The Best Podcasts To Help You Sleep
6 min read
Last Modified 23 June 2021 First Added 28 October 2017
Drifting off to the land of nod can be a little tricky when you’re not particularly tired. Sometimes we all need a little push. If counting sheep just isn’t cutting it, there are some other things you can try including sleep podcasts.
According to a study, ‘Music may have positive effects on sleep via muscle relaxation and distraction from thoughts’, and certain sounds are more beneficial to drifting off than others. So, we’ve scoured the internet to find the best podcasts to help you sleep, including ASMR, dull debates, meditations and bedtime stories.
If you’re looking for a podcast to soothe your woes about common sleep problems, the new Sleep Matters podcast from Dreams has you covered. Hosted by sleep expert Dr Pixie McKenna, this podcast discusses issues such as sleep routines, getting children to sleep and how to make the most of your sleep environment.
While this may not be one of the best podcasts to fall asleep to, it can help to inform how to improve your sleep or may even put your mind to rest on sleep issues you’ve been worrying about.
Meditation is always a sure way to get some sleep. This consists of soothing voices coupled with dreamy scenarios, on top of deep breathing techniques. Studies have proven that mindfulness meditation helps fight insomnia and improve sleep. So, here are our favourite guided meditation podcasts to help you sleep:
This sleep story, courtesy of meditation app Calm, is narrated by the one and only Stephen Fry. The 24-minute audio clip tells the story of wandering through the South of France and taking in the smells of the lavender fields. According to Good Housekeeping, this has a pretty impressive success rate and the company challenges anyone who can stay awake throughout the whole 24 minutes.
The Daily Meditation Podcast offers relaxing audio clips which last roughly 10-20 minutes. Mary Meckley chooses themes on each podcast, such as confidence or happiness. These are then delivered in a soothing voice accompanied by music designed to help you drift. She has roughly 1200 different podcasts so far, so it’s worth checking her out.
Last but not least on podcasts to help you sleep are bedtime stories. Children aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a story before bed. Talking to Stylist, Dr Neil Stanley says ‘Children like hearing the same bedtime stories again and again. It’s enough to distract them from their worries, but they don’t have to concentrate fully. It’s the same for adults.’ This is why it’s best to opt for stories that you won’t actively engage in but can give you sweet dreams. Such as the following:
In this podcast, renowned authors read a short story from the New Yorker’s archives. While the stories are interesting, they’re unlikely to keep you up at night and can send you off to many exotic places without actually leaving your bed. Listen to a New Yorker story tonight.
Finally, Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast is narrated by the very woman herself. She reads some of the world’s greatest stories from a variety of authors, including James Joyce and Robert Walser. If you fancy a little variety in the voice, some of her podcasts feature guest narrators. Each episode is roughly half an hour long to help you drift off to dreamland.
First and foremost to help you drift off is, of course, sleep-inducing sounds. Whether a sound is helpful or disruptive to your slumber depends on the individual. Neuroscientist Hawley Montgomery-Downs recommends trying specific sounds to see what’s best for you. The most popular noises to aid sleep tend to be white noise or nature sounds, such as ocean waves or rainfall. Here are a couple of podcasts that we recommend for sleep-inducing sounds:
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is an ever-growing popular phenomenon when it comes to sleep. This refers to the sense of relaxation you feel with certain repetitive sounds, such as tapping or whispering. This podcast features hour-long episodes of a man whispering. He reads things that won’t particularly keep you hooked, such as Wikipedia pages.
For a more soothing and slightly less strange approach, the sleep playlists on Spotify are here to help. This particular playlist exclusively features instrumentals with relaxing melodies. The songs also include sleep inducing noises, such as rainfall or panpipes.
We can all trace back to monotonous maths lessons in school and struggling to keep your eyes open. According to Science Daily, this is because the part of the brain associated with motivation, the nucleus accumbens, can also produce sleep. ‘The new findings may explain why we tend to fall asleep in the absence of motivating stimuli, i.e., when bored.’ If you want to leave your nucleus accumbens underwhelmed, here are some dull podcasts to help you sleep:
The Sleep With Me podcast is a one-man show as he rambles on about any topic in the most monotonous voice you’ve heard. As the narrator speaks his thoughts in these hour-long podcasts, they are so hard to follow that the listener naturally switches off. This will rival any tedious lecture you’ve had to sit through.
From the likes of BBC 4, In Our Time discusses historical figures and theories. While these 45-minute segments may be interesting to some, the slow pace of Melvyn Bragg’s voice will help many listeners achieve maximum zzz’s.
Do you know any other podcasts to help you sleep? Let us know in the comments!