Remember when your parents tucked you in and told you a bedtime story to lull you to sleep? Those were the good ol’ days, right? Well, guess what? Sleep podcasts with stories are now one of the hottest trends in bedtime rituals for adults as more and more people look for natural ways to fall asleep. And there are a lot of us looking for the Sandman – roughly 60 million people in the U.S. have ongoing sleep disorders.
And lucky for you, I’ve got the inside scoop on the best sleep story podcasts and what makes them so effective at helping us fall asleep. So whether you’re counting sheep or cuddling up with a pillow, get ready for some seriously restful listening.
Tips for Using Sleep Story Podcasts
Start by exploring different types of podcasts to find the one that works best for you. The range of sleep podcasts with stories is vast – from classic fairy tales to modern fantasy fiction, there is something for everyone. You just have to search your favorite podcast app for “sleep podcasts”, “bedtime stories for adults”, or “sleep stories”. The type of podcast you finally enjoy is also highly personal. It can be the style of the show, the voice, the added sleep tips, or the length of the podcasts.
Also, be open to different types of storytelling. It might surprise you how effective they really are. I really like my classic tales, but I found that I was maybe staying awake a little bit longer than I was with podcasts that I thought were just too boring.
Here are some other pointers:
- Adjust the volume and settings of the podcast to create a comfortable listening experience.
- Consider using a sleep timer to ensure the podcast doesn’t continue playing and potentially disrupt your sleep later in the night.
- Be patient and give yourself time to adjust to using a sleep podcast; it may take a few nights to see the full benefits.
- Incorporate the sleep podcast into your bedtime routine, allowing it to become a signal for your brain that it’s time to sleep.
- Check out the archives of podcasts. Most stories are timeless. If there isn’t a new podcast, I often look back in archives to find one that fits my mood, which is usually a classic tale that I never got around to reading or stories with travel or historical fiction.
- Stick with sleep podcasts that have storytelling. There are a lot of storytelling podcasts, but not all are aiming to make you fall asleep. The best sleep story podcasts are laser-focused on helping people fall asleep.
Best Sleep Story Podcasts
As I mentioned earlier, the perfect storytelling podcast is highly personal. Here’s a rundown of my go-to podcasts and why they’re so great:
Launching in 2018, Sleepy is a popular sleep podcast that features readings of classic stories and books – tales like Peter Pan, Moby Dick, Winnie the Pooh, and lots of Nathaniel Hawthorne. The narrator, Otis Gray, has a soothing and calming voice that helps listeners relax and drift off to sleep. With a wide range of stories, from fairy tales to classic literature, Sleepy offers something for everyone looking for a bedtime story to help them unwind.
Drift Off by Joanne D’Amico, is a podcast that offers a range of stories from Shakespeare to Laura Ingalls Wilder. The stories also range from 10 minutes to 45 in length, so we have lots of options here. Joanne is also a Certified Hypnotist and also offers some sleep hypnosis in her mix.
Hosted by Tom Jones Get Sleepy is a team of writers, voice-over artists, and meditation experts. An array of male and female voices provide a soothing, tranquil listening experience; each narrator’s delivery is captivating yet calming. By incorporating New Age soundscapes, and mindfulness techniques, they offer a tranquil journey to the realm of dreams. Get Sleepy offers a mix of tales, but also just likes to take you places like springtime stroll along the Potomac or date night in Venice.
The Sleepy Bookshelf
The Sleepy Bookshelf, hosted by Elizabeth Grace, offers full-length classics in multiple episodes. Each new episode starts with a quick recap of where they left off last time, so you can join in at any point and never feel lost. This podcast is ideal for people that like their classic literature, but also might take longer to fall asleep.
Sleep with me
If you’re looking for something a little more light-hearted and different than traditional storytelling podcasts, Sleep with Me by Drew Ackerman could be just what you’re looking for. In what The New Yorker describes as “Ingeniously Boring,” this sleep podcast sets itself apart by being just that. Ackerman guides listeners through rambling stories, all while managing to remain incredibly boring – the perfect recipe for a peaceful night’s sleep. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure if I’d like this approach. It didn’t fit in traditional bedtime stories, but by golly, it works!
