to date. Perhaps it will help you fall asleep as well on this World Sleep Day. The annual event is organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of World Sleep Society (founded by WASM and WSF) and aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders. World Sleep Day is held the Friday before Spring Vernal Equinox of each year. 

Share a comment below: What is the most unique place you have slept in? For me, it was the ice hotel in Quebec!

Pancakes round the world

My favorite thing to eat for breakfast is a homemade, fresh of the griddle pancake. I don’t particularly like the ones at restaurants and hotels. In my opinion, they probably have a lot of butter or oil that make them taste very rich and leaves me with an overstuffed belly.

I try to make my pancakes as healthy as possible, by adding fat free milk and frying with Pam (vegetable spray). Here are recipes for three versions of pancakes that I make at home. These are great for breakfast, lunch, snack or dessert.American pancake

 

 

American – These are classic American, fluffy and thick pancakes. Use low-fat Bisquick to make the job easier and serve them with low-calorie maple syrup. Take it a step further by using whole wheat flour (instead of white) and serve the pancakes with lots of fruits and berries.

Another twist is adding mashed bananas or a cup of fresh blueberries into the pancake batter. It takes your ordinary pancake to “gourmet” and everyone loves it.

swedish pancake

 

 

Swedish – Prepared almost the same way, but much thinner and lighter. Swedish pancakes look almost like mini crepes but are soft and have a slight saltiness to their taste. Stack up 3-4 pancakes and serve on a warm plate. These savory pancakes can also be served for lunch. I use the Lund’s mix, but a runny pancake batter would do too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hungarian – When I first tasted Hungarian pancakes (Palacsinta) served in a rich creamy sauce as dessert in Budapest, I felt like I died and went to heaven! Once I returned home to the US, I recreated this recipe with my own inspiration. The pancakes themselves are extremely thin, thinner than a crepe, so you need to make 8-10 for each serving. Add a teaspoon of Nutella and sprinkle poppy seeds between each layer. Finally, top it all with a Bourbon sauce. I have to warn you this dish is far from health but worth every calorie!