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With the latest episode of Stranger Things to watch and a never-ending to-do list to manage, it can be challenging to turn off your brain at night to fall asleep. It’s no wonder a third of Americans have trouble sleeping on a regular basis.
Fortunately, there are loads of sleep aids that can help, from melatonin supplements to white noise machines. One easy way to shut off your mind is to give it something else to focus on—ideally something boring or relaxing. That’s where a good sleep podcast comes in.
Whether the premise of complete silence freaks you out, or you just need something to drown out your snoring roommate, we’ve got you covered. Below we share the top podcasts to help you sleep.
Whatever style of sleep podcast you prefer, from bedtime stories to ASMR, we have something for you. Click to jump to the section that interests you:
Remember how bedtime stories helped you fall asleep when you were a child? These podcasts are just like those—just a lot more boring. That’s a good thing! The less gripping the story, the less inclined you’ll be to stay up and listen to the end.
Get Sleepy is the “Ultimate bedtime story podcast”. Each episode begins with a calming meditation that helps to quiet the mind. Then, each episode contains a unique sleep story that takes you on a relaxing journey. Reviews on Apple Podcasts call the show “Life changing”, and many listeners report falling asleep well before the end of each story.
Sleep With Me bills itself as “the podcast that puts you to sleep.” Each 60-minute episode features a dull, meandering story filled with tangents designed to bore you to sleep. Host Drew Ackerman was inspired to create the podcast in 2013 after his own struggles with childhood insomnia. Episodes are released a few times a week. With a backlog of nearly 800 episodes, you won’t run out of something to listen to. Can’t get enough of Drew’s voice? Check out Game of Drones, his blissfully boring recap show of Game of Thrones.
Part of the same podcast network as Sleep With Me, Welcome to Night Vale is an ongoing late night radio show about a fictional town named Night Vale. Every two weeks, a new episode is released, sharing community updates, news, and reports from the Sheriff’s office. Be warned, though: Welcome to Night Vale can get a bit eerie and spooky. Catch up on their backlog of 150+ episodes, or stay tuned in with their morning recap show.
If you want to up the ante after listening to Welcome to Night Vale, this podcast is for you. Host Kristen Zaza promises you a “spine-chilling yet soothing ghost story,” delivered to your podcast feed every week. How does she manage to deliver such a paradoxical combination? You’ll have to listen to find out. The backlog features over 70 episodes, ranging from 20 to 30 minutes each.
Going strong since 2011, host Seymour Jacklin promises “semi-regular” podcasts of his own original stories that will take you “on an imaginative and thought provoking journey.” Intriguing? We agree. Each episode of Stories from the Borders of Sleep lasts 8 to 18 minutes and is paired with a sleep-inducing soundscape or background noise. The backlog currently includes 40 episodes.
The Sleepy podcast is hosted by Otis Gray. Each week, he reads you an hour-long excerpt from an old book or novella that’s part of the public domain. This can be a great way to preview great pieces of literature, whether it’s Moby Dick or The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Catch up on your literary classics as Gray’s baritone voice lulls you to sleep.
Thankfully, not much happens on this aptly-named podcast — except you falling asleep. These bedtime stories are simple in plot, and not all that exciting, so they’re easy on the brain and practically be you to fall asleep. New episodes are released every two weeks, and last 20 to 30 minutes.
Nature is produced by Vanessa Lowe. Each episode blends documentary, fiction, and soundscapes into a story that explores the elements of the night and darkness. If you’re on the hunt for innovative audio storytelling, this is for you. Recent episodes include “In Magdalenian Footsteps,” which describes crawling through a dark French cave on your belly, and “On the Air,” which investigates the motivations and discussions between callers and late-night radio hosts. Each 30-minute episode is released monthly, with a current backlog of 60.
