Playlist: Sleep Don’t Weep

This is supposed to be a playlist for the person who made this request: “How about an I can’t fucking sleep please just make the world go away so I can fucking sleep playlist?” but I’m not sure if this is just a “mellow out and relax” playlist instead. To be honest, the best sleeping playlist EVER is Sarah Mclachlan’s Mirrorball but I tried my best to follow up.

Sleep Don’t Weep

photo by mario leko

New Moon (The Meadow) – Alexandre Desplat
I’ll Be Seeing You – Billie Holiday
Ram Ram – The Deer Tracks
Sleeping In – The Postal Service
Wake – The Antlers
Sleep Don’t Weep – Damien Rice
Cape Canaveral – Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band
Give Me Novocaine – Green Day
Every Time I Go To Sleep – Holly Miranda
Mango Tree – Angus & Julia Stone
Fever Dream – Iron & Wine
Post-War – M. Ward
Don’t Know Why – Norah Jones
Cheaper Than Therapy – Rogue Wave

Stream this playlist on 8tracks.

Add your favorite sleepytime songs in the comments below.

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Emily Choo started as an intern with Autostraddle when she was 18 years old. She's now 10 years older and lives in Toronto with her partner and cat. The defining moment of her career was when Riese said this about her: " I think Emily Choo is a very bright, 'poetically inclined' girl who pays attention to everything and knows almost everything (the point of stuff, how to read, how beautiful things feel, how scary things feel, etc.) but doesn't believe/accept/realize yet that she knows almost everything." She still doesn't believe she knows anything, so, thank you, Riese, for that.

Emily has written 100 articles for us.


  1. Two that I like are are Sleep – by Imogen Heap, and I Need Some Sleep , by the Eels.
    And yes, that’s what turned up on Youtube at 4 a.m. one morning

  2. When I can’t sleep I go to lastfm and choose the weepies radio works everytime, that or some old Planet podcasts

  3. post-war has been my sleep song since you posted it on your blogmajigger, chooster. two, three plays of that thing on loop, i’m out like a light. best thing that’s ever happened to my circadian rhythm whatevers, for all the hell i put them through. have i mentioned i am currently running on 45 minutes of sleep. fragmented irrelevant commenting like a boss.

    • I was just about to say this! My roomates are presently having a dubstep-themed dinner party outside my bedroom, so I am going to blast Agaetis Byrjun through my headphones to get some rest.

      Bjork’s ‘Vespertine’ is also pretty good, too.

    • oh yeah, i should’ve added that sigur ros is right up there with sarah mclachlan. i was going to put ‘von’ on the playlist but then i couldn’t find the mp3.

  4. Some of my pics for sleeping/relaxing are:

    Amy Milan – Bruised Ghost
    Chad VanGaalen – Willow Tree
    Coeur de Pirate – Intermission
    Enya – Waterfall
    Explosions in the sky – A Slow Dance
    Explosions in the sky – Your Hand in Mine
    Great Lake Swimmers – Unison Falling Into Harmony
    Iron & Wine – The Sea and the Rhythm
    Iron & Wine – The Trapeze Swinger
    Iron & Wine – Love and Some Verses
    Linkin Park – In the End (Piano Instrumental Version)
    Linkin Park – Krawling (Piano Instrumental Version)
    Matthew Barber – Sleep in Peace
    Patrick Watson – The Great Escape
    Sarah McLachlan – Last Dance

    and almost anything from The Album Leaf (Especially Thule, Glisten and Streamside)

    • The Album Leaf! I’d forgotten they existed, I really like their stuff. Thank you for the reminder.

    • I’m so glad someone put Enya I’m pretty sure she fell asleep when making her 7 thousand records. Crazy Irish bitch.

  5. “To be honest, the best sleeping playlist EVER is Sarah Mclachlan’s Mirrorball but I tried my best to follow up.” So true. Word.

  6. first of all, masturbate. its better than sleepytime.

    also, bon iver’s album once accidentally put me to sleep. in a good way.

    and the voices on npr. so soothing.

