Published on May 18, 2020

You’ve finally stopped scrolling through your news updates. You put your phone facedown on your bedside table and close your eyes. The next moment, you hear the smooth voice of someone calmly guiding you through a meditation. Or maybe they’re telling you a story from ancient history. Or maybe they’re reciting facts from a pivotal sports game. You find yourself, for the first time in a while, drifting off to sleep quickly and soundly. It’s no wonder these audiobooks are among Audible‘s most popular current downloads.

The audio company’s sleep collection, which includes guided meditations, soundscapes (basically, nature sounds that aren’t unlike a sound bath), ASMR, and traditional bedtime stories filled up its best-seller list in early May, probably because more people are having a hard time falling asleep. According to an April report from Express Scripts, prescriptions for anti-insomnia, anti-anxiety, or antidepressant medication increased 21-percent between February and March.

The bedtime stories, in particular, stand out as a new trend. While organizations like Save for Stories have banded together celebrities including Meghan Markle and Drew Barrymore to read children’s books for charity, and Dolly Parton has done the same through her Imagination Library‘s YouTube channel, adults could use some lulling to sleep, too. The next time you have a hard time nodding off, just try listening to one of these.

If You Want to Be a Little Bored
Sometimes topics that are a bit dense lend themselves to putting you to bed—just ask ballet dancer Isabella Boylston about her Leonardo da Vinci audiobook. This option, which is currently Audible’s top download, is all about how the ancient Greeks developed mathematics. Narrated by Tony Shaloub, it’s the auditory equivalent of sitting in a worn armchair in a cozy home library.

If You Want Something Lighthearted
With no beginning, middle, or end, The Perfect Swing—narrated by Nick Jonas—requires minimal concentration (ideal for going in and out of sleep). In it, the singer describes the techniques of baseball stars like Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams—a topic that proves unexpectedly hypnotic.

If You Want to Mentally Escape
Feeling homesick for your favorite flea market? Quilt Collecting by Nicole Haroutunian was practically written for you. This story walks listeners through the experience of shopping for blankets at antiques sales and more, and takes the time to very specifically describe the look and feel of each quilt.

It’s hammer time: Follow @reno_notebook for easy rental updates, clever DIYs, and tips to nail your next project.

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