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

Because sleep is essential.

by Aoife Hanna
Originally Published: 
Shot of a young woman sleeping with a mask on in bed
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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 add.

Although the statistics around this particular sleeping habit are few and far between, what we do know is that, in 2011, a study commissioned by the National Sleep Foundation found that 60% of Americans watch TV immediately before going to sleep “every night or almost every night.”

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 fall asleep to.


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 whole 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.His voice, it is also worth mentioning, is super soothing and gravelly, which really helps with sleepy-time vibes.

Listen here


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.

Each day, Judge reads a chapter from a mystery novel written by a variety of authors including Agatha Christie, Mary Shelley, Wilkie Collins, and Arthur Conan Doyle. 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.

Listen here


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.

Listen here


Soul Sistas Sleep Meditation

Created for women of colour, Soul Sistas Sleep Meditation aims to help listeners reconnect their mind, body and soul to transition “into a peaceful state of mind” to prepare for a calm night’s sleep.

With a soothing voice, this podcast teaches you to be patient, intentionally take rest, and visualise your strengths through topics including ancestral meditation, dealing with grief, and heartbreak.

Listen here.


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.

Listen here


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.

Listen here


hey, girl.

Those familiar with writer Alex Elle and her inspiring Insta will also be aware of her amazing podcast hey, girl. Made for women by women, Elle uses her experience in healing and storytelling to inspire listeners with conversations about life simplicities with those she loves and adores.

Through “candid and intimate” conversations, Elle covers a wide range of wellness topics including self-worth, affirmation, and communication to get you thinking about what you can do to connect with yourself and those around you.

Listen here.


'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.

Listen here


Balanced Black Girl

Dedicated to creating a safe space “for conversations about joy, holistic wellness, and self-improvement,” Balanced Black Girl comes from the perspective of Black women as they discuss issues about mental health, platonic and romantic relationships, and wellness to improve your life.

Balanced Black Girl is a beneficial, calming listen to help you de-stress, relax, and learn about yourself as you snuggle into your duvet.

Listen here.


'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

Additions by Sophie McEvoy.

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