best podcasts for sleep

13 Best Podcasts for Sleep

At the end of the day, do you ever feel like your body’s this rheumatic 80+-year-old that just wants to hit the sack and sleep forever?

But the moment you lie down, your brain suddenly becomes this hyped college party maniac and goes, “Oh no, you don’t! We’re gonna party all night!”

And it does “party all night” like crazy – bombarding you with loud thoughts and keeping you from getting that much-needed rest. It’s annoying!

You’ve buried your head in the pillow, you’ve tried that warm milk sleep tonic – goodness, you’ve even applied eucalyptus oil around your eyes to keep them shut! But nothing seems to work.

Maybe what you need is a break from your thoughts, a podcast to distract you.

Don’t despair, these podcasts might be the answer to your pray’r!

1. Sleep and Relax ASMR

sleep and relax ASMR

ASMR or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is a tingling sensation that starts on your scalp moving all the way down to your neck and back.

This podcast offers you that static-like feeling triggered by certain sounds such as whispered storytelling, the sound of the trees swaying with the wind, or the gentle patting rain and muffled thunder.

ASMR is also referred to as “brain massage” or “brain orgasm.”

Yes, it’s that good. What better way to get you dozing off then?

2. Sleep With Me

sleep with me

This is one of the most popular and best-reviewed podcasts out there.

The ingenious podcast has been featured in a number of online media companies and has hit 2.3 million monthly downloads as of January 2017.

It’s totally worth checking out.

Drew Ackerman redefines bedtime stories and how they’re supposed to be – boring.

Didn’t see that coming, huh? But it’s actually how it works!

It distracts your mind a bit, but not to the point of exciting you.

Then it slowly bores you to sleep. It’s pure genius and it works like magic every time!

His stories take on weird characters and bizarre plots that are quite disjointed.

He starts with a 12-minute intro, in the character of Dearest Scooter, during which a huge chunk of listeners would have already snoozed.

Then he gets into the main story.

He rambles on in a monotone and jumps from one event or character to another, almost in a dreamlike fashion.

It’s quite funny, really. It never fails to make me smile with eyes closed, just before drifting off.

It stays in that slackened meandering state of a narrative, just floating about and never coming to a point or conclusion. And before you know it, you’re in dreamland.

3. Sleep Whispers

sleep whispers

This mysterious “Harris” guy hosting the podcast does exactly what the title says – he whispers.

He whispers stories, readings, ramblings, his podcast updates, and feedback – practically anything.

Listening to these silent whispers helps quiet your mind and keep it focused without engaging it too much.

At the same time, the soft sounds enable your body to relax and prepare you for a good slumber.

My favorite episode is “Special: Who is Harris?” which I find quite funny, ridiculous and amusing altogether.

4. Game of Drones

game of drones

You gotta admit, the pun’s pretty clever!

Simply put, this is the most boring recap of the most exciting show ever! And that takes some serious storytelling ninja skills. Again, thanks to the king of drones (let’s give it to him) – Drew Ackerman.

Again he rambles on with the story and delivers his own commentary that seems to go on forever and a day.

Man, this guy does a better job than my boring Statistics professor in college! (FYI, I used to take regular naps in class and she lets me.)

This guy deserves an award for his hilarious and skillful droning that the sleep-challenged could thank him for.

5. Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast

miette’s bedtime story podcast

Nobody’s too old for a bedtime story. Whether you’re 3 or 33, a good story could help you to bed.

Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast offers just that, delivered in her soft and tranquilizing voice.

Not to mention her charming accent which I absolutely love – reminds me of Outlander’s Jamie Fraser. Well, he’s Scottish but we don’t know anything about Miette, so I can only guess.

From classic short stories like Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado to odd pieces in modern literature.

From the old ones that you’ve forgotten to masterpieces that you’ve never heard of – her library is vast and exciting.

She has what you may call a collection of grown-up bedtime stories that are going to make you interested, then relaxed, and eventually sleepy.

She’s stopped putting out new episodes though, but there’s more than enough to listen to throughout the podcast’s 10-year run from 2005-2015.

6. Stories from the Borders of Sleep

stories from the borders of sleep

This is a goldmine of well-written all-original stories.

The poetry is just fascinating. Kudos to Seymour Jacklin.

Jacklin has a way of playing with words that brings his stories to life. You can almost see, smell, hear, feel and taste the world that he paints in his writing.

His calm narration and carefully picked background music usher listeners into a world between wakefulness and hibernation.

Your imagination will start soaring and within 10-20 minutes into the episode, you’ll find yourself slowly falling into the embrace of slumber.

The podcast is mainly designed for adults. But feel free to hit the play button around kids.

It’s for everyone.

7. Nocturne

nocturne

Produced and hosted by Vanessa Lowe, this essay radio is a consolidation of stories – a narration with awesome sound art for nighttime listeners.

This podcast imbibes all the ideas, concepts, and events related to or taking place at night.

It then creates the perfect niche for all the nocturnal creatures out there seeking a shuteye.

One quick episode is Moon Shadow, in which she narrates the detailed events in September 2015 during a rare phenomenal event – the total lunar eclipse of a supermoon.

