A bedtime story told by a parent is a beloved childhood memory for many people, including myself. As part of a nighttime practice, parents often read their children bedtime stories to help them go asleep and improve their language skills.
Thanks to modern technology, bedtime stories are no longer just for children. Free bedtime stories for adults can be streamed or downloaded from a variety of apps. To help you sleep better, you’ve undoubtedly already taken steps to establish a peaceful bedroom. When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, it’s important to incorporate bedtime stories into your routine.
Many studies have examined how noise interferes with sleep, but none have examined if listening to bedtime stories recorded for children could have a similar favorable effect on adult sleep. In order to find out what works best, I conducted my own research into adult bedtime stories. Take a look at my findings from a comparison of the most popular paid and free sleep apps for adults.
Calm – Sleep Meditations for Kids
Calm has recordings of bedtime stories ranging in duration from 25 to 40 minutes, allowing you to fall asleep before the narrative is over. Matthew McConaughey and other celebrities are among the readers of their stories. It’s unclear how many stories Calm has, but a quick look through the app reveals that there are at least 100.
Calm’s bedtime stories come in a range of genres, including:
- Popular Sleep Stories
- Celebrated Voices (stories read by celebrities)
- Sleep Stories for Kids
- Celebrating Earth
- Fiction Sleep Stories
- Non-Fiction Sleep Stories
- Nature Stories
- Refreshing Nap Stories
- ASMR Stories
Alternatively, if you like the narrator’s voice, you can listen to Calm bedtime stories read by the narrator. As a vegan social media star who follows Tabitha Brown’s deep and reassuring voice, I found her voice soothing. The music that plays in the backdrop of most stories, including hers, is usually soft and meditative.
My ability to focus on the story’s intricacies and plot was severely hindered by how peacefully each Calm sleep story made me feel. After pushing play, I fell asleep within five to ten minutes and couldn’t get back to sleep after that. Also, being able to access a variety of meditation recordings during the workday was a welcome perk.
There are a wide range of devices that may be used with Calm, including the Apple Watch and the Apple TV. Calm’s features can be accessed from a browser by those who prefer to use a computer or an incompatible device.
Creating an account or signing in using your email or Facebook account is required to access Calm’s seven-day free trial. There is a one-year trial fee of $70 for Calm. If you don’t want to pay, cancel the app before the free trial period ends! Some free elements, including a few sleep stories, remain available even if you cancel your subscription.
Moshi – Sleep Apps for Kids
The abundance of vibrant colors and cartoon characters quickly make it clear that Moshi is a children’s tale app. It goes without saying that adults are free to listen in on children’s stories at any time.
The software divides stories into those for the day and those for the night. The length of a nighttime story varies from 15 to 30 minutes. Goldie Hawn and Patrick Stewart read some of the stories, which you’ve probably never heard of. These are the main categories of stories that are told at night:
- Falling Asleep
- Night Wakeups
- Fairytale Fans
- Adventure Seekers
- Littler Listeners
- Older Listeners
- The Whole Family
- Most Popular
- Moshiphonic Journeys
- Phillipa Alexander
- Female Narrator
- Will Huggins
- Male Narrator
- Guest Narrator
“YoYo’s Sunset Chill Out Lounge” was one of the stories I tested out in the “Older Listeners” category. There is pleasant music and sounds accompanying the Moshi bedtime stories, but I didn’t find them really calming. But the clarity of the audio and the depth of the narrators’ voices made it difficult for me to fall asleep. While some adults could love Moshi, I would keep it for children only.
Moshi may be downloaded on a variety of platforms, including iOS, Android, and the Kindle Fire. Families will appreciate the ability to use three separate devices with just one membership.
Similar to Calm, a free seven-day trial of Moshi requires the creation of an account. It costs $60 a year or $13 per month to keep using the app once the free trial period finishes. Unless you unsubscribe within seven days of signing up, you will be billed for the membership, even if you simply wish to use the trial.
Headspace – Sleep Meditations for Kids
Headspace’s “sleepcasts” are stories that the popular meditation software delivers in addition to its guided meditations. Sleepcasts are 45 minutes long and comprise short fictitious stories.. Over fifty different sleep splints are available through the app.
