There are an infinite amount of television shows to stream on any number of services, and that makes it almost impossible to choose what to watch at any given point. People have all sorts of recommendations, but they usually think of high-intensity shows, dramas, and thrillers, when it comes to actually make those recommendations. Sometimes, viewers just want to relax.
Many people enjoy listening to voices and ambient music while trying to sleep. Luckily, Netflix has several shows that are soothing and relaxing enough to be just as good as ASMR to fall asleep to.
Updated on October 16th, 2021 by Hannah Saab: As Netflix expands its selection of TV shows, more and more ASMR-like documentaries are becoming available for audiences around the world. The recent and popular shows on the platform are worth checking out for viewers who want to listen to background noise as they fall asleep. These are also excellent series to watch while unwinding after a long day of work, thanks to their soothing narrators and relaxing music.
Unsolved Mysteries (1987 – Present)
Though the more recent episodes of Unsolved Mysteries have been motivating viewers to try and solve the mysteries for themselves, the older episodes from the original run of the show are pretty much perfect as ASMR.
Since many of the episodes have an update at the end that tells audiences what happened with each mystery, there’s not a huge unknown factor. It’s not a particularly gripping true-crime documentary, so viewers can sit back and relax as they listen to the show’s soothing narrator (usually Robert Stack) and news-style format.
Our Planet (2019)
Our Planet is one of the more soothing shows to watch on Netflix. Not only that, but this program is actually educational, as well, in addition to being beautiful to watch. Narrated by everybody’s favorite historian, David Attenborough, Our Planet teaches viewers about conservation issues while showing animals in their natural environments.
Audiences are also showed the impact of climate change and the other actions of humans on the planet in a calm, informative way. Our Planet is an excellent show to learn to and fall asleep to.
The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes (2017 – Present)
Humans are naturally curious, and it drives them to want to see into one another’s private spaces. The Netflix show The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes gives viewers the chance to do just that, and with a lot of interesting added information, as well.
The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes not only explores these houses but also discusses the reasoning behind different design decisions. The show also gives context and history for some of the stranger design choices audiences may see. The tranquil music and soothing narration make the series a great option for viewers who want to unwind.
The Great British Baking Show (2010 – Present)
When it comes to calm, Netflix can’t do much better than The Great British Baking Show. Fans of most American cooking shows are usually greeted with aggressive and thrilling scenes — sabotages, challenges, and cutthroat competitors. These are all good to wake up to, but not so much to fall asleep to.
The opposite is true of The Great British Baking Show: the chefs are practiced and even-keeled, the little game show “tricks” played are minor, and the challenges are really just about the baking. It’s quite relaxing to listen to soft voices treating each other nicely while baking sweet treats.
Night On Earth (2020)
While humans are sleeping, creatures all over the earth are up to all sorts of nighttime nonsense. While some animals sleep through the night like people do, plenty of animals are nocturnal and get up to their best shenanigans at night.
The calming nature documentary series Night on Earth and its narrator, Samira Wiley, take viewers from the “moonlit plains” (episode one) to “jungle nights” (episode three) and even to “sleepless cities” (episode five). There isn’t much more soothing to fall asleep to than nocturnal animals being adorable in low light.
Queer Eye (2018 – Present)
Of all the best shows to fall asleep to, Queer Eye is where things begin to deviate a bit. While some may argue that Queer Eye can be a high-energy show, as well as an emotional one and that that keeps some people awake, there are many elements to Queer Eye that are just as relaxing as ASMR.
For one, the Fab Five are always gentle and kind with one another and with their guests on the show. For another, it can be incredibly soothing to listen to five men calmly and gently helping people course-correct and live their best lives.
Jeopardy! (1964 – Present)
Unless you’re wildly competitive, Jeopardy! is a good show to fall asleep to. While people who want to answer the trivia questions might find this show to be more of an alarm clock than a tool for sleeping, the even pacing, familiar structure, and ongoing trivia makes Jeopardy! just as good as ASMR.
