Even aromatherapy seemed ineffective to me – even after trying melatonin, counting backwards, breathing techniques, etc. It did not help. Every night, I tossed and turned, drifted off, only to wake up several hours later.
Calm, a meditation app, introduced me to sleep stories. When I first heard the app’s promise to lull users to sleep by creating a soothing audio track, I was skeptical. I desperately needed a solution after experiencing particularly bad insomnia for a couple of weeks. My phone was facing down on my nightstand while I listened to the narrator (British actor Stephen Fry) tell me about walking through Provence’s lavender fields.
The purple perennials and relaxing scents of the story’s beginning enveloped my imagination. It’s hard for me to divulge what Blue Gold is all about. The rest of the night I did not awaken until my alarm rang at 7 a.m. Was this the cure for my insomnia?
I repeated the experiment several times to verify that this was not a fluke and consistently found that these sweetly spoken stories made me fall asleep in minutes. It was like magic.
Listen to Sleep Story Podcasts or apps for adults
You can find some good bedtime stories online at:
- Calm features over 200 sleep stories ranging from adventures in lush locations to boring narratives, to whispered tales designed to trigger people’s autonomous sensori-motor responsiveness (ASMR). Android and iOS versions are available.
- Its bedtime story collection, Sleepcasts, is another feature of Headspace, another meditation application. Available on iOS and Android, the 45- to 55-minute recordings start with breathing exercises, followed by a tour of a dreamy environment.
- The three-year-old podcast in this series has Kathryn Nicolai reading a relatively plotless story twice, twice as slowly as the first, to pave the way for shuteye. On Google Play and Apple Podcasts.
- The Sleepy podcast lets radio producer Otis Gray retell old, public domain tales in sleep-inducing episodes that you already know and love (think: “Treasure Island,” “Robin Hood,” and “The Secret Garden”) to help you drift off to sleep. Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher.
- Tune into Sleep With Me at night and give your mind a rest. Drew Ackerman lulls listeners to sleep each podcast episode as dear Scooter and takes you on a series of pointless, yet witty, tangents. Listen on Spotify, Apple, or Google podcasts.
- If you need soothing, peaceful, whispering voices to fall asleep, check out Sleep Whispers. Each episode is about 30 minutes or 40 minutes long, and includes guided meditations, fairy tales, encyclopedia-style narrations about pop culture, rare animals, and history, all presented in a soothing, purring voice. They have a Spotify, Apple podcast, and a website.
- This podcast provides a guided meditation to assist in stilling the mind so that you can fall asleep easier. After that, you’ll hear a calming story, like a Japanese folktale or a history-inspired novella, that will put you to sleep in no time. On Google podcast, Apple podcast, and Spotify podcast.
Sleeping with bedtime stories
In fact, bedtime stories are scientifically proven to help people of all ages sleep, a ritual that has been beloved by children throughout history.
The Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine has been board-certified and accredited since 2006, which explains why behavioral sleep medicine treatments are effective.
Many people struggle to fall and stay asleep at night since the mind gets quite active at night.It is common to be distracted throughout the day, and at night, your mind just wanders off on you. A bedtime story prevents your mind from going through that process.
As a result, telling a story makes our minds focus instead on images of dreamy imagery, so that we are able to sleep.
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