The narrator’s voice is combined with natural noises such as rain or wind to create Headspace sleep casts. Ambient sounds can be set to be as loud or as quiet as you want them to be in Headspace, unlike many other sleep apps, which have a pre-set level of narrator narration volume.
A couple sleepcasts I attempted had ambient noises that I found annoying. They felt muddy and unnatural compared to other apps’ background sounds, like Calm, which were more realistic. Listening to the narration and ambient sounds together made it more difficult for me to fall asleep, but listening to the voice alone made it easier.
At the beginning of some Headspace sleepcasts, they are more like guided meditations. During these sleepcasts, the narrator encourages you to take a deep breath, reflect on your day, pay attention to specific parts of your body, or imagine a specific scene before they begin to narrate a narrative.
Apps for Headspace are available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
The sleepcasts are only available in the paid edition of Headspace. You must sign up for a free seven- or fourteen-day trial of Headspace Plus in order to listen to sleepcasts. After the free trial has expired, you will be charged either $70 annually or $13 monthly. Make sure you unsubscribe from the service if you don’t want to be billed when your free trial ends.
There are bedtime stories in BetterSleep, which was previously called Relax Melodies, in addition to a large music collection and the possibility for you to create your own ambient music and soundscapes. The average length of a BetterSleep story is between 30 and 60 minutes. The software also allows users to create playlists that include a variety of stories or a mix of both audio and video content. Playlists often last for at least two hours.
Both the narration and the background sounds in BetterSleep’s stories can be adjusted independently of one another, much like in Headspace. To my disappointment, I found the “Starship-28” stories less calming than other sleep apps. Even if I’m not a fan of science fiction and fantasy stories, some sleepers may appreciate that BetterSleep offers a wide variety of them. This app has a variety of bedtime stories about mermaids, druidesses, pirates, dragons, and genies that you may read to your children.
Please visit the Google Play Store and iTunes store to get BetterSleep.
There are only two bedtime stories available in the BetterSleep free edition of the app. A seven-day trial is required to gain access to the full collection of over 80 short stories. Afterwards, a year-long subscription costs $60, which is the full amount. Keep an eye out for discounts if you want to buy this app at a discount.
The Slumber app, in contrast to other meditation apps, focuses entirely on helping you fall asleep. There are four different options to choose from:
- Sleep Meditations
- Soothing Sounds
- Calming Stories
- Children’s stories
Adult bedtime stories can be found in the Calming Stories category. The stories range in duration from 15 minutes to an hour and come with the ability to loop songs, so they can be replayed after they finish. The following anthologies include slumber tales:
- Stories from the Jewelry Shop
- ASMR Sounds and Triggers
- Trains and Boats
- Story Stitches
- Travel Stories
- Back to Sleep Meditations
- The Hypnos Conundrum
- Nature Stories
- Dragon’s Fire
- Sleepy Bedtime Tales
- Dream Stories with Dan Jones
- Cozy Stories for Fall
- The Winter Collection
Listening to one of Slumber’s train-themed stories was a pleasant experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. Slumber allows you to choose the noises that accompany a bedtime reading. Snow storms and singing birds were a little too distracting for my taste, but the quiet crackling of “Fire” and rustling foliage helped me relax.
Slumber offers a seven-day free trial on both Apple and Android devices. In addition to the free trial, you can pay $8 per month or $40 per year, or $250 for unlimited access. If you don’t want to be charged, you must unsubscribe from the service.
Bedtime story app Sleepiest caters to those who enjoy reading at night. There are over 110 stories to choose from, including classics like Sherlock, Robin Hood, and Doctor Doolittle as well as more contemporary works by authors like Jane Austen and Emily Bront.
While most Sleepiest stories are between 20 and 30 minutes long, there were a few that ran all the way to 42 minutes. In the mood for some childhood nostalgia, I turned to The Velveteen Rabbit and The Secret Garden as audiobooks to pass the time. While listening to the stories, I was able to fall asleep easily because of the narrator’s British accent and pleasant tone.