Who says bedtime stories need to be entertaining? Sometimes, the best listening material for inducing sleep is downright dull. Boring Books for Bedtime curates readings from science textbooks, home appliance catalogs, and other sources of notoriously tedious content. Most episodes run about an hour, giving most sleepers ample opportunity to nod off before the broadcast concludes. The extensive archive contains dozens of individual recordings. You can send copyright-free reading suggestions to the Twitter handle @boringbookspod.
From the creators of Sleep Tight Relax, this Canada-based podcast offers a collection of folk tales, classic works, and contemporary stories aimed at young listeners. Host Sheryl McLeod (and the occasional guest) provides captivating yet soothing narration. McLeod is an elementary educator with more than two decades of experience. Every selected story is suitable for kids of any age, and each episode spans about 20 minutes in length. The podcast is published twice per week, and the archive contains more than 80 episodes.
Pink Peony Studio is the creative team behind RecipeZZZ for Sleep, a mouthwatering podcast that weaves together two popular topics: storytelling and food. Every episode includes detailed instructions for baking cakes, pickling, preserving fruit, and other culinary tasks. Crisp, slow-paced narration and tranquil ambient music add to the soothing vibe. A few entries also include guided meditations and poetry readings to help you relax before bedtime. Episodes typically run between 10 and 30 minutes.
From Sherlock Holmes and Rip Van Winkle to Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, this literary podcast draws from a vast library of classic prose to deliver soothing bedtime tales for listeners of all ages. According to Snoozecast‘s founders, their reading selections fall into the category of “low-stakes” fiction – calm and sleep-inducing, yet interesting enough to entertain listeners while they wind down. New episodes are published three times per week, and the podcast’s archive contains 200 entries.
Don’t let the name fool you. Wally, the host and narrator of Bore You to Sleep, chooses high-quality readings from classic novels, novellas, and short stories – with the occasional old-timey typography manual thrown in for good measure. His selections are not only intended to help listeners fall asleep, but also improve their English listening and comprehension skills. Past episodes include works by Poe, Joyce, and Dickens, as well as lesser-known authors like Richard Middleton and Percy Keese Fitzhugh.
Having trouble drifting off? A long-winded rundown of pet-related statistics or an in-depth conversation about the history of space might be just what you need to hear. Benjamin Boster, the host and narrator of I Can’t Sleep: A Boring Podcast, strives to lull you into a deep sleep on this weekly podcast. Each episode features readings that focus on topics most would consider mundane, if not downright uninteresting. Listeners can make monthly contributions to I Can’t Sleep at the podcast’s Anchor page.
If you’d like something a bit more nebulous than a story to help you sleep, check out ASMR podcasts. These sleep podcasts blend ASMR triggers like whispers, soft crinkles, ambient noises, and more to tingle your ears and encourage sleep.
The ASMR Sleep Triggers podcast was started by a former insomniac. Today, the 30-minute podcast helps relax people to sleep, calming overactive minds, insomnia, and even tinnitus. Soundscapes follow themes, from a crackling campfire to a pleasant tropical ambiance. Many of the soundscapes are suggested by listeners themselves. If you love this podcast, good news: you can explore over a dozen of their Spotify playlists for sleep, too. New episodes get released several times a week.
With a name like Sleep Whispers, you know what you’re going to get with this podcast. Part of the ASMR & Insomnia podcast network, Sleep Whispers features nearly 200 episodes of whispered audio. Hosts share bedtime stories, guided meditations, Wikipedia articles, and listener feedback — all in a soothing, whispered tone. Episodes are released weekly.
The Sleep and Relax ASMR podcast releases themed audio experiences on a weekly basis. Each episode features ambient sounds tied to a theme, such as a New Orleans jazz lounge or 30 minutes of various crinkling sounds. Episodes are 20 to 30 minutes long, and you have over 300 to catch up on. ASMR triggers include whispers and low-speaking voices, background noise, and weather sounds like snow or water.
Produced by Jim Butler, each episode of the Deep Energy Podcast offers a 60-minute fusion of ambient sounds and new age music. Each soundscape is designed to support any kind of relaxation, whether you’re trying to fall asleep or want some background music for your nighttime yoga or meditation practice. The current backlog includes 100 episodes.
