SleepPhones® and Audiobooks

How Audiobooks Have Become a Great Sleep Aid

Being "plugged in" doesn't have to mean staring at a screen. Sometimes it means kicking back, relaxing, and listening to a good audiobook.

Audiobooks in recent years have grown to become one of the most popular types of content our friends and customers have reported listening to with their SleepPhones® (our high fidelity flat speakers, designed for sleeping and housed within a comfortable headband). They've been adopted by on-the-go listeners and individuals needing a calming voice to tune into before bed.

Since we're in the business of helping folks sleep better, we thought we might do some research to find out if there are benefits of listening to an audiobook while falling asleep. Can "plugging in" actually help us fall asleep faster? And are there any narrators who read with a particularly sleep-inducing voice?

Perks of an Audiobook

Arguably, one the biggest benefits of an audiobook is the ability to multitask while reading. Turn a long drive into an adventure, chores into entertaining activities, or share a story with someone without worrying about who is going to turn the page first. Moreover, to insomniacs and those with sleep disorders, audiobooks have become an invaluable sleep aid.

But there is a problem with this seemingly simple sleep solution; many couples differ on their preference to sleep with or without sound. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation found that 74% of people require a quiet room to get a good night's rest. With SleepPhones®, the remaining 26% can combine the calming effects of an soothing narrator and they'll be out-like-a-light without disturbing their partner.

Listening to Audiobooks Before Bed

There is a reason the phrase "bedtime story" exists. It's because it works like a charm. Think about bedtime stories when you were a kid; weren't you the one listening to them? Also consider your sleep quality as a child; was it better, or worse?

The reason it's important to consider these questions is because reading can actually stimulate your brain to the point where it is more difficult to fall asleep. Conversely, clinical psychologist Dr. Damon Ashworth, ( found that he actually fell asleep nearly an hour earlier every night when listening to an audiobook.

But the benefits didn't stop there. When comparing reading a book to listening to an audiobook, Dr. Ashworth noted numerous improvements, which included:

  • Improved sleep efficiency
  • Less time awake during the night
  • Sleeping 30 minutes longer per night
  • Waking up 37 minute earlier in the morning
  • Waking up less per night

Sleep-Inducing Narrators

Once in while, there comes an audiobook narrator that can create a whole audioscape with just their voice. They can make the story exciting, emotional, or they can lull us to sleep. Here are three narrators we thought might help you catch some Z's:

  • Stephen Fry: Whether he is acting, writing, or reading audiobooks, Stephen Fry's tone of voice is superb for unwinding. He has narrated all seven British versions of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and two of his own books entitled The Stars' Tennis Balls and Moab Is My Washpot. The British timbre of Fry's voice is modulated, plummy, yet silvery; a perfect concoction for a peaceful night's sleep.
  • Eckhart Tolle: Not only are Tolle's books about comforting topics such as happiness, mindfulness, and joy, but his voice is also soothing. He is soft-spoken, yet his voice is thick and matter-of-fact. Moreover, throughout Tolle's books there are soothing tones and white noise to lead you into a restful sleep.
  • Jeremy Irons: Once again, the British narrators seem to have a way about that them. Irons is well known for reading Lolita, The Alchemist, and James and the Giant Peach. His voice is rich and whimsical yet steady and gruff. Iron's tone is analogous to the late Leonard Cohen but with a British twist that’s just right for hitting the hay.

Always Better Than Screen Time

Whether you're reading or listening to a book, either is better than staring at a screen before bed. In fact, exposure to light suppresses the natural secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms. However, according to Harvard Medical School, while all light seems to have an adverse effect on sleep, blue light, the kind emitted from electronics, has twice the suppression power of melatonin as that of other lights of comparable brightness.

Better Sleep with an Audiobook

Listening to audiobooks before bed can be great, but the wrong headphones or earbuds can be uncomfortable and and keep you awake. Fortunately, AcousticSheep has created SleepPhones®, the world's most comfortable headphones specifically designed for sleeping. Our super-soft headband contains thin padded speakers that makes listening to music, guided meditation, podcasts and of course, audiobooks a comfortable, medicine-free sleep aid.

If you're interested in learning more, visit or click here to visit our online store.

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