Many other bedtime story applications do not include features like a timer that turns off the sound or an alarm that wakes you up when the timer expires. Intriguingly, the program also tracks your sleep statistics, which is unusual for sleep apps of this type.
Apple users can get Sleepiest, but Android users are out of luck for the time being. Create an account and sign up for a seven-day free trial to use Sleepiest. Afterward, the annual fee rises to $50, which works out to about $10 per month. If you don’t want to be charged, unsubscribe as soon as possible.
Advanced features like sleep tracking and alarms are available in Sleep Cycle, which is similar to Sleepiest. As a sleep tracking software, Sleep Cycle can make it tough to find the bedtime stories you’re looking for. To begin, you’ll need to answer a few questions, such as when you want to go to bed and when you want to get up. It’s not possible to skip this step and jump right into the story.
The bedtime stories are part of “Sleep Aid,” which also includes music, soundscapes, and guided meditations to assist you in falling asleep at a predetermined time. From 23 minutes to an hour and a half, Sleep Cycle has 13 stories to choose from.
“The forest” was a wonderfully soothing read for me. The narrator’s Scandinavian accent and slow, calm speaking style immediately put me to sleep. Even though it felt more like a guided meditation than an actual story, the narration was nonetheless enjoyable. This recording’s relaxing qualities are aided by the use of quiet background sounds.
Apple and Android users can both benefit from Sleep Cycle.
The Sleep Aid function, which incorporates stories, is only available in the premium edition of Sleep Cycle, which is available for a fee. For a limited time, Sleep Cycle is offering a free trial. An annual premium subscription costs $30 or $7 each month after the free trial expires.
Nighty Night – Sleep Stories for Kids
The Nighty Night app is one of our favorites when it comes to entertaining small kids. Several farm animals are depicted in the app’s bedtime story for toddlers. This book’s appeal comes from the charming graphics and the calming narration, as well as the straightforward plot and the numerous amusing things that animals do as they drift off to sleep.
Devices: Android, iPhone, iPad
Relax & Sleep Well
The narrator distinguishes Relax & Sleep Well’s bedtime stories for grownups from those found on other platforms. Known as one of the world’s foremost authorities on hypnosis, Glenn Harrold has worked with thousands of clients over the course of his career to help them alter their habits and improve their quality of sleep. With recorded meditations that both soothe you to sleep and encourage your brain to relax before bed, it’s like getting free hypnotherapy sessions. After the initial four free hypnosis sessions, you’ll need to purchase additional meditations to continue using the program.
Devices: Android, iPhone, iPad
Daniel Tiger Day and Night – Sleep Apps for Kids
Preparing for bed is all about following a routine. Getting your child used to the routine of getting ready for bed and going to school in the morning is easy with this PBS Kids sleep app. Before going to bed, your child can join Daniel Tiger as he bathes, brushes his teeth, and chooses his pajamas with the help of songs and games. Bedtime stories and songs are also included for your child to listen to as they help Daniel fly over the sky.
Devices: Android, iPhone, iPad
Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds – Sleep Music for Kids
It’s a one-stop shop for all of your needs. Whether it’s soothing music for children or soothing nature sounds, you have complete control over the music playing in the background. There are recordings of people leading others in meditation. You and your children can practice deep breathing techniques together. It even delivers bedtime stories that are based on fairytales. Time and bedtime reminders can be scheduled. It’s free to download, but there are optional in-app purchases.
Bedtime Music Lullaby Songs – Sleep Music for Kids
Using this software, you may put your youngster to sleep with soothing classical music. You can expect to hear works from Puccini and Tchaikovsky as well as Mendelssohn and Bizet. Stuff that won’t offend anyone. Also, it’s completely free.
Lullaby Songs For Sleep – Sleep Music for Kids
This software plays lullabies, such as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, that are sure to please any young child. Toggle between relaxing music, nature noises, and lullabies to suit your needs. With in-app purchases, it’s free.
