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The 21 Best TV Shows to Fall Asleep To

Because no one actually follows the "no screens before bed" rule.

According to Sleep Foundation, 73 percent of adults watch TV before they go to sleep at night, and smartphones and tablets have only made it easier to catch an episode from the cocoon of your bed. Experts say this can negatively affect your sleep quality, but nodding off to a comfort series is a habit many of us just can't quit. Looking for a show that will soothe your mind so you can get some shut-eye? This is obviously a deeply personal decision—if you prefer being lulled into slumber by a cacophony of New Jersey housewives bickering over loyalty or zombies mauling survivors, more power to you. But for those TV fans who'd rather put on a warm and easy series before they hit the hay, we have some options. Read on for 21 perfect TV shows to fall asleep to and where to stream them.

RELATED: 20 Best TV Shows Based on True Stories.


Shelley Long and Ted Danson in Cheers
CBS Television Distribution

The cozy Boston bar setting, the easy drama that's resolved at the end of each episode, and the quick and witty dialogue that (mostly) stands the test of time makes Cheers, which ran from 1982 to 1993, one of the best sitcoms to fall asleep to. The ensemble comedy about friends who gather at their local watering hole consists of 275 episodes across 11 seasons, so you have plenty of material to keep you company. And while there are certain arcs, like the will-they-won't-they of Sam Malone (Ted Danson) and Diane Chambers (Shelley Long), the episodic nature of the series means that you won't be too confused if you fall asleep mid-one episode and wake up a few later.

Available to stream on Paramount+.

Perfect Match

Dom Gabriel, Georgia Hassarati, Bartise Bowden, and Izzy Fairthorne in Perfect Match

This Netflix dating show will either keep you mildly entertained or whisk you off into a deep sleep, depending on your tolerance for nonsense. Hosted by Nick Lachey, Perfect Match features over a dozen reality stars from other Netflix shows (Love Is Blind, The Circle, The Mole, Twentysomethings, etc.), who are put in a house to find their soulmate. Couples who win daily challenges, such as "Fact or Ca,p" get to choose more singles to come into the house, thus having the power to potentially sabotage relationships.

If you're a reality fan, you'll recognize a few faces, making it feel like you've seen this all before. (All the better for dozing off.) But the fact that most of the contestants are openly there just to play the game and not truly find love makes it so that newbies can also relish in the chaos of watching good-looking, petty people try to work their way up to C-list status.

Available to stream on Netflix.

Sports Night

Peter Krause, Josh Charles, Felicity Huffman, and Robert Guillaume in Sports Night
Buena Vista Television

Falling asleep to ESPN's SportsCenter or post-game commentary on the NBA Live app might be triggering for dedicated sports fans to watch before bed, but the too-short-lived sitcom Sports Night offers no such controversy. Created by Aaron Sorkin, the series, which premiered in 1998, stars Josh Charles and Peter Krause as co-anchors of a sports highlights show. It's serialized, so you might find yourself rewinding each night to pick up where you left off so you can keep up with all of the love triangles and fast-paced dialogue about what goes into making a nightly network broadcast. But the cult classic is just the sort of low-stakes drama one might need before bedtime, without worrying about whether or not your team will make it to the playoffs. Plus, the various references to sports stars and events of the late-'90s give Sports Night just enough authenticity to satisfy for fans of any game.

Available to buy.

Happy Endings

Zachary Knighton, Elisha Cuthbert, and Adam Pally in Happy Endings
Sony Pictures Television

Damon Wayans Jr., Adam Pally, Casey Wilson, Elisha Cuthbert, Eliza Coupe, and Zachary Knighton star as a group of friends navigating romance and life in general in this chaotic and cheery 2011 sitcom. Happy Endings kicks off with a couple in the group abruptly calling off their wedding and the fallout from that, but it quickly morphs post-pilot into a story less about heartbreak and more about six friends (the Friends comparison is apt) having each others' hapless, yet very earnest, backs. The banter is quick and funny, the drama is mostly wrapped up each episode, and the stakes are always fairly low, making this a great show to watch while you indulge in a midnight snack and nod off after a long day.

Available to stream on Hulu.

Bob's Burgers

Still from Bob's Burgers
20th Television

The Belcher family has been entertaining audiences for 14 seasons (and a movie!) so far, and for good reason—Bob's Burgers is wholesome, smart, and filled with funny musical numbers. The standard episode formula involves the family getting into some kind of mischief, usually led by kids Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman), and Louise (Kristen Schaal), but often involving mom Linda (John Roberts) and dad Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), too. And the family always sticks together, despite their individually strange interests and less-than-popular burger business.

