This App Plays The Soothing Voice Of Bob Ross To Help You Fall Asleep

The late, great Bob Ross was almost as famous for his distinctive soothing voice as he was for his painting skills. The PBS star died in 1995, but his memory lives on. Products based upon the artist are still being rolled out, like this Bob Ross coloring book and this Bob Ross board game.

If you miss the sound of his calming voice, however, you can now get enjoy that, too, thanks to the meditation and sleep app Calm. Its Sleep Stories — 20-minute stories designed to help your drift off to sleep — include fiction, nonfiction, nature essays and musical selections. Now they include Ross teaching you how to paint “happy little trees.”

bob ross photo
Getty Images | Robin Marchant

Ross’ story uses audio from three episodes of his show, “The Joy of Painting.” His voice is so soothing for some restless sleepers that they have dubbed the relaxation it causes the “Bob Ross Effect.”

What Is ASMR?

For some, Ross’ voice can even trigger ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response), a variety of pleasurable and calming mental and physical sensations, including tingling, goosebumps and a drowsy, profound feeling of relaxation in response to certain stimuli.

Craig Richard, Ph.D., a professor of biopharmaceutical sciences at Shenandoah University, runs the site ASMR University, which is dedicated to studying the phenomenon. He says that the experience of ASMR may be related to feel-good brain chemicals like endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin.

Although Richard was skeptical of the concept at first, he recalled Ross’ voice inducing the effect in him as a child.

“I remembered coming home from school as a kid, flipping channels and stopping on Bob Ross because his voice was so magical,” Richard told the Star Tribune. “I’d set up a big floor pillow and fall asleep halfway through. I don’t think I ever watched him finish a painting.”

‘A Hero To The Hard Of Sleeping’

The co-founder of Calm explained the iconic painter’s voice has been a popular request from their customers for some time.

“We’ve had so many Calm users asking us for a Sleep Story with Bob Ross,” Alex Tew, co-founder of Calm, said in a statement. “He was and still is a hero to the hard of sleeping.”

For now, one Bob Ross Sleep Story is available on the app, and the company plans to release two more this summer.