The radio station that will put you to sleep - deliberately

A Te Aroha man has created the world's only radio station to help insomniacs nod off - and he's been inundated with work from composers who've created music to fall asleep to.

The idea for Sleepradio came to John Watson after he became depressed and suffered from insomnia. His counsellor suggested ambient music radio, which seemed to work - to a point.

"I'd be woken in the middle of the night by some advert, like the Harvey Norman yelling man or something similar, and it immediately got me awake so I thought, 'Well, I can do better than this'."

Mr Watson created an ad-free internet radio station for insomniacs.

"It's non-vocal - it has to be instrumental; it has to be very downbeat," he says of Sleepradio.

In four years he's put Te Aroha at the centre of the ambient music world.

"Amazingly, about six weeks ago we had our first listener in Antarctica."

The entrepreneur has found his radio station is particular popular with pregnant women, daycare centres and spas.

He's even created a free app, and composers are falling over themselves to get on air.

Mr Watson and his wife get sent three albums a day, but only 5 percent of tracks clear the bar - and there's no place for "plinky-plonky".

"People just don't like piano music," he says of his very particular listeners.

Sleepradio could have made him rich, but he says money's not the point.

"The feedback that I get is fantastic, and for me it's just the satisfaction I get from knowing that I'm helping other people."

The proof? Seventy percent of his listeners, he says, are actually asleep.