In this bi-monthly podcast, co-hosts Wanda and Paula have a discussion of their love for all things ASMR, interspersed with ASMR triggers throughout. This podcast is an excellent option for those interested in learning more about ASMR, while experiencing it for themselves as they fall asleep. Episodes range from 20 to 40 minutes, and there’s already a backlog of 50 for you to listen to.
While not strictly ASMR, we’re going to cheat and include this podcast here. This weekly BBC radio show features a lo-fi soundscape of ambient noise, nature sounds, and whispered discussions aimed to slow down your mind and help you chill out. The soundscapes are interesting and surprising, from an eerie walk in the English countryside to a nighttime eavesdropping session at the zoo. The backlog includes over 50 episodes, each with 15 to 40 minutes of sound.
Many people use meditation to improve various aspects of their lives, from their focus to their mood, and of course, their sleep. If you’d like a trained coach guiding you into sleep, look no further than these sleep meditation podcasts.
The Daily Meditation podcast is one of the most popular meditation podcasts out there. Developed by the makers of the Sip and Om guided meditation app, episodes are short and sweet, just 7 to 16 minutes long. Episodes are released daily, just like the name promises, but they’ll follow a theme for the week. While not all episodes are focused around sleep, they’re all delivered in a calming voice that makes it easy to fall asleep to. Plus, with over 1,500 episodes and counting, there’s no question that you’ll be able to find ones that speak to you.
Equally popular is the Meditation Minis podcast, hosted by hypnotherapist Chel Hamilton. Ever since 2015, she’s released a weekly episode offering a guided 10-minute meditation. Recent episode titles include “Relaxing Light Like a Feather” and “Meditation to Fall Asleep With.” While they vary in form and substance, each episode is devoted to reducing your anxiety and stress, and helping you sleep better!
This podcast helps listeners tone down before bed. Episodes range from 15 to 30 minutes long, and are released every few months. Each episode of Tracks to Relax tackles a different aspect of sleep meditation, whether you want to fall asleep as quickly as possible, or want to combine your sleep with a visualization practice.
Sleeping through the night can be a major challenge for infants, toddlers, and young children. These podcasts draw from the advice of sleep consultants, child therapists, and experienced parents to deliver valuable insights and sage advice for moms and dads with sleep-deprived little ones.
The Sleep Sense Show is hosted by Dana Olbeman, creator and founder of the Sleep Sense Program. This innovative step-by-step program is designed to help young children get enough sleep each night. The podcast covers a wide range of parenting topics, but sleep health is one of the main focal points. Other topics include postpartum depression and other mental health concerns for parents, room-sharing tips for siblings, diet and nutrition advice, and constructive discipline techniques.
Alexis Dubief, founder of the Precious Sleep Blog, co-hosts this helpful podcast along with a panel of child sleep and health experts. Each 30-minute episode has a very conversational feel as the hosts discuss (and occasionally debate) different parenting topics. Babies and toddlers are the main focus, and common topics include sleep schedules, bedtime nursing, co-sleeping, and nap strategies. However, the panel’s tips and techniques often apply to kids of all ages. Episodes of the Precious Little Sleep Parenting Podcast are published on a bi-monthly basis.
Kerry Secker, an infant sleep consultant and nanny with more than two decades of experience, launched the Care It Out approach to explore the scientific reasons behind poor sleep quality for young children – or ‘Smalls,’ as she calls them. Her podcast, The Care It Out Sleep Show, delves deeper into these biological and psychological underpinnings. The topics she’s covered include “Nailing Naps on the Go,” “Bedtime Battles,” and “Baby Brains and Bedtime.”
Brad and Greta Zude are the parenting team behind My Baby Can Sleep, a sleep consulting service that integrates from a variety of approaches and schools of thought. Brad and Greta’s podcast tackles different methods for helping babies, toddlers, and young children sleep through the night. With six children of their own, they draw from personal experiences as parents, homeschoolers, and dedicated Christians. Each episode offers valuable tips and techniques with a faith-centered focus.
