Actress Sheridan Smith has narrated a soothing story designed to help Oxford residents drift off to sleep.

The ‘sleep story’, Discover the Magic of Oxford, lets readers escape, in their dreams, to the streets and dreaming spires that play major roles in the British fantasy television series, A Discovery of Witches.

In the show, Diana Bishop, a historian and reluctant witch, unexpectedly discovers a bewitched manuscript in the Bodleian Library. This discovery forces her back into the world of magic where she is offered help by a mysterious geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont.

Created in association with NOW TV, The Sleep Charity and 'sleep story' writer Claire Storrow, it leads the dozing reader through Oxford’s cobbled streets, peering up at gothic spires and rifling through the shelves and manuscripts.

Oxford Mail:

It also brings to life landmarks such as the Bridge of Sighs, Radcliffe Camera and Covered Market – allowing fans to follow in the footsteps of Matthew and Diana.

Ms Smith, 39, said: “I know it’s been a tough year, and the last thing we need is a bad night’s sleep.

"I can’t wait to be the voice that soothes you to dreamland – I’m truly honoured to join you all in your bedrooms. I hope you enjoy these enigmatic stories.” 

The story is one of five scientifically engineered to ensure the perfect night’s slumber and has The Sleep Charity’s stamp of approval.

Approximately 15 minutes in length, each apparently lasts the optimum amount of time to help Brits drift off - and the stories have specific cues to bring maximum tranquillity. 

In addition to A Discovery of Witches, other stories are inspired by Game of Thrones, Riviera, The Secret Garden and even Premier League footy.

Jamie Schwartz, director of brand, marketing and merchandising at NOW, said: “We all need a bit of escapism, and TV, movies and sports are the perfect tonic. NOW is the streaming home of world class entertainment, and we’re delighted that our brilliant shows can be adapted so creatively to help Brits relax in a hectic world.”

It follows research that found that 63 per cent of Oxford residents are struggling with sleeplessness – and for nearly three quarters, anxiousness over lockdown restrictions lifting is adding to their sleep troubles.

Factors keeping the residents of Oxford awake at night include deliberating over when to socialise in big groups (55 per cent), uncertainty about the rules (41 per cent), and the stress of which six friends to invite to events (45 per cent).

The study of 2,000 British adults also found that Oxonians find softly spoken accents most soothing (26 per cent), with a relatable tone (26 per cent) and female voices (16 per cent) being the most likely to soothe to sleep – making Sheridan the perfect bedtime storyteller.  

To stream the full collection, visit