The pandemic has people across the world experiencing the effects of prolonged stress and uncertainty. One of those effects is trouble sleeping and inadequate sleep duration.
In one study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 56% of participants reported disturbances to their sleep since the onset of the COVID-19.
Insomnia and other sleep disorders have always been common, but now the world is recognizing the harm that losing sleep does to health and well-being. Celebrities are stepping up to help.
Welcome to the wonderful world of celebrity sleep stories.
Out of a combination of nostalgia and necessity, celebrity bedtime stories have surged in popularity. Some stories are free; some require a paid subscription to an app like Calm or Audible. All are meant to help the frazzled public get the sleep they so desperately need.
10 Great Ways to Fall Asleep with the Stars
Matthew McConaughey reading Wonder on Calm
It’s hard to deny that McConaughey was blessed with a spectacular voice. Here he uses it to slow the pace of the world with his narration of the book Wonder.
Wonder is a poignant story, but not depressing or tragic. Listening to a chapter a night should encourage drowsiness.
Emma Thompson Reading Emma on Audible
Emma Thompson’s refined English accent makes her the perfect choice to read Jane Austen’s Emma. Thompson’s delivery is a little quick, so it may not be quite as inherently soothing.
Emma, however, is a great choice for Austen fans already familiar with the story. Settle into the rhythms of Thompson’s voice and Austen’s prose for a relaxing bedtime story.
Tom Hanks Reading The Dutch House on Audible
Tom Hanks’ voice in this narration is even and smooth. It might be best to listen to the audiobook once while awake before using it as a sleep aid.
The Dutch House moves at a leisurely pace and there’s not a lot of jarring action. As a repeat listen it’s a nice story for nodding off.
Harry Styles Reading Dream With Me on Calm
Harry Styles’ voice is wonderful, with his light English accent and his intentional, smooth modulation. This story has some spare, soft music to help you sleep.
Dream With Me is a series of paragraphs meant to evoke images and feelings of calm and serenity. Not keeping track of a storyline makes it easier to nod off.
Dame Mary Berry’s Afternoon Tea Party with ASMR on Calm
This interesting video is filled with ASMR elements of baking, setting a table, and more. Dame Mary Berry has a very proper English accent, softened and slowed for this sleep story.
In this case, the voice plays second fiddle to the ASMR elements. Those who are soothed by these everyday sounds will find this a particularly good choice.
Anna Kendrick Reading Poppy and the Quest for Calm on Calm
Anna Kendrick tones down her usually peppy voice and keeps it smooth and relaxing for this children’s story. Poppy and the Quest for Calm is a story about trolls.
This is a nice choice for relaxing before bedtime. It isn’t quite as soothing as some of the others but is calming. This type of story makes an excellent addition to your pre-bedtime routine.
Cillian Murphy Reads Crossing Ireland by Train on Calm or YouTube
This is a perfect combination. Murphy’s soft, lyrical Irish accent takes the listener on a journey across his home country. Without a plot to follow, it’s particularly soothing.
Evoking enough imagery to keep minds from wandering, this is a very nice bedtime story that encourages sleepiness and may have you snoring before the end.
Kelly Rowland Reads Myth of the Baby Dragon on Calm
Who better to use their voice for the good of an exhausted world than a singer? Kelly Rowland soothes as she reads this story that is part of the Calm app’s Lionwood series. Her voice is soft and light, and somehow melodic even when she reads.
Keanu Reeves Narrates Living Among Trees on HBO Max or Calm
Calm and HBO teamed up in 2020 to produce a series of relaxing videos narrated by stars including Nicole Kidman and Zoe Kravitz. Keanu Reeves narrates episode 5, Living Among Trees.
Reeves’ voice-over reflects his calm worldview. This series has a lot to offer, with a voice for every taste. The video element makes it ideal for those who like to watch TV while they fall asleep.
Idris Elba Reads Kingdom of the Sky on Calm
Elba’s resonant voice soothes as he reads Kingdom of the Sky. Elba’s story is a travelogue of Lesotho. Travelogues make good sleep recordings—interesting enough to keep your mind from spinning into worry, but not enough to interfere with nodding off.
Relax and let yourself drift off to these stories to help you sleep, read by your favorite celebrities.