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Overcoming Sleep Disruptions From Podcasts

By Tom Seest

Are Podcasts Sabotaging Your Sleep?

At PodcastBig, we help new podcasters develop strategies to create content, traffic, and revenue from podcasts based on our experiences and experimentation.

Podcasts can provide both entertainment and relaxation to your brain, from true crime dramas to comedy podcasts and relaxation shows – there’s something out there for everyone! However, one particular type of podcast stands out for helping listeners fall asleep more easily: those that aim to help induce sleep through gradual relaxation techniques.
These episodes, from Drew Ackerman’s Sleep With Me to various ASMR podcasts and whisper podcasts, can be found everywhere – but can they actually help with sleep?

Are Podcasts Sabotaging Your Sleep?

Are Podcasts Sabotaging Your Sleep?

Is Listening to Podcasts Disrupting Your Sleep?

Podcasts have become an increasingly popular form of listening entertainment for various reasons ranging from news to true crime, comedy, and literature – to sleep experts’ recommendation, which states that not all pods offer equal levels of restful listening experiences – some can actually pose threats to sleep quality!
At bedtime, podcasts should only be used as a source of relaxation and unwinding if they can actually keep you awake. Instead, turn your focus toward soothing podcasts that focus on relaxation, calm and sleep – whether this means white noise, soothing voice reading stories or guided meditation – to ease tension and prepare you for restful slumber.
Edison Research found in 2019 that over half of those surveyed who tuned in their favorite podcasts prior to bed did so as an attempt to relax and sleep better, leading them to tune into them purely to try to fall asleep more easily. No surprise then that there is an entire genre dedicated to sleep and relaxation podcasts ranging from bedtime stories and ASMR recordings designed to calm your brain hum.
Sleep stories are an emerging genre of podcasts that act similarly to a bedtime story or lullaby for adults, offering pleasant yet non-distracting entertainment and soothing, mindless entertainment that is intended to lull us to sleep. According to Murray, “Sleep stories should function like the stories your parents told you as children or even just lullabies: their sole aim should be lulling you to sleep.”
ASMR podcasts have become increasingly popular over time. Similar to sleep stories, ASMR podcasts aim to induce self-triggered sensory responses within your own brain – from humming sounds or tingles involuntarily caused by audio content to feather brushing your skin or even brushing from an invisible hand on top of you.
All the experts I consulted suggested listening to soothing podcasts at bedtime but in moderation. Good sleep hygiene includes other practices like limiting caffeine and alcohol before sleeping, keeping smartphones out of your bedroom (or at least on silent), avoiding blue light from screens, practicing stress management techniques regularly, exercising regularly, and setting an early rise time each day.

Is Listening to Podcasts Disrupting Your Sleep?

Is Listening to Podcasts Disrupting Your Sleep?

Does Podcast Noise Keep You Awake?

Many people struggle to sleep well. That is why podcasts such as true crime murder shows, comedy shows and literature reading have become popular pre-bed activities to calm the always-on mind. Unfortunately, though, this could actually do more damage than good – not necessarily from their disturbing voices or constant bad news but instead because they prevent your brain from resting properly.
As such, the podcast market has taken advantage of this trend with an abundance of sleep and relaxation podcasts that have attracted millions of downloads since their introduction. Sleep With Me by Drew Ackerman has seen 42 million downloads since 2016, when it first debuted as a narrative podcast with episodes that tell bedtime stories to soothe listeners off to sleep while others, such as No More Insomnia, use hypnosis-based techniques to guide listeners through breathing exercises, muscle relaxation techniques, and meditation sessions to aid relaxation.
No matter if it involves bedtime stories, playing white noise or other sleep sounds, or leading listeners through guided meditation, most sleep podcasts aim to help listeners fall asleep more easily and remain asleep through guided meditation. But exactly how are they working? Hanlon notes: “It can be challenging to disentangle exactly how they might be helping: sleep is such an individual experience.”
Hanlon also notes that your brain processes outside stimuli while you sleep – this is particularly evident during the REM stage when dreams take place. Neurons in your brain huddle around filing cabinets like filing folders to sort through new data and file it away or delete it altogether.
If a podcast helps you reach the point in your sleep cycle when the highest brain activity peaks are occurring, then it may be serving its intended purpose,” according to Hanlon. However, if it keeps you awake or interferes with falling asleep altogether, finding alternative means of relaxation before bed may be better suited. Here are a few suggestions to do just that.

