Sleep experts recommend three essential elements for a sleep-promoting bedroom: keep it dark, cool, and quiet. For some people, however, complete quiet can be unsettling. The use of background noise, such as white noise machines, to block out other external sounds can help create a better sleep environment .
Podcasts can also offer calming, neutral, or even boring noise to help you get a good night’s rest.
Ultimately, the best sleep podcast is the one that puts the listener to sleep. Individual preferences for a sleepy podcast vary. Some people relax with a dull story while others drift off to ambient sounds. Those with insomnia might also appreciate how a podcast distracts them from racing thoughts that may otherwise keep them awake.
Our list of top podcasts for falling asleep covers a wide variety of these approaches, offering plenty of options so that you can find the right sounds for drifting off to sleep.
Sleep with Me
Sleep With Me bills itself as “the podcast that puts you to sleep.” Each 60-minute episode features a dull, meandering story filled with tangents designed to bore listeners to sleep. Host Drew “Scooter” Ackerman was inspired to create the podcast in 2013 after his own struggles with childhood insomnia. In his youth, he was able to fall asleep by listening to late-night comedy radio.
Episode subjects and styles range widely, from discussions of TV shows like Dr. Who and the Great British Bake Off to stories recorded in nature. For fans of Game of Thrones, Ackerman also has an entire sleepy series called Game of Drones. With a back catalog of over 1000 episodes and new releases each week, Sleep With Me ensures listeners won’t run out of boring stories to help them drift off.
Nothing Much Happens
As the title Nothing Much Happens suggests, nothing much happens in these podcast episodes—other than the listener falling asleep. In each episode, host Kathryn Nicolai reads a “bedtime story for grownups” that she has written. Episodes are released weekly and range between 20 and 30 minutes in length.
Before reading the story, Nicolai briefly guides a gentle breathing exercise to help the listener relax. Then, she reads the story twice; first at a normal pace and a second time at a slower pace. These stories contain simple, unexciting events of everyday life. Descriptions of nature and everyday objects offer the listener a pleasant visual to imagine as they fall asleep.
From the BBC, Slow Radio offers lo-fi audioscapes of ambient noise, nature sounds, and whispered discussions designed to help listeners relax, slow down, and fall asleep.
At the beginning of each episode, host Verity Sharp offers a brief description of what listeners will hear in the episode, such as a day in the life of a dog or a collection of bird sounds submitted by listeners. Then listeners are transported into an immersive audio world for 25 to 30 minutes.
Episodes are released a few times each month, and there is a catalog of over 100 episodes with various sounds to experience.
The goal of the Get Sleepy storytelling podcast is right in the title: to help the listener get sleepy and sleep well.
Twice a week, host Tom Jones begins an episode by leading listeners in a meditation to relax the mind and then introduces the story. Next, Jones or another narrator slowly reads a simple story backed by relaxing music. With over 270 episodes and counting, listeners have numerous choices of narrators, story subjects, and sound types to get sleepy with.
In the Sleepy podcast, host Otis Gray puts listeners to sleep by reading from classic literature in his soothing baritone voice.
Each week, listeners can experience 45 to 60 minutes of classic fairy tales, Sherlock Holmes stories, excerpts from Jane Austen novels, and other texts in the public domain. The podcast is a great way for listeners to be lulled to sleep with the stories from old books.
Tracks to Relax
Tracks to Relax is a series of weekly guided meditations for napping and sleeping. Many episodes center around a location, so listeners can meditate and drift off to sleep with the sounds of the beach, Canadian wetlands, and other locations in nature.
For listeners looking for more variety in their sleepy tracks, Tracks to Relax also offers ambient episodes free of talking and storytelling episodes.
Boring Books for Bedtime
Who says bedtime stories need to be entertaining? Sometimes, the best listening material for inducing sleep is downright dull. Boring Books for Bedtime curates readings from science textbooks, home appliance catalogs, and other sources of notoriously tedious content.
The extensive archive contains nearly 200 episodes of these boring texts read in a gentle monotone. Most episodes run about 50 minutes, giving most sleepers ample opportunity to nod off before the podcast concludes.
Deep Energy Podcast
For listeners looking for ambient and New Age electronic music to nod off to, Deep Energy Podcast has over 1000 episodes of gentle soundscapes.
Composed by musician Jim Butler, these winding, original pieces are designed for meditation, relaxation, and, of course, falling asleep. New episodes are released almost daily, giving listeners plenty of soundscapes in which to immerse themselves.
Fans of Butler’s Deep Energy may also enjoy his new podcast, Slow Piano for Sleep, a series of original ambient solo piano compositions.
Every episode is also guided by mellow ambient music to help you achieve the proper mindset for falling asleep. The runtime typically falls between 30 and 60 minutes.
With a name like Sleep Whispers, you may suspect what you’re going to get with this podcast. Sleep Whispers features over 300 episodes of whispered audio.
Weekly episodes include guided meditation as well as stories, trivia, lessons, or simply boring content designed to put the listener to sleep. Listeners who find whisper ASMR relaxing can drift to sleep with host Harris’s soothing whispered voice.