Switching your day brain off so you can drop off quickly can be tricky at the best of times, but figuring out how to sleep in a heatwave can be even tougher. Many people find that sleep podcasts help, but if you're new to them it can be difficult to figure out which ones are decent and which are a waste of time.
A new study from Sleepseeker (opens in new tab) has done the legwork and figured out the best sleep podcasts, based on reviews, listener and subscriber numbers, and search data. We've pulled out three standouts from the winning rankings, each of which is designed to suit a different winding-down preference (want to listen without disturbing a bedmate? A pair of the best sleep headphones should help).
If anything's going to distract you from the heat and lull you into a peaceful night's sleep, it's one of these. Although you might want to combine it with these heatwave sleep tips, for maximum effect.
For meandering thoughts: Sleep With Me
Sleep With Me (opens in new tab) offers 'bedtime stories for adults'. These aren't narrative stories, but rather an unchallenging stream of consciousness, vaguely focused on a topic but following any meandering thought or tangent the narrator may have. It'll feel like it's not going anywhere, but that's the point. Like having Grandpa Simpson keep you company as you drop off, if Grandpa Simpson had Drew Ackerman's soothing voice. Each episode lasts over an hour, which hopefully is plenty of time for you to fall asleep. There's a new one out twice a week, plus a library of over 1000 back episodes to dig into if you're new to the party.
Sleep With Me was rated the overall winner in Sleepseeker's study, as well as coming out top in a couple of different metrics. It has the most Castbox subscribers by far (over 200K, compared to ~26K for the second most subscribed option). It was also the most listened-to sleep podcast included in the study, again my some margin.
For soothing stories: Nothing Much Happens
Kathryn Nicolai is a yoga and meditation teacher, and brings a quiet, hypnotic calm to her narration of bedtime stories for the Nothing Much Happens podcast. Unlike Sleep With Me, these stories are narrative, but – as you might have gathered – nothing much happens in them. Kathryn tells each story twice, going slower the second time through, and encouraging you to pull out images from each story and visualise them in your head. A new story is released each week on Wednesday, and they're well worth a listen.
Although it didn't win in any individual category, Nothing Much Happens came out in second place in Sleepseeker's study as a result of ranking well on a number of different metrics. It's also our personal favourite of the podcasts listed.
For sounds only: Deep Energy
If you find words distracting, try the Deep Energy (opens in new tab) sleep podcast, from Jim Butler. Rather than stories or ramblings, it offers a mix of ambient and new age music designed to help you chill out and switch off. This one's not just for helping you sleep at night, but also good for any time you need some soothing background music (meditation, massage, yoga and therapy are suggested). It came out as the second most listened-to podcast in the study, with 1.42 million listens on Castbox.
Check out the full ranking below.(opens in new tab)