5 Podcasts To Listen To When You Can’t Sleep & Your Mind Won't Stop Racing

Ever since I've had a smartphone, I've been falling asleep to the gentle lull of podcasts — well, only a certain kind of podcasts, I should say. For instance, as much as I love S-Town, I just can't fall asleep listening to an episode of that particular podcast, because if the true crime genre is anything, it's definitely sleep-preventing (and I always have to double-check my closet afterward for hidden bad guys). So when it comes to finding podcasts to listen to when you can't sleep, it's probably best to lean more toward quiet, soothing voices, rather than suspenseful storytellers.

If you ask me, the perfect snooze-inducing podcast has to be both interesting enough to focus your mind on something other than that one awkward interaction you had with your boss earlier in the day, and yet relaxing enough that you will feel free to drift off without feeling anxious that you're missing something important. If you have trouble falling asleep on a regular basis, queue up one of these soothing recordings to help convince your mind that it's time to sleep. From car advice to the world's most boring bedtime stories, taped therapy sessions to British literature, these podcasts will be sure to send you off to a restful night's sleep.

Car Talk

Unless you're particularly passionate about mechanics, you probably won't care a whole lot about the many car dilemmas discussed in Car Talk, an advice-focused, call-in radio podcast. But what you will care about are Tom and Ray, the brothers who host the show, who are both equal parts smart and silly.

I've personally been listening to the show with my dad since I was in middle school, and several years later, every single episode still warms my heart, not to mention sends me off to a rejuvenating sleep. Available on Apple podcasts and the NPR One app, falling asleep to the snorty laughs of these magical hosts will be sure to jumpstart some great (and perhaps a little weird) dreams.

Sleep With Me

Sleep With Me Podcast on YouTube

Contrary to the flirty title, Sleep With Me, which is free to download from all major podcast apps, is boring. Very boring. The host, Scooter, tells meandering stories that are almost entirely lacking in tension, plot, or any semblance of the kind of cliffhanger that might keep you awake to find out exactly what happens.

The point to these bedtime stories is that you won't really care what happens or how each anecdote ends, meaning you'll be able to doze off to the sound of quiet, comforting rambling.

Stuff You Should Know

From Ponzi schemes to narwals, quinceañeras to King Arthur, the Stuff You Should Know podcast will remind you of everything you've forgotten since you left high school. While, as the title suggests, these might be topics you should know about, some of the drier episodes are perfect for lulling you into a deep sleep. Hop over to Apple podcasts, or listen directly on the Stuff You Should Know website.

Where Should We Begin?

If you're kind of a nosy person (don't worry, I'm right there with you), the Where Should We Begin? podcast is the perfect mix of both fascinating and soothing. Relationship therapist Esther Perel records her actual therapy sessions with clients (whose identities remain anonymous throughout), and the conversations in each episode are full of pain, breakthroughs, and candid feelings. The relationships are refreshingly diverse, as several episodes include representation of queer and trans couples, as well as couples from differing religious backgrounds.

While there's plenty that will pique your interest, Perel's gentle voice will definitely help soothe you to sleep.

In Our Time

KXM on YouTube

In Our Time is a delightful podcast that takes a whole host of stereotypically yawn-worthy topics (think Persepolis, Middlemarch, even fungi) and dedicates an entire, gentle 50 minutes to discussing their intricacies. Get your fill of polite British voices contemplating deep, generally old-fashioned topics as you're trying to fall asleep, and you'll be sure to drift off in no time. Of course, if Kierkegaard is your deepest passion, this one may not quite do the trick for you. But for someone who finds philosophical conversations relaxing instead of stimulating, this will be a perfect snooze-inducer.

If nothing else, you can pretend it's the very British Colin Firth lulling you into your sweetest dreams.