As a child, we all argued and pleaded with our parents to allow us to stay up later than our scheduled bedtime. As an adult, most of us probably can't wait for nighttime. Why is that, you ask? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a third of adults suffer from poor sleep.
Sleep is essential to a healthy body, and you've tried everything: warm milk, lavender scent in your bedroom, even burying your head under your pillow. But nothing has worked.
Maybe you should try taking advantage of today's technology and listen to a podcast when you can't sleep. There are plenty out there geared specifically towards helping you sleep, and we've listed the best ones for you to try.
1. Sleep Whispers
The purpose of Sleep Whispers is to quiet your always-thinking brain. Easier said than done, right? With this ingenious show, maybe it's not so difficult. An episode can include recipes, listener feedback, stories, podcast updates or poetry — just about anything really — and it's all done in a whisper as suggested by the title.
This podcast not only focuses your mind but, at the same time, relaxes your body so you can get a great night's sleep.
2. Welcome to Night Vale
Cecil Gershwin Palmer narrates Welcome to Night Vale. It's about the imaginary, odd town, Night Vale, that's somewhere in the southwestern U.S. It's a lot like old-time radio shows that used to come on at bedtime in the 1940s and 1950s.
On these twice-a-month podcasts, you'll hear brilliant and strange stories about conspiracies, weird occurrences, people with powers and town news. Each show provides the ideal diversion your mind needs to fall asleep faster — and maybe even dream of Night Vale.
3. Sleep With Me
We couldn't make a list of great sleep-inducing podcasts without including one of the best-reviewed and most well-known ones out there: Sleep With Me. As of January 2017, it hit 2.3 million downloads per month — wow!
The host of the show, Drew Ackerman, has been a long-time sufferer of insomnia, so he knows what you and the rest of his listeners are going through.
If you thought bedtime stories were just for kids, you're wrong. Whether you're four or 54, you're never too old for a terrific bedtime story. With his husky, soothing voice, Drew narrates one to two-hour-long stories with strange plots and odd characters. But don't be fooled — while his stories will distract your mind a little, these nonsense tales are anything but exciting. They're quite boring. The fiction never comes to an end and rambles on without a point which is terrific for sending you off into dreamland.
4. Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast
Here's another awesome podcast that provides bedtime stories to aid you in your slumber: Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast.
While Miette doesn't air new episodes anymore, her 10-year run made it possible for you to select from a massive assortment of literature. She reads short stories you haven't heard of, as well as those you might have forgotten. They range from classic literature like The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe and James Joyce to pieces in present-day writing.
Miette's calm, soft voice and pleasing accent will relax you so much you'll be in snoozeville before you know it.
5. Game of Drones
This witty title says it all: Game of Drones. Each episode is the dullest summary of the most thrilling show — HBO's Game of Thrones. It is, once again, narrated by the best droner, Drew Ackerman.
In addition to telling the story in his soothing monotone voice, he also gives commentary that seems never to end. Only Drew can do a masterful job at making Game of Thrones boring!
6. Sleep and Relax ASMR
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is the feeling of tingling that begins at your head and moves down through your neck and back. ASMR's often referred to as a "brain orgasm."
Sleep and Relax ASMR is unique to the others described in this blog, and every two to five days, you can download a new episode. It induces sleep through sounds of swaying trees in the wind, soft background noise, the gentle patter of rain, and rumbles of thunder and whispering. Even if you don't experience ASMR, this podcast should help you relax enough to doze off.
If you have success with ASMR, there's another fantastic podcast for you to try called The Auracle.
Change the Way You Listen
Listening to a podcast at night is going to be different than listening to one during the day. So there are a few things you'll need to do first:
- Do a dry-run of your selected podcast. You don't want to lose any precious minutes of sleep if you find the podcast is too lively, too loud, or has too many noisy ads. The best time to test the sleepiness of your chosen podcast is in the early evening.
- Buy a cheap pair of Bluetooth headphones or ones that can handle some punishment. Then, when you're starting to fall asleep, pull them off and throw them on the floor or a nightstand. Using headphones will allow you to put your phone well out of your reach so it won't fall to the floor while you're moving around in bed; plus, you won't want to look at it and wake yourself up with its blue light shining in your eyes.
- Try some experiments to see how fast you'll fall asleep. When you have an approximate idea, then you can use the sleep timer in the podcast's app and set it to shut off automatically. Most of the time, a sleep timer is underneath a button displaying a clock icon.
What do you do if a show isn't lulling you to sleep? Just skip it and move on to the next episode. The marvelous thing about bedtime podcasts is that you don't have to worry about keeping up with a storyline — you can listen whenever you'd like.
Insomnia is nothing new and, sadly, it won't go away on its own. But no doubt one of these podcasts in this list or one of the many bedtime podcasts you find on your own will have you snuggling up in your blanket and snoozing in no time.
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