  7. Oooh…

    A Prayer You Can Borrow – Sean McConnell
    Bookends – Simon & Garfunkel
    Chelsea Hotel No. 2 – Leonard Cohen
    Everybody Here Wants You – Jeff Buckley
    Everything A Reason – Carina Round
    Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
    I Go To Sleep – Sia
    Lonely Ghosts – O + S
    Henry Lee – Nick Cave & PJ Harvey
    Sing A Song For You – Tim Buckley
    Song to the Siren – Tim Buckley
    You Were a Kindness – The National

  8. I totally have a sleep time playlist on itunes

    my favorites are:
    A Sea Chanty of Sorts by Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s
    Nude by Radiohead
    Good Time’s Gonna Come by Aqualung
    Skinny Love by Bon Iver

    idk I like feeling just a little bit sad before I hit the hay

  9. Do I have entire “sleep” playlists on my ipod? Maybe.

    Agree with most of the Weepies for sure – though less so their latest album (Be My Thrill – which I still love, just less sleepy) Some favorite sleepy weepies (hehe) songs: Not A lullaby, living in twilight, somebody loved, stars, slow pony home

    And sometimes you just need a good lullaby — I’ve been listening to the songs from Kenny Loggins’ Return to Pooh Corner tape (yes I still remember it as a tape) since I was like 7 or something. And I still love it:

    And then there’s: Lullaby (Billy Joel), We’re all in the dance (Feist), Sing a Song for them (Jenny Lewis), Standing Still (Jewel), Molly Smiles (Jesse Spencer, yes this song is from Uptown Girls… don’t judge me, haha), Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop (Landon Pigg), July Flame + Drink Deep (Laura Veirs), If you lived here, you’d be home now + summer town (The Lucksmiths), Song beneath the song (Maria Taylor), Looking for Astronauts + Daughters of the Soho Riots (The National), Calendar Girl (Stars) … and so many more. I may or may not spend a lot of time thinking about this…

    Or if you’re like me you might sometimes also fall asleep to showtunes… sometimes things that actually make sense (Stars and the Moon from Songs for a new world, Edelweiss from the Sound of Music, Whispering from Spring Awakening, Solla Sollew from Suessical, Sunday from Sunday in the Park with George, etc, etc) or sometimes something weird and inappropriate like Sweeney Todd or Assassins.

    Whew. 10 points to anyone who read even half of that.

    • I started my playlist tonight with Opening from Songs for a New World and now Angry Dance from Billy Elliot is playing. :D

      Spring Awakening in reverse
      Sia’s album that has Breathe Me

    • Return to Pooh Corner!! That was the naptime tape at the daycare where I worked my senior year of high school. I own it, use it for myself, and have purchased countless copies for pregnant friends. I’ve had gripe-y comments from the husbands of said friends, but when something works you share the love. Haters gonna hate, whatevs.

      There’s also an entire collection called “Rockabye Baby!” that transforms alternative and rock songs into sleepytime music, so I’ve begun passing on The Cure CD from that series.

  10. Passion Pit- Sleepyhead (Stripped Down Version)

    Original Sleepyhead is way too intense for sleepytimes, and the stripped down version is perfect.

  11. Music makes me have feelings which get in the way of sleep so my soundtrack is usually podcasts.

  12. I’d recommend anything put out by NPR or PRI. I actually find public radio really engaging, but when need be it’s also really nice to drift off to, except for Car Talk. That shit’s just funny.

    • I listened to this album for a couple hours on repeat before I had to give my M.Sc. seminar, so that I wouldn’t have a panic attack. Instant relaxation.

    • YESSS. Except for ‘Shelter’, which I listened to on repeat for a 25 hour international flight, after I said goodbye to my first love at an airport. Ahem.

  13. tried and true sleep-inducing tunes:
    (because if you’re anything like me you need musics that aren’t going to engage too many of your thoughts/feelings and get you on rabbit-trails of problem-solving/feeling contemplations that keep you awake LONGER.)

    Gentle Hour – Yo la Tengo
    Giant of Illinois – Andrew Bird
    Polka dots and Moonbeams – Chet Baker
    Tidal Waves – Endoxi
    Corner – Allie Moss
    Do you Know Me – John Mayer
    I hadn’t Anyone Til You – Ella Fitzgerald
    Beautiful Boy – Ben Harper (I have a barely-developed theory that this song makes everyone, everywhere happy and serene.)
    Intermission – Coeur de pirate

    Also: poetry audio books, man.

  14. I sleep with a mix of classical, soft Cocorosie songs, some Moby, and Death Cab For Cute’s Narrow Stairs.

  15. first song that popped into my head = The Moscow Coup Attempt “Do You Fear Sleep?”

    there’s also Anathema’s “Temporary Peace” (version from Hindsight) which is a gem of a song. – as is “Flying”

    THE WHOLE “WE’RE HERE BECAUSE WE’RE HERE” ALBUM. but to choose one: “Presence” (not really a song i suppose, but the words = woah)

    anything sung by ALEAH, like these two: & (her voice = so so incredibly calming)