This podcast is hosted by Jennifer Howard, a licensed therapist and pediatric sleep expert. Her brainchild, Mommy SOS, is a virtual sleep consulting service for parents with young children. Each bite-sized episode clocks in around 20 minutes or less, delivering valuable insights and advice for mothers seeking better sleep for their little ones and less stress for themselves. For further reading, many of the episodes have corresponding blog posts on the Mommy SOS website.
Lucy Shrimpton is a certified maternity and child sleep consultant based in the United Kingdom. In 2017, she founded the online Sleep Nanny Academy to train sleep consultants across the globe. The Sleep Nanny Show hones in on strategies for helping babies and infants sleep through the night. Lucy also discusses the importance of a good night’s rest for parents and helpful ways to overcome the negative side effects of sleep deprivation. The perfect podcast for moms and dads on the go, each episode runs less than 10 minutes.
The biological, physiological, and psychological reasons behind why and how we sleep is not only fascinating, but also quite helpful for those who struggle to get enough shuteye. These globe-spanning podcasts primarily focus on sleep science, technology, and research.
Canada’s own Alanna McGinn is the pioneer behind the Seven Day Sleep Cleanse, a weeklong step-by-step system designed to help you sleep better by following the same bedtime routine each night. She also brings her sleep coaching expertise to The Girl Loves Sleep, a bi-monthly podcast that shares strategies, tips, and life hacks for establishing – and sticking to – a regimented sleep schedule. You can also check out McGinn’s comprehensive sleep blog on her official website, GoodNightSleepSite.com.
Good sleep quality and healthy lifestyle choices go hand in hand. In the Moment Magazine is a publication aimed at women that explores different ways to stay active, reduce stress, get enough rest, and live your best life. The magazine’s bi-monthly podcast echoes these sentiments. Each episode features an in-depth interview. Past subjects include insomnia experts, lifestyle coaches, and award-winning authors. For some supplemental reading, you can order a print or digital subscription for the magazine.
Host Dennis Trumpy guides listeners in the science behind cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBTi. This groundbreaking method has proven highly effective for managing insomnia, whether you have a hard time falling or remaining asleep. Each episode of the podcast breaks down healthy and unhealthy habits that can contribute to insomnia. Trumpy also shares exercises and strategies for shedding your old sleep routines and retraining your body to get enough rest each night.
Based in Australia, this monthly podcast is co-hosted by sleep psychologist Dr. Moira Junge and sleep physician Dr. David Cunnington. Drawing from their vast knowledge and expertise, the duo examines some of the major sleep issues facing adults, teenagers, and children today. These include the relationship between sleep and mental health, the positive and negative effects of alcohol and cannabinoids, and strategies for reducing stress and getting enough rest during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most episodes run 30 minutes or shorter.
Dr. Jay Khorsandi, D.D.S., is a sleep and lifestyle expert with more than 20 years of experience in his field. His Best Night Ever! podcast is a treasure trove of insightful interviews, data-driven sleep improvement methods, and priceless life hacks to help listeners get enough sleep on a nightly basis. Dr. Khorsandi is also a founding member of Snore Experts, a group of licensed dentists and physicians who provide online consultations about CPAP therapy, oral appliances, and other anti-snoring aids.
UCTV is a streaming podcast network that offers educational programming from campuses and facilities across the University of California system. The podcasts cover a wide range of topics grounded in science, technology, and academia. The Sleep Health audio podcast focuses on sleep-related medical conditions such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and REM sleep behavior disorder, as well as cutting-edge treatments and strategies for establishing healthy sleep routines. The Sleep Health podcast is also available in a video format.
