How Audiobooks Could Contain The Secret To Getting A Good Night’s Sleep Update 05/2022

My roommate, Winston, had been listening to an audiobook on his tape player, and it finally put me to sleep after weeks of insomnia. It was my first trip away from home, and it was difficult to get a good night’s sleep in the Never Sleeping City. No kid in an American suburb would be able to sleep well at night after hearing the unfamiliar sounds of gunfire and sirens at Bedford Park and Grand Concourse.

When it came to reading, I’d always thought ink on paper and the sound of pages turning was the only way to truly appreciate a tale. “HarperAudio presents The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” sounded like a bunch of noise to me at first. Who in their right mind would want to add additional noise to the circus that is already going on around us?

That’s a no-brainer, right? I was too fatigued to dispute because it was a children’s title and it was 11 at night. I’d just turn it off after he fell asleep.

That wasn’t the case, however. Listening to the story brought back memories of being a child and having my father read to me in bed.

My fears about living in New York and missing my family appeared to go away as I listened to the audiobook. I fell asleep quickly.

Nine years later, I rarely fall asleep without an audiobook playing in the background.

How audiobooks could contain the secret to getting a good night’s sleep

With the help of the Sleep Council, a new project is using cutting-edge audio techniques and ASMR to help insomniacs get some much-needed shut-eye.

We all know that sleep is a precious commodity, but we’ve all spent the majority of our lives unable to get a good night’s rest. Six out of 10 Britons say they have problems falling asleep, and over half say their daily anxieties keep them up on a regular basis.

Reading at night has long been a popular strategy for relieving stress and soothing the mind for many people. At the conclusion of a long day, these things can be difficult to accomplish, especially after you’ve already put in an exhausting amount of effort. Even so, what if things were made easier?

Penguin Sleep Tales, a new collection of stories for both adults and children, was introduced this month by our audiobooks team in collaboration with the Sleep Council. They provide a novel technique to deal with insomnia by combining the age-old power of a calming narrative read aloud to a child with modern audio technology.

Katie Bilboa, an audiobook producer, says, ‘We know that a rising number of individuals are adopting audiobooks as part of their nighttime ritual, and that sleep and sleep health have been an expanding trend for some time.’

The stories themselves have a distinctive tone that sets them apart from other audiobooks. To help you drift off to sleep in the most peaceful way possible, they employ soothing sounds like rain and lapping waves to help you drift off to sleep.

The Sleep Council commissioned a survey in 2014, and the results included a list of specific sound effects that people said helped them relax and drift off to sleep. There are hints to serene natural settings and relaxing experiences such as sitting by a campfire and waiting out a thunderstorm in the design of the piece. “Wakarango Mai” takes place in Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s hot springs region, while “Hammock on a Distant Shore” takes place in a tropical island paradise. both are excellent reads! As a result, you, the reader, are often given a sense of agency in the plot. It has a meditative quality about it.

Tales have a number of notable variations in their recordings compared to more conventional audiobooks. The stories’ pacing and delivery are noticeably more laid-back.

They have no climax, ‘Katie adds; they are designed to occupy your brain just enough to let you switch off from other thoughts without overstimulating you.’

Recording the voice-over was also more difficult than with typical audiobooks.

[The voice actors] were urged not to be overly enthusiastic or excited, and to recite their lines very slowly, increasing their pace as they neared the end of each track’

In addition to ASMR, the YouTube phenomenon in which tapping, whispering and other noises generate “mind tingles” in some listeners, many believe that these sounds help them go asleep. In ‘The Magic Bookshop,’ the slow page flipping is a common ASMR trigger.

“A good night’s sleep begins with a regular bedtime routine and adequate relaxation time,” says sleep expert Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council. Before going to sleep, listening to an audiobook can help you relax.’

The Sleep Council commissioned a survey in 2014, and the results included a list of specific sound effects that people said helped them relax and drift off to sleep. There are hints to serene natural settings and relaxing experiences such as sitting by a campfire and waiting out a thunderstorm in the design of the piece. “Wakarango Mai” takes place in Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s hot springs region, while “Hammock on a Distant Shore” takes place in a tropical island paradise. both are excellent reads! As a result, you, the reader, are often given a sense of agency in the plot. It has a meditative quality about it.

Tales have a number of notable variations in their recordings compared to more conventional audiobooks. The stories’ pacing and delivery are noticeably more laid-back.

They have no climax, ‘Katie adds; they are designed to occupy your brain just enough to let you switch off from other thoughts without overstimulating you.’

Recording the voice-over was also more difficult than with typical audiobooks.

[The voice actors] were urged not to be overly enthusiastic or excited, and to recite their lines very slowly, increasing their pace as they neared the end of each track’

These other features include the YouTube phenomenon known as ASMR, which produces “mind tingles” in some listeners via tapping, whispering, and other sounds. In ‘The Magic Bookshop,’ the slow page flipping is a common ASMR trigger.

