Sleep podcasts are about as popular as vegan restaurants in 2023. And like vegan restaurants, it looks like they’re here for the long-term.
The sleep podcast trend has been around for years and many podcasters have jumped on the bandwagon, creating either quality sleep podcasts or somewhat mediocre ones.
The demand for quality sleep content is ever-growing, as up to 50% of the population can at some point in their lives suffer from insomnia. Insomnia and other sleep issues can cause sluggishness, stress, anxiety and other illnesses, so it’s no wonder those suffering are looking for alternative ways to deal with their sleep issues. Sleep podcasts offer a natural way to wind down and de-stress before bedtime.
We’ve made the search for quality sleep podcast content easier, by selecting the top 10 sleep podcasts for you to wade through and pick your favourite.
What are podcasts for sleep?
Podcasts for sleep are specifically designed pieces of sleep audio content that aim to lull the listener into a good night’s sleep. They focus on distracting a racing mind, creating a better night time routine and masking external disturbances. Sleep podcasts include bedtime stories, meditation and relaxing sounds.
How sleep podcasts work
Sleep podcasts are a great sleep solution, with many advocates claiming they help them sleep night after night. There are a variety to choose from and there’s something for everyone. Choose from bedtime stories for grownups, dull stories to lull you to sleep, sleep meditations, ambient noise podcasts, mellow stories and chilled sleep guides - plus many more.
The premise of sleep podcasts is that they can mask external disturbances such as noisy streets or neighbours, they also act as a good distraction for racing thoughts at night, plus their dulcet tones can tempt the listener into a deeper sleep. Sleep podcasts and other sleep audio can also play an important role in a nightly sleep routine, which can encourage better sleep preparation and sleep patterns.
Research provided by Edison Research in 2019 found that more than half of the people surveyed in the US reported listening to podcasts as a method to relax before drifting off each night.
Here at Kokoon, we’ve also found that each night, thousands of our users tune into our sleep audio tracks on the MyKokoon app, hoping to wind down and switch off from their everyday routine.
Best podcasts to help you sleep
- Sleep With Me by Drew Ackerman
- Nothing Much Happens by Kathryn Nicolai
- Sleepy by Otis Gray
- Sleep Whispers
- The Shipping Forecast by Kokoon
- Calm Sleep Stories
- Boring Books For Bedtime
- Get Sleepy
- Meditation Minis
- Deep Energy Podcast by Jim Butler
“The podcast that puts you to sleep.” Although it may sound like a one-stop-euthanasia-shop, this podcast is in fact referring to better sleep, as it focuses on consistently sending you to sleep - with great success we may add.
Since Ackerman started his podcast in 2013, he has seen praise from GQ, Buzzfeed and The New York Times and his ratings are sky-high. And he’s often referred to as the podcaster helping the world sleep.
Each episode he produces is around an hour long and includes a calming, snooze-inducing, purposely meandering bedtime narrative that sends the listener to sleep. His audios can help ease racing thoughts and anxiety, whilst encouraging a better night’s sleep before the episode even ends.
With millions of downloads of each episode, it may be worth investing a little of your time both into this sleep podcast host and his quality content.
Nothing Much Happens currently has 111 episodes to choose from, all of which are as uneventful as the last. Purposely, of course.
The aim of the game in this sleep podcast is to tune into meditation teacher Kathryn Nicolai’s bedtime stories, where “nothing much happens”. If you suffer from FOMO when it comes to listening to stories at bedtime, fearing you’ll fall asleep at the best bit, then you no longer need worry, as this sleep podcast chooses uneventful tales that are read twice - the second time more slowly. There'll be no whodunnits around here. The listener is just helped to doze off peacefully, without any racing thoughts or unnecessary worries.
The sole purpose of this podcast is to lull the listener into a deep sleep. It features classic childhood stories (depending on your age…) such as Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel, read by podcast host Otis Gray. In fact, there are more than 183 (at the time of writing) bedtime stories to choose from.
Gray’s soothing, gravelly voice and low, rhythmic tones are hypnotic and sleep-inducing. Each week Gray reads a book from the past that’ll make you feel nostalgic and sleepy. With a rating of 4.8 out of 5, from thousands of listeners, it’s no wonder it has made it onto our top 10 sleep podcasts list.
