Podcasts are super popular, so let’s chat about what helps you chill out…with your earbuds in. Whose voices and which topics or types of podcasts do you find most de-stressing? Take a look at what folks around the web and here in the PatientsLikeMe forums have to say about podcasts and ideas for “easy listening.”
Ideas from our community and around the internet
“I’ve found quite a few podcasts that give guidance for meditation,” one member says in the forum. “My favorite is ‘Zencast’ — it is a series, that has [nearly] 500 episodes. There are quite a few others. You can find them from most any podcast player library. Use meditation, or mindfulness, as search words. You may find them helpful!”
Whether you’re into meditation, music, history or mysteries, there’s seemingly a podcast for everyone. While we haven’t had a chance to listen to all these (so we can’t vouch for all the content or possible advertising), we’ve rounded up some relaxing podcasts that have gotten media attention and noted some trends we spotted.
(Please don’t listen to sleep-inducing podcasts while driving! Also, beware of possible topics or content that may be triggering to you, of course.)
LeVar Burton Reads – “Stressed adults yearning for a bit of relaxation in this hectic world now have a peaceful refuge: LeVar Burton’s new storytelling podcast,” SFGate reports. “The soothing voice of PBS’s beloved ‘Reading Rainbow’ recently launched a podcast” where he reads short stories for adults.
Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast – “Nobody is too old to be lulled off to sleep by a bedtime story, and grownups deserve them, too,” one Bustle writer says. “Miette has one of the most soothing [expletive] voices I have ever heard. Is it Scottish? Is it Welsh? Does it matter? I really don’t know but it is absolutely lovely and so relaxing.”
Culture and history podcasts
Longform – The Evening Standard also recommends this podcast, “if you’re interested in writing, and even if you’re not. Each episode is a different interview with a writer, whether that’s a journalist, an author or a podcast host. The episodes focus on the stories they make, how they found them, how they are inspired to write…”
Travel with Rick Steves – “Yes, THAT Rick Steves [PBS star],” writes one Taunton Daily Gazette reporter/podcast fan. “Each week you’ll take a trip around the world and hear about unique local customs from expert guides, authors and travelers.”
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – “This one is great for long trips, because each one is at least four hours long, if not longer,” the same Gazette reporter says. “If you are a history buff, you are sure to enjoy Carlin’s enthusiasm and attention to detail. He also has a real knack for empathetic retellings of how the people living through these events must have felt.” Some folks on Reddit mention Carlin in this thread about podcasts with relaxing voices.
Old-timey and mystery podcasts
The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio – “This little peach focuses on detective stories from back in the day with host Adam Graham,” Bustle says. “Utilizing the lovely legal loophole that all radio shows pre-February 15, 1972 are fair game in terms of copyright, this podcast will lull you into a deep and rewarding slumber while musing on whodunnit instead of whatever anxiety-inducing thoughts keep you awake.” Classic radio podcasts are rising in popularity and you can find a bunch more online — some complete with that great crackly sound.
Mysteries Abound – “Let me tell you, this man’s voice is more soothing than anything I’ve heard,” the same Bustle writer says. “The podcast looks at weird stuff from the internet, mysteries, lists of interesting facts… the music is very dreamy and chill as well.”
Meditation and sleep podcasts
The Mindful Podcast – “If you’ve never tried mindfulness, it’s a simple form of meditation,” the Evening Standard explains. “It helps you become present in what’s going on so [you] become of where you are and what’s going on without feeling overwhelmed. The Mindful Podcast helps you achieve this state of mindfulness,” and the episodes are short (usually 5-10 minutes). Hundreds of PatientsLikeMe members have reported trying meditation and mindfulness as part of their treatment — click the links to see what they say.
Sleep With Me: The Podcast That Puts You to Sleep – Medium calls this “one of the most renowned and best reviewed sleep podcasts out there. In each episode, the narrator “Dearest Scooter” delivers meandering, stream-of-consciousness monologues in monotone to ramble you to sleep with his boring stories.”
Sleep and Relax ASMR – “Have you ever tried ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response?” the Medium writer asks. “If you have, then you know how good the tingles that start in your scalp and snake down your back feel. You would also know how well that feeling relaxes you and puts you to sleep. If you have not experienced ASMR, and some people can’t, still give this podcast a try as the soft background music and slow whispers can still help you relax and put you to bed.”
ASMR, which is also big on YouTube, could be a type of small (pleasurable) seizure, the neurologist behind the NeuroLogica blog explains — so do some research and check with your doctor first if you have a seizure disorder and questions about ASMR.