How To Set A ‘Sleep Timer’ In Your Podcast App So You Don’t Lose Your Place After Dozing Off

Falling asleep to podcasts has become the geeky equivalent of a glass of warm milk before bed. It’s so popular, in fact, that there’s an entire podcasting genre dedicated to dry topics and gentle conversations to help lull you to sleep. It’s also a terrible catch-22: put on your favourite podcast before bed, and you might have to go find the last spot you remember hearing once you wake up. If you’re not careful, you might even sleep through an entire playlist of backlogged shows.

Luckily, many podcast apps now include sleep timer features that will automatically pause the episode so you don’t miss out on the latest alien abduction theories or damning true-crime evidence while you’re off in dreamland.

We’ll show you how to set sleep timers in popular apps like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pocketcasts, and Spotify, but it’s worth noting that these aren’t the only podcasting apps that include sleep timer support. Similar features usually hide somewhere on a podcast app’s “now playing” and playback menus, or in the app’s settings. Regardless of which app you use, know that you’ll need to enable the sleep timer whenever you’re listening before bedtime (or a quick nap).

Apple Podcasts (iOS)

  1. Open Apple Podcasts.

  2. Tap the “Now Playing” bar at the bottom of the app to expand it.

  3. Scroll down and tap “Sleep Timer.”

  4. Select your desired timer length. The timer can be set for any five-minute interval between 5 and 60 minutes, or for when the current episode ends.

  5. Once you’ve started the timer, the player will now display a countdown clock showing the remaining time before the episode is paused. The timer will only countdown while the podcast is playing—manually pause the podcast, and the timer will also pause.

Google Podcasts (Android)

  1. Open the app.

  2. Load up an episode, or tap the playback bar at the bottom of the screen to expand it.

  3. Tap the crescent moon-shaped icon.

  4. Use the slider to set the timer delay (each pip on the slider equals 5 minutes), or tap “end of episode” to automatically pause playback when the episode completes.

  5. Tap “Start” to begin the timer.

Pocket Casts (Android, iOS)

  1. Launch the Pocket Casts app.

  2. Begin playing a podcast, or tap the small art thumbnail to open the playback menu.

  3. Tap the “zzz” icon.

  4. Select from one of the predefined timer settings, or tap the “+” and “-” buttons at the bottom of the menu to customise the timer delay.

  5. Once set, the “zzz” icon will pulsate to indicate the timer is running. Note that the countdown will continue whether the podcast is playing or paused, but it can be edited with extra time, changed to “end of current episode,” or canceled altogether by tapping the “zzz” icon to open the settings.

Spotify (Android)

Spotify’s sleep timer settings work for both podcasts and music, but only on Android (as of when we published this article).

  1. Open Spotify.

  2. Tap on the “More” icon at the top right of the “Now Playing” screen.

  3. Tap “Sleep Timer.”

  4. Set the timer length (between 5 and 60 minutes, or end of current episode/track).

  5. You can also open the Sleep Timer menu while the countdown is running to manually pause it.


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