Contrary to the overwhelmingly true advice that we shouldn't look at glowing screens at night, I have for several years enjoyed watching YouTube before bed. Though, I will often knock the brightness down and set the colours to Night Shift if I'm using my phone over my XBox One. I'm quite particular about who I watch before sleep and anyone too shouty or overstimulating has to wait for the morning. That's not to say that the channels I choose to help relax my shoulders don't inspire new ideas or entertain. Far from it! It's just that, as you'll see from this list, everyone here delivers their videos with a relative calmness that melts away the day. It's almost always about the voice. I have a thing for voices.
If you're looking for new channels to subscribe to or just need some help in calming down in the evening, here are some of my favourites. I recommend adding a cup of tea. Decaff. Probably.
Fran is a Chilean freelance illustrator living in England with her husband, Ed. Her main source of work is her illustration, which I love, but she supplements that with her YouTube channel and a Patreon account. Her videos are a mix of practical advice for other artists and illustrators (on supplies or professional practice, for example), local exploration and life vlogs, and commentary on her own drawing. Everything is presented beautifully, gently and with care, making each video incredibly easy to watch. What I love most about Fran, aside from her accent, is her honesty. She speaks with her viewers as if she's having a conversation with friends. It's an incredibly endearing quality. I'm not an illustrator. I can just about manage a few sketches in my notebook, so some of the content isn't necessarily intended for me. But I just love to listen to her talk about what she does.
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Ashley's channel is split between beauty and planning videos, with a few life vlogs sprinkled around for good measure. She's based in Northern Virginia and one of the things that makes her channel extra appealing is that she has a job away from her channel, meaning she has real, everyday life to feed into it. It's something that makes other channels difficult to relate to when there's just YouTube. The beauty videos are a mix of natural products, which I never think to look at until she points them out, and more traditional, available-everywhere products. The planning videos take you through how Ashley spaces out her week, which are both useful and a pleasure to watch. What also calms me right down is Ashley's voice. She's mellow enough that she could probably talk you down from a ledge on a bad day, but confident enough that you trust and believe her. Couple that with the music, graphics and colour tones she uses and it's the perfect 10 minutes of cosiness without any unnecessary sugar. I watch each video more than once.
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There's a good chance you already know about Adam Savage's Tested YouTube channel. It's huge in terms of funding and content, meaning you don't usually have to wait more than a few days for a new video. Adam, along with his team of hosts and contributors, cover all kinds of topics from new tech to film special effects, prop building to convention activity. I love the workshop videos. Though generally they'll be exploring or making physical objects, the videos I often find most relaxing are the Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project discussions. Adam, Norm and Will just get together for a chat about whatever they've been getting up to. I regularly find myself wanting to jump in and add to the conversation, which tells you something about how engrossing their talks are. It's the kind of thing where you find yourself involuntarily nodding along when someone says something you agree with, which happens with every video. Some of the serious tech videos might go over my head in terms of understanding the mechanics of how they work, but everything's presented so well that it remains entertaining and easy to absorb.
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CHANNEL: Darbin Orvar
In a nutshell, this is a channel about woodworking. The host, Linn, carries out various projects in her home workshop and takes us along for the ride. I used to have a real passion for making things, including working with furniture. But over the years my tools have gradually been getting dustier in the shed. Not only is it fascinating and informative to watch how Linn actually builds each item, she also really makes me want to start doing the same again. There's something strangely calming and satisfying about watching someone make something with their hands...and power tools. The videos cover a wide range of projects and, with both her friendly presentation and her professional editing style, it's easy to stick on a playlist and lose an hour or so without even realising. Linn now lives in Oregon, but she's originally from Sweden. That accent is like Ovaltine to my stressed head.
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CHANNEL: Pretty Shiny Sparkly
I've been following Kristina for a long time and it's been lovely to travel along with all the changes in her life, including her recent move from Texas to North Carolina for work. Her videos are a collection of beauty product recommendations, vlogs, tech, luxury item and planner reviews. What I like about Kristina is that she's honest and direct. If she loves something she'll tell you all about it, but she doesn't hold back if something's not up to scratch either. I trust her opinion. I'll watch all her videos, even the ones about handbags I'll probably never buy, because I just enjoy the channel. But in terms of relaxation what I love are the vlogs, especially the longer ones. She and her husband are doctors (an anaesthatist and a surgeon respectively), and it's great to watch them go about their lives in 'the real world'. It adds a whole new level of interest, even though she already puts huge amounts of time and effort into her channel. It's also nice to have a space that I can enjoy as a grown woman and not feel like I'm shoehorning myself into teenage territory. So much of YouTube is for kids, but Kristina is for women.
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