Nothing quite compares to the moment you get to climb into bed after a long, exhausting day. That feeling when you finally give yourself permission to unplug from everything. It’s like bliss is finally within grasp. Or, is it? If switching off your mind is like a wrestling match inside your head - I feel you. So what can we do to help ourselves catapult into the euphoric state of sleep?
For the 10-15 percent of adults who suffer from chronic insomnia, and the other 25-35 percent of us who struggle with occasional sleep issues - finding the perfect podcasts to fall asleep to could be a solution! A way to recreate the soothing childhood experience of having someone read you a bedtime story, studies show audio stimulation acts as a great sleeping aid. We’re all aware of the consequences blue light has on our ability to properly nod off into slumber. And, hey, I’ll be the first to admit. From time to time, I’m still nevertheless tempted down the black hole of endless streaming. But swapping a late night binge session of VICE Munchies videos for a soothing podcast is an easy (and remarkably beneficial) way to eliminate the stimulating screen - without sacrificing the comfort of mindless entertainment. We all gotta unwind somehow!
From great fiction to random pillow talk, real-life tales of life to guided meditations - there are hundreds of podcasts to help you sleep. And because we care about you getting some solid Zzzs, we’ve carefully curated this roundup of 7 stellar bedtime podcasts to fall asleep to.
1. Craig’s List
Hosted by actor and director Craig Cackowski (Drunk History), and his wife, comedian and writer Carla Cackowski, Craig's List is the podcast equivalent of watching a movie. Craig’s made a list of his 100 favorite movies, and Clara is watching them all, one by one. On the podcast, they discuss the movies. It’s fun, funny, and often includes a pleasant dose of nostalgia.
“Pausing here, and straddled between two planets that drive one another like gears, the attentive traveller will notice a narrow door, only wide enough to sidle through. This is the border of sleep, where imagination and reality are braided together; a chasm in the crust of consciousness venting the hot pumice of imagery into the irresistible magma of narrative.” - Even Seymour Jacklin’s podcast intro is soothing! Stories from the Borders of Sleep are nursery rhymes for adults. Jacklin has a way of weaving words into imaginative, thought provoking, beautiful bedtime stories. Plus, he’s got the perfect voice to lull you off into your happy place.
3. The Moth
Intimate, raw, and relatable, Moth stories are true, first-person narratives told live. A venture to bring the intimate atmosphere of storytelling that often took place on his porch in Georgia, to the concrete jungle of New York, novelist George Dawes Green founded The Moth project over 20 years ago. Since then - over 30,000 Moth stories been told by people from around the country. The podcast features some of the favorites. Each episode revolves around a different thought provoking theme, nurturing a positive mind space to drift off to sleep in.
Meditation is a personal journey, unique to each and every individual. So while it’s impossible to single out one best meditation podcast, I will say that Mary Maddux’s guided meditations are an excellent option for bedtime unwinding. Her voice is soothing and episode lengths are a perfect 15 to 20 minutes. “Relax into Sleep”, “Let it Be”, and “Release from Stress and Pressure” are some of my personal favorites. You can choose meditations with or without background music, which is also a nice feature.
5. The Story
I imagine that if Stephen Covey’s 1989 book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, were to have come out today, it would include listening to podcasts - more specifically, this one. Mini-historical biographies, each episode of The Story walks you through the life of a heroine or hero who achieved something noble and great. Designed to inspire its listeners, the stories are meant to have a positive impact on your health, wealth, and wisdom. Perhaps the most unique thing about these stories - the person’s identity is a mystery until the end. By stripping the leading lady or lad of her/his fame - we’re able to really dive into the backstory that led them to greatness. Let your creative juices churn while you sleep; and, since you’ll hopefully nod off before the end, start your day off by finishing the episode on your morning commute.
The podcast’s title speaks for itself - it’s, literally, the diary of a girl in space. Simple, yet beautifully thought out, this sci-fi mystery tackles themes of trust, truth, beauty, guns, inner turmoil, and delicious cheeses - all, you guessed it, in space. Sarah, the creator and heroine of the podcast, is an exceptional voice actress. Her narrative exquisitely captures what life would be like if you were actually abandoned and alone in space. As Sarah’s comforting voice transports you to the mysterious land of the stars, visualize a galaxy far, far away and allow yourself to drift off into the world of sleep.
The author of five New York Times bestsellers -The Tipping Point, Blink,Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath - Malcolm Gladwell’s latest project, Revisionist History, offers a modern day interpretation of some of history’s most important slices. In each episode, Gladwell reexamines an event, a person, or an idea from the past. He’s named one of the 100 most influential people by TIME magazine, and has an undeniable knack for enlightening our understanding of the world around us. The subject matter’s dense nature, combined with Gladwell’s relaxing voice, make this bedtime podcast one of my favorites. Soak up some pre-Zzzs knowledge while you slip into sleep.
So which one will you start your night off with? Goodnight and happy podcasting!