Remember being wrapped up in your blanket, the lights down low, eyes heavy, and a parent or guardian reading a soothing bedtime story as you drift off into a peaceful sleep? Luckily, you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy a good bedtime story! More and more adults are reclaiming bedtime stories and enjoying the nostalgia, relaxation and much needed break from the hustle and bustle of adulthood.
Join us as we tap back into our inner children and explore the world of bedtime stories for adults.
What are Bedtime Stories for Adults?
What exactly do we mean when we say “bedtime stories for adults”?
Bedtime stories for adults can come in many forms. There are stories specifically designed to help the adult mind fall asleep, but this could also be any story that helps you relax and drift off into dreamland.
Imagine: It’s been a long, hard day, week, month or even year and you are absolutely exhausted and yet you still can’t fall asleep.
Not so hard to imagine? What if you laid down to rest and could escape into a different world, even just for a few minutes, and forget about all your deadlines, responsibilities and stressors and fall into a deep restful sleep with ease?
This is where bedtime stories for adults come into play.
Why Do Adults Need and Want Bedtime Stories?
Modern adult life for many people is one big ball of stress. If you’re anything like me, when does this stress like to make an appearance? (say it louder for the people in the back!)
Just me? (He’s probably in the hospital donating a kidney or saving baby penguins in the Antarctic and doesn’t have cell reception. That must be it.)
All of this is to say that adults need and want bedtime stories because sometimes we have a lot going on and can’t always turn off our brains.
Bedtime stories can help distract our brains by focusing on something else, allowing us to fall asleep much faster.
Having a non-chemical sleep aid like adult bedtime stories can be a powerful tool for those with sleep problems, or anyone who just wants to create a soothing sleep environment.
The Power of Bedtime Stories
There are many different reasons why we may have a hard time falling asleep at times. Often, a racing mind is the culprit and bedtime stories have a special power of being able to switch our thinking brain off, help us unwind, and make it easier to fall asleep.
The power of stories, particularly auditory versions, is backed up by science. As you fall asleep, your senses power down one by one and the sense of hearing is the last one to turn off. Listening to an adult bedtime story can help your body be able to shut down the other senses more quickly and get you off to sleep faster.
Another reason why bedtime stories can work so well is that they can help avoid the sleep paradox.
You have likely experienced that once you start thinking about it and noticing that you can’t do it, it becomes nearly impossible to sleep. That is the sleep paradox. This is where reading or listening to a bedtime story can take the attention away from thinking about sleep (or lack thereof), replace it with something else to focus on, quiet the mind and help you fall asleep.
Different Types of Bedtime Stories
Let’s look at some examples of books, audiobooks and podcasts that you can try the next time you find yourself on the midnight sleepy time struggle bus.
Books are the OG of bedtime stories (at least in my lifetime). Books! Reading before bed is a great habit to build into your night time routine for a number of reasons.
Having a regular bedtime routine helps prompt your brain into knowing that it is time to wind down and get ready to sleep
Reading a book keeps you off your phone before bed
It gets your mind focused on something other than your thoughts before your head even hits the pillow
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker: If you are into non-fiction, this book discusses the science of sleep, why it is so important for our overall health and provides tips for good sleep hygiene.
Something light and fluffy: If non-fiction and science before bed is not your thing, grab something that is easy to read like a romance or general fiction book. Something that can help you unwind without grabbing your attention so much that you stay up reading all night
Something boring: Ever fallen asleep reading a textbook for school? Picking up a book you find boring can help put you to sleep quickly.
Audiobooks are a fantastic way to incorporate bedtime stories for adults into your life whether it is nightly or just on those particularly difficult nights. Being able to lay there with your eyes closed and the lights off while listening to a story helps your mind enter the world of the book and you can fall right to sleep without having to put the book down.
Any book will do, but something nostalgic can be particularly helpful because you are already familiar with the story so your brain can relax that much more.
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling: So many people know and love the Harry Potter series, making it a popular choice for an audiobook reread. These stories often bring back good memories and the familiarity of the story and the movies means our brains don’t have to work too hard to transport us into that world
Note: worked too well; I fell asleep immediately but I lost one of my airpods 🙁 good news I found it!
Podcasts work in a very similar way to audiobooks. You can drift off to sleep to whatever you find relaxing. There is a podcast for everyone about literally any subject you can imagine. As long as it helps you go to sleep, any one will do. However, there are podcasts specifically designed for sleep that you may want to try.
Sleepy:In this weekly podcast, host Otis Gray reads classic tales in a low, soothing voice to help you turn off your brain and get to bed
Nothing Much Happens: In this podcast, host Kathryn Nicolai shares stories where, just as the title suggests, nothing much happens so your mind can focus on resting
With all of life’s stressors, bedtime does not have to be yet another one. Getting plenty of good quality sleep every night is one of the best things you can do for your health. For a lot of people, that is easier said than done and we may need a bit of help sometimes. Try incorporating bedtime stories for adults into your nightly routine and wake up more refreshed and rejuvenated.