Best Sleep Podcasts
Podcasts are all the rage these days. If you’ve never listened to a podcast or aren’t sure exactly what it is, you don’t know what you’re missing! Podcasts are similar to radio talk shows that include interviews mixed with stories, advice, humor, and anecdotes, most of which are broken down into distinct episodes.
Everyone seems to have a podcast these days from Joe Rogan and Conan O’Brien to Rob Lowe and other well-known celebrities and political figures. Each podcast is focused on a central theme and intended to entertain and educate audiences. Topics include finances, politics, health and beauty, fitness, and more.
Although sleep podcasts are grouped into this same category, they’re slightly different than traditional ones. Instead of offering useful information and anecdotes, these podcasts are actually designed to help you fall asleep. Basically, if you doze off while listening to one of these recordings, then it means the podcast is doing its job. Sleep podcasts are ideal for those who need ambient or white noise to fall asleep. Some offer meditation and mindfulness exercises while others include music, storytelling, and other relaxation techniques.
If you struggle with falling and staying asleep and night and you’re ready to get on the podcast bandwagon, keep reading! Here’s our list of the best podcasts to help you catch much-needed Zs.
Sleep With Me
Drew Ackerman’s Sleep With Me is a collection of expertly chosen bedtime stories for adults designed to help calm racing thoughts and quiet your mind before bed. First released in 2013, Ackerman has been helping stubborn sleepers improve their sleep quality for nearly a decade. The podcast creator was inspired by his own childhood insomnia, which he said he corrected by listening to late-night comedy radio. Now, Ackerman uses his humor and soothing voice to help other insomnia sufferers achieve deep, restorative sleep. Each story on the Sleep With Me podcast gets progressively less engaging and exciting, making them the perfect background noise to help you zone out and drift to sleep.
Episodes range in topic from TV show reviews to a new podcast Ackerman recently launched called Game of Drones and last between one and two hours. Most other sleep podcast episodes are around 45 minutes, which makes these longer segments ideal for anyone who struggles to fall asleep. Sleep With Me offers a mix of sentimental stories and lullaby jingles designed to distract your busy brain. While some people actually listen to the stories from start to finish simply because they like them, these borderline boring tales are sure to slow your mind and put you in a more relaxed mind frame for sleep. With over 1,000 episodes and new releases every week, there’s no shortage of stories to choose from.
Dreamful Bedtime Stories
Another collection of adult bedtime stories, this podcast taps into your nostalgic side by reinventing some of your favorite childhood bedtime stories. Dreamful Bedtime Stories is less anecdotal and more a quiet, dreamy podcast. Each episode depicts a different classic story narrated by Jordan Blair and accompanied by low, soft music. Some stories include Winnie-the-Pooh, My Father’s Dragon, and Tom Thumb.
Not all the stories included in this podcast appeal to the child in you. You can also explore a series of episodes that include historical tales, myths, legends, and more. These interesting yet dry facts mixed with Blair’s whispery voice are sure to send you quickly into dreamland.
Nothing Much Happens
The name says it all. On this podcast, nothing much happens. The host and creator, Kathryn Nicolai (who also happens to be a meditation and yoga teacher), reads her original adult bedtime stories, which last between 20 and 30 minutes. Nicolai releases new stories every week so listeners have a pretty wide variety to choose from. Before Nicolai starts her narration, she walks listeners through a gentle, guided breathing exercise to promote relaxation. Nicolai then proceeds to read the story twice. The first time, she uses a normal-paced voice whereas the second time, she reads at a slower pace and in a quieter tone.
The stories are relatively basic and contain unexciting and mundane tales about everyday life. In some episodes she describes things she sees in nature or other everyday objects, giving you a visual to focus on as you drift to sleep.
With a name like Get Sleepy, this podcast is designed to do exactly that. This storytelling app is designed to help get listeners sleepy before helping them sleep well. Host Tom Jones (a British sleep radio host and app creator) releases new episodes twice a week. The podcast currently has over 270 episodes you can search through. Episodes are categorized into story subjects, sound types, and narrators so you can find the perfect fit for your unique sleep needs and preferences.
Regardless of the type of podcast you choose, Jones starts every episode with a soothing meditation to help relax the body and mind. Each story is read aloud by Jones in a quiet, whispery voice with relaxing music in the background. What sets the Get Sleepy podcast apart is that Jones incorporates suggestions and input from both sleep experts and satisfied users to craft stories that deliver results.
Another sleep podcast from overseas, this BBC app offers audio scapes of ambient noise, nature sounds, and gentle whispers designed to help listeners slow down, relax, and fall and stay asleep. Slow Radio is hosted by Verity Sharp. Sharp kicks off each episode with a brief description of what’s to come. Stories include “a day in the life of a dog” or a simple collection of bird sounds. Other selections include the sounds of winter in Japan and chiming bells in Venice Italy. Slow Radio offers an immersive sound experience that lasts between 25 and 30 minutes. Right now, the podcast has a collection of over 100 episodes, each showcasing various sound experiences. Sharp releases new episodes monthly.
Sleep Whispers delivers on its name. This podcast showcases over 300 episodes of whispered audio recordings including everything from poetry to narrators reading articles from Wikipedia. Listeners also have access to guided meditations, trivia, lessons, stories, and other simply boring content that’s a recipe for sleep. Sleep Whispers is especially relaxing for those who respond well to ASMR and other audio stimulations. The host, “Whispering Harris” has a soothing, clear voice that’s just as easy to focus on as it is to forget as your body and mind succumb to sleep.
Send Me to Sleep
Send Me to Sleep is hosted and narrated by the “sleep geek”, Andrew. Listeners will either find his very distinctive and precise voice hypnotic or distracting. During his podcast, Andrew reads a mix of short stories and guided meditations that will either soothe or unnerve you. You’ll have to listen for yourself to find out.