“A good night’s sleep begins with a regular bedtime routine and adequate relaxation time,” says sleep expert Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council. Before going to sleep, listening to an audiobook can help you relax.’

Music, TV, and Audiobooks – The Good, The Bad, and The Unknown (Mostly)

MUSIC – The Good

Almost from the moment we were born, music has been a sleep aid. Sleeping music has evolved over the years, from lullabies and classical music to modern bands like Radiohead, LORDE, and Adele. There’s a friend of mine who actually doeszes off to Kanye West. Not for me: I’ve tried it.

Classical music was used in a 2006 study to help pupils who were having trouble falling asleep. Students who listened to music slept more soundly than those who didn’t, according to the results of this study. This is only one of many studies showing how relaxing music can be for people’s sleep patterns.

TV – The Bad

Doctors and experts from around the world are now warning that watching television at night can harm your health, much like our parents warned us about the dangers of watching television as children. According to experts at Harvard Medical School, blue light from screens delays the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Light with short wavelengths and high levels of energy is known as a shortwave infrared light. As these wavelengths can penetrate deep into the eye, they can cause a heightened state of alertness and may even reset the body’s circadian cycle, or internal clock.

To promote sleep, the body and mind must be properly prepared when melatonin synthesis is disrupted.

It was observed that people who watched more than 2 hours a day of TV were three times as likely to wake up in the middle of the night, had more difficulty falling asleep, and had poorer sleep quality than those who watched no TV at all.

AUDIOBOOKS – The Unknown

How do audiobooks measure up to other options for late-night listening? It’s no secret that audiobooks and podcasts aren’t new forms of media, but their popularity has skyrocketed recently. Even though so many people tune in to them shortly before they go to sleep, there has been little research on how effective they are in helping people sleep.

Music has been shown to help people who have difficulty sleeping in a study conducted in 2006, as previously noted. Even though it’s not characterized as “statistically significant,” this trial found that listening to audiobooks improved the quality of one’s sleep.

Despite the lack of scientific support for audiobooks, they nonetheless have a nighttime benefit. Audiobooks may be a useful tool for people who have trouble falling asleep because of the blue light emitted by electronic devices such as smartphones, TVs, and computers. They may also help you relax by taking your mind off of the stresses of daily life. You also get to read more, which is a win-win!

Does Reading While Sleeping Make People More Intelligent?

The answer is a resounding yes. It is possible to become a more intelligent person by listening to audiobooks while falling asleep. As a result, it would make life considerably easier. However, the reality is that it does not. There have been accounts of people improving their foreign language skills and retaining more of the details of dreams in which their auditory memories were being processed. It’s also worth noting that studies have shown that those who sleep can really pick up new information.
Two young sisters lying in bed and listening music through the headphones

Isn’t that something out of a sci-fi novel? Is it possible to learn quantum physics and ancient Aztec languages while snoozing? Even though it was amazing in and of itself, the information that was gleaned wasn’t all that interesting. According to the research, those who fall asleep have the ability to retain and acquire new words and sound patterns.

Memory retention has certain advantages. Listening to a book about a topic could help people remember it more easily. Learning while you’re asleep isn’t currently relevant to audiobooks.

Students who are preparing for a test or exam may benefit from listening to instructional resources. However, there are no studies to support the idea that listening to a book in a foreign language may assist people learn it.

Listening to audiobooks while you’re sleeping isn’t likely to raise your IQ. However, it is unlikely to have any effect on it. It’s simply a little inconvenience if you wake up to find that your audiobook has been playing all night.

Tips

How to Choose the Right Book

When listening to audiobooks while trying to go asleep, it’s crucial to try new things. Listen to a variety of genres and see which one helps you relax and drift off to sleep the best. Some books will keep you awake at night while others will put you to sleep. In my case, it’s either a worry or an idea that keeps my mind spinning that keeps me up at night. Here’s an example of an audiobook that didn’t work for me in the second scenario:

I’m a huge fan of screenwriting and the art of telling stories in general.. I downloaded a screenwriting guide called Save the Cat a few weeks ago. While lying in bed, I made a terrible mistake by listening to this. All of a sudden, I was bursting with tale concepts. I was sitting at my computer before I realized it, typing them all down. I couldn’t go to sleep because I was so enthralled by what I was hearing and writing.

The upshot was that I slept very little and had a difficult day at work the next day.

Unfortunately, this audiobook choice didn’t help me get some shut-eye.

It’s critical to know your personality type before diving into an audiobook. Go for it if you can sleep through a decent story. A fast-paced story may not be for you if you tend to become sucked into a book and can’t wait for the next exciting development before drifting off to sleep.

In contrast to creative nonfiction and fiction, historical books tend not to have the same underlying motivation that makes them compelling reads.

It’s also possible that self-help books will prove to be beneficial. I’m now listening to a book called Sleep by Nick Littlehales, and despite the fact that it’s not uninteresting, the speaker’s tone and the subject matter make it easy for me to fall asleep.

