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Bedtime stories for adults: The benefits of sleep stories for grown ups

Bed Time Stories Adults

Bedtime stories for adults might seem like an unusual concept. For many families, “sleep stories” are a common part of the bedtime ritual for young children. Parents tuck their youngsters into bed and read them a chapter of their latest novel to help whisk them away into dreamland. 

As we get older, bedtime stories grow increasingly less common. We learn how to read to ourselves. We begin to use books as a form of entertainment and education, rather than a source of relaxation.

Though sitting down with a great novel might help you unwind, the chances are you’re not using your favorite author as a regular sleep aid. 

However, that doesn’t mean bedtime stories can’t offer some great benefits to adults. In fact, listening to the right kind of sleep stories when you’re drifting off could help you to reduce feelings of stress, and unwind just enough to fall asleep a little faster. 

Today we’ll go through the benefits of using a story to fall asleep. We’ll check out which apps might help you on route to great slumber. Here’s everything you need to know about bedtime stories for adults

The benefits of sleep stories for grown ups

While reading is a hobby as old as time, tucking into a good adult bedtime story is a relatively new concept. In recent years, the stress of the pandemic, combined with various other causes of heightened anxiety, have led to increases in the number of people suffering from sleep disturbances. 

Today, most of us live in a high-octane world, where we’re constantly battling new challenges that force our brains to work overtime. When the time comes to finally go to sleep, we’re still operating on a cycle of increased adrenaline, which can make it extremely difficult to nod off. 

As a result, some innovators have begun experimenting with new ways for stressed sleepers to relax before bed. There’s an influx of relaxation and meditation apps appearing. Many apps with sleep stories promise dedicated solutions for insomnia. 

It’s apps like these that have helped to increase interest in bedtime stories for adults. Apps like Calm and Headspace have their own libraries filled with stories intended to relax the mind, soothe the senses, and lull you into a more restful state. 

One excellent example is the “Nothing Much Happens” app, in which a yoga and meditation teacher reads through relaxing stories. These are designed to draw your mind towards more pleasant ideas and experiences. 

According to experts, listening to stories like these can help to induce sleepiness. Bedtime stories for adults decrease the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which can leave people feeling trapped in a constant fight-or-flight response.

Sleep Stories For Adults

Do bedtime stories work for adults?

Listening to sleep stories before bed might seem like an unusual way to tackle a pervasive problem like insomnia. But it can have some phenomenal benefits. 

First and foremost, the soothing sound of someone else talking can be an excellent way to create a more relaxing environment in your bedroom. It gives you something to focus on, besides your smartphone, to help you let go of the stresses of the day, and relax in good time for sleep. 

Reading, or listening to books, also helps to transport you to a world outside of your current experiences and anxieties. When you’re listening to someone talk softly about a babbling brook, you’re not over-thinking about what happened during meetings at work that day. 

Bedtime stories for adults can also be a fantastic way to start building a more effective night-time routine. Experts in sleep hygiene often recommend using schedules and routines to train the brain into knowing when the right time might be to shut down and relax. 

Listening or reading stories gives you a more relaxing way to unwind before bed than watching TV or checking social media. 

As your brain starts to associate stories with relaxation and sleep, getting the rest you need will start to feel a lot easier. Calm, one of the proponents of bedtime stories for adults in the modern world, has even conducted studies to prove the effectiveness of the strategy. According to them, 92% of people who were suffering with insomnia said using Calm helped them manage their symptoms. 

What are good bedtime stories for adults?

The key to getting the most benefits from an adult bedtime story, is knowing what to listen to. Reading a good book with lots of exciting plot points might be a great way to spend your free time, but any story that’s going to keep your brain engaged and active, won’t help you sleep. 

Fortunately, there are numerous options adults can consider if they’re looking for sleep stories today. If you’re looking for a traditional way to read yourself to sleep, you can try books like “Bedtime Stories for Stressed Out Adults”. If you want to take advantage of the latest technology for your sleep routine, you can try:

