The Best Listens to Help You Fall Asleep and Wake Up Refreshed

Ranging from audiobooks on the science of sleep and meditation to calming bedtime listens to lull you into slumber, these selections will help you find a new nighttime routine.

Sleep. On one hand, it’s about eight hours between you and all of the goals you need to accomplish, which can feel like a bit of a bummer. But on the other, you need sleep to be well-rested and clearheaded enough to achieve those goals. Verdict? Sleep wins.

But what if you’re having trouble sleeping? Scientists have shown that a disturbance in your circadian rhythm can lead to all kinds of health problems. Fear not! There are all kinds of wonderful audiobooks that can teach you how to sleep better and guide you to a deeper, more restorative repose. Ranging from audiobooks on the science of sleep and meditation to calming bedtime listens to lull you into slumber, these picks will help you find a nighttime routine that will improve your sleep patterns so you’ll be getting some much-deserved rest in no time. (And if you’re still having trouble drifting out, check out our Audible Sleep Collection that’s guaranteed to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and start your morning on the right note.)

Why We Sleep

Sleep expert Matthew Walker, the director of UC Berkeley's Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab, explains why sleep is essential and the multitude of ways that getting (or forgoing) a good night's rest can affect a person's health. Prolific audiobook narrator Steve West does an excellent job passing along the eye-opening information you need to get some shuteye.

This Book Will Make You Sleep

Author Jo Usmar busts common myths about sleep and lays out several handy tips to help people who are suffering from sleep disorders change their habits, including what activities to avoid before bed, when to stop drinking caffeine, and more. But narrator Tania Rodrigues has such a lovely, lulling voice that listening to her read just may be all you need to fall asleep.

The Sleep Revolution

Best selling author Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post, details how getting a good night's rest in the era of nonstop work and social media leads to success, and how turning off devices and listening to your sleep cycle is the first step. Narrator Agapi Stassinopoulos performs Huffington’s guide with a crisp, clear delivery that makes her the perfect choice for sharing this important information.

Sleep Smarter

After his dreams of being a professional athlete were dashed by a degenerative bone disease, Shawn Stevenson learned about other ways to keep himself healthy and found that sleep was a great way to do it. He narrates his own story (with Dr. Sara Gottfried reading her own foreword) and details strategies for how to fall asleep faster in just two weeks.

The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night

Dr. Guy Meadows is the founder of the UK’s Sleep School, and he has developed his own set of techniques—Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)—for overcoming insomnia. Listen to narrator Sam Sword's charming accent as he shares Dr. Guy's theory that getting a good night’s sleep is not about learning what to do, but rather about learning what not to do.

The Circadian Code

An important part of getting a good night's sleep is actually getting to sleep at night. That's why it's important to utilize the right time of day for your other tasks, such as eating and exercise. The Circadian Code explains how best to schedule your day so you can easily fall asleep at night. And it doesn’t hurt that John Sackville's soothing narration in itself is perfect for when you want to fall asleep.

The Sleep Solution

Learn some of the science behind insomnia and discover surprising reasons why you may be finding it hard to sleep…including using sleeping pills. This valuable guide is read by the author, and Dr. Winter’s narration is clear and straightforward, as well as, to quote a listener, funny and engaging. The Sleep Solution is probably best listened to well in advance of bedtime, so you can glean every bit of wisdom before your head hits the pillow.

Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life

Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar’s in-depth look at our clock genes offers another superb explanation about how keeping a schedule and following it can lead not to just better sleep, but better mental and physical health overall. Lesa Lockford is the perfect narrator for sharing this holistic 30-day plan for getting your sleep patterns back on track.

Bedtime Stories for Stressed Out Adults

This collection houses poems and bite-sized stories to help you take your mind off your troubles and unwind before you sleep. Lucy Mangan’s gorgeous, immersive words sound even more incredible and especially calming when read by Joan Walker and Jonathan Keeble.

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you: adults aren't the only ones who have a hard time falling asleep. In this best-selling children's book, Mommy Rabbit takes Roger to see Uncle Yawn when he has trouble falling to sleep. Using a distinct language pattern to help your child relax, the story is read in its entirety by two narrators, Fred Sanders and Kathleen McInerney, complemented by soothing background music. Choose which voice works best for your child—or play the story twice, just in case your little one doesn't fall fast asleep the first time through.

Once upon a Quiet Time (10 Minute Tales, Book 1)

Using dreamy bedtime stories, this listen guides little ones through a series of exercises encouraging them to reconnect to their quiet imagination. Featuring the gentle voice of Cara Stevens and specially composed sound effects, Rose Rowe’s wonderful audiobook will help kids drift off to slumberland.