Does Podcast Noise Keep You Awake?

Does Podcast Noise Keep You Awake?

How Does Listening to Podcasts Impact Sleep?

Stress and anxiety can be significant obstacles to sleep. Listening to a podcast that tells a story or plays soothing white noise may help soothe your mind and relax you; however, selecting an inappropriate podcast may even become more stressful than not listening at all!
Listening to podcasts that feature current political news, celebrity interviews, or horror stories may keep your brain active and keep it from relaxing, keeping you awake at night while worrying about real-life problems that could potentially prevent restful, restful slumber. Therefore, it would be prudent to select podcasts that focus more on relaxing activities or those targeted toward sleep as alternatives.
Some of the most downloaded podcasts focus on helping listeners get better sleep, with “Sleep with Me”, “Nothing Much Happens”, and “Get Sleepy” among many others offering expert tips to ensure restful nights’ rest – these podcasts have been downloaded millions of times over just this past year alone!
As more and more people struggle to sleep soundly, sleep and relaxation-themed podcasts have gained in popularity and more podcasts that feature them have emerged on the market. Sleep- or relaxation-focused shows are increasingly common; more than ever people struggle with sleeping soundly.
Although it remains unknown why podcasts are so effective at helping people sleep, they appear to help relax many individuals and ease tension in the mind. But it should be remembered that they shouldn’t replace other steps taken for improved sleep such as no caffeine or alcohol before bed, limiting blue light exposure in the evening, exercising before sleeping, practicing stress management techniques and trying to wake up at an identical time every day.
If you choose a sleep podcast, be sure to set an alarm on your phone so it automatically shuts off when it is time for bed. This step is absolutely crucial: no one wants to be surprised in the middle of the night by laughing podcast hosts or hearing loud noises that trigger their fight or flight response and prevent you from sleeping again.

How Does Listening to Podcasts Impact Sleep?

How Does Listening to Podcasts Impact Sleep?

Are You Addicted to Podcasts Before Bed?

Podcasts have quickly become a daily part of life for millions, from cars and workplaces to gyms and homes. People use podcasts for everything from news updates to true crime thrillers; there are hundreds to choose from! Unfortunately, listening to them in bed might disrupt sleep by engaging your mind with stimulating material instead of offering relaxation to help with restful slumber.
There are podcasts designed specifically to help you fall asleep more easily and remain asleep through the night, from soothing voices and classic book narration to white noise and other soothing sounds. Finding one that best meets your individual needs is key to having an uninterrupted night’s rest.
If you find it hard to sleep, consider trying calming podcasts like Sleep With Me or Sleep Magic as bedtime stories – they aim to engage listeners with dull but relaxing stories without stimulating their minds too much. There are even podcasts which use hypnosis or guided meditation sessions as additional ways of helping listeners nod off!
Even though there’s little scientific proof that podcast listening helps with sleep, it may still be beneficial for some. Just make sure you select an episode with relevant material, and don’t listen for too long. A consistent nighttime routine includes having a warm bath, doing skincare treatments, and including relaxing episodes like podcasts into your sleep cycle.
Setting your podcast app to automatically stop after each episode ends is also helpful to avoid being startled awake by laughter from the host or your own breathing. Once it has stopped playing, simply turn it off and close your eyes to enjoy a peaceful night’s rest. If you still struggle to sleep, consult a physician or psychologist; they may provide helpful strategies on how to set up a sleep plan and provide tips when trying to fall asleep.

Are You Addicted to Podcasts Before Bed?

Are You Addicted to Podcasts Before Bed?

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