She came to see it with her family and other strangers, and it’s amazing how it really captures the mood of the moment.

The soft background chatter of people and the magnified sounds of cars in the silence of the night.

It gives you all the night feels, telling you that it’s time to go to bed.

8. Meditation Station

my meditation station

A major cause of insomnia is an overly active brain.

And it’s already been proven by studies how meditation helps quiet the mind.

Meditation not only alleviates stress but it’s also a great tool to induce sleep.

One of my favorite meditation coaches is Stin Hansen. Of all the female hosts I’ve listened to, I’d say that she has the most soothing dulcet tones ever.

I love the soft crisp, the balanced pitch, and the right combination of breath and body in her voice. It’s simply divine.

Now imagine this silvery voice guiding you to a meditative state.

I swear it’s better than any sleep-inducing music.

Stin believes in calming down your amygdala and that’s the main goal of this podcast.

Once you master this technique, she believes that you’ll start to feel better, function better, and sleep better.

9. In Our Time

in our time

History is an interesting subject, to a chosen few that is.

If you’ve survived history classes without ever once dozing off, you’re a legend!

That’s probably why some people’s knowledge on the subject is limited to what they’ve seen in historical films. Movies, apparently present history more creatively, therefore, holding most people’s attention.

But as you know, these adaptations aren’t so reliable fact-wise, since details might have either been changed or added for dramatic effects.

But if you want the real thing from the experts and BBC-quality discussions, check out this podcast. (And also if you’re trying to fall asleep.)

Listen to a drab discussion of history – no background music, no dramatic effects – just a bunch of smart people talking about the history of freaking ideas!

As of June 2018, the podcast has attracted over two million weekly listeners, so it’s pretty big.

Hosted by Melvyn Bragg, this brilliant podcast has the potential to educate… and sedate.

10. Welcome to Night Vale

welcome to night vale

If you’re into bizarre things like what those old radio programs used to air at bedtime, this podcast works just as well on those chilly nights.

Straight from Night Vale, you’ll hear reports about strange occurrences, conspiracies, and news in this weird fictional town.

Cecil Baldwin as Cecil Gershwin Palmer is the host and narrator of “Welcome to Night Vale,” the radio show of the peculiar town. This town is said to be “somewhere in the Southwestern United States.”

Weird and clever in a good way, these stories serve as the perfect distraction from your intrusive thoughts.

As you drift off into the land of dreams, Night Vale welcomes you for a stopover.

11. Deep Energy 2.0 — Music for Sleep, Meditation, Relaxation, Massage, and Yoga

deep energy podcast

Science has proven that music is good for the body and mind.

Music helps us to relax and meditate. But also, it’s a powerful tool and it can make us feel a range of things – excited, happy, sad or sleepy.

Jim Butler has put together a team of talented musicians specializing in music for sleep, meditation, relaxation, massage, and yoga.

The music is of ambient, New Age and space genres.

What’s interesting about this music podcast is that it’s not just about soothing music.

Jim calls it “Deep Energy Electronic SoundBath” which are practically healing sounds.

The notes and vibrations are carefully selected to tune in to the “chakras” of the body. This results in a meditative state and lucid dreaming.

My favorite is the sound of drums that plays for a good hour. It’s great because you don’t feel the pressure to fall asleep right away.

12. OTR Detective — The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio

otr detective

Old is gold. There’s nothing like listening to these old time radio classics from the 50s or earlier.

And what’s better than vintage? Detective stories!

What a great listen as you curl up in your cot with a nice warm blanket.

Airing Mondays-Fridays, each day a different detective series is released.

For instance, on Mondays it’s Box 13, on Tuesdays, it’s Johnny Madero, and so on.

Once a series is finished, it’s replaced with another one.

The shows on the podcast are both in the public domain and in general circulation.

Blogger Adam Graham hosts this podcast and adds commentary and a bit of humor in it.

There’s just something about that mid-Atlantic accent that they used to do and those old-fashioned sound effects on radio that I find sleep-inducing.

13. Soul Music

soul music

Music isn’t just for the ears. Music goes deep down and speaks to our souls.

This podcast from BBC Radio 4 proves that beautifully.

The show presents how songs have inspired different people around the world.

The topic song is played in different versions in the background while people take turns and talk about experiences and what the song means to them.

Many of the songs would be familiar and might also hold some meaning to you.

You’d be fascinated by how different the impact of the same song is to another person.

As you listen and contemplate, let the songs and the soft narrations inspire you and calm your mind.

Close your eyes and flow gently into a place of rest.

Whatever works as your knockout pill – storytelling, dreary discussions, meditation, ASMR, or stimulating sounds – there’s something for you on this list.

Sweet dreams.

Laura Baxendale
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Laura Baxendale

I am Laura, a mid-twenty-something woman with a mild obsession with listening to podcasts. When I don't have my headphones glued to my ears I enjoy running, fashion and spending time with my friends.

Oh! Almost forgot, I am also addicted to green tea and Harry Potter.
Laura Baxendale
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