10 comforting and relaxing Netflix shows perfect for falling asleep to

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If you’ve been scrolling through your Netflix queue in the middle of the night, you’re not alone.

Between the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and the war on reproductive rights, society can feel like a waking nightmare. No one would blame you for overlooking your best judgment and finding comfort wherever you can. Yes, falling asleep with the TV on isn’t “great” for us. (Blue light, we know.)

Still, it’s been a help during rough times. So, while we’re not recommending you pick up this habit, we are happy to help those of you who are already doing it. Better than counting sheep, by a wide margin, here are 10 of the best shows on Netflix to fall asleep to, ranked from least to most soothing.

10. Derry Girls

A group of young women and one young man stand in front of a van. Many of them wear shirts that say

The Derry legends.
Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

I cannot be the only person completely enchanted by the voices of the Derry Girls. Set in ’90s Northern Ireland, this heartwarming portrayal of teenage friendship is certainly the rowdiest selection on this list — so if you really need to sleep, the show shouldn’t be your first pick. But if you think you could do with a few laughs before drifting off, look no further than this bunch. They’re the best.

How to watch: Derry Girls(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).

9. Queer Eye

Four men and one nonbinary person, all in fancy clothing, sit on a couch and applaud.

Five cheers for the Fab Five.
Credit: Ilana Panich-Linsman / Netflix

If you want to get the most out of Queer Eye, you should definitely pay full attention to each and every minute of this delightful reality series. But if you’re rewatching the show like us, feel free to doze off mid-hero narrative. Journey with “The Fab 5” to see the series’ lucky participants master self-love through grooming, cooking, fashion, interior design, and whatever Karamo Brown has been up to lately. It’s just lovely.

How to watch: Queer Eye(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).

8. Life in Color with David Attenborough

A peacock with its tail completely unfurled and raised behind it.

So. Much. Color.
Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

There are few voices more soothing than David Attenborough’s, and there are few visuals more soothing than the beauty of nature. In Life in Color with David Attenborough, you get both! Attenborough guides us through the different uses the animal kingdom has for color in this three-part docuseries, which features truly glorious footage — and beautiful colors, of course. —Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Life in Color with David Attenborough (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)

7. Babies

A man and woman hold the hands of a small child walking between them on the street. The child is wearing a yellow raincoat.

Cuteness overload.
Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

Few things are as spectacularly infectious as the joy of little kids. In Netflix’s Babies, documentarians observe a whole bunch of cuties during their first years of life — examining how these tiny humans learn, grow, and explore our world. If you find babies cute, you’ll love this show. But fair warning, you may struggle to sleep through the night if you don’t put your TV on a timer. You know, with the crying and all.

How to watch: Babies (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).

6. Hilda

A young girl with blue hair and a fox with deer horns frolic through a green valley along with another young woman and young man.

Oh to live in Hilda’s world.
Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

You should definitely give Hilda your full attention, but once you’ve made your way through this charming animated show, it’s one you’ll want to come back to over and over for warm fuzzy comfort. Hilda (voiced by Bella Ramsey) is a young explorer whose neighbors just happen to be creatures from folklore — elves, trolls, rat kings, and more. From its adorable animation style to its all-around cozy vibe, Hilda is an excellent watch for when you’re awake or for when you want to be lulled off to dreams of gentle adventure. —B.E.

How to watch: Hilda (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)

5. Night on Earth

The majestic scenery of a good nature documentary always pairs well with a nap. Night on Earth, narrated by Orange Is the New Black‘s Samira Wiley, is an especially good TV choice as it documents what many other species are up to while we’re all in bed. It’s beautiful but a little touchy with volume, so keep this one on low lest you be surprised by a roar or growl.

How to watch: Night on Earth(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).

4. The Mind, Explained

Generally speaking, all of the Explained docuseries are good picks for falling asleep. The episodes are evenly paced, engaging but not overly so, and easy to start over should you nod off and decide you want to catch it at a later time. In the order of this reporter’s personal experience, the Explained series from most to least easy to fall asleep to are: The Mind, Sex(opens in a new tab), the main Explained(opens in a new tab) series, and then…Coronavirus(opens in a new tab). (Yeah, I don’t recommend that one. Not for sleeping, anyway.)

How to watch: The Mind, Explained (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).

3. Grace & Frankie

Two older women, one in a red sweater, one in a black draped shirt, sit at a table with a crystal ball on it.

Lily Tomlin + Jane Fonda = perfection.
Credit: Saeed Adyani / Netflix

Let these two fierce, fearless, fabulous females guide you into a relaxing slumber. Join Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as the titular Grace & Frankie, plus Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston, June Diane Raphael, Ethan Embry, Baron Vaughn, and Brooklyn Decker in the warmest, most loving sitcom available on Netflix. Nothing says comfort TV like a half hour with the Hanson-Bergsteins.

How to watch: Grace and Frankie(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).

2. Get Organized with The Home Edit

A very organized walk in closet, with clothes on hangers on two different walls and shoes and purses on the far end of the room.

Consider this closet organized.
Credit: Rob Liggins / Netflix

Bask in the satisfaction of symmetry, order, and all things categorization with this home-makeover show, new to Netflix as of Sept. 9 and led by the ladies of The Home Edit. A cheery, less philosophical Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Get Organized follows professional organizers Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin as they change lives (typically with stuff from The Container Store).

How to watch: Get Organized with The Home Edit(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).

1. The Great British Baking Show

Two women and two men sit around a wooden table looking at seven plates that hold slices of various desserts.

I would like to eat everything on that table.
Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Cooking shows are the best genre of television to fall asleep to, bar none. The mouth-watering visuals, inviting sounds, and typically cheery talent form a cocoon of comforting content, perfect for drifting off to Snoozeville. (Cooking shows are so ideally suited to falling asleep, we have a whole list dedicated to that specific streaming need.) If you’re looking for the best of the best, go with none other than The Great British Baking Show. Sweet dreams, bakers.

How to watch: The Great British Baking Show(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).





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