Several national media outlets have investigated if podcasts can actually ease the symptoms of insomnia.
The most famous one, Sleep With Me, blew up over the last few years, topping Apple’s podcast charts week after week. It’s success led to a whole cottage industry of podcasts for insomniacs. Whether you prefer bedtime stories, dreamy meditations, or ASMR brain tingles, there’s a pod for you.
“You’re distracting your mind from the stressful thoughts that raise your alertness,” Sleep With Me host Drew Ackerman told Vice. “I often feel as if Ackerman’s ramblings work by tricking my brain into believing it is drifting off, emulating the peripatetic workings of the dreaming mind,” the New Yorker‘s Nora Caplan-Bricker agreed.
But some sleep specialists told Caplan-Bricker that this is also why podcasts still aren’t a better solution than developing better sleep habits overall (like staying away from your phone). There’s no scientific research yet explaining exactly why podcasts are such popular sleep aids, according to recent news reports. They might do the trick, but distracting your brain into sleep might also cause a more fragmented kind of rest. That’s why we recommend using the sleep timer feature in your preferred podcast app, or maybe even investing in a cheap sleeping mask with built-in audio.