The best Calm sleep stories to help you sleep
Calm sleep stories are not just nostalgic childhood distractions that got us to fall asleep. As it turns out, a simple bedtime story (no matter what your age) could be the new sleep-inducing narrative written into your adult bedtime routine.
Falling asleep should be as simple as having a quiet, dark space and something to distract your mind. But we all know that as we get older, and our lives busier, our ability to get good rest becomes challenging.
A third of adults (globally) don’t get enough sleep, and even more (we’re sure you’re nodding along) have trouble falling asleep.
Our minds have become increasingly busy with anxious thoughts (2020, we’re looking at you), binge-watching Netflix and the rise of social media FOMO. We’ve forgotten how to find the ‘off-switch’ in our brains. We’re plagued by the fatigue of ‘coping’ the next day in a zombie-like state and newsflash: it’s affecting our health.
So, could going back to our childhood basics, and inviting the soothing voice of a storyteller into our sleep preparations be the answer to achieving more blissful hours of slumber? We think so.
But what is it about a sleep story that brings on the z’s? As so many of us drift off to a tumble-weed of stressful thoughts, the idea is that Calm sleep stories help you become more relaxed by turning your attention to focus on the art of listening, which allows your brain to slow down. And the benefit? Getting you to sleep by whisking away those anxious thoughts.
Adapted from the idea of guided meditation to help you sleep, the pioneers of Calm sleep stories, Calm, has an abundance of (free and purchased) soothing narratives that will get you snoozing in no time.
From stories of train rides across Siberia to boat rides down the Oxford Canal; from the powerful lull of Alan Sklar’s voice (trust us!) and even a little bit of Matthew McConaughey’s mesmerising southern drawl, there’s a story to tuck-in every mind trying to wiggle its way out of sleep.
What are Calm sleep stories?
Sleep stories give us (grown-ups) permission to feel comforted and soothed. Just as they do for kids, falling asleep listening to a story that brings back feelings of love and trust, is a tried and tested recipe for sleepy-eyes. These stories are designed, both in how they’re written and who is narrating them, to be peaceful, delivering poetry and prose in a soothing rhythm that lulls you into sleep.
It’s said that each story is written in a way that ensures that you never reach the end – each storyline can capture your imagination (away from stressful thoughts) but remains soothing enough that you’re able to nod off in a wink.
But what if I listen to guided sleep meditation already? Sleep meditation, music to help sleep and sleep stories all share the same benefits: distracting your mind and allowing you to relax into sleep. Where meditation aims to get you to focus on breath, body awareness and calming thoughts, sleep stories shift your focus away from your physical presence entirely allowing your body to do its sleep prep in private.
Do sleep stories work?
When it comes to sleep, there is no one-size-sleeps-all approach. Good sleep is a combination of healthy sleep habits (sleep hygiene) and lifestyle choices. Knowing what is causing the root of your sleep issues before looking at a sleep app to cure you into sleepiness should be the first step before adding a sleep aid to your nighttime routine.
Did you indulge in too much caffeine before bed? Or have one-too-many sleep-deprived nights caught up with you? When it comes to the ability to fall asleep, the list can be an endless tick-box of causes.
But the same goes for sleep stories. What may work for you one night, may not work the next. You could find that a story about a train that goes nowhere will encourage your brain to stay alert, or that the sound of southern drawl is not your thing. Identifying your sleep mood, and listening to various storylines is a good place to start your sleep story journey.
The bottom line: tools like the Calm app, Headspace or Slumber play a supporting role along with healthier sleeping habits, but should not be seen as a substitute for sleep therapy.
Where can you find free sleep stories?
Starting with the most popular sleep app, Calm (which has a great starter-pack library on YouTube) will introduce you to the sleep-story world. Migrating to their app once their late-night tales have officially seduced you will set you back a couple of quid, but we can confirm it’s worth it.
As much as sleep stories are on the rise for adults needing to induce their forty winks, kids can benefit from a nightly sleep story too. (To be clear, we’re not taking away your job, mom and dad, but we know that life can be distracting). Sleep stories can be a great natural remedy to lull your child to sleep – and be the start of a new chapter in your nightly z’s.