This podcast is hosted by Dr. Meghana Dassini, a Houston-based dentist who has an extensive background in sleep apnea research and treatment. Many episodes of Healthy Sleep Revolution focus on sleep-disordered breathing covering topics such as CPAP therapy, sleep apnea in children, and common side effects. She also tackles parasomnias, bedwetting, and other sleep issues for children and adults, and provides expert commentary on nicotine, alcohol, blue light, and other triggers for poor sleep.
This supplemental podcast provides a monthly rundown of topics covered in the Sleep Talk: Talking All Things Sleep podcast, as well as up-to-date news on scientific and technological breakthroughs in the field of sleep science. Each “snapshot” runs 15 minutes or less, making this a more concise alternative for listeners who can’t commit to the longer Sleep Talk podcast. These podcasts are also hosted by Dr. Moira Junge and Dr. David Cunnington. They are published on the first Monday of each month.
Broadcasting live from New Zealand’s North Island, SLEEP RADIO streams soothing music and sleep-related commentary 24 hours a day without commercial interruption. The founder – known affectionately as “Sandman” – created SLEEP RADIO to help people living with insomnia. The station’s podcast mostly consists of guest interviews who offer expert tips for falling and staying asleep throughout the night. If you’d like to check out the regular programming, the station can be streamed live using the SLEEP RADIO app.
Dr. Yishan Xu, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of the Mind & Body Garden Psychology clinic, hosts this weekly podcast dedicated to sleep science and health. Dr. Xu takes a “gardener” approach to sleep philosophy, advising listeners to trim and manage the bothersome brambles that interfere with sleep and other facets of daily life. The Deep Into Sleep podcast largely focuses on strategies for relaxing and coping with stress, and most episodes feature interviews with fellow psychologists and sleep specialists.
Soft drizzle on the sidewalk. Chirping birds. Light conversation in a coffee shop. For many, ambient noise is the most soothing choice for bedtime listening. Check out these podcasts for a wide range of relaxing rhythms and sleep-inducing sounds.
Created by a husband and wife team from Prince Edward Island, Sleep Tight Relax offers a blend of bedtime readings, natural sounds, and soothing ambient music. Each episode runs about 45 minutes to an hour, making it ideal for people who live with sleep onset insomnia or otherwise have a hard time falling asleep at night. Although the podcast is geared toward kids, Sleep Tight Relax can benefit listeners of all ages.
Now in its fourth season, The Insomnia Project was launched with the idea that nothing calms the mind and lulls people to sleep better than mundane conversation. The featured exchanges are light and easy on the ears, and their improvisational tone mimics real-life chitchat. This allows you to listen without feeling too engaged with the subject matter. Past episode titles include “Bouquets & Flower Arranging,” “Knitting & Crocheting,” and “Glorious Broadway Bombs.” Each podcast runs about half an hour in length.
If you enjoy adult-friendly podcasts that feature relaxing bedtime stories, then we recommend Listen to Sleep. Erik Island, the podcast’s velvet-voiced host and narrator, reads an assortment of folk stories, fables, and published works by celebrated authors such as Carl Sandburg and Hans Christian Andersen. You can listen to each episode for free on Podbean, and buy a subscription from Ireland with a donation to his Patreon page for as little as $1 a month.
Guided hypnosis – also known as hypnotherapy – helps people achieve a hyper-focused trance-like state, allowing them to ignore outside distractions and focus on their personal needs. Hypnosis can also be conducive to deep, fulfilling sleep. For more information on how hypnotherapy can help you get a good night’s rest, check out the two podcasts below.
Also broadcast on YouTube, the Sleep Cove podcast is the pet project of veteran hypnotherapist Christopher Fitton. Sleep Cove offers a calming mix of guided hypnosis, natural sounds for meditation, and soporific bedtime stories. Every episode is also guided by mellow ambient music to help you achieve the proper mindset. The runtime time typically falls between 30 and 60 minutes. According to Sleep Cove, you should never listen to this podcast while operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery.
