The best celebrity-read audio books to help you fall asleep. And they work

If you lie in bed, tossing and turning, unable to drift off to sleep, consider a celebrity-narrated bed-time story.

These audiobooks offer a comforting moment of regression back to childhood, as you are read a story in bed, allowing you to clear your mind of any stresses and focus on the narrative. 

Calm is both a mindfulness and sleep-aid app, offering guided meditations, breathing exercises, relaxing music and sleep stories. Since it launched in 2016, Calm has had over 100 million listeners and has gathered an audio library of over 100 bed-time stories, specifically made so you should never get to the end.

Image: Calm


You may recognise the soothing voices of some of their narrators, as Calm has recruited some famous readers. 

Oscar winner, Matthew McConaughey, reads Wonder, a 35 minute story, exploring the mysteries and wonders of the universe. It also includes two minutes of prologue, in which McConaughey poses large, abstract questions in his soothing Southern drawl, such as: "How often do we ponder the depth of the present moment?" 

British Emmy winner and reader of all seven Harry Potter audiobooks, Stephen Fry, narrates Blue Gold. It is a sauntering tale through the peaceful towns and famous lavender fields of Provance, France. Almost synesthetic, the descriptive prose evokes the sensation of the breeze, catching the claming scent of lavender.

Late TV painting legend, Bob Ross, features on the app. His series, The Joy of Painting, gathered a cult following for its feel-good tone and relaxing effect on viewers. The show has been transformed into a chill bed-time audio experience.

 “Before there were Calm’s Sleep Stories, there was Bob Ross. Now you can get both at once,” said Alex Tew, Calm co-founder. “We’ve had so many Calm users asking us for a Sleep Story with Bob Ross. He was and still is a hero to the hard of sleeping.”

Dr Steve Orma is a clinical psychologist who specialises in sleep, and a scientific advisor for Calm. He says that the secret to the success of adult bed-time stories is in the trasition period between awake and sleep. When it is time to sleep, it can be difficult to let go of the stresses of every day life.

‘It’s hard to transition from this stage of anxiety to sleep. The user associates bedtime stories with sleep, so signals are sent to the brain and body saying it is time to switch off. And the calming voice and neutral subject matter of the story focuses the mind into a state of relaxation. This helps ease the mind and body into sleep.’ 

So, the next time you're having a sleepless night,  remedy your insomnia with a celebrity-narrated bed-time story on Calm.



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