Snooze Your Own Adventure:
A Ranking of Headspace's Bedtime Stories on Netflix
Got Netflix and a racing mind? We checked out Headspace: Unwind Your Mind—a set of interactive stories to help you wind down or meditate—to find out if it works!
If you're unfamiliar with Headspace, it's a popular app that promotes overall mindfulness and well-being. It's available with a paid subscription plan. Still, I was pleasantly surprised to find an interactive Headspace special nestled between New Girl and The Great British Baking Show on a restless Wednesday night. Nobody knows me better than the Netflix algorithm does, except for maybe the Spotify algorithm.
The Sleep Setup
Each Headspace sleep scenario offers 45 minutes of slow-paced, minimal narrative with simple visualizations and breathing exercises to kickstart your REM cycle. The episodes also include understated animations and soundscapes to tie the story together without overstimulating.
I committed to trying a different sleep story each night and tried to keep my bedtime rituals as consistent as possible (I'm a scientist, after all): lights out, no chocolate before bed, no social media doom scrolling, no other screens allowed.
Now for the verdict:
Headspace Sleep Stories: Ranked from Least to Most Sleep-Inducing
4. Countryside Train
This story guides you through a slow nighttime train ride. Maybe I've watched Murder on the Orient Express one too many times, but I don't naturally equate train rides with sleep and relaxation. The narrator's voice on this one was also not-quite cozy. Some helpful mindfulness techniques were woven throughout the episode, so I eventually settled in. Still, I never found myself able to drift off.
3. Sleepy Seaside
Here we check into a quaint seaside inn and lazily explore a coastal village. I was still awake by the end of the 45-minute session, but it was a relaxing story with a soothing ocean wave soundscape. Go with this episode if you find body scan meditation helpful.
2. Fireside Bookshop
"There is something very special about this place," confirms our gentle bookshop narrator. Was it the narrator's whiskery, grandfatherly voice? The cozy crackling of the fireplace soundscape? Either way, I don't remember getting very far into this bookshop tale. The next thing I knew, my morning alarm was sounding.
1. Moonlight Aquarium
If you've ever visited an aquarium and been mesmerized by a jellyfish as it moves dreamily across its tank, you'll understand this one. I remember pressing play and starting with a box breathing exercise. But one mention of a jellyfish was lights out for me; I was gone until morning.
As a classic overthinker, I have some leftover questions about what brought us to an aquarium after business hours in the first place: Were we doing something illegal? Were we employees of the aquarium? Am I full-time with benefits and PTO? But it doesn’t matter: Moonlight Aquarium was the ultimate sleep story, hands down. I’m nodding off again just thinking about it.
Is Headspace: Unwind Your Mind Worth Trying?
If you have Netflix and a hard time sleeping, the Headspace interactive special is worth checking out. Along with sleep stories, they have other episodes for guided meditation and relaxation. And while a subscription to the Headspace app comes with a price tag, they also post tons of mindfulness content on their Spotify and Youtube channels. Happy snoozing!