What better name for one of the best sleep podcasts than Sleepy? If you love classic literature, you’ll love this podcast. Each episode is narrated by Otis Gray and designed to ease you into sleep as his baritone voice reads these iconic stories. Stories include fairy tales, excerpts from Jane Austen Novels, and even Sherlock Holmes stories. Sleepy combines classic stories from some of the greatest novels of all time with a deep soothing voice that’s sure to lull you to sleep.
Meditation and mindfulness are two effective ways to quiet an anxious mind and promote both relaxation and sleep. The goal of this podcast is to help listeners find a relaxed headspace so they can more easily drift off into dreamland. Each episode showcases a long, dreamy depiction of a very specific environment, forcing your mind to focus on the words being spoken as your stress silently slips away. Headspace Sleepcasts recently partnered with musician John Legend who is also featured in several episodes. Legen describes a quiet, dark, and peaceful concert hall. You can also select an eight-hour mix of the artist’s romantic music to help you remain in a deep sleep all night.
Tracks to Relax
Tracks to Relax is a great sleep podcast for those who enjoy a nice afternoon nap, but can also be used at night for achieving quality sleep. A lot of the episodes are centered around nature and different locations, for example, the beach, wetlands, mountains, and more. This lets you choose the most peaceful backdrop for your specific needs. You can also choose stories and no-talking tracks that offer ambient sounds.
Boring Books for Bedtime
We’re all guilty of nodding off while reading a book. Well, this sleep podcast is designed specifically to achieve this. Boring Books for Bedtime showcases Sharon Handy delivering stories that will quite literally “bore you into unconsciousness”. When all else fails, try listening to Handy read some of the most tedious stories ever written. For example, John Ashton’s rendition of ‘The History of Bread’.
Other lackluster options include articles from science textbooks, excerpts from home appliance manuals, and more. Choose from over 200 episodes read in a monotone voice reminiscent of that high school teacher whose class you could never quite make it through. Each episode runs for approximately 50 minutes, giving you plenty of time to nod off for the night. The stories found on this sleep podcast are downright dull making them the perfect background noise for boring you to sleep.
Hosted by Christopher Fitton, a veteran hypnotherapist, the Sleep Cove podcast delivers all the benefits of hypnotherapy in the comfort of your own home. Now, you can choose from a mix of guided hypnotherapy exercises, bedtime stories, and natural sleep sounds. The podcast also has guided meditation techniques. Each episode also offers low, mellow music as the backdrop to help set the tone for a night of deep, relaxing sleep. Episodes range from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the type of sound or story you choose.
Deep Sleep Sounds
The name says it all. If your body and mind respond well to sleep sounds, this is the best sleep podcast for you. Deep Sleep Sounds offer the perfect soundtrack for achieving deep, blissful sleep. Choose from an array of soothing sounds including meditations, nature soundscapes, and calming music. Some of the most popular selections include birds in a meadow, a rainstorm, and a crackling fire. Each episode runs for 2 hours, giving you ample time to fall asleep surrounded by the peaceful sounds of nature.
Deep Energy Podcast
From deep sleep to deep energy. This sleep podcast is slightly different from the rest on the list and for some, may seem a bit unconventional. Deep Energy Podcast lets users choose from a variety of New Age song selections. This long-running podcast is created by musician Jim Butler with deep relaxation and deep energy in mind. Use it to meditate, relax, or be lulled to sleep by the narrator’s gentle ambient voice. With over 1,000 selections to choose from (and new ones released daily) there’s no shortage of episodes to appeal to every preference and personality. If you prefer the soothing sounds of a piano, check out Butler’s other sleep podcast, Slow Piano for Sleep.
Habits for Good Sleep
Everyone should adopt habits for good sleep like following a sleep schedule and adopting a healthy wind-down routine at night. Why not add the Habits for Good Sleep podcast to your nightly schedule as well? This podcast is created and hosted by Dr. Tim Sharp (aka Dr. Happy). Dr. Sharp is the founder of The Happiness Institute and has dedicated his career to making people happy and, in this case, happiness equals quality sleep.
Slightly different than other podcasts on this list, Habits for Good Sleep is more informative than soothing. In each episode, Dr. Happy shares 10 simple and healthy daily habits you can adopt to achieve better sleep. These tips also promote deeper, more restorative sleep that benefits your overall well-being.
Somnus Therapy (Shameless Plug!)
As part of our online sleep therapy program, Somnus Therapy also provides users with sleep stories, sleep sounds, long-form guided meditations, and sleep masterclasses. All of these resources can be used day or night. The sleep stories are soothing, relaxing, and designed to help you unwind and prepare for sleep. The guided meditations are excellent for both starting and ending your day.
Choose from 100 different meditations created and guided by expert meditation teachers and sleep specialists. You can also select different sleep sounds and binaural recordings that deliver a unique audio experience. These resources are similar to the podcasts mentioned on this list and are all included in addition to the program’s 50 core CBTi sessions.
Choose the Best Sleep Podcast for Your Unique Sleep Needs
With so many sleep podcasts to choose from, you’re sure to find one that meets your unique sleep needs. While some people respond well to music or the soothing sounds of nature, others need ambient noise. Once you find the best sleep podcast that fits your personality, you can start listening to it as part of your nightly sleep routine. Before long, your body will associate the podcast with sleep and you may find it easier to fall and stay asleep.
Other positive lifestyle changes can greatly improve your sleep quality. This belief is the basis of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi) and is designed to help restore healthy sleep patterns and improve sleep quality. Click here to learn more about how CBTi works.