Created to help listeners relax and fall asleep, the Sleep Whispers podcast focuses on soothing the mind via “slightly interesting” content that’s softly spoken and/or whispered. The podcast features bedtime stories for grownups, fun facts, topics to learn about, boring episodes and other sleep-inducing content.
Sleep Whispers is mentioned on many top sleep podcast articles and has been featured on Apple’s Top Podcasts’ lists.
Although not technically a sleep podcast, this sleep audio from Kokoon is up there in the sleep-inducing stakes and it comes in the form of a shipping forecast.
Since 1922, the BBC has released shipping forecasts via radio, which include weather and forecast updates for the British coastlines. Kokoon has taken one of these legendary forecasts and turned it into an 18-minute sleep-inducing audio that gently bores and soothes you to sleep. The Shipping Forecast is one of our top listened-to tracks in the app and often sends people to sleep before the track finishes.
Calm has a ton of sleep podcasts and content available. Some of the content comes from celebrity readers such as Stephen Fry, Matthew McConaughey and LeBron James. Others are read by sleep-inducing narrators, selected specifically for their dulcet tones.
Calm is a well-known sleep audio brand that has over 40 million downloads and millions of listeners.
Some of their content includes traveling through scenic settings or listening to bedtime stories to help relax and calm the listener, for both kids and adults. There really is something for everyone in their collection of sleep podcasts.
Boring Books for Bedtime is a weekly bedtime story podcast created to help people struggling with sleep, stress, anxiety and racing thoughts at night and does what it says on the tin.
The podcast produces dull and boring episodes that are designed to evoke calm and lull the listener into deep sleep. The stories include tales from Betrand Russell and many more. There are also podcasts featuring stories about the history of bees, the history of bread, the British Museum, wildflowers and pirates. Honestly, there are SO many to choose from.
The Get Sleepy podcast focuses on bedtime stories for sleep. The episodes start with an anaesthetising meditation to help curb racing thoughts and refocus the mind. The episodes narrate a sleep story designed for calm and relaxation. Story titles include the Perfect Batch of Cookies, A Sleepy Winter Train Ride and The Magic of Jack Frost.
One reviewer said, “I'd love to comment on the stories in this podcast but I have yet to fully hear one because I always fall asleep towards the beginning of each story!”.
Hypnotherapist Chel Hamilton, provides a collection of mini guided meditations to help calm a racing mind and relax a stressed body. Hamilton’s audios are as little as 10-minutes long, so they’re great if you’re short on time before bed.
Hamilton taps into imagery and positive self-talk, to encourage the listener to feel good as they drift off to sleep. With dozens of sleep podcast tracks to choose from, you won’t struggle with finding one that suits.
The Deep Energy Podcast by Jim Butler provides “ambient and new age music” for sleep. It aims to help the listener meditate, relax and unwind during the day or before bedtime. His soundscapes feature a soothing combination of slow meditation-inspired music and mindfulness from 30 minutes up to an hour plus.
This is the perfect choice for those looking to enter a state of deep, therapeutic slumber.
How to effectively use sleep podcasts
Sleep podcasts are most effective when you can get the following things right:
- Find the perfect audio for you.
- Optimise your sleep environment.
- Find the best time to listen.
- Listen as often as you can.
- Pair with the MyKokoon app (available on the App Store or Play Store).
1. Find the perfect audio for you
There are plenty of sleep podcasts to choose from, so finding the right one can be tricky. However, we hope that you’ll find one you love listening to from our list of 10 of the best sleep podcasts.
2. Optimise your sleep environment
Listen to your chosen sleep podcast with headphones that mask external disturbance. Kokoon’s Nightbuds are noise-masking and the perfect choice if you want the ultimate undisturbed sleep podcast experience.
3. Find the best time to listen
Try to listen to sleep podcasts when you’ve got some peace and quiet in the house. If you can find peace and quiet then pop your sleep audio on and relax.
4. Listen as often as you can
Make sure you tune into your favourite as often as you can, or listen to as many sleep podcasts as you like. Consistency is the key to boost the chances of a positive outcome.
5. Pair with the MyKokoon app
Get started with relaxing podcasts for sleep
Not sure which one to start with? Pick one of our best sleep podcasts from this article and listen as part of your wind down routine or whilst in bed. Start with one of our sleep stories listed in this blog, called The Shipping Forecast and see where it takes you.