Step aside being ‘bored to death’ - it's now all about whether you can 'bore me to sleep'.
Believe it or not, people are seeking out dull and mundane novels and stories to send them to sleep - they’re even paying for them too. The boring-book trend is on the rise as people are on the hunt for boring things to read or listen to, to help them fall asleep.
Listening to boring audio for sleep can help distract racing thoughts that can often cause stress, anxiety and hinder falling and staying asleep.
In fact, people who don’t suffer from racing thoughts at night can often fall asleep within 10-20 minutes, whereas those with a busy mind can take hours.
Sleep.org describes how taking more than an hour to drift off to sleep could indicate that you’re having trouble relaxing before bed, as a result of not being able to “turn off your thoughts at night”. Being bored to sleep is a great way to start a bedtime routine and improve that all-important bedtime hygiene. By setting a time each night so you can dedicate your full attention to winding down, you’ll be on a better path to sleeping well each night.
What can bore you to sleep?
Low-key and uninteresting stories and sounds can help bore you to sleep. As long as the plot is dull and uneventful, you’ll be snoring in no time, otherwise you’ll want to stay awake following the plot. Being bored to sleep can help distract racing thoughts and encourage a better night’s sleep.
How ‘boring yourself to sleep’ works
People opt for boring themselves to sleep as it’s a natural, affordable and accessible way to drift off. Many people suffer from a busy mind that won’t switch off at night, causing them to stay awake for parts or most of the night. This can result in fatigue, feeling stressed and functioning at half speed.
Reading or listening to something dull before bed, although it may seem like a stimulant, can really help stop racing thoughts. Racing thoughts tend to focus on negative things rather than positive, so by reading or listening to a boring book, not only does it act as a distraction, but it can also lift your mood and alter your mindset.
A study found that as little as six minutes of reading before bed or during the day can reduce stress by 68% and reducing stress is vital to getting a good night’s sleep. So imagine what tuning into a boring audio or reading a boring book for 30 minutes could do.
One study on mice suggests that when there’s nothing stimulating or engaging a mouse's brain, their brain neurons can initiate feelings of sleepiness. Now, although humans aren’t mice, the same response can happen in humans too. Think about how you feel on a long-haul flight with no films - bored, restless and sleepy. Or in a lecture with an ancient lecturer discussing fossils - bored and no doubt ready to fall asleep at the next sentence. Our brains work in similar ways to the mice's brains and start to feel sleepy when unstimulated and ‘bored’.
Best boring audio to help you sleep
- Kokoon’s Founder’s choice: Bill Bryson - At Home: A Short History of Private Life
- Boring Books for Bedtime Readings to Help You Sleep - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving, Part 1
- Truly Boring Fairy Tales - Casper Sleep Channel
- Get Sleepy
- Bore You To Sleep
- The Most Boring Audiobook You’ll Ever Listen To by Professor K. McCoy and Dr Hardwick
- Atonement by Ian McEwan, narrated by Carole Boyd
- Calm Sleep Stories | Stephen Fry's 'Blue Gold'
- Peter Yearsley Reads the Encyclopedia
- Sleep With Me by Drew Ackerman
- The Shipping Forecast by Kokoon
Tim, Kokoon’s Founder’s choice: Bill Bryson - At Home: A Short History of Private Life
After mentioning this article’s title, Tim, Kokoon’s Founder, couldn’t resist chipping in with info on an audio book he had recently fallen asleep to, claiming, “It really sent me to sleep!”.
Although Bryson’s aim wasn’t to send people to sleep with his novel, it did just that. Bryson’s story retraces the history of the way we live - from electricity and food preservation, to epidemics and toilets. Although some may find this book too interesting to nod off to, others may find it as sleep-inducing as Tim did.
Boring Books for Bedtime Readings to Help You Sleep - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving, Part 1
This has been described as both a boring and relaxing sleep audio (odd considering its creepy Sleepy Hollow). The audio takes the listener through descriptions of country life, creating a relaxing and nostalgic feeling. Plus, it’s guaranteed there’s no drama in this ‘boring’ bedtime story.
The idea behind this sleep story is for it to be boring enough to send you to sleep - and guess what - it seems to work! The melancholy sound of the reader’s voice accompanied by the ‘boring’ story makes for the perfect pairing to help you nod off.
This sleep story has been designed to help the listener nod off to fairy tales with a difference. How? Well, the twist and ending of each story has been modified to be boring and snooze-worthy.
At just over an hour, this audio has received some raving reviews, mostly focusing on the fact that the listeners fell asleep quickly. Although some mention their interest in finding out the new twist and ending of the fairytale, keeping them awake instead of helping them sleep, which seems to go against the purpose of the podcast…
The Get Sleepy podcast focuses on bedtime stories for sleep. The episodes start with an anaesthetizing 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!”.
This storybook selection has been selected and read by Teddy, the podcast owner. He created his content because he had trouble falling asleep and discovered that boring stories with no real plot or twist helped.
Teddy reads old books from the public domain that are pretty mundane and sleep-inducing with his self-described “quite boring” reading style.
The Most Boring Audiobook You’ll Ever Listen To by Professor K. McCoy and Dr Hardwick
Described as more boring than watching paint dry, this audiobook includes chapters on economic stats from the Soviet Union and details about railway gauges. They assure the listener that even if you’re interested in these topics, they’re read and explained in such a sleep-inducing way that you’ll nod off in no time.
Atonement by Ian McEwan, narrated by Carole Boyd
Atonement is a well-known novel written in 2001 by Ian McEwan. It has a slow plot that features a quiet, meandering narrative. Some people love the story and some find it too slow and mundane. The version narrated by Carole Boyd is slow-paced and calming, making it the perfect story to listen to in order to help you fall asleep.
With over 14 million views under its belt, this story, read by Stephen Fry, is well-loved audio for sleep.
In fact, Calm boasts that they “challenge anyone to stay awake for all 24 minutes” of their “masterpiece”.
Stephen Fry’s nostalgic and soothing voice lulls the listener to sleep whilst walking you through lavender fields and villages of Provence. Ah, bliss.
Peter Yearsley’s voice reads topics under the letter C from the encyclopedia, in this 52-minute audio. His soft, British accent is calming and relaxing and the perfect audio to help the listener wind down before bed.
Although some reviews have highlighted how they find it too interesting to fall asleep to, many have said things such as, “This guy is heaven, such a deep relaxing voice.” One listener’s top tip is to turn the volume down so it sounds like Yearsley is mumbling and you can’t quite hear the topic he’s discussing.
“The podcast that puts you to sleep.” This podcast focuses on consistently sending you to sleep, night after night. And the reviews back up the claims that Ackerman is 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.
Although not technically a sleep podcast, this sleep audio from Kokoon is up there in the sleep-inducing, boredom 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.
How to use boring audio
Boring audio is 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 Kokoon app (available on the App Store or Play Store)
1. Find the perfect audio for you
There are plenty of boring audios 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 boring audios.
2. Optimise your sleep environment
Listen to your chosen boring audio with headphones that mask external disturbance. Kokoon’s Nightbuds are noise-masking and the perfect choice if you want the ultimate undisturbed sleep experience.
You can find out more about them on the Kokoon Nightbuds page.
3. Find the best time to listen
Try to listen 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 boring audios as you like. Consistency is the key to boost the chances of a positive outcome.
5. Pair with the Kokoon app
Get started and bore yourself to sleep
Not sure which one to start with? Pick one of our best boring audios from this article and listen as part of your wind down routine or whilst in bed. Start with one of our boring audios listed in this blog, called The Shipping Forecast and see where it takes you.