  • Calm sleep stories: The calm app offers a range of meditation and guided sessions for people struggling with all kinds of stress and anxiety. The company’s “bedtime story” range, includes a variety of recordings, ranging from 20 to 40 minutes in length. There are various different styles of story to choose from, including non-fiction and nature stories, ASMR stories, and tales read by celebrities.   
  • Headspace sleep stories: Similar to Calm, Headspace is another great app for meditation and stress management. The app offers a range of “sleepcasts”, lasting 45 minutes, which pair a narrator’s voice with ambient sounds, like wind or rainfall. Many of the stories include breathing or meditation techniques to help you wind down too.  
  • Nothing much happens: If you’re looking for a slow-paced story designed specifically to help you fall asleep, this is the podcast for you. The narrator reads through the same, simple story twice, the first time faster than the last. The purpose behind the stories is to guide your mind into a more relaxed state for sleep. 
  • Get Sleepy: The Get Sleepy podcast also uses elements of mindfulness, such as breath awareness and natural progressive relaxation to prepare you for sleep. Many of the stories included are relatively child-friendly, as well as suitable for adults. The tales are created by sleep experts, meditation specialists, and other excellent writers.  
  • Slumber: Unlike the majority of apps which include adult bedtime stories as part of a collection of meditation services, Slumber is dedicated solely to helping users get a good night’s sleep. The app includes various calming stories for adults, as well as soothing sounds and sleep meditation options. Stories range from around 15 minutes to an hour in length. 
  • Sleep whispers: If you’re looking for a variety of stories to choose from to match your mood, you’ll like the sleep whispers app. The soothing whispered voices of the narrator will guide you through a range of different types of tales. You can choose from everything from classic fairy tales, to narrations about pop culture, history, and rare animals.   
  • Spotify sleep stories: Fans of Spotify will be happy to know they can also find a great selection of sleep stories on their favorite app. There are tons of different options to choose from, including the Sleep Toolkit, the Sleepy Bookshelf, and the Deep Healing sleep music collection. You can experiment with as many different styles of stories as you like.  
  • Get Sleepy: Feeling nostalgic about the bedtime stories of your childhood? Get Sleepy could be the perfect app for you. Every week, a radio producer revives various tales from the public domain in a soft, relaxing voice. The classic stories, such as Robin Hood, and the Secret Garden are excellent for those who find other sleep solutions a little boring.
Sleep Stories

What makes a good adult bedtime story?

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for choosing the best bedtime stories for adults. The most important thing to remember, is it probably shouldn’t be something you’re going to be too invested in. 

Reading a good book before bed can be an excellent way to relax, if you’re looking for an alternative to using your phone and exposing yourself to blue light. 

The best adult sleep stories are designed to put you in a slightly sedated state – not one where you’re excited to hear what comes next. A good sleep story should:

  • Sound soft and relaxing: If you’re going to be listening to your sleep stories, opt for a solution with a soft, reassuring, and relaxing voice. There are many sleep apps that even include narrations given in whispers.   
  • Be a little boring: While you don’t want to be frustratingly bored listening to a sleep story, you also shouldn’t be too worried about what’s going to happen next. Relatively plotless stories are often a good way to relax your mind. 
  • Keep you calm: A good sleep story should make you feel warm, comfortable, and tranquil. Look for stories that talk about pleasant things, such as waterfalls, nature, and animals. Avoid anything which could leave you feeling worried or distressed. 
  • Match your reading style: Not all sleep stories need to be read to you. In some cases, you might find it’s easier to actually pick up a good book and read it yourself. However, in this case, make sure you’re not exposing yourself to too much bright light.  
  • Form a part of your routine: As mentioned above, one of the reasons many adults find sleep stories effective, is they can form a fantastic part of a nightly routine. It should be easy to listen to your chosen story, or read it for a few minutes each night before going to sleep. 

You may even consider using sleep stories alongside other strategies for a good night’s rest. For instance, some of the apps above will introduce you to meditation, breathing, and relaxation techniques you can use to prepare your body and brain for sleep. 

Making the most of bedtime stories for adults

Bedtime stories for adults won’t necessarily cure your insomnia, or rid you of any other sleeping issues you might have. However, if you find that most of your problems with sleep come from an inability to switch off, let go of the day, and simply relax, sleep stories could be a great option. 

These days, it’s much easier for adults to access soothing stories to help them fall to sleep faster, thanks to the introduction of useful apps and podcasts. It’s up to you to decide what kind of sleep stories work best for you. 

You might even decide you prefer sleep songs and music to actual stories, if you have trouble paying attention to words, while you doze off. 

As always, if you feel your sleep pattern is getting worse, or your anxiety continues to build up, you may find it’s better to speak to your doctor to find a solution. 

Siestio. Sleep Matters.

General advice disclaimer
This article contains general tips and advice. However, no diet or exercise program should be started without consulting your physician or other industry professional first. For more information read our full disclaimer here.

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