Bedtime stories aren’t just for kids. In fact, many adults have admitted to using audiobooks, meditational videos, or background noise to help them get a better night’s rest. We’re here to tell you how the best relaxing audiobooks can help you fall asleep quickly and deeply.
Many people find different things relaxing, some people like to immerse themselves in fantasy before bed, whereas others simply like falling asleep to a light-hearted, simple fictional book.
Non-fiction, action, and mystery are all overly stimulating, meaning listening to any of these genres may actually keep you awake with their fast-paced narratives or thought-provoking plot lines.
The narrator can also be something to bear in mind, some voices are more soothing than others, so if you find a voice you particularly like, be sure to research what else they’ve narrated and find your perfect relaxing audiobook.
Whether you’re new to the audiobook scene or whether you use audiobooks daily, these are the 20 best relaxing audiobooks for all users.
The 20 Best Relaxing Audiobooks
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Conversations with Friends is one of Sally Rooney’s most beloved novels. It follows Frances and Bobbi who, despite their chemistry, remain best friends and attempt to navigate their careers independently.
When their paths cross with married couple Nick and Melissa, everything changes and both enter different affairs. This is a story of deceit, complex relationships, friendships, sex, and vulnerability.
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
To the Lighthouse follows the Ramsay family in their summer house on the Scottish Isles. In classic Woolf fashion, the story centers around a feminist principle – the distinctions between femininity and masculinity.
Despite this thought-provoking theme, the descriptions of the peaceful, summer weather and the rolling waves on the Scottish coastline will be perfect to help you ease into sleep.
Bedtime Stories for Stressed Out Adults: Tales to Soothe Tired Souls by Lucy Mangan
This book does exactly what it claims. Bedtime Stories for Stressed Out Adults is hypnotic and relaxing – the perfect choice for anyone struggling to sleep.
Each of the stories included in this set contains extensive descriptions, soothing settings, and fantasy elements that’ll help stop you from overthinking before bed, and also come with simple breathing exercises to help physically relax your body.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a magical, enchanting, easygoing story that will whisk you away from your worries before bed.
The story follows 11-year-old Harry as he finds out he belongs in another, magical realm away from his awful uncle and aunt. Harry dives headfirst into this extraordinary world and must navigate school, friendships, charms, and professors.
This one is great to read before bed, but remember that as the books progress, they get more intense, so the later ones may be less relaxing!
Mythos by Stephen Fry
Mythos delicately unravels ancient myths and legends, allowing all readers access to what have been known as some of the most complicated stories ever written.
Stephen Fry brings these stories to life with vivid descriptions, humor, and emotion. These stories provide a gateway to the ancient world, so even if you’re totally new to mythology, you’ll be able to understand and picture these adventurous stories.
An Inventory of Losses by Judith Schalansky
This fascinating book delves into 12 lost treasures – a tiger species, a Greek love poem, a Roman villa, and a painting. Driven by interest, research, and a desire to spread awareness, Schlalnsky dives into memory and history and changes the way her readers think about extinction.
An Inventory of Losses is an easygoing, descriptive story of lost beauty and antiquity.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
You may have seen this brilliant book advertised in your local bookstore or on social media. This book has dominated book news and has been incredibly popular since its release. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is an inspiring, heartfelt story of friendship, love, generosity, and vulnerability.
This is a story of life lessons, hope, and connection. Perfect for any age and beautifully told both on audio and paper.
Wild Signs & Star Paths: The Keys to Our Lost Sixth Sense by Tristan Gooley
This one will make you feel in touch with nature, instructing you how to direct yourself with only the help of natural signs and star alignment. Wild Signs & Star Paths is brilliantly detailed and filled with some shocking facts about wildlife and plants.
Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection by Haemin Sunim
This compassionate book is the perfect, positive way to end your day. Love for Imperfect Things encourages readers to embrace individuality and learn to love themselves.
This self-help book is perspective-changing and instructive in a very calming way. It will encourage you to maintain fulfilling relationships, care for yourself, and allow yourself to be loved the way you deserve.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This book is a romantic classic, narrated by the brilliant actress Rosamund Pike. Pride and Prejudice is a story of wealth, class, love, marriage, and status. It’s a 19th-century gossipy novel that centers around the lives of 5 sisters.
The protagonist, Lizzie Bennet is a well-known feminist character who prioritizes independence and love over marriage and status, a controversial move considering the restrictions and expectations surrounding 19th-century womanhood.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
For those looking for an interesting and slightly different book before bed, Slouching Towards Bethlehem might be the perfect choice. It’s a collection of short stories, narrated by Diane Keaton, that delves into 1960s San Francisco.
