Rambling gentle stories with no plot?
May 18, 2020 7:48 PM   Subscribe

I love listening to the Sleepcasts on Headspace -- they are basically shuffled up bits of nothing stories set against a soundscape. Where can I find more of this?

I like listening to them not just while falling asleep, but while cooking, knitting, cleaning, and doing other things around the house. What I like most about them is that they are soothing and alinear. Unlike a podcast, which I have to pay attention to and make sense of, the Headspace Sleepcasts are just picturesque bits of words with no real narrative or plot to follow: "You see a cat on a fence. His name is Bob. You take a sip of tea. Bob meows and ambles towards you slowly. (Long pause.) Your tea is warm. Bob weaves around your feet. You pet him."

I like being able to tune in and out without worrying about comprehension. I also like that the stories are easy to visualize but never stressful. I like that it casts me in the story by talking about what I am doing and seeing. The sleepcasts also have background sound that relates to the story, like frogs in a forest or rain falling. I like this but it's not as important to me as the lack of true narrative and the gentle content. The Headspace app gives the impression that these stories are somehow automatically generated, because they apparently have subtle changes in them each time you listen, but I have no idea what that means in practice and it's not a particularly important feature to me I don't think (although it's possible that this process is part of what makes these stories work? I don't know).

I am not looking for ASMR. I am also not looking for anything that requires any level of focus or attention: just some boring, soothing, and plain stories about pleasant things like taking a walk in the forest, sitting on the porch, watching cats on fences, and the like. Are there more of these out there?
posted by k8lin to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
There’s a podcast called “Sleep With Me” that scratches this same itch for me (but the guys voice drives my wife crazy, so I stick to Headspace). There is a narrative, but it’s very loose and almost non-sensical.
posted by wearyaswater at 8:19 PM on May 18 [5 favorites]

In the Calm app (available for Android, iOS and Windows) they have "Sleep Stories", which might fit with what you're looking for - the one I know is "Blue Gold", narrated by Stephen Fry, taking you on a 2nd person meandering tour of lavender fields in Provence. There's not much of a plot, it's mainly descriptive, but I found it very pleasant to listen to. There are lots more "Sleep Stories" but most are in the premium version that you have to pay for.
posted by Cheese Monster at 11:41 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

I have the paid version of Calm and find it helpful for those kind of stories, but they are intended to make you sleep. They also have a selection of familiar children's books like Wind in the Willow. The difference is that they start with a sleepy settling in and the voice pitch and rhythm is intended to make you sleepy, so I don't think it would fit what you want.

I have used very well-known to me beloved books for repetitive nighttime listening or background voices as well (Austen mostly and the first half of The Once and Future King)
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:26 AM on May 19

I really, really like Nothing Much Happens for this - it's nearly exactly what your example is like, and it's very cozy. It is my go-to sleepytime podcast.
posted by punchtothehead at 10:12 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

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