13 Playlists That Will Actually Help You Fall Asleep

by JR Thorpe

If you have trouble dropping off, you've probably dipped your toe into the world of sleep playlists: soft jazz, calming classical, whale noises, white noise and other sounds intended to drift you off to dreamland. Curiously, Spotify reported in 2015 that sleep playlists around the world overwhelmingly chose Ed Sheeran as their most popular artist, for his soothing power. But if you're not into hearing "Perfect" on a loop as you drift off, there are many different options out there to get a good night's sleep, many of them specifically engineered using research into our sleeping patterns and what makes us drowsy.

Listening to something as you sleep can help you doze off because it distracts you from the endless whirr of your thoughts, as well as drowns out the sounds of the very much not asleep outside world. But what soothes you may not work for friends and family, so don't assume that your sure-fire jazz insomnia playlist will make your jazz-hating girlfriend drop off. And, of course, the blue light of any electronic device's screen is likely not going to help you drop off, so if you choose to use a playlist or podcast, make sure that your screen is turned to its lowest setting (or off) while you're snuggled in bed listening to it. Prepare for sleepytime.


The Scientifically Engineered Song On Repeat

This song was engineered deliberately to induce sleepiness and reduce anxiety based on research on human heart rate, breathing and stress responses to various sounds. It's supposed to be particularly effective on children.


The Gentle Night Rain Playlist

This one was recommended by Memory Foam Warehouse as one of their top ten hits for inducing sleepiness, and certainly makes you feel snuggly inside.


Spotify's Deep Sleep Playlist

Spotify's done its research and pulled together the songs that seem to induce the deepest sleepiness in others. Songs pulsing at 60-80 beats per minute are the golden tempo for calming people down and making them want to head under the covers for a nap.


Shape Magazine's Sleep Playlist

If you're capable of handling lyrics (some people aren't), this collection of slow, quiet favorites from the pop and indie charts (including Sheeran) put together by Shape might be the ticket for you.


The Sleep With Me Podcast

Even adults need bedtime stories. That's the thinking behind Sleep With Me, where one of the most soothing voices in existence, Drew Ackerman, talks to you quietly about mildly interesting things as you drift off into slumber.


Spotify's Sleepify

If you're in need of a different sleep experience than the one offered by the Deep Sleep playlist, the Sleepify option has many more songs and is lyric-free.


Calm App's Sleep Stories

Calm doesn't just work to help you meditate while you're awake; its Sleep Stories function also ushers you off to dreamland.


ASMR Sleep Station

Autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, is a soothing response to a sound, and this playlist is designed to make you feel sleepy through gentle, calming noises and speech.


Daily Meditation Podcast

Want to feel calmed by a meditation coach? This is the app for you, guiding you through a meditation routine right before you drop to sleep to make sure you're relaxed and stress-free.


Sleep Radio

This one-of-a-kind station beams 24/7 from New Zealand in pursuit of constant calming music and sleepiness for anybody who needs it, in any time zone.


NME's Insomniac Playlist

You may not agree with NME's choices for the most soothing songs in the modern repertoire, but they're certainly all slow and chilled.


No Sleepless Nights Contemporary Classical Playlist

This playlist by the sleep organization No Sleepless Nights is particularly tailored to modern classical, but they also have options for older classical and lyrical playlists.


Max Richter's Classical Sleep Symphony

Composer Max Richter came up with this eight-hour sleep symphony in collaboration with neuroscientists, to make the most sleep-inducing musical patterns possible. He told the press, "It’s my personal lullaby for a frenetic world." And it might be yours too.


Your sleep routine is incredibly personal and unique to you. Why not let music soundtrack it? Sleep well, y'all.