Sleep disorders are a growing issue in America, with over one-third of adults regularly suffering from insufficient sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up, rest assured that you aren’t alone.
What can you do? First things first, you should see a doctor and rule out underlying physical problems. You can also try using “screen warming” apps (which reduce the impact of digital light on your internal sleep cycle) and doing what science tells you to do (like exercising and cutting out caffeine).
And you can start listening to these sleep-inducing podcasts. Make sure you grab a podcast app with a sleep timer so you don’t have to wake back up and manually stop playback. Skeptical? I don’t blame you. But what do you have to lose?
1. Sleep With Me
No list of sleep-related podcasts can exist without this one at the forefront. One could even argue that Sleep With Me pioneered the concept of a podcast that puts you to sleep. From its beginnings in 2013, it has walked the fine line necessary to put the mind at ease and help it drift off.
As of this writing, you can find 525 episodes in the archives, with new ones still being released every two or three days. Every episode is about an hour long and talks about nothing in particular — nonsensical stories that are meant to distract and lull.
And with a five-star rating from 1800+ reviews on iTunes, it’s hard to deny that there’s something magical about this podcast.
For Android, you might also check out these blue light filter apps to help you at bedtime.
2. Sleep to Strange
Sleep to Strange is by the same guy who runs the Sleep With Me podcast. In fact, the content is nearly identical: Sleep to Strange consists of the same silly stories with all the intros and outros removed. It’s 100 percent bore fest material.
Note that the order of the episodes isn’t the same, so it’s not like the two podcasts are direct in-sync mirrors of one another. The stories themselves are the same, though.
3. Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast
Narrated by a woman named Miette, this podcast is a series of short stories that are read aloud in the way you’d expect bedtime stories to be read. Not that these are bedtime stories, mind you — these are some of the world’s greatest short stories, many which were penned by the famous James Joyce.
As of this writing, only four new episodes have been released over the last three years, but don’t let that turn you away. You can always listen to the archives full of past-read stories stretching back to 2008.
4. The Classic Tales
This is the last of the storytelling podcasts on this list. The Classic Tales explores some of the world’s greatest stories ever told, ranging from Eastern Europe to South America, all told by award-winning narrator B.J. Harrison.
While this podcast isn’t exactly produced with insomniacs in mind, it can prove helpful if you just turn the volume down and let yourself be immersed in the tales. They’re all from the public domain, which means they’re mostly old and mostly unknown.
5. The Daily Meditation Podcast
If you have trouble sleeping due to stress or anxiety, The Daily Meditation Podcast might be perfect for you. Hosted by Mary Meckley, a meditation coach, this podcast consists of over 1,000 episodes that explore all kinds of topics related to anxiety, depression, breathing, fear, anger, etc.
Each individual episode is only about 10 minutes long, which probably isn’t long enough for most people to “fall asleep to.” But they are great as far as calming you down and getting you in the right mindset for sleep.
6. Meditation Minis
The podcast format is perfect for guided meditation, and that’s what Meditation Minis is all about. Chel Hamilton, a hypnotherapist, uses her soft voice and meditative imagery to help you cast aside your thoughts and relax. And don’t worry: you won’t actually be hypnotized.
With episodes usually lasting between 10 and 15 minutes, it’s just long enough to help you reach the edge of sleep so you can drift the rest of the way on your own. New episodes are released weekly.
If you need more, check out the best meditation apps too.
7. Sleep and Relax ASMR
The Sleep and Relax ASMR podcast is slightly different from the others mentioned above in that it aims to induce sleep and relaxation through ASMR. Have you ever gotten a euphoric tingle that starts in the scalp and snakes down your neck? That’s the autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR.
Not everyone experiences ASMR, but even if you don’t, this podcast can still help you relax and fall asleep. Episodes consist of whispers and soft background music, and a new one is released every few days.
8. Deep Energy 2.0
Jim Butler is a musician who specializes in the New Age, Ambient, and Space genres. In addition to his regular music, he produces the Deep Energy 2.0 podcast, where each episode is a 30- or 60-minute showcase of relaxing music that can aid in meditation, yoga, or even sleep.
Note that there is evidence that music can help relieve anxiety, and many have found Deep Energy 2.0 to fit the bill. Of course, let’s not forget that music is subjective, so if you don’t find it as relaxing as others do, that’s okay. But give it a shot! I’ve found it to be quite nice, actually.
9. Classical Music Discoveries
If ambient and new age music aren’t your style, then how about the classical genre? There’s something about classical music that’s perfect for sleeping, or at the very least relaxing. Every day or so, the Classical Music Discoveries podcast releases a new episode between 30 and 90 minutes long.
Want more like this? Then I recommend installing an internet radio app like Spotify or Pandora. Both are free, easy to use, and grant access to thousands of classical (and non-classical) songs that may help you doze off.
Other Tips to Help You Fall Asleep
If you want to expand your anti-insomnia arsenal even further, take a look at these apps and methods that can help you fall asleep faster. Also consider watching a bit of Napflix (streaming service for boring content), incorporating a few relaxation techniques, or setting up a smart home for sleep.
I also recommend using one of these sleep tracking apps. While they aren’t perfect, they can be insightful to know not just the quantity of sleep you’re getting but also the quality of sleep. If you’re looking for some great sounding podcasts to listen to during the waking hours, check out these great Podcasts about sound design.
If you struggle with waking up in the morning, try one of these social alarm clocks.
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