Why Sleep Story Podcasts Are Perfect for Bedtime
The concept of storytelling really needs no introduction; it’s been an integral part of human culture since time immemorial, but why are podcasts and bedtime stories so effective? Here is what I found:
Familiarity and Comfort
Bedtime stories often evoke feelings of nostalgia and comfort, as many of us associate them with our childhood, helping us feel safe and secure as we prepare for sleep.
Really Learn Classic Tales
I’ll never get around to reading all the classic tales. Many of the sleep podcasts feature unedited classic tales as they were originally written. Not the Disney versions we’re used to.
Distraction from Daily Stress
Unlike meditative music or background noise, a story can effectively take our wandering minds off of whatever is preventing us from sleeping. By immersing ourselves in the world of the story, we can momentarily escape our own thoughts and allow our minds to focus on something more calming and enjoyable.
Steady, Soothing Voices
The narrators of sleep podcasts are often chosen for their calming and soothing voices. These slow, gentle tones can help relax our minds and bodies, making it easier for us to drift off to sleep.
Listening to stories engages our imagination, helping to shift our focus away from the day’s events or the pressure to fall asleep. As we visualize the story in our minds, our brain activity begins to slow down, preparing us for a restful night’s sleep.
Relaxation and Mindfulness
Many sleep podcasts combine storytelling with elements of relaxation and mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or visualization. This combination can help us enter a more relaxed state, allowing our minds and bodies to unwind and prepare for sleep.
Stories Calm the Whole Body
Not only do stories have an effect on the brain, but some medical professionals believe that they can also impact the entire body. Bedtime stories may help activate our parasympathetic system. It reduces feelings of stress and anxiety, lowers heart rate levels, and decreases blood pressure – all perfect for aiding us in getting those much-needed zzz’s.
Establishing a Bedtime Routine
Incorporating storytelling into your bedtime routine can signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Over time, this routine can help regulate your sleep patterns, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
No Screen Time
One of the main factors that disrupt sleep is exposure to blue light from screens, which suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep. Listening to podcasts doesn’t require staring at a screen, making them an excellent alternative to TV shows or social media before bed.
Combating Loneliness and Providing Company
For those who experience loneliness or have difficulty sleeping alone, sleep podcasts can provide a sense of companionship and comfort. The soothing voices and engaging stories can make listeners feel as if they have company, which can help ease feelings of isolation and make it easier to fall asleep.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques
Many sleep podcasts incorporate elements of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), which is a proven method for improving sleep. These techniques can include guided relaxation exercises, mindfulness practices, and reframing negative thoughts about sleep. By incorporating CBT-I techniques, sleep podcasts can help listeners develop healthier sleep habits and thought patterns, contributing to better sleep quality over time.
Providing Sleep Education and Tips
Some sleep podcasts focus on providing valuable sleep education and tips for improving sleep hygiene. By sharing expert advice and practical strategies, these podcasts can help listeners make informed decisions about their sleep habits and implement changes that lead to better sleep quality. The knowledge gained from these podcasts can empower listeners to take control of their sleep and create a more restful bedtime routine.
Targeting Specific Sleep Issues
Sleep podcasts can address specific sleep issues, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome, by providing targeted content and techniques to help manage these conditions. By offering specialized information and guidance, sleep podcasts can help listeners better understand and cope with their particular sleep challenges, ultimately improving their sleep quality.
Final Word on Sleep Story Podcasts
So if you’ve been struggling to fall asleep, give bedtime stories and sleep podcasts a try – you won’t regret it. Who knows, you may even get hooked on hear stories as your regular bedtime ritual. After all, there’s something special about getting lulled off to dreamland with a great story. Plus, who says that grown-ups can’t enjoy an old-fashioned bedtime story every now and then? So grab those headphones and set yourself up for some much-needed restful slumber.
Still having trouble falling asleep? Take control of your dreams with some tips from our article on how to lucid dream tonight or try using aromatherapy and these scents that can help up fall asleep.