Today, the 174 videos have been viewed by over 30 million people around the world, from the US to North Korea, all claiming that the peaceful sounds are helping them study, sleep, and concentrate better.
Far and away his most popular video is the 8-hour shot of a bridge over the River Bonet near Manorhamilton in Ireland’s County Leitrim, where Lawson himself is from.
In it, Lawson captures the sound of the river, bird songs, and rustling leaves. He decided to make the long eight-hour video after getting requests from fans that his earlier nature videos were helping them fall asleep, but that the sounds ended too soon.
“Insomnia suffers would fall asleep listening to some of my videos, but they’d wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of silence,” Lawson told BBC. “That’s when I started making eight-hour long videos, like the waterfall on the River Bonet. If people woke up during the night, they’d be met with the sound of nature. It would put them back to sleep again.”
Since it was uploaded two years ago, the eight-hour waterfall scene has been viewed over 6.5 million times on YouTube.
It has become so popular in fact that it has even attracted the attention of psychologists at the University College Hospital of London who have included the sounds in a clinical trial to help intensive care patients suffering from stress, according to BBC.
“Thank you so much for doing this,” wrote YouTube user Jacob Homstrom. “I’ve listened to this every day for the last week. I would pay to have this on.”
“Since I found this video, I’ve had longer sleeps and better days,” another YouTube user Steve Goggin wrote. “I struggled to go to sleep in complete silence something was missing and it frustrated me more every morning when I wake up. Now all I do is slip my earphones in, close my eyes and within a couple minutes, that beautiful sound sets me to sleep and I feel so much better in the mornings.”
Other commenters from all over the world thank Lawson for helping with their anxiety disorders, helping them study, and providing relaxing background sounds as they go about their day.
While the effects of Lawson’s videos seem too good to be true, there’s research to back them up.
A 2012 study by China’s Peking University found that 75% of study participants had a more restful sleep when they were exposed to “pink” noise, or sounds that carry a consistent frequency such as rain falling or leaves rustling.
There are also numerous apps and sound machines dedicated to sleep-inducing sounds. The main difference is that Lawson’s videos are free as well as provide visuals, which some users have used to help them concentrate while meditating.
Lawson uploads a new relaxing video every week and tries to respond to every single commenter. You can subscribe to his YouTube channel here.