These Podcasts Are Genius If You're Struggling To Fall Asleep At Night

Because sleep is essential.

Aleksandra Jankovic/Stocksy
Originally Published: 

If you have an interest, there's a podcast for that. But, beyond expanding our knowledge of a certain subject, podcasts can also be good to fall asleep to.

With the NHS claiming that one in three of us suffer from bad sleep, insomnia is a clearly a problem a lot of us are looking to tackle. Sleep is just about one of the most important parts of a healthy life. "We spend about a third of our lives asleep," the Mental Health Foundation says. And, they explain, if you aren't getting the recommended amount of sleep, you are almost definitely doing damage to the other two-thirds of your life. "Sleep is essential," they write on their site. "It is as important to our bodies as eating, drinking and breathing, and is vital for maintaining good mental and physical health. Sleeping helps us to recover from mental as well as physical exertion."

Having suffered from periods of insomnia in the past, I have tried many different methods to help me sleep, from herbal remedies to cutting caffeine to attempting meditation. However, the one thing that has really changed my sleep is listening to podcasts. It may sound silly, but having something to drift off to has been majorly beneficial for me, and I would recommend it for those looking for ways to relax before bed. Below is my list of top podcasts to help get you on an express train to the land of nod.


Get Sleepy

The team over at Get Sleepy are comprised of professional writers, voice over artists, and sound designers. Together they help put the show together every week and offer free bedtime podcasts that will have you nodding off before you've even had the chance to think about counting sheep.

The narrators are a mix of male and female voices all of which are smooth and restful to the ear. They utilise ASMR soundscapes and gentle music for a peaceful journey to the hushabye mountain.

Listen here


Sleep With Me

Not as racy as it sounds, Sleep With Me is the master of the sleep podcasts. The host of the show, Drew Ackerman, has suffered with insomnia his while life, so he definitely knows what he's doing.

The premise is, Ackerman takes a story and edits it, filling it with tangents and extra ifs and buts, making it just about as boring as you can imagine. The boring-yet-great nature of his stories means you fall asleep listening to what he is saying, rubbish or not. His voice, it is also worth mentioning, is super soothing and gravelly, which really helps with sleepy-time vibes.

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Phoebe Reads A Mystery

Any true crime fans will be familiar with the brilliant Phoebe Judge who creates Criminal, one of the best podcasts around. In close second to the excellent content in the show itself is Judge’s incredibly smooth and soothing voice. So when I heard she was making a daily podcast in which she reads a chapter from Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair At Styles. It’s the ideal mix of warm, familiar, soothing, and of course fun to listen to if you’re struggling to get to bed as quickly as you’d like.

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Wireless Nights

Jarvis Cocker’s podcast comes from those audio wizards at Radio 4. In this show, Cocker looks at the human condition and the lives of those who come to life after dark. Think a night train or Berlin’s nocturnal streets, all narrated with Cocker’s unmistakably dulcet tones and carefully curated music samples. The Pulp star lends his expertise not only as a storyteller but also as a life-long insomniac. Speaking to the Guardian when the show began back in 2014 he said, “It’s deliberately low-key as I’d regard it as quite a success if people were to nod off during the broadcast.” Trust me, you will.

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Great Detectives Of Old Time Radio

Who doesn't love a good mystery, eh? This little peach, hosted by Adam Graham, focuses on detective stories from back in the day. Each week, Graham focuses on a different series. Utilising the lovely legal loop hole that all radio shows pre-February 15, 1972, are fair game in terms of copyright, this podcast will lull you into a deep and rewarding slumber while musing on whodunnit instead of whatever anxiety-inducing thoughts keep you awake.

Listen here


Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast

Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast is yet another offering that shows nobody is too old to be lulled off to sleep by a bedtime story, and grown ups deserve them too.

This show's bio says it all really: "Lay yourself down to sleep with the soothing soporific of Miette's purr as she reads you the world's greatest works of short fiction."

And let me tell you, they are not kidding. Miette has one of the most soothing voices I have ever heard.

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The New Yorker Fiction

This podcast comes from the New Yorker's fiction editor Deborah Treisman who, in her lovely silky voice, reads excerpts from famous pieces of fiction and has guests on to discuss said pieces.

It's a bit like having your super cool aunt who you want to be when you grow up reading you stories and then explaining them to you with her super cool mates. Yeah, it's that good.

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Sleep Whispers

An ASMR-type podcast that does exactly what it says on the tin: whispers. Ranging from whispering stories to recipes to any old nonsense really, this podcast really hits the mark. You know when you try to get a baby to sleep and you whisper to them? Yeah that. Turns out whispering can help adults sleep too.

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Slow Radio

Describing itself as “an antidote to today’s frenzied world,” Slow Radio originally began its life as a show on BBC Radio 3. It focuses on sounds from across the globe, be they nature, music, water. The one commonality between all of the above is that it’s only the most chill, slow, and dulcet tones that feature on this little golden nugget of a podcast. You’re so very welcome.

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'Boring Books For Bedtime'

A podcast designed to switch off the brain in the most natural way possible, good old fashioned boredom.

Each weekly episode sees the hosts calmly and quietly read something that errs on the side of tedium and makes your eyelids heavy. Writings from the likes of Aristotle, Galileo, Emerson and even passages from old catalogues and instruction manuals. Ideal.

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'Nothing Much Happens'

Kathryn Nicolai, a yoga and meditation teacher, is the brains behind this podcast. Nothing Much Happens consists of a bunch of bedtime stories in which (you guessed it) nothing much happens. Stories that you won't get too invested in. Perfect before bedtime.

Listen here