Available to stream on Hulu.

RELATED: The Saddest TV Episodes of All Time.

The Office

Still from The Office

Many people love falling asleep to The Office, and there are a couple of reasons why. First, if you've watched all nine seasons of the paper company-set sitcom before, it's something familiar and you don't have to worry about following along with any overarching plots. Second, while there are plenty of jokes, nothing too crazy happens. Generally, the action takes place within the four drab walls of Dunder Mifflin with simple storylines involving party planning, office pranks, and workplace romances.

Available to stream on Peacock.

Parks and Recreation

Still from Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation is pretty similar to The Office, which is no surprise because the creators, Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, worked on both shows. This workplace mockumentary stars Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, an enthusiastic Parks Department employee in a small Indiana city. Leslie fights for the people of her town, and experiences ups and downs with friends, co-workers, and in her romantic life all while trying to make her way up the government ladder as a politician. You'll have to watch all seven seasons to see how far she makes it in her career.

Available to stream on Peacock.

Living Single

Erika Alexander, Queen Latifah, and Kim Fields on Living Single
Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Living Single ran for five seasons from 1993 to 1998 and is about six friends living in New York City. The show focuses mostly on the four women of the group, three of whom live together. Queen LatifahErika AlexanderKim Fields, Kim Coles, T.C. Carson, and John Henton star. The show follows the group's dating lives and careers, and with the characters' personalities being very different, there's someone for every viewer to relate to. Just like with…

Available to stream on Hulu and Max.

Sex and the City

Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex and the City

Are you a Carrie, a Miranda, a Charlotte, or a Samantha? Sex and the City has been making viewers ponder that very question ever since it debuted in 1998. The six-season show focuses on dating columnist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and the dating lives of herself and her three best friends (Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall). Will Carrie choose Big (Chris Noth)? Will she choose Aidan (John Corbett)? You probably know the answer to those questions just as well as you know whether you're a Carrie or a Miranda, so there likely won't be too many surprises you just have to stay awake for.

Available to stream on Max.


Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer on Friends

Other than The Office, is there any show that is more known for repeat viewings than Friends? Reruns are constantly airing on TV and all 10 seasons are also available to stream. Same as Living Single, this sitcom, which ran from 1994 to 2004, is about six friends (Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer), who live in New York City. The action mostly takes place in two of their apartments and in their favorite coffee shop, Central Perk, all of which are comforting and familiar locations for fans. It's hard to find anyone who doesn't know which friends end up together romantically, so the storylines are not exactly going to keep you awake and on the edge of your seat… or bed.

Available to watch on Max.

RELATED: The Most Hated TV Characters of All Time.

Grand Designs

A home featured on Grand Designs
Channel 4

Each episode of Grand Designs focuses on the creation of one extraordinary house, from the planning stage through construction all the way to the owners moving in. Sometimes the owners face difficulties in their quest to build their unconventional dream homes—such as with their budget or with coming up against red tape—but they usually overcome these by the end of the episode when their houses are revealed.

Available to stream on BritBox.

House Hunters

Couple standing in a bathroom on the HGTV show House Hunters

If you're a fan of home-related shows and really want something formulaic and soothing, there's perhaps nothing better than House Hunters. Each episode sees prospective homeowners or renters view three properties, walk around discussing the pros and cons, and decide on which property they'd like to move into. The stakes are only as high as wanting to guess the right house while you watch, but by the time the episode ends, you just might be asleep, anyway.

Available to stream on Max.


Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce in Frasier
CBS Television Distribution

Had you asked any Cheers fan at the time, they probably wouldn't have named Kelsey Grammer's character Frasier Crane as the one most ripe for a spinoff. But Frasier, which aired from 1993 to 2004, was a smash hit that won 37 Emmys. The premise is that the psychiatrist has moved home to Seattle from Boston and is living with his father, Martin (John Mahoney), as he hosts a call-in radio show. The comedy often stems from Martin's working-class personality being far different from that of his snobby sons Frasier and Niles (David Hyde Pierce). If you find that the 11 seasons of this sitcom lull you to sleep, there's also a revival series you can check out that premiered in 2023 and follows Frasier back to Boston, where he reunites with his now-adult son Freddy (Jack Cutmore-Scott).

Available to stream on Prime Video and Hulu.


