The din of waves softly crashing into one another underneath a dark blue sky. A gentle, instrumental melody that falls somewhere in line between Philip Glass and Brian Eno—something you’d typically register as the soundtrack to a Netflix docuseries about nature. Then a voice comes in: “Ulriksberg; armchair. Idåsen; drawer unit on casters. Vonsbäck; rug, low pile.” This is the sound of IKEA’s venture into ASMR.
The Sleep Ship is a live-streamed, real-time video of a ship carrying IKEA products to Australia, where they will be unloaded and sold during the IKEA Festival of Sleep. The stream began September 11 and is on around hour 130 of the 336-hour journey (or day 5.5 of 14). At any point, you can tune in and find yourself instantly soothed by the dulcet tones of two IKEA employees, Kent and Sara, narrating the entirety of the IKEA 2020 catalog. Believe it or not, it’s wildly relaxing to listen to Fjällbo (the IKEA storage series) said in a soft, steady voice of someone who can, in fact, speak Swedish.
IKEA is on to something here. Adult bedtime stories have grown in popularity as a way to combat common problems of insomnia and stress by providing a calming distraction from anxiety. Just think of it as the easier alternative to meditating; if you struggle to quiet your thoughts, a simple recitation of IKEA products, paired with a bit of ambience, might help you to stop ruminating on whatever is stressing you out. Don’t be surprised if you wake up with a strange desire to suddenly redecorate your home.