You'll be out like a light.

By Maggie Seaver
July 20, 2020
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Honestly, sleep should come way more easily and naturally given how important it is. But, alas, very few people get the seven to nine hours they require every night, and that’s often due to their inability to fall asleep in the first place. Racing thoughts, general anxiety, and overwhelming stress—especially considering the times we're in right now—can keep the best of us tossing and turning for hours.

But have you ever tried listening to a podcast to help you fall asleep? It’s true that most experts recommend keeping your phone and other devices far from where you dream; but listening to effective, sleep-inducing podcasts might be one exception to try if you're really struggling to fall sleep. Whether you’re looking for peaceful meditations, ambient noise, or mellow bedtime stories (yes, they have those for adults), here’s a running list of soothing podcasts created specifically to calm you down, bore you senseless, and lose you mid-episode as you drift off to sleep.

1

Host and creator of the podcast Sleep With Me, Drew Ackerman, is far from offended if listeners doze off during it—in fact, he’s flattered. Each hour-long (ish) episode feeds you an imaginative, yet calming bedtime story worthy of (eventually) snoring along to. Whether you come to Sleep With Me with racing thoughts, anxiety, or insomnia, you can expect to catch Zzzs before the episodes end.

2

Here’s another podcast from the mind behind Sleep With Me, meant to be “part bedtime story and part high school class you can't stay awake for,” according to its Apple Podcast description. Sleep-deprived fans of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series will drift off to dreamland in no time—but you may just fall asleep even more quickly if you’re not a GoT fan.

3

While new episodes of Miette’s Bedtime Story podcast are no longer coming out, there’s still a massive archive of soporific stories to listen to, available on the website and Apple Podcasts. The pod invites you to “curl up and fall asleep to the world's greatest short stories,” narrated by an anonymous and effortlessly melodious female voice.

RELATED: Science Says Bathing Before Bed Could Be the Key to Great Sleep—As Long as You Time It Right

4

In 30- to 40-minute episodes, Get Sleepy guides listeners through relaxing sleep meditations, like mindful body scans and breathing techniques, followed by soothing stories and audio experiences to quiet minds and bring on the shut-eye. 

5

Fans of Sleepy’s narrator, Otis Gray, love him for his silky timbre—ideal for telling sedative tales, from Moby Dick to Mother Goose. Prepare to get pleasantly drowsy every night to the honeyed tone of Gray’s voice.

RELATED: 10 Top Podcasts That Will Keep You Informed, Entertain You, and Motivate You

6

Say no more. Fall asleep to the purposely boring Boring Books for Bedtime in which soft-spoken narrators bore you to sleep with everything that ever made your eyes droop in school. When weekly episode options range from The Federalist Papers to the 1897 Sears Roebuck and Co. Catalog of agricultural tools, you’re guaranteed to tune out almost immediately.

7

Sometimes it’s hard to let yourself fall asleep knowing you might miss the end of a story. Instead, try Nothing Much Happens, in which, you guessed it, nothing much happens. At least nothing you’d be remiss dozing off to. Yoga and meditation teacher Kathryn Nicolai will bring your frenzied mind to a quiet, tranquil place before bed by reading every story two times, and slowing down the pace for round two (we’re getting sleepy just thinking about it).

8

Tracks to Relax offers somnolent guided sleep meditations to encourage true pre-sleep serenity, from peaceful visualizations to empowering mantras.

9

Wind down with Sleep Whispers, a fan favorite story time-meets-ASMR podcast designed to help adults get the forty winks they need and crave. Follow along—until you can’t—to the dulcet, whispered ramblings of this podcast, in the form of lilting poetry, calming meditations, fascinating stories, and even intriguing Wikipedia topics.

RELATED: 9 Short, Calming Breathing Exercises for Anxiety Relief

10

For those who need a podcast without the distraction of human voices, Deep Energy is a great choice. It channels soothing ambient noise and new age music to move you into a state of deep relaxation.

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