Life is hectic, and sometimes it can feel like we just don’t have enough hours in the day to dedicate time to relaxation — and relaxation only. That bustling pace of our daily lives can keep our brains active, even when our bodies feel ready to rest, too. If you’re finding yourself tossing and turning frequently at bedtime, you know how that lack of sleep can affect you both mentally and physically the next day.
It’s important not to only get a good night’s sleep but also to relax during your waking hours. Podcasts can help a lot with both — especially those podcasts that are specifically created with soothing relaxation in mind. The calming voices or music in podcasts made for relaxing, meditating or sleeping help to ease your mind and put your thoughts at ease.
The following podcasts could be your ticket to adding more tranquility to your daily life. Some are designed to promote better sleep, some are for relaxation and some help you meditate. Whether you frequently have trouble sleeping and relaxing or only find yourself occasionally restless, you’re sure to find a few of these podcasts valuable for helping you wind down and quiet your mind.
Nothing Much Happens
“Welcome to bedtime stories for grownups in which nothing much happens. You feel good, and then you fall asleep.” These are the words you’ll hear at the beginning of every episode of Nothing Much Happens, a podcast hosted by former yoga and meditation teacher Kathryn Nicolai — who also writes all the stories you’ll hear. It isn’t just her exquisitely soothing voice that puts many people to sleep at night; it’s also the fact that she writes stories in line with the podcast’s title, meaning nothing much happens in any of them. That way, you never feel the urge to stay awake to find out what happens.
Instead, the stories provide a place for your mind to rest so that it doesn’t “race and wander and keep you up all night,” as Nicolai puts it. Nothing Much Happens has thousands of comments from listeners, many of whom say they’ve never gotten to the end of even one of the roughly 30-minute-long episodes because the show always puts them to sleep.
Sleep With Me
Like the idea of cozy, low-impact bedtime stories? Another podcast that’s worth a listen or two is Sleep With Me, hosted by Drew Ackerman. The idea is that the stories, each of which is about an hour long, are so uninteresting that they bore you to sleep — but in an enjoyable way. As he reads the stories, Ackerman’s voice is purposefully dull and monotone, another reason this podcast is so sleep-inducing.
Sleep With Me has been on the air since 2013 and has racked up tens of thousands of reviews from well-rested listeners, plenty of whom mention how listening to the episodes truly helps them sleep. If you have trouble sleeping but enjoy story topics that might be slightly more obscure than those you’ll find in Nothing Much Happens, then Sleep With Me could be the right podcast for you.
Ten Percent Happier
Years ago, news reporter Dan Harris experienced a panic attack on live television. That was the moment he realized he needed to make some big changes in his life. Harris then turned to daily meditation to help calm his mind. Ten Percent Happier is a testament in podcast form from a man who used to be quite the meditation skeptic. Its episodes focus on the science of meditation and its value as a practice, discussing both his own personal story and speaking with experts.
If you’re living with chronic anxiety or an overactive mind, Ten Percent Happier provides you a great opportunity to sit back and unwind while also learning about the science of relaxing through meditation at the same time. If you’ve hesitated to try meditation before, this podcast may be just the encouragement you’re looking for to get started. A new episode airs every week.
On Being with Krista Tippett is a true gem of a podcast. It’s relaxing to listen to Krista’s calm and collected voice as she converses with some of the world’s deepest thinkers, from poets to scientists to spiritual gurus and others. While each episode has its own subject and flavor, it seems that Krista and her guests always end up answering some of life’s biggest questions, helping us all put the world into perspective and feel a little more at peace.
On Being’s conversations are so deliberate and even-paced that it’ll be easier for your mind and body to sync up to the show’s soothing, slow tempo. When President Obama was in the White House, he thought so highly of the show that he awarded Krista the National Humanities Medal in 2014.
Another sleep-oriented podcast, Sleep Whispers offers episodes ranging from 30 to 40 minutes in length and more than a little bit of variety in its content. Some episodes include guided sleep meditations, while others have soothing poems, rambling stories and even readings of Wikipedia articles. All are meant to leave you fast asleep by quieting your mind through their calming content.
Sleep Whispers was created by a man who goes by his middle name, Harris. During the podcast episodes, he always speaks in a whisper, providing an ASMR quality that’s known to help many people find deep relaxation.
If you’re looking to begin practicing regular meditation to deal with stress or become more mindful, the Meditation Oasis podcast offers an easy way in. Hosts Mary and Richard Maddux do all the work — you only need to tune in and follow along. Different episodes are clearly labeled for different purposes, though they’re all guided meditations. Some are particularly effective for mid-day relaxation through focusing on things like breathing and whole-body relaxation, while others are designed to help you fall asleep.
What’s even more amazing about Meditation Oasis is that the episodes are short enough to fit into any busy schedule. In a way, the lengths of these episodes show it doesn’t take long to meditate your way into a more relaxed state of mind. Episodes usually range from between 5 and 25 minutes in length.
Deep Energy Podcast
Some people find music more relaxing or sleep-inducing than listening to someone’s voice. In that case, Deep Energy Podcast offers 50-minute episodes of soothing, ambient, new-age music created by composer and musician Jim Butler. He aims to release a new episode of brand new music every day.
People use the Deep Energy Podcast for a variety of things, including sleep and background music for meditation, yoga, massage, cooking or simply lying down and resting peacefully. Whatever you use it for, it offers a great way to slow down. There’s no introduction or speaking anywhere in the podcast, so when you turn it on you enter directly into its tranquil space.