Sounds like Mark’s got sleep solution

Mark Vernon and Babs McCool
Mark Vernon and Babs McCool
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Patients who struggle to fall asleep in the strange surroundings of a hospital ward can now use their bedside 
radio to reach the land of nod.

The innovative alternative therapy for insomniacs and tinnitus suffers admitted to Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert is just the touch of a button away thanks to the work of NHS Forth Valley digital artist Mark Vernon.

He has spent the last year recording sounds he feels will send the most sleep-deprived patients into a relaxing slumber - including the gentle pitter-patter of rain, waves, birdsong and even snoring!

The first programme has already been broadcast on Radio Royal’s new arts station Channel 604 and like the rest of the Bedside Radio series will be played on a looped cycle for a different kind of listening experience which allows patients to drop in and out at any point and tune back in later.

Future episodes will include tapes of the background noise generated during the daily hospital routine, the sounds of patients exercising in the physiotherapy gym and even the pharmacy robots in action.

Mark interviewed members of the public, hospital staff and Radio Royal volunteers during his research. He said: “I was trying to find out what sounds people find relaxing. Ironically, some that actually annoy some are pleasing to others! One woman’s favourites included her husband snoring and a clock ticking loudly. It’s such a subjective thing, but I have tried to make it as varied as possible.

“When I aired an excerpt in front of a small audience at an event in Glasgow before the official launch the feedback was that it was a very restful experience. Some of them admitted later they felt they were actually drifting off.”