  16. For me, songs that make me sleepy have to have a calming melody. It’s not so much about genre or lyrics.

    “Girl in the Garden” – SJ Tucker
    “Orange Sky” – Alexi Murdoch
    “Stars” – Alison Krauss
    “Untouchable Face” – Ani DiFranco
    “Gloomy Sunday” – Billie Holiday
    “Sideways” – Citizen Cope
    “I Will Find You” – Clannad
    “Lullaby” – Dixie Chicks
    “The Goodnight Song” – Emma Christian
    “Milk” – Garbage
    “I Let You Go” – Iona Leigh
    “Nicest Thing” – Kate Nash
    “The Swans at Coole” – Máire Breatnach
    “Suppin to Namida” – Maki Goto
    “Teardrop” – Massive Attack
    “Remains” – Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon
    “Fade Into You” – Mazzy Star
    “Life in Mono” – Mono
    “Part of the Process” – Morcheeba
    “Sakura Mankai” – Morning Musume
    “Say It Right” – Nelly Furtado
    “Don’t Know Why” – Norah Jones
    “Running Up That Hill” – Placebo
    “I Shall Believe” – Sheryl Crow
    “Love You More” – Trespassers William

  17. múm’s album Summer Make Good is the answer to everything ever in the world. Especially the inability to sleep! And sex. And being sad. And being happy. And driving through the snow. And driving through the not snow.

  18. I would like to know if anyone else gets sleepy when watching old movies. Not because they’re boring, but because of the way they were recorded or something. Like the sounds are more distant. Almost like how it sounds when you’re sleeping and someone’s talking or like doing dishes or something in another room. The way my childhood sounds when I think about it. Idk how the hell to describe it, but I need to know at least one other person understands what I’m talking about. The sound of E.T. is a good example, but typically it’s much older movies.

    Aghhhh, long story short: old movies comfort me, so if I can’t sleep I sometimes will put one on and it works like a charm.

    • its not just you. its kinda like a fuzzy sound. kinda like the way old vinyl records sound when played low.

    • I absolutely understand what you’re talking about, but that sound makes me feel more alone & anxious than sleepy… I have a hard time watching older movies because I feel so sad/nostalgic/lonely : (

  19. a combination of any of the following songs & does the trick for me. or, well, it would if i ever actually slept. in related news, school and i aren’t friends anymore.

    the xx
    orchestral versions of linkin park, my chemical romance, the fray, coldplay, etc.
    joe hisaishi
    frank sinatra

    regina spektor – “samson”
    coldplay – “warning sign”, “swallowed in the sea”, “fix you”, “what if”
    aqualung – “strange and beautiful (i’ll put a spell on you)”
    gary jules – “mad world”
    casper (official movie soundtrack) – “one last wish”
    emiliana torrini – “thinking out loud”
    frou frou – “let go”, “shh”
    jeff buckley – “hallelujah”
    leonard cohen – “i’m your man”
    massive attack – “paradise circus”
    nine inch nails – “lights in the sky”
    supernatural (official soundtrack) – “o death”

    • Thanks to you, I have just discovered and I could not be happier. Now if only I could do something about my 80 degree apartment, I might actually sleep.

  20. I should think more about sleepy music, given how late I sometimes find myself commenting on this site. “What do you mean it is three am and I have to be up tomorrow?” – that kind of thing.

    These sometimes work, at least for napping:

    Harvest Moon, covered by Cassandra Wilson
    The Greatest, Cat Power
    Blonde on Blonde, Nada Surf

  21. Am I the only one who listens to choral music on here?

    Sleep – Eric Whitacre (best song ever for sleeping named for sleep)
    And So It Goes/River of Dreams – Billy Joel
    In The Deep – Bird York
    The Night from Les Miserables soundtrack
    Almost Doesn’t Count – Brandy (booyeah 90s)
    So Far Away – Carole King
    Beauty and the Beast – Celine Dion/Peabo Bryson version
    The Road to Perdition soundtrack, particularly the tracks Cathedral, Ghosts, and Road to Perdition.
    Glasgow Love Theme from Love Actually soundtrack
    The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice
    Where Are You Going – Dave Matthews Band
    Transatlanticism – Death Cab For Cutie
    Anything Diana Krall sings.
    I Can’t Tell You Why – The Eagles
    Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby from Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack
    May It Be – Enya
    Let Go – Frou Frou
    Killing Me Softly – Robert Flack or The Fugees version
    But For Now – Jamie Cullum
    Free Falling – John Mayer version
    What I Like About You – Jon B.
    Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell
    Today – Joshua Radin
    The Closest Thing To Crazy – Katie Melua
    Return To Pooh Corner – Kenny Loggins
    Heal Over – KT Tunstall
    Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop – Landon Pigg
    I Belong To You – Lenny Kravitz
    This Used To Be My Playground – Madonna
    Blue In Green – Miles Davis
    O Magnum Mysterium – Morten Lauridsen (choral music again)
    Come Away With Me – Norah Jones
    Dear Mr. President – Pink
    Anything off Rod Stewart’s Time After Time songbook vol.2
    Thank You Louise – Ryan Adams
    By Your Side – Sade (most of Sade’s stuff really)
    City – Sara Bareilles
    piano version of Possession – Sarah McLachlan
    Come Home Soon -SHeDaisy
    My Funny Friend & Me – Sting
    Casimir Pulaski Day – Sufjan Stevens
    Want To – Sugarland
    Just Breathe – Telepopmusik
    The Good Kind – The Wreckers
    Distractions – Zero-7

    Okay. Sorry. That’s a lot, but they are totally sleeptastic! My apologies to anyone who’s like, “Agggh! My eyes!!! too much to read!”