Jason Alexander and Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld
Sony Pictures Television

Another hugely popular sitcom of the '90s, Seinfeld is perfect for a nighttime rewatch because the show is literally known for being about nothing. The episodes feature often-interconnecting, usually ridiculous stories involving self-absorbed friends Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), George (Jason Alexander), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and Kramer (Michael Richards). And their issues—which can range from stealing a marble rye from an elderly woman to dealing with an angry soup shop owner—are generally resolved by the time the credits roll.

Available to stream on Netflix.

RELATED: 18 Old TV Shows the Whole Family Will Love.

Barefoot Contessa

Ina Garten hosting Barefoot Contessa
Food Network

Cooking shows in general are pretty calming, because unless you're cooking along, there's really not much asked of the viewer. But, if you want something especially chill, check out Ina Garten's show Barefoot Contessa. Her soothing voice requesting that home cooks use "good olive oil" or letting us know that "store bought is fine" if we can't make one of her ingredients from scratch will put viewers to sleep faster than you can say, "How easy is that?"

Available to stream on Max and Discovery+.


Contestants on Chopped
Food Network

Chopped is perhaps not as inherently calming as Barefoot Contessa, but if you like cooking shows, it is still good to fall asleep to, because it follows the same formula each time. Four chefs face off for a cash prize by participating in three rounds of cooking—appetizer, dinner, and dessert—and after each round one chef is eliminated. Making it more compelling—but not so much that you can't fall asleep!—in each round, they must use four secret ingredients that are usually random things that don't seem to go together to make their dish. (Think: Twinkies, rotisserie chicken, a cucumber, and nacho cheese.)

Available to stream on Max and Discovery+.

RELATED: HGTV Viewers Blast "Absolutely Disgusting" Behavior on House Hunters.

Below Deck

Cast members on Below Deck Down Under

Bravo reality shows can be pretty dramatic—just look at all the Real Housewives series and Vanderpump Rules—but one that tends to be less chaotic is Below Deck. While there is drama amongst the crew members working on luxury yachts, it usually doesn't get too explosive. Plus, the show highlights the guests who are renting the yacht, which gives this reality show a more episodic quality. And there's plenty to watch. There are five different Below Deck series: Below Deck (11 seasons), Below Deck Adventure (one season), Below Deck Mediterranean (nine seasons), Below Deck Down Under (two seasons), and Below Deck Sailing Yacht (four seasons). That should have your bedtime sorted for a while.

Available to stream on Peacock and Fubo.

Good Times

John Amos and Esther Rolle on Good Times
Sony Pictures Television

The further you go back in TV history, the more predictable the plots and the more resolved matters are by an episode's end. Just look at Good Times, which aired from 1974 to 1979. The Maude spinoff is about the Evans family, including parents Florida (Esther Rolle) and James (John Amos), and children J.J. (Jimmie Walker), Thelma (Bern Nadette Stanis), and Michael (Ralph Carter). In every episode, the family faces a financial hardship or some sort of predicament involving their kids—usually the always scheming J.J. With 133 episodes, you can fall asleep to the Evanses turning a lot of bad times into good times.

Available to stream on Peacock.

Planet Earth

a still from Planet Earth II
BBC Earth / YouTube

A beautifully shot nature documentary narrated by David Attenborough and his almost hypnotic English accent? Planet Earth will put you to sleep for sure. (Though it does also deserve to be watched when you're fully awake.) There are several Planet Earth series that teach all about oceans, deserts, rainforests, and every other facet of our planet. Drift to sleep while whales swim or zebras gallop before your eyes.

Available to stream on Max.

The Golden Girls

Bea Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan on The Golden Girls

How many times will you have to hear the show's iconic theme song, "Thank You for Being a Friend," before you fall asleep? If it takes a couple episodes, that's OK, because The Golden Girls aired 180 of them over seven seasons. Take in the friendships and romantic lives of Dorothy (Bea Arthur), Rose (Betty White), Blanche (Rue McClanahan), and Sophia (Estelle Getty), because there are few better ways to set your mind at ease than watching the gals grill Blanche about her latest suitor over cheesecake.

Available to watch on Hulu.

Schitt's Creek

Daniel Levy and Catherine O'Hara on Schitt's Creek
CBC Television

The concept of Schitt's Creek is pretty simple: A rich family loses all of their money, so they have to go live in the small town they bought as a joke. After making a motel in Schitt's Creek their home, the Rose family—including dad Johnny (Eugene Levy), mom Moira (Catherine O'Hara), and adult children David (Daniel Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy)—become part of the community, making friends, starting businesses, and finding love. It's a silly premise with plenty of jokes, but also a lot of heart.

Available to stream on Hulu and Freevee.

This story has been updated to include additional entries, fact-checking, and copy-editing.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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