The 6 best podcasts to help you get a good night’s rest

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2020 will not go down in history as a year of sound sleep.

Many of us are struggling with anxiety, insomnia, restless nights, stress, uprooted lives. It’s made sleep hard to come by far too often.

While we’d all love to get good rest every night — or at least most nights — that’s just not always possible this year. Sometimes, we need to try new methods of avoiding all-night wakefulness.

Podcasts can be the perfect way to either relax or distract our brains (or both). There are so many available these days that it’s practically unlimited, and we’ve got more than enough options to choose from.

Some podcasts are directly intended to help us sleep, while others are great all-the-time podcasts that can also function well as sleep aids. Here are a few that just might do the trick.

1. Stuff You Should Know

This is by no means a traditional sleep podcast, but there’s something soothing about it. Josh Clark and Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant are the two hosts of the podcast, and the title really does sum up the content they cover — which is…everything. They choose different, random topics each week and educate their listeners on the must-know aspects. A few example topics from the past were “How Tea Works,” “How the Escape from Alcatraz Worked,” and “Wasps: Not as cute as bees.”

Their commentary is endearing and really does leave you with a broad knowledge of the topic. But the subjects are typically also tame enough that they allow for drifting into sleep. Their voices are also calming and gentle enough to help sleep along.

2. Sleep with Me

This is one of the best known and most widely used sleep podcasts. It is 100 percent designed to lull you off to sleep, and many folks swear by it. Their website describes the podcast as “Bedtime stories to help grown-ups fall asleep in the deep, dark night.” That pretty much sums it up, as the podcast releases bi-weekly bedtime stories for adults. The stories are usually meandering and often get intentionally progressively more boring as they go on, helping a great deal with getting some shut-eye.

3. This American Life

This is one of the all-time greatest podcasts. Ira Glass is a radio genius who has crafted and hosted this equally genius radio program for decades. And, while it’s anything but boring, it’s also almost always surprisingly calming. Glass’s soothing voice and enjoyable storytelling give just the right amount of feel-good distraction at bedtime. And, even if it doesn’t bring you quickly to sleep, you’ll still get a great podcast out of it.

4. Sleep Whispers

If you’ve never heard of ASMR, it stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. It refers to tingling, euphoric, and relaxing sensations that happen on the scalp, neck, and upper spine in response to a variety of auditory and visual stimuli (such as watching mundane tasks, listening to tapping, and light touches on the skin). One common trigger for ASMR is the sound of whispers, which is what “Sleep Whispers” capitalizes on. On their website, they describe themselves as “whispered readings and ramblings for relaxation and sleeping.” This is the perfect podcast for those with ASMR but is also undoubtedly relaxing for those without it.

5. Slow Radio

“Slow Radio” is a BBC Radio podcast. It’s self-described as an “antidote to today’s frenzied world.” It includes a wide variety of soundscapes that can help just about anyone easily relax and drift off.

6. Phoebe Reads a Mystery

While bedtime mysteries might not sound like the most sleep-inducing thing, “Phoebe Reads a Mystery” is created with just the right amount of soothing and comfort to make it perfect for nighttime. Phoebe Judge, the show’s host, reads classic mystery novels in her charming and relaxing voice. It’s no wonder that this show has become so popular and a favored sleep podcast for many.

The takeaway

While none of these podcasts guarantee a great night of sleep, they can go a long way in helping us through the insomnia of 2020. If nothing has helped you get some shut-eye so far, try out one of the above podcasts. They could make bedtime just a little more relaxed, easy, and stress-free.