Podcasts to love and fall asleep to
January 30, 2017 5:45 AM   Subscribe

I listen to podcasts at night until I get sleepy, turn em off, fall asleep. Current favorites: No Such Thing as a Fish, Hound Tall with Moshe Kasher, You're the Expert. Other recommendations?

Stopped listening and not super interested: This American Life, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (got stressful bc Trump), Hidden Brain, Sleep With Me

NO!: Welcome to Nightvale (did not compute?? Did I miss something?), Serial, any "in conclusion, I dunno guys I'm skeptic of points of view that don't fit with mine because people like me decide what truth is" shows like Invisibilia, Radiolab

What say you? Anything else you like?

posted by sacchan to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite go-to-sleep podcast is 99 Percent Invisible. It's aural ambien.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:00 AM on January 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

Definitely 99pi. I have a few of my fave saved for re-listening when I need some comfort audio.

How about some interview shows? Fresh Air is the gold standard. I also like Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin, How I Built This, Bullseye with MeFi's Own Jesse Thorn. A lot of people like Marc Maron but he is like the opposite of calming. Maybe Chris Gethard's Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People.

I've recently become obsessed with this show called Gastropod, a really interesting look at food though the lens of science and history. It's got a nice even tone that would be good for night time.

Reply All from MeFi's Own Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt is one of my faves, although I'm not sure if it's good for night time? You should listen anyways though, it's incredible.

(I also don't understand Welcome to Nightvale...)
posted by radioamy at 6:12 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I had to stop listening to A Taste of the Past, by Linda Pelaccio, because her voice was just too soporific. Otherwise it's a good podcast that examines cuisines, individual dishes, and icons in the food world from a historical point of view.
posted by Liesl at 6:24 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

In Our Time. Just interesting enough to tune out other thoughts; just soporific enough to never make it to the end of an episode.
posted by piro at 6:27 AM on January 30, 2017 [14 favorites]

Stuff You Should Know
Stuff To Blow Your Mind
Stuff You Missed in History Class

All feature two people (sometimes a guest or third person) talking about a mildly interesting topic.
posted by INFJ at 6:32 AM on January 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

I've been known to use Philosophy Bites to fall asleep to.
posted by moonmilk at 6:32 AM on January 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

Human Conversation (with Erin McGathy and Wayne Federman) might be a good fit. I like listening to it in the morning because it's very gentle. It doesn't have a theme or anything - just two charming people chatting - so you have to buy into their personalities to like it. It's on indefinite hiatus but there are 51 sweet episodes to go through.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 6:54 AM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

Although the content is creepy, the tone of Lore is quiet and subdued.
posted by AutoPilot83 at 7:55 AM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

Myths and Legends is my sleepy time podcast; I've actually never made it through an episode. It's a good mix of calming voice, non-upsetting topic, and nothing unfamiliar. It keeps my brain quiet and distracted, but I never feel like I need to keep listening to find out what happens next.
posted by punchtothehead at 8:07 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Not technically podcasts but the BBC's radio output is still free to listen to from anywhere in the world (no ads!) and helps me get to sleep most nights. I just hit play in the browser on my phone.

I tend to start from this page of recent comedy releases: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/programmes/genres/comedy/player/episodes

Stuff is available for 30 days after it is broadcast. There are a few episodes of Cabin Pressure up at the moment which is a particular favorite.
posted by simonw at 8:34 AM on January 30, 2017

Tobolowsky Files!

You've seen Stephen Tobolowsky in something or everything - Groundhog Day, Deadwood, Californication, Silcon Valley, Beethoven's Third, etc.. In this podcast it's just him sharing stories about his life, his life as an actor, and humanity in general. They are full of warmth and insight, really no production, just him talking to you. He's a fantastic storyteller.
posted by brookeb at 8:38 AM on January 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

I listen to A Way With Words when I want to fall asleep. Not sure if that's a good recommendation or not :-). But I rarely make it through 15 minutes of it before I'm asleep.
posted by MiG at 8:46 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've had good success with The History of English, which feels unfair because I find the content fascinating. However, the steady delivery and lack of musical interludes work well for falling asleep.

Seconding In Our Time. I also suggest Thinking Allowed.
posted by yukonho at 9:26 AM on January 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

I use all the podcasts from howstuffworks.com as my sleep fodder. I can no longer listed to these during the day because my brain hears the voices and assumes it's time to sleep! So far i've got the original How Stuff Works (of which there's a back catalogue that will keep you occupied for eons), as well as BrainStuff, CarStuff and TechStuff. When i run out of content from those I'll move onto the rest.

