One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four. Nothing? Time to roll out the sleep podcasts.
Do you remember when you were a child and the sound of your parents’ dinner party conversation would lull you to sleep? Or a car ride would soothe you into slumber within seconds? Or a simple bedtime story was all that was needed to trigger nine hours of uninterrupted bliss?
Those were the days.
As an adult, sleep can come grudgingly and with a lot of caveats: No eating after 8pm, no blue light exposure in the bedroom, a long bath salt soak to wind down, and a rigorous routine. As many as 31% of UK adults suffer from insomnia, made worse by our increasing use of technology at night and stressful “always-on” work culture.
While sleeping aids are one way to tackle things — with the NHS issuing 87,990 prescriptions for Melatonin in May 2019 at a cost to the NHS of £2.6 million — we are also starting to look at holistic ways to tackle bad nights. One of these being podcasts.
From the soothing sounds of nature to creative storytelling and ASMR, here are 5 sleep podcasts we are currently listening to to get some Zzzzzs.
Sleep with Me
Also known as The Podcast That Puts You to Sleep, this wins the prize for the most random (yet effective) of the sleep podcasts. Host Drew Ackerman — aka Scooter — is blessed with a slurring deep voice that lulls you to sleep over the course of a long, confusing bedtime story full of twists and tangents and slightly dull topics. His highly original storytelling style has been delighting listeners since 2013, attracting attention from The New York Times, The New Yorker and Buzzfeed. Some of the random topics include Baked Beans and Pool Hopping with Ray. Totally strange, but very effective.
This meditation app offers guided audio to tackle anything from stress to self-image to productivity. It has a whole section dedicated to sleep, including soothing sleep sounds (tranquil oceans, chimes in the wind), yoga breathing for deep sleep, 15–20-minute “ease into sleep” mediations and bedtime stories like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The range of audio hosts means you can pick the voice and accent that soothes rather than irritates you. Membership is £11.49 a month for access to all audio files.
The brainchild of entrepreneur Michael Acton Smith — creator of Moshi Monsters — Calm is the number one app for meditation and sleep, and something of a Silicon Valley legend. It also comes highly recommended by our sleep specialist Dr Katharina Lederle. As well as offering the usual types of sleep music that other apps have, Calm goes one step further with original content featuring well-known artists, such as Sam Smith’s How Do You Sleep? mix. Where Calm really excels are the bedtime stories, featuring big names from Stephen Fry to Matthew McConaughey. Additionally, for those looking to get to the root of their sleep issues they also offer a sleep masterclass led by Dr. Michael Breus, Clinical Psychologist and Sleep Expert.
Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast
Miette has one of the most soothing voices around, perfect for this series of adult bedtime stories. You can forget lullaby content, this is masterful literature for adults, featuring some of the greatest works of short fiction, from James Joyce to Barry Hannah. Even if you don’t end up drifting off to this sleep podcast, the anthology of fiction will leave literary lovers feeling enriched before bed. However, with her softspoken voice and accent that’s hard to place, it’s likely you’ll conk out pretty quickly.
We couldn’t do this sleep podcasts roundup without mentioning ASMR, a newish phenomenon that seems to be gathering pace in the sleep market. ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and it describes a feeling of euphoric tingling and relaxation that comes over when you watch certain videos or hear certain sounds. The sounds can be anything from popping bubblewrap to crumpling tin foil, brushing hair to flipping magazine pages. The tingling through the body is said to trigger sleep, as it moves from your scalp to arms to legs. The Auracle sleep podcast uses this “head orgasm” methodology to lull listeners to sleep with mouth sounds, unintelligible whispers and all manner of experiments. If it doesn’t creep you out, it will knock you out.
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