As a crazy multitasker, I listen to podcasts while driving, walking, working–and even sleeping. Well, at least while *trying* to fall asleep. And that’s something I need help with–just like many people, anxious thoughts keep me from drifting off to sleep most nights (sometimes the wheel of scary thoughts start to spin and I can’t get off!). Occasionally I have to resort to an Ambien, but for the most part I try to calm my mind with distraction–and podcasts are perfect for this.
The key is to choose podcasts that are interesting, but not so compelling that you’ll stay awake to find out what happens next. Also, the speaker’s voice has to be monotone so that you aren’t woken up by it. It’s really a science, and I’m the expert. Here are my tips for the best podcasts to fall asleep to:
Stuff You Should Know is two genial dudes covering useless topics you could bore someone with at a dinner party. They have episodes like How Lighthouses Work, How Space Stations Work or How to Grow a Bonsai Tree.
Also boring, but pure nonsense, is Sleep With Me. The host is a character named Scooter whose purpose in life was to mumble softly about nothing of use until you’re so bored you drift off.
When I’m stressing about daytime events it always makes me feel better to listen to other people’s problems.
In Beautiful Anonymous comedian Chris Gethard takes unfunny phone calls from anonymous tortured souls. For one hour they ramble on philosophizing about their troubles making the listener’s worries seem just a small part of this big universe.
Dear Sugar is hosted by Cheryl Strayed who wrote the book Reese Witherspoon made into the movie “Wild”. If you know her story you know she’s overcome some major life challenges even before she hit the Pacific Crest Trail to become a big success. She and co-host Steve Allen empathetically break down the messiest of evil stepmothers, husbands with double lives, and mothers who don’t like motherhood.
Sometimes I’m too exhausted to read, but could use some good fiction to lull me to sleep. The New Yorker Fiction podcasts makes up for that stack of New Yorkers you keep trying to get to, but just can’t make your way through. In the podcast a famous writer reads aloud another famous writer’s short story in soft tones. True to the New Yorker style the stories are uneventful and plod on slowly. Even when I don’t make it to the end I somehow feel more cultured.
The Moth offers true stories, told live on stage without notes. There are amazing anecdotes from cops, astronauts and deep sea fisherman as well as people who could be your neighbor.
So, there you have it–my picks for the best podcasts to fall asleep to. Now put on your eye shade, plug in your headphones and enjoy!