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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Chasing Sleep

Gold Honor in Health & Wellness Podcast


We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping or attempting to sleep, according to the National Institute of Health. That’s because sleep is pivotal in how our bodies operate and function properly. Sleep touches every part of our lives, from work productivity to how we love. 

Mattress Firm knows first-hand how important sleep is––not only the need for quality sleep but the science of it. They also knew a majority of the sleep content available today was content made with one objective––get the listener to sleep as fast as possible. 

So Mattress Firm and Spark Foundry teamed up with Ruby Studio, the iHeartMedia Custom Podcast team, to shake up the sleep content space. 

Together we sought to capture exciting moments that helped us grow and further engage an audience of the sleep curious, establish a podcast as a go-to resource for sleep insights, and solidify Mattress Firm as an expert in all things sleep. 


Strategy and Execution

To get adults aged 18 to 49 excited to learn about sleep without putting them to sleep, we had to start with the science of slumber. We also needed to provide insights and knowledge that were new and revelatory to our audience, because while there is still so much to uncover around sleep, there are also a lot of sleep facts out there with which most people are already familiar. So how did we excite this audience with new information about sleep that could revolutionize the way they approach their sleep health? First, we needed the right storytellers. 

We tapped experienced podcast host and actor Katie Lowes and her husband, fellow actor, and director, Adam Shapiro. The two are known for their roles in television programs such as, “Inventing Anna,” “Scandal,” “Never Have I Ever,” and “The Bear.” Their undeniable chemistry helped us amplify the science of sleep in a relatable way for 18-to-49-year-olds and offered moments of joy and humor. 

To authentically connect with this audience and keep them coming back for more, we also had to devise a content calendar that would keep their interest piqued. We built the topics for "Chasing Sleep" around everyday pillars of our lives like relationships, love, parenting, work-life balance, and even dietary supplements and nutrition––presenting them all through the lens of sleep. 

Is scheduling sex around sleep a mood killer? What do we need to know about the evolution of our children’s sleep chronotypes to best foster their growth and development? Our mantra throughout this process was, “Talking about the science of sleep doesn’t need to be a snooze fest.” We strove to present the data and facts, along with compelling human stories that put this information into the context of the real world.

We launched the season in May 2023 with a conversation among our hosts, relationship expert Dr. Wendy Troxel, and a Brooklyn, NY, couple who happily sleep in separate bedrooms. We focused on how sleep impacts our sex drive, the correlation between quality sleep and our ability to feel intimate and romantic towards our partners, and the potential benefits of sleeping apart.



Since the launch of our Season Two trailer, we’ve successfully grown our audience and seen a more than 100% increase in total podcast download numbers, with more than 400k total downloads across both seasons of the podcast since May 2023. In addition, the audience is engaged and interested in the content, as each of our episodes boasts an average completion rate of 81%, which is ahead of the industry benchmark by more than 20%, with some of our episodes reaching 90% CR or higher. Our podcast also has a 4.1 out of 5 rating on Apple Podcasts with currently 85 reviews, putting it in the top 2% of most-reviewed shows. Plus, new listeners are finding the show through our hosts' social posts on Instagram and X, and engaging with them about the content there. 

To further measure the success of our strategy and execution, we conducted a study with Nielsen. The results of the study revealed that Season 2 of “Chasing Sleep” exceeds Nielsen’s content norms. We performed 10% above the norm in overall content rating and by more than 12% above the Nielsen norm in the uniqueness of the content. We also outperformed the standard in “intent to seek out similar content,” credibility, appeal, “intent to share content,” and overall interest in the content. 

Furthermore, our study revealed that 62% of those surveyed felt the show demonstrated Mattress Firm’s expertise in sleep wellness.



Video for Chasing Sleep

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Ruby, the iHeartMedia Branded Audio Studio, Spark Foundry, Mattress Firm


Entry Credits