Sometimes it can be challenging to wind down after a stressful day. Maybe you had back-to-back appointments, or you are on edge waiting for a response from a potential client. Whatever it is that has you feeling wound up - it can be difficult to mellow out and feel sleepy.
You may find your brain is too active and the mind chatter too loud to engage in your typical evening activities like reading a book or meditating. When this happens, you may find turning on a movie can help. It can provide the right amount of distraction while not being overstimulating.
Movies can be very effective in helping you wind down and fall asleep. First, turn the brightness down so you aren’t impacted by blue light. Then, once you’ve got your TV settings right, it’s time to pick your movie! We’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of the best 16 movies that will put you to sleep.
- Your Favorite Movie
Before we make recommendations, consider the movie you have watched a million times. We all have one. Maybe it’s a movie you grew up watching and gives you those feel-good nostalgic vibes, or the one you like to put on in the background when doing something else. Your favorite movie is comforting and very familiar. Because you know the storyline so well, you won’t be on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. As a result, you can listen and watch while gradually getting sleepy and drifting off.
- Forrest Gump
The movie is excellent – it’s award-winning and has a great storyline. Though some parts are emotional, it is a heart-warming movie. It is also quite long, which is why many people have trouble watching it to the end. It’s been described as a “slow burn,” with little action. The soundtrack is very good, with plenty of well-known songs played throughout. Just keep the volume low because there are a couple of parts that can be a little louder.
- A Nature Document (e.g., Our Planet on Netflix)
The sounds and images of nature can be very relaxing. You’ll find an abundance of nature documents on all major streaming services as well as YouTube. One Netflix series called Our Planet features a collaboration with WWF with incredible images, highlighting the planet’s natural beauty and effects of global warming.
- Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
This 1999 movie has been rated one of the most boring movies of all time. It is set 32 years before the original trilogy and received mixed reviews, even by Star Wars fans. This movie is particularly great for putting you to sleep if you aren’t familiar with the Star Wars series. The storyline is slow and difficult to follow. It is over two hours long, but chances are you won’t make it past the first hour before you fall asleep.
- The Tree of Life
Despite the star-studded cast, the movie has been described as “slow.” The reviews of this movie are pretty polarized, some praising it immensely and others stating it was self-absorbed and dry. The film looks at the meaning of life through a middle-aged man’s childhood memories in the 1950s. It will either distract you from your day-to-day stresses or lull you to sleep.
If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, make yourself a cup of tea and put on Cleopatra. This is an older movie released in 1963 and is an incredible 4 hours long! Despite some battle scenes and graphic (relative to the 60s) content, it is heavy on politics and romantic love triangles. Also, as an older film, the graphics and sounds are much more subdued when compared to modern movies, making it easier to fall asleep to. That said, it is still quite spectacular and a visionary masterpiece that will still be enjoyed.
- The Mars Underground (YouTube documentary)
A Reddit thread has rated this the most boring documentary of all time. It is about an aerospace engineer and Mars Society President, Dr. Zubrin, who wants to get humans to Mars. With interviews and soothing narration, this 1 hour and 15 min documentary is pretty low-key.
And if you aren’t that interested in space or Mars, this will quickly put you to sleep.
- Lost in Translation
This movie is often described as nostalgic and hypnotic. The lighting, soundtrack, and imagery can soothe the viewer and leave you feeling good. The film is set in Japan and stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. So if you aren’t quite ready to fall asleep but want to unwind with a good film, you should check this out!
Fantasia – a symphony of sight and sound - is a classic Disney film produced by Walt Disney in 1940. It is heavily instrumental with shadowed animations. It is over two hours long, and if you grew up watching Disney, it will provide you with plenty of feel-good vibes to help you sleep. There isn’t a big storyline, but the animations are spectacular, as you would expect from Disney.
- Sleepless in Seattle
This timeless classic, directed and co-written by Norah Ephron, stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It’s a romantic comedy that involves a widowed man whose son calls into a radio show to find him a partner. It is incredibly heart-warming and oozes the calming energy these great actors are known for. We could also describe this movie as a slow burn. Though excellent, the story is dragged out for nearly two and a half hours, making it easy to drift off to on your lavender pillow.
- A Christmas Prince
Glamour Magazine rated this as the number 1 movie to fall asleep to. Holiday movies are typically warm and fuzzy, with classic music and sparkling lots. Instead, this is a modern Christmas tale (available on Netflix) describing the romance between an American blogger and a prince. Though cute, it is not the most captivating movie you will ever watch, and if you haven’t fallen asleep after the first one, you can watch one of the other two in this Netflix trilogy.
- Lord of the Rings
Speaking of trilogies, this is one of the longest trilogies ever to exist! This fantasy film is set in middle-earth and is based on the infamous novels written by J.R.R. Tolkien. Even if this type of film isn’t your cup of tea, the stunning scenery and effects are something to marvel at. The story is rich, deep, and not to be rushed, and as a result, each film is nearly 3 hours long.
- Under the Tuscan Sun
Can’t decide between romance, comedy, or drama? This movie is for you. It’s a 2003 American romantic-comedy-drama that takes place in beautiful Tuscany after a writer (Diane Lane) impulsively buys a run-down Tuscan villa as she tries to change her life. It’s an easy-going movie with stunning scenes. When you watch it you can’t help but fantasize about renovating your own rustic villa in the Tuscan hills.
This is an upbeat, coming-of-age teen movie that was released in 1995. It’s become a cult classic and can be found on most streaming platforms. The movie is 1 hour and 37 minutes long, set in Beverly Hills. The main character, Cher, is rich and very popular, playing matchmaker between friends and teachers. You don’t have to concentrate too hard to follow the plotline, which makes this movie a great option when trying to fall asleep.
- E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial
Another retro-flick, this Steven Spielberg movie is another excellent choice. Despite being about an alien, it is a low-key film with many quiet, low-light scenes. E.T. is befriended by a group of children, forming a special bond with a boy named Elliot. Unlike most sci-fi flicks, this one is heart-warming and is probably very familiar.
- 500 Days of Summer
A simple romantic-comedy featuring the beloved Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. It’s a feel-good movie that will help you have sweet dreams and fall asleep with a smile on your face. Some may describe it as slow, but the soundtrack of great indie tunes makes it all worth it!
- Pride and Prejudice
Sometimes you need to escape the stress of modern life by watching a classic period piece. The storyline and music in Pride and Prejudice are amazing and continue to be referenced in