Baby Shusher – Sleep Apps for Babies
This app is for you if you don’t want your most played music on Spotify Wrapped this year to be White Noise. White noise, especially being shushed, has a positive effect on infants. Parents may record their own shushes using this sleep app, which goes lung-for-lung to match the loudness of their baby’s cries. Furthermore, the Baby Shusher does not act in the same passive-aggressive manner as an exhausted parent when making white noise.
Sleep Hero – Sleep Apps for Babies
Get the Sleep Hero app instead of singing dreadful lullabies. Pre-recorded sounds are available, or you can submit your own nursery rhymes, stories, and songs. The sleep app responds to your baby’s cries by playing the music you’ve selected. As a drawback, the pressure to make a follow-up album increases if your fans become weary of listening to the same songs over and over again. These sequels aren’t as good as the first.
About $2.78 (iOS)
Sleepy Sounds – Sleep Apps for Babies
Do you recall the Pink Floyd laser performances in the planetarium when you were a kid? This sleep software may jog your memory if you’re able to use it. Sleepy Sounds not only plays lullabies and relaxing nature sounds on repeat, but it also displays an animated mobile to brighten up your child’s room. Sleep music may or may not line up with The Wizard of Oz.
Free (iOS) (Android)
Surfing On A Cloud: Meditation – Sleep Meditations for Kids
This software teaches youngsters as young as ten how to relax before night by practicing meditation and mindfulness. Children can learn mindfulness by imagining the colors and flavors of fruit in the form of guided meditations by Naya the Dream Fairy and audio storybook readings. It’s free.
Calm Meditation And Sleep Stories – Sleep Meditations for Kids
To solve yet another difficult problem, this app lets you listen to Matthew McConaughey reciting his dream story from Wonder as you sleep. Sold. However, there are meditations specifically designed for children. Songs from Aladdin, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King will also be included. It’s free to download, but there are optional in-app purchases.
Novel Effect – Sleep Stories for Kids
There is little doubt that novels would be enhanced if music accompanied the narration, as it does in films. So, do your best to put in the effort. Don LaFontaine, because this sleep app delivers original music and sound effects to accompany certain children’s books. To begin reading, simply select a title from the app’s library. It will start playing music based on where you are in the story, thanks to its voice recognition algorithms. Where the Wild Things Are, Cat in the Hat, and Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day are just few of the books available on the app.
White Noise Lite App – Bedtime Stories for Adults
It’s a great sleep app if you can’t get to sleep with the white noises that most machines have on board. It allows you to create your own personalized sleep soundtrack by combining several relaxing sounds. The program includes a library of 40+ pre-recorded sounds, as well as an option to create your own. Use it at night to help you sleep, or while you’re working to assist your brain focus amid stressful situations.
Download the White Noise Lite App for free from the App Store or Google Play.
Sleep With Me Podcast – Bedtime Stories for Adults
The goal of this program, which is titled “bedtime stories to assist grownups fall asleep in the long, dark night,” is to provide a bedtime story for the adults among us. Each episode of Drew Ackerman’s Sleep With Me, which has been running since 2013, will take you through a story that is long, quiet, and full of tangents. You’ll certainly fall asleep before the 60-minute program is up because of his soothing monotone voice. If you’re still awake, don’t worry. Sleep With Me has more than 940 episodes in the canonical library.
How do bedtime stories work?
If you’re looking for a soothing bedtime story app, you’ll want to go no farther than the narrators.
Listening to bedtime stories like these is like listening to white noise or the sound of rain or breaking waves, says Dr Melinda Jackson, a senior psychology lecturer at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
While listening, “there’s a voice in the background, but you’re not paying too much attention to what they are saying and that might be calming.”
People who suffer from excessive mental chatter may benefit from a distraction from their own thoughts.
How to use bedtime story apps correctly?
You should see your doctor if you use bedtime apps to fall asleep every night, advises Sleep Health Foundation chairwoman Prof. Dorothy Bruck.
If you’ve developed a habit of relying on a sleep aid to get to sleep, you may find it difficult to do so on your own in the future, she explains.
Like a newborn with a bottle, it’s like this: Due to a lack of relaxation skills, they require a dummy to sleep, wake up in the night, and can’t get back to sleep without it.