What to Binge When You Just Can't Sleep
We live in the age of binging. Books, podcasts, and TV shows — due to the age of the internet, they're all at our fingertips all the time. Depending on your level of self-restraint, this situation may be good news or bad news for you.
On nights when you just can't sleep, accessibility of media is definitely good news. Gone are the days of staring at the ceiling and counting the ticks of the clock. You now have a myriad of stories and storytellers at your disposal to help you while away the lonely hours until you finally drift into sleep.
With seemingly endless choices at your disposal, however, the only question is where to start.
You've come to the right place.
Below, we've compiled lists of our favorite binge-worthy media. Take a look, select a few likely candidates, and keep them on hand for the next lonely night when you just can't sleep.
When you're having trouble sleeping, binge reading is one of your best options. This is especially true if you choose to read from a tangible, paper book rather than a Kindle or e-reader.
Rather than turning on a bright, overhead light, flick on a small reading lamp and curl up under its soft light with one of the following.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
The slow, meticulous development of this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is perfectly suited to help you while away a sleepless night. Written in epistolary style, as if an extended journal-style letter from an aging father to his young son, the emotional tone draws the reader in from the first chapter. Though not a page-turner in the strictest sense, the sleepy development, and soft style are sure to help readers slow down and prepare for a good night's sleep.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Who wants to toss and turn in bed, frustrated by a lack of sleep, when you could be totally immersed in a suspenseful sci-fi/fantasy thriller? The protagonist's dilemma is gripping, the humor surprisingly hilarious, and the story a non-stop adventure from beginning to end. If you're looking for a story to take your mind off your own problems, you could not make a better choice.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
While you're lying awake in the dark listening for things that go bump in the night, what better to read than a book full of things that go bump in the night? A classic Gothic novel, Jane Eyre centers on a naive young heroine who finds love, mystery, and danger when she becomes a live-in nanny on the remote, crumbling estate of Edward Rochester.
Whether it puts you to sleep or keeps you awake turning pages, you're sure to have a good time.
Perhaps you're not a reader. Or perhaps, like many of our clients, you want to be considerate of your partner by not keeping the light on through the wee hours of the night.
If that's the case, you might consider turning to podcasts instead. As a bonus, most podcast apps come equipped with a programmable "sleep" function that allows you to set a shut-off time in hopes that you will, indeed, fall asleep mid-episode.
One of the most innovative podcasts airing right now, Ear Hustle is recorded in partnership between Nigel Poor, a visual artist, and Earlonne Woods, formerly incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.
The Ear Hustle team works in the San Francisco Bay Area, both in San Quentin State Prison's media lab and from offices on the outside, to produce stories that are sometimes difficult, often funny and always honest. Episodes offer a nuanced view of people involved with the American prison system and those reintegrating into society after serving time.
It's well worth your time.
Host Laura Beil's impeccable investigative journalism focuses on former doctor Christopher Duntsch, a spinal surgeon who brought an unbelievable amount of harm to his patients before coming under investigation for his medical practices and finally being brought to justice. Told in a fine, compelling style, this unforgettable story will take your mind off your worries even as the host's smooth tones lull you to sleep.
History is full of stories we think we know. They are old and dark, but time has robbed us of perspective and clarity. They've become obscured and misunderstood.
So says our host.
Brought to you by Aaron Mahnke, the same podcaster who created the hit series Lore, Season 1 of Unobscured reframes one of the darkest and most puzzling periods of American history, the Salem Witch Trials.
When it comes right down to it, watching TV to help fall asleep can be a bit of a double-edged sword. While a TV does serve as a sort of sophisticated white noise machine for many people, the bright and flickering lights can keep the brain alert in a way print media or audio does not.
Though we do urge caution when it comes to TV, we nevertheless have a few shows to suggest for nights when you just can't sleep.
High-brow humor and low-stakes plots. We can't think of a better combo to lull you to sleep. Not to mention the soothing tones of Kelsey Grammer's radio voice. Perfect for a night when you just need to unwind and forget about the here and now.
Friday Night Lights
Family, football, and feelings. That combo doesn't sound as if it would work, yet somehow it does. This critically acclaimed show, now finished its official run, is perfect for binging, if for no other reason than to remind yourself of all the reasons you're glad you're not in high school anymore.
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