Having trouble sleeping lately? You may want to try listening to a “sleepcast.” Basically, they’re podcasts that use meditation and visualization to calm the mind, and encourage sleep.
For example, the app Headspace offers sleepcasts described as, quote, “audio content designed specifically to create the right conditions for healthy, restful sleep.” Think of them as bedtime audio journeys that last 45 to 55 minutes. Each begins with a wind-down meditation or breathing exercise, followed by a soothingly-narrated tour of somewhere relaxing. They have names like Desert Campfire, Night Swimming, Slow Train, or Rainy Day Antiques, which describes sheltering from a storm in a cozy antique store. Sleepcasts are supposed to distract you from the day’s events, without being so interesting that they’ll keep you awake. And the stories vary slightly every time you listen, so you can’t use a familiar narrative to track the passage of time, and trigger anxiety if you’re not asleep before a specific event.
And other sleepcast apps like Calm, Sleep With Me, Omvana, Ten Percent Happier, and Stop Breathe Think offer meandering bedtime stories told in deliberately slow, calming tones. And most users say they’re never awake long enough to hear the ending.