If you’re not careful, self-help literature can keep you up at night. People can have a very restless night if they start thinking about all the ways they can quickly better their lives.

In recent years, podcasts have grown in popularity as an alternative to audiobooks. History, technology, cinema, and more are among the topics covered. If you have a particular interest, there is probably a podcast out there that you could listen to while dozing off.

The Narrator

It is possible for a fine novel to be ruined by an unreliable narrator. It’s also possible to put your mind at ease by listening to an excellent narrator with a calming voice. In order to fall asleep while listening to an audiobook, the narrator may be more crucial than the book itself. Harry Potter is my go-to audiobook when I’m stumped for what to listen to, not only because I adore the stories but also because I already know the plots so well that I don’t need to listen. In just a few minutes of listening to Jim Dale’s narrator, I’ll be sound asleep.
Additionally, many authors read their own novels in audiobooks. Ad libs and side remarks not found in the published versions are commonplace. Try a variety of narrators, just like with genres. Find a sleep aid you enjoy and stick with it until the end of time.

Set a Sleep Timer

Setting a timer in most audiobook apps is commonplace. If the book is excessively long, it makes it easier for the next day’s students to find their spot. There are a variety of timer options available so you can determine how long you believe it will take you to fall asleep. Even better, they can be programmed to expire at the conclusion of each chapter.

Lock Your Phone and LISTEN

While listening to an audiobook, you may feel tempted to check your email, Instagram, or Tinder. It’s best to turn off your phone, dim the lights, and just read. Listening to a book while trying to go asleep is a great way to get some shut-eye.

Audio Book Sources

Media, including audiobooks, are more accessible than ever before thanks to on-demand and subscription services. If you buy them all at once, they can cost up to $50 each title. It’s easy to find nice books at reasonable prices at these stores.

Audible

In the world of online books, Amazon is the undisputed leader. Readers can download a free book for 30 days as part of a free trial. After that, they charge $14.95 a month for a single download. Listeners can exchange books they’ve finished or don’t like for extra credit, and they get access to hundreds of thousands of titles.

Libby

A Microsoft OneDrive service, Libby, provides access to online library resources. This portal provides consumers with easy access to the ebooks and audiobooks available at their local library. This method of borrowing may not have as many titles as other options, but it’s free, so you don’t have to do anything other than get your library card and download the app.

Podcasts

There are several fantastic places to find decent podcasts, however they aren’t exactly a resource per se. A host of other services including Spotify and others. An entire podcast series is devoted to providing bedtime stories for grown-ups, titled Sleep With Me. You can utilize YouTube to extend your search, but if you do this route make sure not to view, turn your phone screen facing down so that you are forced to simply listen to the content.

The Library

This was the beginning of my career. Audiobooks can be leased from most libraries in CD or cassette form, if technology isn’t your thing. You never know what you’ll find if you stop by a branch in your neighborhood.

A Starting Place

I’ve previously linked a few novels, but here are a few more audiobooks and podcasts that I think are worth checking out.

  • Amy Poehler narrates Yes Please by Amy Poehler.
  • Jill Tanner narrates Ian McEwan’s Atonement.
  • An adaptation of Joe Harris, Chris Carter, and Dirk Maggs’ The X-Files: Cold Cases, narrated by a variety of artists,
  • Scott Brick narrates Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton.
  • Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows, read by Anthony Heald, is a classic.
  • An audiobook adaptation of The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, voiced by Bryan Cranston.
  • Rob Inglis reads J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • Anthony Heald narrates Homer’s The Iliad.
  • Stephen R. Covey narrates The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.
  • It was narrated by actor and voice actor Jason Isaacs in Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls.

Podcasts

  • Sarah Koenig is the host of the Serial Podcast.
  • Otis Gray hosts Sleepy.
  • Ackerman hosts the Drew Ackerman-hosted Sleep with Me podcast.
  • Paul Scheer and Amy Nicholson hosted Unspooled.

Honorable Mentions

Even though these books and podcasts are excellent, it’s possible that they will keep you awake since they are amusing or entertaining enough. However, I’ve fallen asleep while listening to them, and I’m sure many others can do the same.

  • Jim Gaffigan narrates Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat.
  • By Mark Manson, recounted by Rodger Wayne in the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
  • Wil Wheaton narrates Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.
  • ‘Born to Run’ by Christopher McDougall, narrated by Fred Sanders.
  • Dax Shepard hosts Armchair Expert.

Conclusion

Research is needed to better understand how audiobooks may or may not aid sleepers. However, they are not suitable for everyone, especially if you need a good night’s sleep. Depending on the story, some people will stay awake and alert while others will fall asleep. You’ll have to give one a whirl to find out for yourself. Even if they don’t work as a sleep aid, at least you’ve learned something new about reading. Regardless, I’ll continue to use them when the lights go off. I hope you get a good night’s sleep!

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