The best relaxing podcasts to help you de-stress (and even fall asleep)

Expand your mind and relax with our pick of the best podcasts (Stock photo)
Expand your mind and relax with our pick of the best podcasts (Stock photo)

As the days get shorter and darker, our mood can start to drop alongside the temperature. When you’re getting cosy inside, it can sometimes be hard to shut your brain off and relax.

One thing that often helps people unwind is a relaxing podcast. Lie back, close your eyes, and listen to one of these calming podcasts to help your brain wind down.

From mindfulness to interesting TED talks, there’s a wealth of podcasts to try that will help to calm you down and help you feel inspired.

Best relaxing podcasts to listen to

1. The Mindful Podcast

If you’ve never tried mindfulness, it’s a simple form of meditation. It helps you to become present in what is going on, to become aware of where you are and what’s going on, without feeling overwhelmed.

The Mindful Podcast helps you achieve this state of mindfulness. The episodes are fairly short, containing either 10- or five-minute practices to try out from topics such as taming bad habits or feeling grateful.

There are also some long episodes that usually take place live, from experts in the field.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Podbean

2. Untangle

As well as mindfulness, podcasts are a great way to try out other forms of meditation. For instance, there’s the Untangle podcast. It focuses on real people who have used meditation to change their lives, as well as experts who want to help others learn and practise meditation.

One recent episode is a chat with Leora Fulvio, a therapist and mindfulness teacher. She discusses the importance of understanding our relationship with food and offers insights into mindful eating versus mindless eating.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher

3. TED Radio Hour

Many people love a good TED Talk and the TED Radio Hour is a way of bringing some of the best talks together. Each episode focuses on one topic, whether that’s Space, money, beauty, or medicine, with interviews and talk snippets from the interesting TED conferences that happen around the world.

TED talks cover a wide range of topics, from new business ideas to wellness tips (TED Radio Hour / NPR)
TED talks cover a wide range of topics, from new business ideas to wellness tips (TED Radio Hour / NPR)

For a good teaser of what to expect, tune in to How It All Began, concerning how humans came to be, and where we're going next.

Listen on NPR or Apple Podcasts

4. Soul Music

Soul Music is a lovely podcast from BBC Radio 4. Each episode explores one song and what it means to different people around the world.

It looks at the powerful, emotional impact music can have on people. It comes out fairly sporadically but it is a very soothing listen when it does. Try out the Waterloo Sunset episode, focusing on the Kinks’ hit number. The recent episode covering Toto's hit song Africa is an enjoyable listen, too.

Listen on the BBC

5. The Tapping Solution

Have you ever heard of tapping? If not, it’s a holistic-healing technique based on Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. It involves tapping with the fingertips on specific endpoints of the body, to calm the nervous system and restore the balance of energy.

Nick Ortner is credited with bringing tapping into the mainstream with his book The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living. As well as several books on the subject, there is also The Tapping Solution podcast, which aims to brighten your day and help you live your best life.

Try using tapping for optimal health, as well as releasing negative energy.

Listen on Stitcher

6. The Couragemakers

The Couragemakers podcast was started by Meg Kissack, of That Hummingbird Life. She started the podcast as a way to talk to women about the exciting missions they’re on and to inspire others to take courage and choose their own stories.

Recent episodes include an interview with academic and poetry writer Christina Thatcher, and using creativity to heal yourself with baker-turned-nutritionist Lily Calfee.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

7. Sleep and Relax ASMR

ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is all about ambient sounds, such as whispering, that people find relaxing and soothing.

This weekly podcast is designed to help people unwind and fall asleep, drawing on ASMR triggers such as whispers, gentle speech, and relaxing background noise, such as, uniquely, driving an old Volvo car around Sweden (who knew?) or tuning in to desert winds. Helpful for bouts of late-night insomnia.

Listen on sleep-and-relax-asmr/id1133320064" rel="nofollow">Apple Podcasts and sleep-and-relax-asmr" rel="nofollow">Stitcher

8. Longform

If you’re interested in writing, and even if you’re not, Longform is a great podcast to listen to. Each episode is a different interview with a writer, whether that’s a journalist, an author, or a podcast host. The episodes focus on the stories they make, how they found them, how they are inspired to write, and is a great one to listen to on long train journeys.

One episode to try is an interview with Ben Taub, a staff writer at the New Yorker, who has been covering the Syrian War. That may sound distressing but it’s very interesting to hear Taub’s take on it all.

It also helps that all three of Longform’s hosts have enjoyable voices to listen to.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher

9. An hour or so with Sue Perkins

If you're looking for intimate conversations with celebrities and comedians, you might head to Desert Island Discs, but there's always the fear someone might include a song you can't stand, which would ruin the feeling of zen.

An hour or so with Sue Perkins sees the comedian chat with interesting guests, such as Stewart Lee and Armando Iannucci, to engage in good, old-fashioned conversation, as she describes it. Relaxing and informative.

Host Sue Perkins chats with guests on her podcast (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Host Sue Perkins chats with guests on her podcast (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Audioboom