The book concentrates on Howard Hughes and John Wayne, two public figures from the time, and reflects on an often romanticized period.
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
For those of you who find relaxation in summer romances, Call Me By Your Name is the audiobook for you. The book centers around two men, who stumbled into each other’s lives in the Tuscan countryside.
With vivid descriptions capable of transporting you to the iconic, peaceful Italian landscape and characters that will help you fall in love with the story, this is a raw, passionate, and indulgent novel worthy of all its positive reviews.
Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home by Nina Stibbe
After moving to London to work for a family as a nanny, Nina writes home to her sister, documenting every experience, achievement, and failure along the way.
Love, Nina contains some entertaining anecdotes, some hilarious adventures, and some personal stories that perhaps provide a little too much information.
Black Girl, Call Home by Jasmin Mans
Black Girl, Call Home is a beautiful poetry collection that will send you to sleep with calming, lyrical lines and fantastic imagery. Jasmine Mans writes about herself, her experiences, and her journey to adulthood.
She tells of her battles with racism and delves into her search for belonging as a queer black woman. This is a story of healing, individuality, and growth.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
If you’re an audiobook regular, chances are you’ve already come across this one. As the bestselling audiobook of its generation, Becoming is well worth the listen. Written and narrated by Michelle Obama, she gives us a highly personal insight into her childhood, adolescence, growth, marriage, and journey to motherhood.
This is the story of America’s first black first lady, written with such intricacy and emotion and narrated in such a personal way, Obama will make you feel like you’re having a long catch-up with a friend. She dives into challenges, failures, and prejudices that she faced navigating her path to success and provides some heartfelt advice that will change the way you think about one of America’s most beloved women.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Although this was originally written as a children’s book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is equally as immersive and allegorical for adult readers. The story follows 4 siblings – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy – who have been evacuated to the English countryside to escape the Blitz that stormed London during the Second World War.
There they find a secret land hidden at the back of the wardrobe which will open their eyes to new creatures and principles and help them discover their purposes. Adventurous, vivid, and endearing, this is a classic that’ll ease your stress.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Realistic, funny, and raw, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine delves into the protagonist’s issues with social interaction and her newly rejuvenated love life.
This unusual heroine may appeal to many readers because of its relatability. Weird, witty, and heartfelt, this one is comforting to listen to and will send you to sleep in no time.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
The first book in Tolkien’s epic fantasy series, The Fellowship of the Ring is a heartwarming, captivating story that will immerse you in a new world and help you escape reality.
The story primarily focuses on Frodo Baggins, a Hobbit from the Shire, whose uncle owns the most dangerous ring in Middle Earth. In order to destroy it, Frodo, along with a group of others, must journey across the realm, fight numerous battles, and even lose their lives.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
In this epic book, Bryson takes on some of the biggest and most intense scientific and philosophical questions ever asked. He discusses everything from the Big Bang to questions about human behavior on his journey to expand his knowledge and interest in science.
A Short History of Nearly Everything explores the advancement of human intelligence, the powers of nature and technology, and the development of civilization. Bryson writes with humor, intrigue, and genuine fascination. His narration is captivating and the topics included are not only interesting but calming to read too.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
This New York Times bestseller has since been made into a film adaptation starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. Wonder is a story based on a boy born with a facial deformity. Auggie has avoided normal schools for fear of bullying but is now starting at a new school.
Although his parents and sister worry, Auggie feels he must overcome his fears and is excited about the challenges that a new school will bring. This book encompasses numerous different perspectives, including Auggie, his classmates, and his close family members. It explores the strains enforced on family dynamics and the mental repercussions of living with a deformity. This is a beautiful, inspiring, and heartwarming read – perfect for bedtime!
Whatever your style, genre, or thematic preference, there’s something here for everyone. Whether you want to finish the day on a positive note, learn a thing or two, or immerse yourself in a whole new world, this list has it all.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can audiobooks help with anxiety?
Yes – it has been scientifically proven that listening to audiobooks can help ease stress and anxiety because it keeps the mind occupied.
Why are audiobooks good for sleeping?
Listening to an audiobook can help your mind and eyes relax while you just let the words wash over you. The soothing voice of a good narrator can also help you feel more relaxed too.
Are audiobooks as good for you as reading?
Listening activates a completely different part of the brain from reading, so they’re both beneficial in different ways. Listening to audiobooks can still help develop your reading skills, improve reading pace, and aid pronunciation too.
Do you learn from audiobooks?
Although you’re consuming the knowledge in a different way, by listening to an audiobook you can still learn everything you would by reading it.