Top 5 – Albums to Fall Asleep To

The Top 5 has returned! Us blogsters were trying to make this a biweekly thing here at Bolster. Well you can see how well that has gone. But this is one of favourite parts of the blog and with Kristyn’s suggestion we decided on Top 5 Albums to Fall Asleep to.

Sleepy time albums are usually mellow, dreamy and full of rolling waves. There can’t be that song 20 minutes into the album that has an 80’s guitar solo or funk jam, it’s gotta have a weightless groove that can be enjoyed both awake and asleep. I’m still having troubles figuring out my own Top 5 since I really only listen to one album to fall asleep. But on with the lists…


Albums to fall asleep to. This conjures up ideas of lullabies and symphonies. And sometimes that is true. But sometimes you want to be stimulated in your sleep. To have your brain exercise one could say. I have 7 albums in my list. Ones that have played a role in the last 15 years to help me fall asleep. Pretty much anything can put me to sleep but these are a few of the ones that aid me the most.

1. Danzig – IV

Back in High School, my album of choice to fall asleep to was Danzig – IV. I know. weird choice. By the rest of my selects and my current listening tastes it seems out of character. But this album was a good 4 years of sleeping. If I was having trouble sleeping, or needed a nap on the bus this was in my discman. The elvis style croon over slow to mid tempo goth(ish) rock would have me out within 3 songs. And it was a great album awake as well.

2. Sigur Ros –  Ágætis Byrjun

Post-University I discovered my favourite band Sigur Ros and this album blew my mind. Instrumentally it is diverse, melodic, intelligent, and unique. Add in the vocals. And you have something that cannot be replicated. This album shook me. And still does. I have listened to it 3 times this week already. If I need a creative boost, this album comes on. If I need to relax, it comes on. If I need to energy my mind… again… if I need to sleep. Hell ya. The complexity of the arrangements, mixed with the melodies and voice can have you out in in 15 minutes or less. But don’t call this a sleepy album.

3. Jonsi and Alex – Riceboy Sleeps

Call this a sleepy album. Everything about this album makes me sleepy. A great album if you want it on in the background or if you need to conk out cold. I put this on my record player in our room, and before the needle lifts off of side A we are both unconscious. If my wife is sleepy in the car, I put this on and she doesn’t wake up when we pull into the driveway.

4. Calexico – Tool Box, and 5. Dirty Three – Cinder

These are two Instrumental (Nearly) albums that are go to albums for a nice sleep or a dinner party. Barring one track on Cinder they are pleasant and calming. The Calexico album is a tour issued disc that is hard to find a physical copy of, but should be able to locate on your usual download hotspot.

6. Olafur Arnalds – Found Songs

Now this is symphonic goodness. Beautiful melodies and great songs. An artist I go to for brain activation. Compositions that stimulate and relax at the same time. I find that any of his albums are great, but this one in particular is the most straight forward and simple. A collection of songs from a song a day project. Piano and strings to delight the mind. Looking forward to seeing him in Iceland next month, hopefully I can stay awake.

7. Laura Marling – Alas I cannot swim

And lastly this album is one that I fell asleep to each night on my trip to China. It’s not an overly mellow album, but I found the melodies and familiarity of the lyrics to be calming and restful to me. A great album all around, and one that I listen to on a regular basis.



As Shaun couldn’t limit his albums, I had difficulty even thinking of 5 albums for this list. I’ve never had any problem falling asleep and I don’t often listen to music to fall asleep unless I’m in the mood or in a bed other than my own. If that is the case, i’m still usually asleep before the end of the first song, so really the albums below are ones where I know the first song really well, the rest of the album, not so much.

5. Radiohead – The Bends

I haven’t fallen asleep to this album in years, but I remember years ago listening to this on my Panasonic Shockwave discman and trying to program about half the album to fall asleep to. The tracks, ‘Planet Telex’, ‘Fake Plastic Trees’, ‘(nice dream)’ and ‘Bulletproof’ are soft enough to sleep to, but you’ve got to omit ‘Just’, ‘My Iron Lung’, ‘The Bends’ and ‘Bones’ to avoid waking unnecessary to Johnny Greenwood when he liked to play the guitar.

4. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

More of a recent choice. Not much to say that hasn’t been said before.

3. Mazzy Star – So Tonight That I Might See

In my effort to remember albums that I used to fall asleep to, I remembered that ‘Fade Into You’, the first track from Mazzy Star’s So Tonight That I Might See, was one song that made sure I didn’t hear the rest of the album. Mostly used for the afternoon nap, I’d wake up at the end of the album, but sleep from midway through the first track, thus getting a good 50 minute sleep. I’ve recently started listening to this album again and I wish I had stayed awake for more of it since it is one I should of loved years ago.

2. The xx – xx

I told you they’d be back on the site almost daily. When I was on vacation a few months ago this was the album I’d fall asleep to. The xx continue to haunt our dreams and late night listening.

1. Air – Moon Safari

Since 2000 or so this has been the primary album that i’ll listen to when i’m going to sleep. Moon Safari is Air’s opus and provides the perfect background for late-night lounging, mid-afternoon daydreams and drifting off to sleep. The opening track, ‘La Femme D’argent’, is seven minutes of heaven and usually i’m asleep by the time it ends. If I manage to make it through I might be lucky to hear the melodic buildup of ‘Talisman’ or the beauty that is ‘Le Voyage de Penelope’. Perfect sleep album and one of my favourites of all-time.



Kristyn has been pretty busy lately, but she managed to send over a Top Five list with songs, albums and concerts to fall asleep to. Let’s take a look:

5. Ben Harper – Live in Concert (not the album, the actual concert)

I realize that Ben Harper is technically a “rock star” but I have now seen him twice in outdoor festivals and both times I have been lulled to sleep. And it wasn’t even an acoustic set.

4. Pete Yorn – music for the morning after

Stand out sleep song:  ‘Life on a Chain’ [Ed. note: I listened to this album for a month or so as my wake-up cd, probably the reason I only like ‘Life on a Chain’.]

3. Radiohead – The Bends

Again an album but stand out sleepy track… “fake plastic trees”

2. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

[Ed. Note: It would seem that Kristyn and I like similar albums to fall asleep to.] Stand out sleep track ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’.

1. Cat Power – The Greatest

Again the whole album but particularily “the moon”

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4 Responses to Top 5 – Albums to Fall Asleep To

  1. Breanna e says:

    I would have to agree with most of them but I feel someone should’ve had Damien rice-o in there and also royal wood has been some great sleeping music for me lately… Just saying

  2. Bintaku says:

    Duuuuuuudes what about Enigma?!?!? Gregorian chants like tots awesome!

  3. Nick says:

    Enigma is good BUT….

    How could you forget Vangelis’ Blade Runner, the esper edition…?!?!?!

  4. Roseboro says:

    What about coldplay’s “parachutes” album???

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