Crystal Bowl Breathing

The stress of modern life overstimulates our fight-or-flight response, making it difficult to fall and stay asleep. This short meditation from mass-meditation pioneer The Big Quiet was designed to bring balance to the body's nervous system. Sound musician Jackie Cantwell plays bowls as meditation leader Jesse Israel introduces a simple guided breathing technique, so you can rest deeply and soundly.

Why We Sleep

Sleep expert Matthew Walker, the director of UC Berkeley's Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab, explains why sleep is essential and the multitude of ways that getting (or forgoing) a good night's rest can affect a person's health. Prolific audiobook narrator Steve West does an excellent job passing along the eye-opening information you need to get some shuteye.

This Book Will Make You Sleep

Author Jo Usmar busts common myths about sleep and lays out several handy tips to help people who are suffering from sleep disorders change their habits, including what activities to avoid before bed, when to stop drinking caffeine, and more. But narrator Tania Rodrigues has such a lovely, lulling voice that listening to her read just may be all you need to fall asleep.

The Sleep Revolution

Best selling author Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post, details how getting a good night's rest in the era of nonstop work and social media leads to success, and how turning off devices and listening to your sleep cycle is the first step. Narrator Agapi Stassinopoulos performs Huffington’s guide with a crisp, clear delivery that makes her the perfect choice for sharing this important information.

Sleep Smarter

After his dreams of being a professional athlete were dashed by a degenerative bone disease, Shawn Stevenson learned about other ways to keep himself healthy and found that sleep was a great way to do it. He narrates his own story (with Dr. Sara Gottfried reading her own foreword) and details strategies for how to fall asleep faster in just two weeks.

The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night

Dr. Guy Meadows is the founder of the UK’s Sleep School, and he has developed his own set of techniques—Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)—for overcoming insomnia. Listen to narrator Sam Sword's charming accent as he shares Dr. Guy's theory that getting a good night’s sleep is not about learning what to do, but rather about learning what not to do.

The Circadian Code

An important part of getting a good night's sleep is actually getting to sleep at night. That's why it's important to utilize the right time of day for your other tasks, such as eating and exercise. The Circadian Code explains how best to schedule your day so you can easily fall asleep at night. And it doesn’t hurt that John Sackville's soothing narration in itself is perfect for when you want to fall asleep.

The Sleep Solution

Learn some of the science behind insomnia and discover surprising reasons why you may be finding it hard to sleep…including using sleeping pills. This valuable guide is read by the author, and Dr. Winter’s narration is clear and straightforward, as well as, to quote a listener, funny and engaging. The Sleep Solution is probably best listened to well in advance of bedtime, so you can glean every bit of wisdom before your head hits the pillow.

Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life

Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar’s in-depth look at our clock genes offers another superb explanation about how keeping a schedule and following it can lead not to just better sleep, but better mental and physical health overall. Lesa Lockford is the perfect narrator for sharing this holistic 30-day plan for getting your sleep patterns back on track.

Bedtime Stories for Stressed Out Adults

This collection houses poems and bite-sized stories to help you take your mind off your troubles and unwind before you sleep. Lucy Mangan’s gorgeous, immersive words sound even more incredible and especially calming when read by Joan Walker and Jonathan Keeble.

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you: adults aren't the only ones who have a hard time falling asleep. In this best-selling children's book, Mommy Rabbit takes Roger to see Uncle Yawn when he has trouble falling to sleep. Using a distinct language pattern to help your child relax, the story is read in its entirety by two narrators, Fred Sanders and Kathleen McInerney, complemented by soothing background music. Choose which voice works best for your child—or play the story twice, just in case your little one doesn't fall fast asleep the first time through.

Once upon a Quiet Time (10 Minute Tales, Book 1)

Using dreamy bedtime stories, this listen guides little ones through a series of exercises encouraging them to reconnect to their quiet imagination. Featuring the gentle voice of Cara Stevens and specially composed sound effects, Rose Rowe’s wonderful audiobook will help kids drift off to slumberland.

Crystal Bowl Breathing

The stress of modern life overstimulates our fight-or-flight response, making it difficult to fall and stay asleep. This short meditation from mass-meditation pioneer The Big Quiet was designed to bring balance to the body's nervous system. Sound musician Jackie Cantwell plays bowls as meditation leader Jesse Israel introduces a simple guided breathing technique, so you can rest deeply and soundly.


Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot senior contributing editor, co-host of All the Books, a Book of the Month judge, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon.

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