Today in the chart

Trade Sheep Counting for Podcasts

With how exhausting work can be, especially if you’re on your feet all day, you’d think your eyes would fall shut and you’d slip deep into sleep the moment your head hit the pillow.

With how exhausting work can be, especially if you’re on your feet all day, you’d think your eyes would fall shut, and you’d slip deep into sleep the moment your head hit the pillow. Alas, sometimes, neither our brains nor our bodies cooperate with what we want or need.

If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, you’re not alone. About a third of all Americans experience chronic insomnia, and even more have periodic insomnia symptoms.

But for some of us, simply hearing someone drone on and on like we’re back in junior year chemistry (or yet another work meeting) is enough to turn our racing thoughts into Zzzz’s. If that’s you, we have 12 podcasts to recommend that will help you drift off to the land of Nod before you can say, Sandman.

Get Sleepy

Named appropriately enough, the goal of this podcast is to get you sleepy! Instead of counting sheep, listen to professional voice actors with the most soothing voices you’ve ever heard tell you stories interesting enough for you to listen but just smooth and dull enough that you’re content to drift off before you hear the end.

Sleep With Me

No, this isn’t the “Vous le vous coucher avec moi” kind of “sleep with me.” Creator Drew Ackerman, who learned he had a knack for boring people to death at parties, really does want you to fall asleep with his help. His help consists of a rambling, circular, impossibly confused story that never seems to end even though you’ll fall asleep desperately hoping it will.

Boring Books for Bedtime

Just like it sounds, host Sharon Handy, creator of the Great British Bake Off, reads boring books from the public domain in this podcast. We’re not talking about stories. We’re talking about everything from Aristotle to Bertrand Russell’s philosophy to—no joke—the Sears Roebuck catalog from 1897.

Nothing Much Happens

The biggest problem with falling asleep to usual podcasts or audiobooks is that you want to know what happens next. But if nothing interesting ever really happens, there’s not much reason to stay awake to find out, right? That’s the idea behind this podcast of bedtime stories from mediation instructor Kathryn Nicolai. Most stories are about everyday experiences and events, like drinking tea or standing outside in the cold. After reading aloud the story the first time, Nicolai slows it down for a reread that there’s no reason to stay awake.


It’s one thing to listen to a book from start to finish, but Snoozecast takes the classics, from Jane Austen and the Secret Garden to Sherlock Holmes and Wind in the Willows, and reads you a half-hour excerpt from them. You probably already know the story; if you don’t, who cares? You’re only hearing a slice of it, anyway.


Like the idea behind Snoozecast, host Otis Gray reads single chapters from famous classics of bygone days, like Moby Dick, Peter Pan, and Little Women. Active since 2018, the Sleepy podcast has hundreds of episodes to choose from, and a new one is posted every Sunday.

Sleep Life

Perhaps you don’t just want to hear stories but would prefer a bit of practical advice as you’re drifting off. If so, Sleep Life is the one you want. In addition to actual stories like many other sleep podcasts, Sleep Life works with pragmatic tips and information, like the effect of your diet on sleep and how sleep affects athletic ability.

Sleep Meditation Podcast

For those who need a bit of white noise or subscribe to the idea of using autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) to fall asleep, this podcast offers a range of lulling sounds, from the sounds like civilization-like dishwashers to waterfalls and crackling fires, plus a few stories thrown in for good measure.  

Miette’s Bedtime Stories

Bedtime stories aren’t just for kids, especially with a host with a voice like Miett’s. Some of these are complete short stories, while others are excerpts, but what’s especially nice are the varying lengths of the podcast episodes. Some are as short as just four or ten minutes, while others drone on past 70 minutes for those who struggle to doze off.

Stories From the Borders of Sleep

One of the oldest podcasts in this category, host Seymour Jacklin has been sharing his own stories in this podcast for more than a decade—since 2011. Episodes range from eight to 18 minutes, each with a relaxing background nature sound.


Sometimes, you need a bit of column A, a bit of column B, and even a bit of column C. The podcast Nocturne combines nonfiction documentaries, fictional stories, and soundscapes of organic and human-made nature. Each episode is right at 30 minutes, with more than 60 already available.

Recipes for Sleep

Just like it sounds, these podcast episodes focus on recipes, though maybe not ones so mouth-watering that you’ll stay up to hearing the last bit of instructions. Some explain how to pickle your vegetables, others are instructions for preserving fruit, and others are detailed baking instructions, each lasting ten to 30 minutes.

If these aren’t enough for you, here are some others to try:

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