Since Alex Trebek’s tragic passing, Jeopardy! has never been the same. Rewatching the long-running game show’s older episodes is a great way to honor the iconic host’s legacy. Every time Alex Trebek asks a question and someone hits the buzzer, it’s easier to settle more comfortably into one’s bed.
Forensic Files (1996 – 2011)
When true crime fans have made their way through the limited selection Netflix has for Unsolved Mysteries, they can make their way over to the Forensic Files collection. Even viewers who aren’t huge fans of true crime will likely find that Forensic Files fits in nicely in their Netflix ASMR library.
Netflix has nine collections of episodes, and each one follows a similar format to explain the forensics used to solve particular crimes. With an even-toned narrator and fascinating forensic information to listen to, this show may as well be ASMR.
Chef’s Table (2015 – Present)
For foodies who aren’t interested in a competition show to fall asleep to — even one as mild as The Great British Baking Show — there’s Chef’s Table. This show was Netflix’s self-proclaimed very first documentary series; there are six “volumes,” rather than seasons, and each episode focuses on one specific chef.
Each chef tells the audience their cooking philosophies and their strategies while the documentary’s heavily cinematographic visuals show beautiful shots of their food being prepared and served.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988 – 1999)
When it comes to wholesome humor, the team over at Mystery Science Theater 3000 knows their stuff. Each episode of this series has a host — either Joel, Mike, or Jonah, depending on when in the show’s run one is — and a group of robots riffing on a terrible movie.
Audiences find this as pleasant as ASMR because they are not as pressed to see the endings of such horrible films, and the light-hearted and funny ongoing commentary from the host and his bots is just like ASMR.
Headspace Guide Collection (2021)
The Headspace Guide Collection consists of three mini-series that are designed to help audiences relax and learn more about the different aspects of unwinding. Viewers can choose from Headspace Guide to Meditation, the interactive short Headspace Unwind Your Mind, and, of course, Headspace Guide to Sleep.
Each one is voiced by a calm and soothing narrator who explains crucial concepts around the specific topics. For instance, viewers can learn more about how phones can negatively impact sleep patterns. The best part is that at the end of each episode, the narrator actually guides viewers through a meditative experience that’s meant to help them meditate or fall asleep. It’s informational ASMR at its best.
Life In Colour (2021)
Nature lovers looking for a show to binge may want to check out Life in Colour, a British-Australian miniseries that highlights how plants animals use colors in the wild. It’s narrated by David Attenborough, who has become known for his authoritative yet relaxing voice.
Viewers who stay awake long enough to see parts of the show will be stunned by the incredible cinematography that doesn’t shy away from extreme closeups of flora and fauna. The grand but comforting background music will lull anyone to sleep faster than they might expect.
Explained (2018 – Present)
Explained is a show that started out as a web series on YouTube that delves into a variety of topics and gives audiences a better understanding of different concepts. These topics can range from music to political correctness, with each episode giving concrete examples and entertaining visuals.
Every episode of the show has a guest narrator, but their voices are somewhat similar since they all speak with a friendly yet informative tone. The sound effects can also often be as satisfying as a typical ASMR video and aren’t too harsh that they would distract viewers who are trying to fall asleep.
The Toys That Made Us (2017 – 2019)
Audiences who want to feel a bit nostalgic before bedtime will likely enjoy The Toys That Made Us. The documentary presents a deep dive into the most popular kids’ toys from the 70s to the 90s, detailing the rise and fall of iconic products like Barbie and G.I. Joe.
The episodes have whimsical music that’s reminiscent of a slow day at the fair. Aside from the soothing interviews with various creators, there are also ASMR-worthy sound bites from factories. Viewers can listen to their favorite toys from their childhood being made in the background as they fall asleep on a comfortable bed – it doesn’t get much better than that.
We Are The Champions (2020)
From chili eating to dog dancing, We Are The Champions features quirky and bizarre competitions from all over the world. Each episode walks viewers through the rigorous process of setting up the contests and shows how the motivated participants hone their skills to prepare for them.
There’s an atmosphere of happiness and focus throughout the show, as contestants talk about how much they enjoy the competitions. It’s a feel-good docuseries with a predictable format, which makes it easy to tune it out and use it as background noise.
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