Growing up with Asperger’s, author and sleep coach Dan Jones first used meditation and hypnosis to better engage with other people and process the overwhelming sensory feelings he experienced in certain situations. His podcast offers autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) bedtime stories to help listeners achieve a good night’s sleep, along with some guided meditation and hypnotherapy sessions. You can also check out Dan’s YouTube channel for more sleep-related content and guided hypnosis sessions.
Some podcasts hold the special honor of not intending to make anyone fall asleep, but doing so nonetheless. Here are a few of the best non-sleep podcasts that will put you to sleep anyway, with the bonus of enriching your mind while they’re at it!
Are you a bibliophile who likes to read before bed? Now, you can continue your bedtime reading with your eyes closed, thanks to this podcast from The New Yorker. Each month, Fiction Editor Deborah Treisman hosts a conversation with a notable author, who then selects a reading by one of their own favorite authors to share with the podcast audience. Episodes run around an hour.
In Our Time is a weekly BBC radio show hosted by Melvyn Bragg. Topics range from history and literature to art and philosophy. Each 45-minute episode features a roundtable discussion of Melvyn and luminary guests, typically professors and researchers specializing in the topic at hand. This podcast can be great to fall asleep to if you find the learned voices of the Brits relaxing, and don’t mind learning a thing or two as you drift off!
In this near-daily podcast (the host takes weekends off), you can listen back to old episodes of real detective radio shows from the 1940s and 1950s. Each episode, host Adam Graham shares his own commentary, so you can get more out of the show. Enjoy nearly 850 episodes of Night Beat, Rocky Fortune, Richard Diamond, Boston Blackie, Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, and Dragnet.
With a name like “You Must Remember This,” you might feel like this is something you should listen to when you’re awake. But not to worry; that’s probably only the case if you’re a film historian. Many fans of this podcast prefer listening in bed, falling asleep as film critic Karina Longworth lets you in on a piece of forgotten Hollywood history. Learn Hollywood’s secrets and impress your movie buff friends. Episodes are released weekly and typically run about 45 minutes each.
For a podcast tackling the larger questions in life, check out On Being. Peabody-award-winning journalist Krista Tippet interviews experts about what it means to be human, how to get the most out of life, and get in touch with each other and ourselves. This is a podcast for your soul. Think big and feel good as you fall asleep. Episodes are released weekly and last 50 to 90 minutes.
But, leaving on the TV (or Netflix) isn’t an ideal solution. These technologies emit disruptive bright blue light, tricking your brain into thinking it’s daytime and keeping you up even later. Even if you close your eyes and just listen, having that strong blue light in your bedroom is disruptive to sleep.
Plus, by their nature, movies and TV shows are extremely variable in sound levels. There’s dialogue, blaring music, explosions, gasps, yells, even commercials. That variability is bound to jolt you awake like an unwelcome alarm clock.
Sleep podcasts, on the other hand, are designed to help you sleep. The hosts typically speak in a monotone voice, creating almost a human white noise effect. If they’re telling you a bedtime story, you can bet it’s a boring one you won’t be all that invested in. There are also guided meditation podcasts for sleep.
Even better, podcasts are free, and they’re easy to get. There’s no waiting around for 2-day shipping. You simply search for the podcasts in your podcast app of choice (on your smartphone or smart home device), press play, and close your eyes.
To take your podcast-listening game to the next level, follow these three tips.
You don’t want to be tethered to your smartphone as you fall asleep. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s harder to resist the temptation to look at your phone (flooding your eyes with that bright blue light). Instead, wear wireless headphones or use the built-in speaker on your smartphone or smart home device.
The quicker you can turn off the noise while you sleep, the more restful your sleep will be. Many podcast apps include a timer where you can choose to turn off the podcast within a set period of time (say 10, 15, 30, or 60 minutes) or, better yet, once an episode ends.
Some podcasts apps also include the ability to adjust the playback speed. Look for an icon that displays “1X” on the podcast screen, and tap it to slow down to 1/2X. This is a neat trick for turning a regular podcast into a sleepytime one, just by slowing down the host’s talking voice!