No matter your age, there’s always something soothing about listening to a story before drifting off to sleep, a technique for combating insomnia that’s been getting a lot of attention recently.
When you’re struggling to fall asleep because of anxiety, awake again in the middle of the night because of trauma dreams or watching the minutes tick by when you’re dealing with painsomnia, it’s helpful to have a variety of tricks up your sleeve to relax your mind and try to fall asleep. For some, having something to listen to in the background like the TV, an audiobook or podcast can be enough to move away from what’s keeping you awake.
“My sleep phones are, hands down, the best sleep aid I’ve ever owned,” Mighty community member Stephanie R. recommended. “Pop those bad boys on, and if my anxiety is particularly bad, I listen to something that requires me to focus (a TV show or a podcast). If it’s not as bad and I’m just a tad more tired, I listen to the ‘Sleep With Me’ podcast, which puts me out like a light every time.”
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Whether you’re dealing with insomnia as a result of a chronic illness or a mental health condition, there’s a reason listening to stories in particular can be helpful when you can’t sleep. Drew Ackerman, the creator of the popular podcast “Sleep With Me,” told The Guardian listening to a different narrative can shift the focus of your mind in a more relaxed state.
“I offer an alternative narrative to the one that might be running in the listener’s mind,” said Ackerman. “They might already be telling themselves a story, about their day at work, getting their taxes done, the chronic pain they are experiencing or about some traumatic event that impacted them. A bedtime story, where ideally there are no personal stakes, can shift their thoughts or disengage the gears, just enough to drift off to sleep.”
There are many podcasts or apps with stories designed to help you sleep. One app that’s gotten a lot of press is the meditation app Calm. After launching its Sleep Stories in late 2018, the company recruited some famous voices to its platform, including a 35-minute story from Matthew McConaughey along with readings by actor Stephen Fry, singer Leona Lewis and former tennis pro John McEnroe. Most of the stories are only available when you sign up for a yearly subscription.
We loved the idea of combining your favorite celebrity’s voice with a sleepy-time story designed to distract your brain when you’re struggling with insomnia. So to find out which other celebrities you would like to join McConaughey and read you a story to help you fall asleep, we asked The Mighty community for recommendations. Here’s what they said:
“Morgan Freeman. He’s got that Kind of voice that just draws you in. It’s hard to really explain but anyone who has heard him speak probably knows exactly what I mean.” — Sheldon Nicholson
“Samuel L. Jackson! He’d put inflection in the right places & probably ad lib in the most appropriate ways! LOL It would be fantastic!!” — Rask Burg
“Britney Spears. She’s my ultimate inspiration in the mental health dept.” — Ash Cruz
“Sarah McLaughlin her voice is so nice and soothing.” — Laura Sullivan
“Barack Obama. I love his voice. I can listen to him read the phone book.” — Brenda Candia Lucero
“I listen to Maggie Gyllenhaal read me the bell jar through audible and I swear I could listen to her read anything.” — Lily McClanahan
“Seth Rogen. Laugh me back to sleep.” — Shay Boo
“David Tennant. He is just such a nice guy.” — Cara Henderson
“Matthew Macfadyen. He read an excerpt from Pride and Prejudice and it’s the most calming, soothing thing.” — Mary Nishimuta
“Patrick Stewart. Something about professor x reading you a story.” — Trista French
“Danny McNamara from Embrace, his voice keeps me calm.” — Viviana Noce
“David Attenborough — His voice is always so calming to me.” — Helen Beth Lewis
“Chris Evans. I love his voice so much, it‘s really calming.” — Vivienne Straub
“Hugo Weaving. Loved his voice since V for Vendetta. So calming.” — Anna Janina Tiersch
“Leslie Nielsen. I used to listen to Katie and Orbie all the time as an adult just because he was so soothing.” — Shannon McDonald
“J.K. Rowling reading any of the Harry Potter books!” — Madelynn Wilcox
“Benedict Cumberbatch, the ultimate reader.” — Kimberly Sommerville
“Ryan Reynolds because he would insert all of the delightful sarcasm that would lull me into a peaceful joyful smiling sleep.” — Shel Ottesen
“Sir Ian McKellen, his voice is perfect and his theatre experience makes him the perfect person to read a story and make it exciting.” — Laryssa Ball
“Liam Neeson. Reading anything really, but maybe some Psalms or poetry or a story about the sea.” — Steffani A Platt
“Tom Hiddleston. His voice is very calming and very polished. There is an audio clip where he (along with several other actors) read poetry, and I could listen to it all day.” — Lynn Wesley
“Ellen. At least I would fall asleep laughing (and probably with a few giveaways).” — Alicia Ring Thomas
For more tips on how to manage insomnia or get better sleep, check out these Mighty articles that helped others in the community:
What celebrity would you want to read you a story when you can’t sleep? Let us know in the comments!