Sometimes, falling asleep is a real struggle. Whether you find it difficult to unwind after a stressful day, or your mind won’t stop racing over tomorrow’s to-do list, a disconnect between a tired body and a wired mind can keep anyone up at night. But Sleepcasts might just be able to help.
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Sleepcasts are essentially sleep podcasts, or audio content designed to help soothe your mind at night so it can disengage from the day’s worries and (finally) fall asleep. The feature is one of many offered by Headspace, an online healthcare company focusing on meditation. Its app is chock-full of tools for helping you meditate, reduce stress and anxiety, be more mindful, and—you guessed it—fall asleep at night.
The audio consists of gentle sounds and a simple narrated story told in a low soothing voice, like a bedtime story. Each one typically lasts anywhere from 45-55 minutes and consists of multiple sections like breathing techniques, visualizations, meditation exercises, and the narrated story about a dreamy landscape with a quiet, yet immersive, soundtrack behind it. The guided journey is just interesting enough to focus your mind (read: getting it to forget about everything else), but not enough to keep you awake.
And what’s really cool about Sleepcasts? Headspace shuffles the order daily, so there’s no set beginning, middle, or end. This prevents you from memorizing the narrative (which would engage your mind, rather than relax it), and it means you can leave off and pick up anywhere without missing a beat. All you have to do is lay down and enjoy a peaceful story. Many find that this type of content, rather than white noise, is more conducive to falling asleep quickly and staying asleep.
A few story options include Indigo Gallery, which offers a space for busy minds to rest; Night Town where you can escape your stress in a sleepy town; and Desert Campfire, which offers comfort for worrying minds.
Sleepcasts are a great tool that makes it a little bit easier to find more balance and peace each day and each night. Sleepcasts are an extension of the helpful articles, meditations, and stories offered by Headspace to help you reduce and manage all kinds of issues caused by stress or a lack of focus. These kinds of issues, if left unchecked, can disrupt many aspects of your life including your sleep, which can cause other disruptions in a vicious circle. Sleepcasts help you set up a healthy bedtime routine, which will eventually become a habit that trains your brain to let go of anxieties as night approaches and peacefully fall asleep.
Sleepcasts (a la Headspace) offers a free trial for the first two weeks, then you can continue with a monthly or annual subscription. Pricing starts at $5.83 per month, and gives you access to the entire app, not just sleep-centric content. Headspace offers student and family pricing as well, which is great if your spouse, kids, or parents also have trouble falling asleep.