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Scare You to Sleep
Drift off while listening to the spookiest channel on Spotify.

It’s a struggle unfortunately known to many: You’re doing your best to finally fall asleep after a long day, but random thoughts won’t stop whizzing through your head. Grocery lists, exams and that embarrassing thing you said in third grade haunt you, keeping you up well into the night. With the help of the podcast “Scare You to Sleep,” you can swap those real fears out for fictional ones and finally discover the release of sleep.

Podcasts in general are an amazing aid for falling asleep, especially when your own thoughts are the things keeping you awake. Listening to stories of any kind can help get your mind off of what’s bothering you enough to relax your body and mind, which makes falling asleep much easier. Some people with insomnia or chronic sleep problems claim that listening to podcasts before bed have helped them fall asleep faster, so it’s definitely something that can’t hurt to try out in your own nighttime routine.

With the slew of podcasts available on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and other apps, it can be overwhelming to find a place to start. True crime podcasts like “Crime Junkie,” “My Favorite Murder” and “That’s Why We Drink” are popular, but it can be unappealing to fall asleep to podcast hosts discussing the graphic details of a real-life murder case.

For people who crave the excitement of listening to spooky horror stories but would prefer those stories to remain fictional, “Scare You to Sleep” is the perfect podcast to listen to. Admittedly, a small number of episodes are titled “True Horror,” but these select few can be easily skipped since most of the podcast revolves around fictional horror stories.

“Scare You to Sleep” has over 100 episodes, and a new one is released every week, so there’s an extensive back catalog of horror stories to work through. The number of episodes is a plus because once you get addicted — and you’re sure to if you’re a horror lover — you know you have plenty of new stories to fall asleep to every single night. Plus, a lot of variety comes with the high number of released podcast episodes. The podcast has true horror accounts, short horror recordings, ghost and paranormal tales, fun spooky stories submitted by kids and more.

The host of “Scare You to Sleep,” Shelby Scott, does a fantastic job of mixing up the type of horror stories she releases so anyone can find at least one story that they enjoy listening to. If you want to fall asleep listening to someone reading you a classic horror novel, for example, Scott produced eight episodes where she read the entirety of “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James.

If you’d rather start with some lighthearted scares, every year around Halloween, Scott releases an episode where she reads horror stories written by kids. There have been three annual Kid’s Halloween Specials on the “Scare You to Sleep” podcast, and each one is remarkably exciting to listen to. The writers chosen for the special are all incredibly talented and under 13 years old, so a lot of the stories are well-written, wholesome and spooky.

Another interesting series on the podcast is called “Guided Nightmare.” If you’ve ever done a guided meditation on YouTube or a relaxation app like Calm, the episodes in the “Guided Nightmares” series are exactly like that. Scott walks listeners through a calming process of winding their bodies down for the evening, and then she slowly begins guiding listeners through a horror story, which gets more and more intense as the episode continues on.

The best parts of the “Guided Nightmare” series are how innovative and immersive the episodes are. Scott uses pronouns like “you,” “us” and “we” to make listeners feel like they’re genuinely part of a nightmare. The format is original and distinct from other horror stories on the podcast, and it manages to be creepy and soothing at the same time.

In fact, all of the episodes on the “Scare You to Sleep” podcast are a combination of creepy and soothing. Scott reads the scripts in a calm and soft-spoken voice, which makes it feel like she’s reading you a bedtime story. She adds in sound effects like rain noises or doors creaking to accentuate the content, which add another level of immersiveness to each story.

No matter the content of the horror story in the episode, each one is atmospheric and at least one is sure to send a chill down your spine. If you want a good place to start, some of the most atmospheric episodes are “Frightening Fairy Tales,” “Quiet,” “Ghosts of Oregon,” “Lighthouses,” “Terrors of the Old West” and “The Aumaille Swamp Tour.”

There are plenty of interesting and exciting horror story varieties to explore within just this single podcast, so if you love horror, it’s for sure a place to start within the world of podcasts. Even if you already listen to podcasts every single day, “Scare You to Sleep” will be a great addition to your list of favorites.

The production quality of the podcast has improved over every episode. Scott is a master of telling tales in a way that demands your attention, and the horror stories themselves are already enough to give you an adrenaline rush. The horror genre and sleep might sound like a weird combination, but Scott makes it work.

If you’ve been having trouble sleeping because you can’t get your mind off of your problems, give “Scare You to Sleep” a chance. A scary story might be just what you need to finally sleep peacefully at night. The sound of Scott’s soothing voice reading you a horrifying tale is enough to rocket you right into the realm of sleep. Hopefully, you don’t end up with any nightmares.

Writer Profile

Emma Watts

University of Arizona
English and Political Science

My name is Emma Watts and I go to school at the University of Arizona. My majors are political science and English, so I spend about 80% of my time writing and reading.

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