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Te Aroha Sleep Radio 2016

Sleep Radio: Fewer beats, more sleeps

Sleeping listener

Sleep Radio, the one station that doesn't mind if their listeners fall asleep. Photo: SLEEP RADIO

If things are going well at John Watson's radio station, then nobody's listening.

From his home in Te Aroha, he broadcasts Sleep Radio to listeners, and non listeners..., all over the world.

The station plays soft, ambient music, or "downbeat" music, 24/7 to help people sleep.

John Watson

John Watson at his home-based Sleep Radio station in Glenfield. Photo: HANNAH MORRIS/FAIRFAX NZ

Watson's busiest time is usually in the early afternoon, when his largest audience, the United States, is heading off to bed.

Listener map

Less about beats and more about sleep's Sleep Radio reaches listeners all over the world.

"It tends to rise on friday nights, which is around Saturday lunch time our time, tells me people of the Northern Hemisphere are getting some much needed shut-eye after a long week."

The station also has listeners in Japan, Russia, Brazil, and all over Europe, the average listener number is about 500.

"We are the only station in the world, that wants you to fall asleep while listening, we think it's great."

Sleep Radio celebrates International Sleep Day today (March 18) by playing an eight hour, 45 minute long track by Max Richter on repeat for a week.

Watson founded the not-for-profit show in 2014 after a bad case of insomnia ​after being diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, which led to sleeplessness.

​He listens to every track before broadcasting it to make sure there are no vocals, beat or loud noises. It can be tiring work.

It might seem logical to celebrate International Sleep Day, by having a big snooze.

But Watson says it's about educating yourself on the importance of sleep, and why you might not be getting enough.

"The best thing to do if you're having trouble sleeping is go do some research in terms of what does and doesn't help. A lot of people make the mistake of drinking coffee before they go to bed, or watch tv right up until the minute before they fall asleep."

Sleep radio is available at a number of radio directories and stream links including, where Sleep Radio has 23,000 follows.

Sleep radio also has an app and is on iTunes. See for more information.

© Stuff Mar 18 2016

This material remains © Stuff Limited and is only to be used for non-commercial personal or research use. Any other use requires permission of the copyright holder.

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