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Monday
Aug062012

Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On

Not getting enough sleep? A new website leads you through useful content, one sense at a time.Storytelling and interactivity often are missing on websites. Not so with NationalSleepFoundation.com.

“This website includes fun, practical information to help people transform their bedrooms into a sanctuary for sleep,” says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “We believe everyone can benefit from better sleep and this site provides easy tips and links to more in-depth research to help people improve their sleep environments. It also gives guidance for when more help is needed.”

The new "Inside Your Bedroom, Use Your Senses" website engages viewers through touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. The familiar paths of sensory perception let viewers contemplate issues such as "shivering and sweating at night," as well as "how bed surfaces affect your sleep."

Landing pages devoted to each sense contain a mixture of information about what impacts sleep, such as too much or too little light in a room, and research data — "73 percent of Americans say a dark room is important to getting a good night's sleep."

The website doesn't push a marketing message, but it includes marketing cues, such as when to buy new mattresses and pillows. "There is no strict rule about when to replace your mattress, but most have a lifespan of around eight years. Some experts say this time frame is shorter if you've over 40, because your body may need a better foundation for sleep."

The Taste landing page provides some tips on what to avoid eating or drinking before going to bed. The advice isn't original or striking, but it fills out the picture provided by the website on what affects sleep.

The website maximizes its visual appeal by how it packages its content around the five senses. This is how a children's book author might approach the subject of sleep, except the content here is aimed at adults.

While the website offers ample opportunity to delve deeper into the content, it does lack broader engagement. For example, it is not linked to any social media site to encourage user comment or content. There is a section on the Hearing landing page devoted to white noise and how it can buffer noises that avoid sleep disruptions. It would be fascinating to see the range of white noise options people use to drown out door slams and motorcycle cruise-bys.

Unfortunately, the National Sleep Foundation also doesn't provide the website's back-story. You have to click to its home website to find out the "Inside Your Bedroom, Use Your Senses" website is the first of its kind centered around sleep science.

The National Sleep Foundation's main website also is where you find all sorts of links, including to the organization's online community. Including direct links to the Foundation's LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts — not to mention its online community called Pillow Talk, where people share sleep experiences — would be a welcome addition.

All in all, this is a great example of online storytelling and engagement, with rich content on a subject every one of us dreams about.

The new "Inside Your Bedroom, Use Your Senses" website contains a wealth of well-packaged content, but could expand on its user engagement by linking to other related social media sites. 

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