Best Bedtime Apps and Podcasts for Adults

Best Bedtime

Best Bedtime Apps and podcasts to help you sleep. Plus, how to choose audio elements and the science behind stories.

Listening to Best Bedtime stories, a traditional tradition around the world that has come to be cherished by children of all ages is actually scientifically proven to help people fall asleep.

According to Britney Blair, Ph.D., who’s a licensed clinical psychologist who has specialized in behavioral sleep medicine, the reason they work is that they focus the mind.

It’s a fact that the mind gets quite active at night, which is why people have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Your brain often runs away from you when you go to bed because you’re so distracted all day. Bedtime stories do not permit your mind to do that process.”

It helps you to get to sleep by simply refocusing your mind on dreamy imagery rather than all those racing thoughts that interrupt you from sleeping.

The “relaxation response” is a physiological shift that occurs when the body is no longer in flight-or-flight mode, which Dr. Herbert Benson coined in the 1970s.

“If we’re able to use a bedtime story to short-circuit that cognitive response, they’re great. 

“When you focus your mind, such as with bedtime stories, your parasympathetic nervous system can be activated, which signals the rest of the body to relax,” says Blair.

In addition to the benefits of bedtime stories, adds Blair, they can also help you prepare for sleep. However, try to end the story at a time when your eyelids are heavy and you’re ready to fall asleep. She warns that listening to music once you are in the sleep stage may prevent you from experiencing deep sleep. The story will keep you awake until 3 in the morning.

Choosing a bedtime story for adults

1. clams

Among its many sleep stories, this meditation-focused app features adventures in lush locations as well as intentionally boring narrations and tingly stories designed to trigger the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). 

Android and iOS versions are available.  

2. Headspace

Headspace is another meditation app that offers bedtime stories. An audio tour of a dreamy environment is followed by a breathing exercise or meditation to help you wind down. 

Android and iOS versions are available. 

3. Nothing Much Happens

Each episode of this three-year-old podcast features yoga and meditation teacher Kathryn Nicolai reading a relatively plotless story twice, the second time even more slowly than the first, to help you fall asleep. 

iTunes and Google Play podcasts are available. 

4. Sleepy

With his soothing, deep voice and classic stories you’re already familiar with (think “Treasure Island,” “Robin Hood,” and “The Secret Garden”), Otis Gray revives old tales in the public domain as Sleepy, the “podcast that helps you fall asleep.” 

Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Podcasts are all available.  

5. Sleep With Me

Tune into Sleep With Me to calm those racing thoughts at night. Drew Ackerman plays “Dearest Scooter” each week and lulls listeners to sleep with rambling stories that take listeners on tangents that may seem pointless , but are actually quite imaginative. 

Listen to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, and Google

6. Sleep Whispers

You will love Sleep Whispers if soothing, soft voices help you fall asleep. A 30- to 40-minute episode contains everything from guided meditations to fairy tales to encyclopedia-like narratives about pop culture, rare animals, and history, all narrated in a soft, purring voice. 

Spotify and Apple podcasts are also available. 

7. Go to sleep

Every episode of this podcast begins with a meditation to help you prepare for sleep. We’ll then tell a soothing story, such as a Japanese folktale or a historical story, that will help you drift off to sleep in no time.

Available on SpotifyApple, and Google podcast.

What works for me at Best Bedtime

The only way I could fall asleep was to take melatonin, count backward, breathe deeply, and even use aromatherapy. It didn’t work. As the nights passed, I tossed and turned before drifting off and waking up for hours at a time.