Ranking Something Silly: Best sports to fall asleep to

October 12, 2023

Let’s face it, this time of year is hard. The sun is going down sooner and sooner and temperatures are falling. Our Saturdays and Sundays are packed with football and our Monday to Friday is packed with all of life’s other responsibilities. It’s hard to find time to get a break, but sleep is important to physical and mental health (I am neither a professional nor healthy). 

With that in mind, and as some Sooner fans may be looking to recharge over this bye week, here are some suggestions on how sports could help you find that rest you need, crave and deserve.

Here are the ten best sports to fall asleep to.

10. Soccer: You will find few who love soccer like I do, but even I have struggled at times to keep my eyelids open watching the beautiful game. That’s because there can be long stretches of time where it’s not at all beautiful. If I’m emotionally invested, those stretches of little to no action just builds the tension, but if I’m not, it can be downright boring.

The peak sleep to soccer experience is Sunday mornings at 6:30 am when two mid-table Premier League teams are playing. If you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, crank that thing on and let the British accents and chants of the crowd sing you back to your slumber.

9. Tennis: I actually like playing tennis, but more than any other sport on this list, it has a rhythmic quality to it that is downright hypnotizing if you’re looking to get a little shut eye.

The peak sleep to tennis experience is The French Open because of the long rallies. I like to play a game where I listen for the serve and then try to fall asleep before the point is over. Everyone’s a winner

8. Poker:  It’s not as readily available as it used to be, but poker was a late night staple on sports television in the early 2000’s and even into the 2010’s, just like The World’s Strongest Man or the Stihl Timbersports series was in the 80’s and 90’s. You can still find it on TV from time to time and it’s so quiet and so methodical that you can hit REM in no time.

The peak sleep to poker experience used to be Poker After Dark, which was canceled in 2021, but now it’s Poker that’s late at night on Bally’s. Although to be fair, everything on Bally’s late at night is easy to fall asleep to.

7. Billiards: The sound of billiard balls clacking together and then one of them dropping into the pocket is a poor man’s combination of two of the best sounds in sports, a strike in bowling and a putt going in the hole in golf. 

The peak sleep to billiards experience is when any billiards competition is on. It has to be legit 9-ball or something though, because you won’t be able to take your eyes off the trick shot masters!

6. Ice Skating: When you watch ice skating, it feels like you are in a snow globe. You want to wrap up in your warmest blanket and sit by the fireplace. It’s a very soothing feeling. Throw in the classical music of a long program and I’m snoring quicker than a cat fart.

The peak sleep to ice skating experience is the Winter Olympics, and it’s a beautiful added bonus that NBC always broadcasts ice skating in primetime. It’s perfect for an early night in.

5. Golf: There’s a reason why my algorithm on social media always shows me places where you can spend the night in the middle of nowhere and sleep with nature around you in pure solitude. Many sports are played outdoors, but golf captures the beauty, peacefulness and solitude of nature more than any other sport.

The peak sleep to golf experience is The Open Championship (the British Open to you uncultured swine), because of the natural sound you can get with the wind and rain lashing about. Pebble Beach comes in a close second because of the crashing waves.

4. Cycling: For me, cycling on television is the closest thing in the sports world to counting sheep. They’re almost always in a nice little uniform line, going single file around the corner. The camera catches one go by, then another, then another, all looking almost exactly the same. Much like golf, it also captures the solitude that a bike ride must feel like. I wouldn’t know. I never learned how to ride a bike. Maybe on the next episode of The Todd Pod, Bob Stoops can teach me how to ride a bike. 

The peak sleep to cycling experience is obviously during the Tour de France. It’s not only incredible scenery and views of nature, but it’s on television early in the morning in America. Don’t put that coffee on yet. Turn on some cycling and hit the hay for a little longer.

3. Bowling: There is no greater Sunday afternoon nap background noise than a good bowling tournament. I would argue that there is only one sound that can make me fall asleep faster than the sound of a good pocket strike followed by a quiet applause. Spoiler alert, you’ll find it at number one on this list.

The peak sleep to bowling experience is a Sunday afternoon when the late slate of NFL games are a total dud. Turn on the bowling and get that perfect recovery nap to start your week off on the right foot on Monday morning.

2. Horse Racing: If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from horse racing, it’s that kings are kind of boring. The sport of kings is high on anticipation and low on action. Broadcasters will spend five hours talking about 15 minutes of actual racing. They’ll interview Bob Baffert or D. Wayne Lucas for five minutes about a two-minute race, for crying out loud. Imagine Patti Gasso or Kenny Gajewski giving a five-hour interview before a two hour softball game.

The peak sleep to horse racing experience is The Kentucky Derby. If all the pre-race festivities don’t give you a case of the bye-byes, “My Old Kentucky Home” is guaranteed to do the trick.

1. Auto Racing: The closest thing you can get to white noise is the sound of cars whizzing around a track. Between that sound and the repetition of the same course being driven over and over and over again, auto racing can get you in the trance-like state needed to crash for a considerable time.

The peak sleep to auto racing experience is in Monaco for Formula 1, because there’s so little passing and crashing, and Talladega or Daytona for NASCAR. Sure, there’s more action, but the speed and closeness of the cars brings in a whooshing sound that could probably have its own ASMR YouTube channel.

What should I rank next week? No suggestion is too silly. Email me at [email protected] or send me a message on Twitter/X or Instagram.

About the Author: Todd Lisenbee
Todd Lisenbee is the host of The Todd Pod with Todd Lisenbee on the Sellout Crowd network. He has been a producer/talk show host at WWLS, The Sports Animal and 107.7 The Franchise during a Oklahoma broadcasting career that spans to 2002. Todd has broadcast high school basketball, football and soccer play-by-play since 2003 and is currently the voice of the UCO Bronchos, a role he has been in since 2018. He can be reached at @ToddOnSports on Twitter/X or Instagram or via email at [email protected].
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