Reading before bed is one of life's great luxuries. However, if you are a busy working gal like myself, sometimes by the time you get into bed your eyes hurt — and the idea of having your eyes open is tantamount to torture. I am NOT being dramatic. Yes, hours of screen time, talking to humans, and being awake can really take it out of you I'll tell ya. But even though your eyes hurt, you just cannot mentally switch off. This is where audiobooks come in. If you want to
fall asleep listening to an audiobook there are countless greats to chose from, so whittling down the best options is no mean feat.
But what makes a good sleepy time audio book? There are a few important factors, separate or combined, that make for a perfect audiobook in my opinion.
Familiarity — a book that won't have you wide awake desperate to find out what happens. You already know, but it is so great you are here for more. Flowery language — think lovely, lolling, languid language that has you following those ZZZs like a cartoon animal following a tasty smell. Magic — your dreams are about to be lit. NOT scary — hell no to night terrors. Narrated beautifully — yes, you want a soothing voice to drift off to, maybe even a familiar one.
Here are 11 that tick the boxes for me.
1 'Harry Potter' by J.K. Rowling
Well, this one speaks for itself. One of the
greatest series of books of all time (IMO), returning to this is like a lovely warm hug. Nothing feels quite like being swept off your feet and onto a puff of steam billowing from a ruby red carriage waiting for you at platform nine and three quarters. Add to that the fact that it's narrated by Stephen Fry, and you have audio heaven right there. Listen here on Audible 2 'Bonkers' by Jennifer Saunders
Jennifer Saunders' autobiography is real, relatable, and hilarious. Listen to the author tell you about her beginnings, including referring to her "permanently immobile upper lip," which she believes is a result of playing the flute at school. Hearing the background to
some of the greatest British comedies of all time is a real treat. Listen here on Audible 3 'The Great Gatsby' by F Scott Fitzgerald
one of the loveliest stories of all. Fitzgerald takes you away to the roaring '20s and gives true meaning to the saying "all that glitters is not gold." There are multiple versions of this great American novel, including one narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal, but the one I think is the very best is the one by Alan Munro, who's deep dulcet tones will have you falling off to sleep in no time at all. Listen here on Audible 4 'Bleak House' by Charles Dickens
Dickens' longest novel,
Bleak House, is not only the story of Esther and her origins but also a story of Britain in the 19th century. Of the dreadful divisions between the classes, desperation, love, and of course, a bit of mystery. Narrated by Miriam Margolyes, it is an absolute feast to fall asleep to. And everyone sleeps better with a full tummy right? Listen on Audible here 5 'The Shadow Of The Wind' by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Spanish author Zafón's first part of The Cemetary Of Forgotten Books series, takes you away to 1945 Barcelona and tells a tale of love, mystery, and of course, books. One in particular that sets our protagonist on an adventure. This will absolutely make you cry, but the beautiful language and imagery will probably have you welling up already.
Listen here on Audible 6 'A Field Guide To Lucid Dreaming' by Dylan Tucillo
OK so, when I say
it does exactly what it says on the tin? I mean it. You want to listen to tid bits of history, time, mythology? You got it. This basically tells you about how lucid dreaming works and how to make the absolute best of it. As the description says: "Every time you dream, you are washing up on the shores of your own inner landscape." And what's not to love about that? Listen here on Audible 7 'The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe' by C.S. Lewis
This one engages both familiarity and magic in the most wonderful way possible. Be whisked off to Narnia while drifting off to sleep. Find a world in your wardrobe instead of a load of clothes you don't wear anymore.
Listen on Audible here 8 'Bedtime Stories For Stressed Out Adults' by Lucy Mangan
Short stories to help you chill the eff out. Who the hell says bed time stories are only for kids? This chill and cheery audiobook has well known and loved tales, as well as poetry, extracts and stories from all sorts of familiar writers. Think of it as a massage for your tired mind.
Listen here on Audible 9 'The Little Prince' by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This is a magical and beautiful tale of human relationships and insightfulness through the open mind of a child. There
is a pretty wise fox who has some sage advice in this book which will leave you thinking of deep thoughts that won't make you feel sad, they will make you feel more understanding towards people. Technically a children's book but guys, this is so great and deep and good for all ages. Listen here on Audible 10 'To The Lighthouse' by Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse is a very beautiful and important piece of fiction. Woolf takes you away and makes you feel every single thought, perception, and feeling of the characters. Read by actor Juliet Stevenson, feel your eyes grow heavier as her soothing voice helps you switch off. Listen here on Audible 11 The Spire—William Golding Cumberbitches unite, this one is narrated by our boy Benedict If that's not enough, Golding won the Nobel prize for literature so he is a pretty incredible writer, and this story is too beautiful to believe. The fictional tale of a man who wanted to build a spire in a cathedral is so calming and wonderfully descriptive. The Dean, Jocelin, wants to add a spire to the religious building. A building which has no foundations, hence is seen to be impossible. The story feels miraculous and is read so gorgeously by Mr Cumberbatch that who knows what kind of dreams you will be having. Wink wink etc etc. 12
Now, if you have managed to get through that piece without drifting off peacefully, get online and get listening because sleep is the greatest healer of them all.