Warning - these sometimes do have loud annoying jingles around sponsor reads.
posted by cgg at 9:29 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I fall asleep to Lore and Our Fake History
posted by missriss89 at 9:45 AM on January 30, 2017

Thirding In Our Time, and adding Beyond Belief, which is a show with the same sleepy timbre but specifically about interfaith issues.
posted by General Malaise at 11:17 AM on January 30, 2017

Nthing 99pi and In Our Time. Also:

The Memory Palace is a shining jewel among podcasts. The Truth offers tiny, beautiful, well-produced fiction. There's no continuing story, so start anywhere. Answer Me This! is is an aural version of AskMe built by funny, lovely Brits. The Futility Closet delivers odd bits of history, plus logic puzzles. And You Must Remember This is several mini-series on secret or forgotten Hollywood history from Karina Longworth. Maybe keep the Manson family series for daytime.

If you like music and sound, there's may be a history/design of music/soundscape podcast to suit you. Try Song Exploder, Sound Opinions, Something About the Beatles, Reasonably Sound.

And it's not exactly a podcast, but a whole bunch of people reading Moby Dick is now available through most podcast services.

Also available in podcast form, Resilient Web Design. Don't run away! You don't have to be a web designer to enjoy the connections made in this little production: "Much of the subject matter will be familiar if you’ve seen my conference talks from the past couple of years, particularly Enhance! and Resilience. But the book ended up taking some twists and turns that surprised me. It turned out to be a bit of a history book: the history of design, the history of the web. If you make websites in any capacity, I hope that this book will resonate with you. Even if you don’t make websites, I still hope there’s an interesting story in there for you."
posted by maudlin at 12:39 PM on January 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

Astronomy Cast is perfect for this - no sound effects, no politics, and interesting enough to hold your attention as you drift off, without feeling like you are missing the end of a story.

Other soft lullful podcasts I like: Dear Sugar, Nocturne, and Rumble Strip.
posted by veery at 12:52 PM on January 30, 2017

Krista Tippett's On Being, while not a podcast, has downloadable episodes and is very straightforward in production (just a conversation between Tippett and her guest), very interesting and calm.

"On Being is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast, a Webby Award-winning website and online exploration, a publisher and public event convener. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors. We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact."
posted by crush-onastick at 1:12 PM on January 30, 2017

Many of my regular sleepy-time listens are mentioned already. I would add Spilled Milk to the list. I have been listening to an episode a night for the last couple weeks. Witty, just informative enough for you not to get bored but you don't have to struggle to keep up. Good chemistry between them. Don't start at episode #1 as it takes them a while to hit their stride.

I simply can't stand Krista Tippett. That's all I will say about her.
posted by bluejayway at 1:48 PM on January 30, 2017

The Adventure Zone is a lot of fun. 4 guys (the McElroy brothers, who do a bunch of other podcasts, and their dad) playing D&D. You don't have to be into D&D, I wasn't.
posted by bizarrenacle at 2:56 PM on January 30, 2017

Came earlier to say The Memory Palace but was at work and not logged in, so now I'm seconding it. It's perfect.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 4:05 PM on January 30, 2017

I feel like this is interest-specific -- for instance, I listen to several sports podcasts and podcasts about the Bachelor (don't judge!) -- but radio shows and TV talk shows often offer podcast versions, if you're interested. So I've listened to NPR's Fresh Air and On Point with Tom Ashbrook when the topics interest me. I don't think you want this, but I have listened to podcast versions of Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow's TV shows. Just an option to keep in mind!
posted by AppleTurnover at 4:48 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding Tobolowsky Files! He's my go-to when I have insomnia. Fantastic storyteller with a rich and unusual life.
posted by poissonrouge at 6:02 PM on January 30, 2017

Answer Me This is not unlike No Such Thing As A Fish, lots of eps available.
There are over three thousand episodes of Destert Island Discs and the most recent host has an amazing voice.
posted by Iteki at 11:26 PM on January 30, 2017

Ok, I'm going to sound weird here. But I like true crime podcasts. Nothing too awful (and I've had times where I've had to skip to the next podcast because it was just awful). I think I seek narrative that is nonfiction and isn't history, because I want to listen and process with much history.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 12:01 AM on January 31, 2017

Wait, Professor Plum with a Rope likes true crime podcasts? Eponytastic.

One that worked for me for a bit was The New Yorker: Fiction podcast. Each episode is a reading of a short story and then discussion. I don't often make it to the discussion part.
posted by ovenmitt at 3:33 AM on January 31, 2017

Infinite Monkey Cage - comedic science podcast
posted by mosessis at 6:19 PM on January 31, 2017

I really like RadioWest - it might be a bit too local for your tastes (it does cover local politics and social issues) but even then give it a try: the author interviews and other topics might be fascinating for you too.
posted by krieghund at 8:48 PM on January 31, 2017

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