These Podcasts Will Lull You Right To Sleep

Photographed by Michael Beckert.
Current sleep wisdom suggests that you eliminate distractions from the bedroom for a better night's snooze — but some of us need a little diversion to quiet our busy minds.
While research has found that music can help lull us to sleep, you might prefer listening to a podcast instead, especially if you're in the habit of going to bed with Parks and Recreation reruns playing in the background. It's just like falling asleep in front of the TV, without the stimulating glare of the screen. And, luckily, there are plenty of sleep-friendly 'casts to choose from.
There are shows that recreate the feeling of being read to sleep, ones that consist of ASMR-heavy conversations, and others still that are intentionally boring (a 2017 study published in Nature Communications found that our brains might be wired to put us to sleep when we aren't properly stimulated, aka bored).
Ahead, we've rounded up our favorite podcasts to listen to right before bed or all through the night (hopefully we remember to set up a podcast timer). And, if you find that music is more your thing, check out our sleep playlist, too.
1 of 11
You Must Remember This

In this remarkably informative (yet soothingly subdued) podcast, Karina Longworth dives deep into the history of Hollywood, producing multi-part series on famous feuds, the blacklist, and more. But maybe save her series on the Manson family for the daytime.
2 of 11
Forever 35

Playing this show before bed is like being the first one to fall asleep at the slumber party — in a really nice, comforting way. Hosts Kate Spencer and Doree Shafrir swap tips on skincare, exercise, and more, emphasizing the importance of self-care and you-time. You'll drift off in the company of two smart gal pals and wake up inspired to finally try that sheet mask.
3 of 11
Craig's List

Comedian and actor Craig Cackowski has a list of 100 favorite movies. In the name of love and comedy, his wife, Carla, has agreed to watch every single one — and then discuss them on a podcast with him. Their chats are good-natured, funny, and often punctuated by a little skepticism from Carla. Plus, most of the movies on Craig's list are classics, so enjoy the hit of nostalgia that comes with their dissections of films like Jaws, The Sound of Music, and more.
4 of 11
Sleep With Me

Hosted by grainy-voiced Drew Ackerman (or Dearest Scooter, as he calls himself on the show), this is the OG sleep podcast — the first one to try if you're brand new to bedtime pods. Ackerman's meandering and soft-spoken delivery makes his banal musings on everyday life simultaneously comforting and mind-numbingly dull. Game of Thrones fans should check out his GoT-specific show, Game of Drones, for a more specific (but equally and delightfully boring) experience.
5 of 11
Hello From The Magic Tavern

Speaking of fantasy, Hello From The Magic Tavern is a fully improvised narrative show set in an imaginary land. The continuous, winding plot is enough to keep your mind from racing, but it's not so intense that it'll keep you up all night. Keep an eye out for episode 16, "Spintax the Green," in which the cast discusses the differences between various types of wizards.
6 of 11
In Our Time

Nothing against this well-researched, finely structured podcast, but In Our Time often sounds like an exact replica of those class lectures you slept through in high school. Every episode goes deep on an academic topic and, unless you subscribe to one of its subject-specific feeds, you're in a mixed bag. One night, host Melvyn Bragg and his panel of experts might be discussing the life and work of Emily Dickinson, the next night they're tackling migration patterns of different birds.
7 of 11
Stories From The Borders Of Sleep

In many ways, this is the Goldilocks of sleep podcasts — the content and runtime are just right. Each episode is between 10 and 20 minutes and consists solely of host Seymour Jacklin reading an original, highly imaginative story aloud. A personal favorite is episode 32, "Kalakut's Gift," which was inspired simply by Jacklin's desire to write a story about a girl and a volcano.
8 of 11

From graveyard shifts to convincing your kid to go to bed, this podcast is dedicated to any and all things that take place at night. It's rich, dreamy sound design and host Vanessa Lowe's relaxing voice make this show perfect bedtime listening. In fact, it's so focused on matters of sleep that it feels odd listening to at any other time. The episode entitled "They're All Asleep," which places you in museums closing for the night, will spark your interest in the unknown and lull you to sleep with images of darkened art galleries.
9 of 11
Story Not Story

One of the best parts of sharing a bed or room with someone else is having hazy conversations right before drifting off to sleep. But, if you'd rather have those conversations come prerecorded, subscribe to Story Not Story stat. Husband and wife duo Craig and Chyna record from their bed, swapping silly and sweet bedtime stories, sometimes inspired by prompts sent in from listeners.
10 of 11

This show's hosts, known only as Wanda and Paula, cover a wide range of topics from episode to episode, but, true to their pod's name, they carry out their discussions in the kind of hushed, whisper-soft voices that we've come to expect from content featuring ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) triggers. If nothing gets you ready for a long nights' snooze like that tingly, barely-there sensation, there are tons of ASMR videos out there to fit your needs.
11 of 11
The Writer's Voice: Fiction From The Magazine

If it isn't already, falling asleep to a piece of New Yorker-approved fiction should be included in the official the definition of "adulting." This show is a great choice if you'd like a little more variety in your sleep-inducing podcasts, since every episode features a different author reading their work out loud. For example, if you missed its viral moment back in December 2017, you can hear Kristen Roupenian read her story, "Cat Person."

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