Do you find yourself staring up at the ceiling at night?
If you do, you’re not alone. Trying to fall asleep can be a real struggle. Whether you have a lot on your mind or just can’t get comfortable in bed, sometimes we need a little extra help to drift off to sleep. Perhaps what’s missing from your nighttime routine is listening to a sleep podcast.
Sleep-focused podcasts offer a variety of sleep inducers, like music, stories, and meditation. While we can’t guarantee sleep on podcasts like our mattresses, we think these podcasts are worth a listen to help make sleeping a little easier.
So, we rounded up 15 of the best sleep podcasts designed for sleep. Get ready to put on your coziest loungewear, turn on one of these babies, and hang on tight for your ride to Slumberville.
Not sure which kind of podcast to start? Here are some of our favorite podcasts where you can experiment with sleep-inducing sounds and genres.
Sleep with Me
No sleep podcast list is complete without Sleep With Me. Known as the Sandman of sleep podcasts, this highly praised show is perfect for any insomniac. In each episode, the narrator takes a random topic and fills it with extra tangents, rambling sentences, and a soothing monotone voice, making the show as incomprehensible and sleep-inducing as possible.
Deep Energy Podcast
If listening to people doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, maybe a podcast with ambient sounds will do the trick. Think rainstorms, streams, sunsets, drums, and ocean waves, all set to an ethereal, new-age backdrop. Not only do these sounds help with meditation, but this type of ambient noise has been shown to help you fall asleep faster.
In Our Time
Remember those days when you fell asleep during a college lecture? In Our Time is a bit like that. While not designed as a sleep podcast, this well-researched show dives deep into various academics topics to help calm and soothe listeners. One week might have you learning about the Salem Witch Trials, and another week bird migration patterns.
Casper Sleep Channel
Shameless plug: we recently launched a new podcast for sleep! Wind down to a collection of sounds, meditations, and bedtime stories narrated by “June the Moon”. Our weekly show will feature big names in the podcasting world like Meredith Goldstein (Boston Globe’s Love Letters), Nathan Thornburg (The Trip), and Kathryn Nicolai (Nothing Much Happens: Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups).
Ever wonder why children love bedtime stories? Experts suggest that kids like the familiarity of the experience and not having to concentrate hard during storytime. This helps to ease them into falling asleep. There is no reason that adults can’t benefit from them too.
This podcast takes us back to our roots, as one is ever too old for a classic bedtime story. Otis Gray reads stories in the public domain, such as Sherlock Holmes, Peter Pan, and the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with a warm and inviting voice. The show is perfect for those who like the sound of calming, deeper voices.
On a Dark, Cold Night
Usually, it’s the stuff of nightmares that keep us up at night. However, narrator Kristen Zaza tells original scary stories with a slow, raspy voice to put listeners to sleep. Her material capitalizes on the eerie and often sad realm of horror as a way to calm the mind.
Nothing Much Happens: Bedtime Stories For Adults
With no central plot, this podcast walks you through calming experiences with great detail and description. An episode can take you the experience of taking an unexpected nap or that happy moment of baking fresh bread. Nicolai tells each story twice – the second telling with slower speech and longer pauses, the kind of narration that you can fall asleep to.
Stories from the Borders of Sleep
In this podcast, Seymour Jacklin tells original fantasy stories and poems, making this the perfect show to tune in with children. The imaginative stories combined with Jacklin’s calm narration and carefully selected background music whisk you off into the realm of sleep.
You’re all tucked into bed but you can’t fall asleep. The culprit? Most likely, your stress and anxious thoughts. Studies suggest that mindful meditation and breathing can help fight insomnia. Here are some podcasts to help you reach that sleep-ready state of mind.
Tracks to Relax: Guided Sleep Meditations
Having a hard time relaxing? Guided Sleep Meditations provides soothing exercises, directions, and visualizations designed to deeply calm your mind before bedtime. Be prepared to journey through forests, beachsides, and caverns as you make your way into your comfort zone.
The Daily Meditation Podcast
While not specifically designed to make you doze off in bed, The Daily Meditation Podcast offers guided meditations for everyday themes like self-love and negative thoughts. This can help you relieve the feelings of stress that get between you and that worry-free sleep. Hearing all this from a calming voice like host Mary Meckley’s doesn’t hurt either.
Like The Daily Meditation Podcast, Chel Hamilton’s show offers brief 10-minute episodes aimed at helping busy minds shut out the noise. Hamilton, a hypnotherapist, uses a combination of imagery and positive self-talk to help you wrangle anxious thoughts, increase confidence, and put you at the edge of sleep.
The On Being podcast provides a different approach by inspiring you to reflect on your spirituality and existence. Hosted by Krista Tippett, each weekly episode features a well-crafted interview with scientists, thinkers, and artists to help you embrace mindfulness and meditation.
What you do before bed is just as important as what you do on it. These podcasts are some of our favorites to help you unwind before you close your eyes. Pair them with a relaxing bedtime routine for maximum effect.
Inside voices only. For those of you with minds that run a hundred miles each night, this show is designed to slow down your thoughts and reset your mind. Sleep Whispers tells everything from various histories to recipes in hushed whispers, which has been shown to help adults sleep.
The ASMR Podcast
If you’re hoping to relax before bed, you may benefit from a dose of ASMR. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response — a calming, pleasurable, and sometimes tingling sensation that can run down your spine when you’re responding to stimuli. Not everyone can experience ASMR, but if you’re trying to drift off to sleep, this podcast may just be your remedy.
Classical Music Discoveries
Not into the ASMR craze? Try good ol’ classic music instead. The benefits of classical music are widely covered, from health and wellness to creativity to —you guessed it—sleep. The Classical Music Discoveries podcast releases new episodes daily.
We tend to think that we need peace and quiet to fall asleep. However, studies show that sounds can actually aid in getting some shuteye. Even when we’re in deep slumber, our brains are still able to perceive and process sounds. The sounds we pick up can be either relaxing or alarming, which varies for each individual.
Sleep podcasts often utilize different techniques for those who crave sleep. Try out some of these sleep-inducing sounds to see which ones are most relaxing for you.
Pink noise is a type of signal like white noise that mixes high and low frequencies. Small studies have found that pink noise can decrease the time it takes to sleep by 38 percent.
Examples of pink noise include rainfall, beach waves, and rustling leaves. Researchers suggest that water sounds, even when loud, rise and fall smoothly in intensity, so our brains see them as non-threatening. This is why many people swear by rain apps like Rainy Mood and Rain Rain Sleep Sounds to help them fall asleep.
We’re not talking about that catchy song on the radio. Instead, listen to music that has a steady rhythm, soft melodies, and lower pitches. Studies have shown that classical music can be a remedy for those who feel restless at night. A podcast like Classical Music Discoveries can be the perfect place to start listening to the classics.
Sometimes, another human voice can just as relaxing as ambient sound. Scientists theorize that soft voices and sounds can trigger that ASMR sensation, helping us to relax and doze off. It’s estimated that as many as 40 percent of people can experience mild ASMR. Many apps like pzziz can help lull you into sleep with soothing voices.
With their easy and digestible format, podcasts are becoming increasingly popular. Sleep podcasts take it a step further by incorporating some sounds we need to help us catch some Zzs. The next time you are laying in bed with your eyes wide open, give these podcasts a try.