    • O Magnum Mysterium… I love that song, it’s been years. I find that Gregorio Allegri’s ‘Miserere’ is another great peace of music that helps me relax.

      And I love Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Casimir Pulaski Day’. I listed to it alot after a family member died young and unexpectedly, so I probably couldn’t relax to it, but I can see how you would.

    • I almost put The Blower’s Daughter on my list, feel a little unsure of it’s place though – played so many times I have the urge to hit skip, movement not conducive to sleep.

      Let Go/Imogen Heap live made my heart swell. Apparently on a lot of straddlers lists, good choice.

  22. I’m so excited that the first song on this playlist is “New Moon (The Meadow)” (for real).

  23. I really love Carla Bruni. Some of her softer songs:
    Quelq’un m’a dit
    Le ciel dans une chambre
    Ma Jaunesse
    Salut marin

    These fit really nicely in a playlist with Laura Marling:
    Blackberry Stone
    Goodbye England
    What He Wrote
    Rambling Man
    Made by Maid

    I’ve also got the rain the background on top of these tunes. It’s great.

  24. Gladiator soundtrack
    Pretty much anything by the Vitamin String Quartet (especially their tribute to Coldplay)

  25. for the last couple years my sleep album has been
    G*ddamn Electric Bill-Swallowed by the Machines.

    The first song-“lost in the zoo” is usually enough to calm me, but whole album is electronic/instrumental in a gentle way that allows my mind to slow and rest. (usually)

    I would not recommend watching the video of “lost in the zoo” for sleeping. it’s not relaxing.

  26. slowdive’s “souvlaki”
    some mellow sonic youth songs (most of murray street works for me)
    mates of state
    cat power for sure
    bedhead maybe?
    blonde redhead

    idk i don’t listen to a lot of mellow music and i also have trouble sleeping, so maybe i’m not the best person to offer suggestions here.

  27. Best sleep song ever = Porcelain – Red Hot Chili Peppers. Off the Californication alblum, I believe.

    Lullaby – Jack Johnson
    Orange Sky – Alexi Murdock
    She’s Only Happy In The Sun – Ben Harper
    Eyesdown Featuring Andreya Triana – Bonobo
    Sugar Water – Cibo Matto
    Colorblind – Counting Crows
    Wild Horses – The Sundays
    On The Radio – Regina Spektor
    One Sweet World – Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
    Amber – 311
    Sparks – Coldplay
    Such Great Heights – Iron & Wine
    Quiet – John Mayer
    I Hope Tomorrow Is Like Today – Guster
    Reasons Why – Nickel Creek
    Out Of The Woods – Nickel Creek
    Hey Ya – Obadiah Parker
    Sweet Afton – Nickel Creek
    Your Ex-Lover Is Dead – Stars
    Pachuca Sunrise – Minus the Bear
    A Cloke of Elvenkind – Marcy Playground
    Dream – Priscilla Ahn

    Can we do wake up playlists next? Cause I have SO MANY of those.

  28. sleepplaylists <3
    here's my playlist; some of these songs I'm kind of sick of, but they were staples before I OD'ed on them.
    Also I put them in reverse order to how I naturally listen to music, starting with the most energetic.. well, energetic for sleepymusic that is.

    Lisa Germano – A beautiful schizophrenic

    Kent – Utan dina andetag (this song is in swedish, but it's a beautiful lovesong and there are translated lyrics in the comments here )

    Iron and wine – Flightless bird, american mouth

    Mazzy star – Five string serenade

    Sufjan Stevens – For the windows in paradise, for the fatherless in Ypsilanti

    Aphex Twin – Nannou

    Matt Costa – Wash away

    Lisa Germano – Wood floors

    Lisa Germano – …To dream

    Enya – And winter came

    really anything by Mazzy star and Iron & Wine

  29. I totally agree with the while Sarah McLachlan, Mirrorball, thing. I switch between that and Atreyu. Which is probably weird, but it works for me. It depends what mood I’m in.. Also, I’m glad The Antlers were added, just cos they’re kind of amazing.

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