It's 3 am and I can't sleep! Work presentations, mental grocery lists, whether or not I remembered to sign my daughter's permission slip for the field trip next week, you name it, and I can guarantee that it's running through my head. I've tried every trick in the book; didn't have any coffee past 4 pm and limited my screen time in the hours leading up to bed but nothing seemed to work. My lack of sleep was beginning to affect my day to day life. I was losing concentration at work, started forgetting little things here and there, and my overall mood was just not good. Plus when I'm exhausted, I'm more likely to eat junk food or skip the gym. A few months ago, at my Saturday morning yoga class, I was complaining about how tired I was to a friend when she told me about Calm, an audio app designed to help with sleep and anxiety, that had completely transformed her insomnia.
I downloaded Calm and started the 7-day free trial, I was impressed with how many different features they have to help you with stressful areas of your life. Their sleep section, which my friend described as her "saving grace" offers a huge variety of different audio recordings. Just like a spa, they have everything from soothing rain, starry nights, and waves crashing at the ocean. There's also music playlists curated especially for relaxation, Sleep Stories, a library with over 100 tales being read by some well-known celebrities and experts. I wasn't really sure that any of this would help me sleep, but I decided it wouldn't hurt to try. They add new stories, playlists, and even meditation classes every week, so I was hopeful that I would find something that would work for me. Plus, I loved the idea of having so many features all in one place on my phone, ready to use at the touch of a button.
The following week, after a particularly stressful day at the office followed by an anxious journey home, I was really looking forward to trying Calm that evening. I always loved being read a story by my mom when I was a kid, so I decided to start with the Sleep Stories feature. I selected Blue Gold, which is narrated by Stephen Fry and tells the tale of a calming journey through the lavender fields and quiet villages of Provence. Calm carefully constructs their stories, taking into consideration everything from the pitch of the noise to the pace of the story being told, all based on extensive neuroscientific research about putting you to sleep. The story is 25 minutes long, but I was asleep after just 15! I slept through most of the night and woke up feeling refreshed and well rested. I haven't slept that well in as long as I can remember. The next day was awesome at work, and I was really excited to try a new story that night.
I've been using Calm for a few months now, and I can't remember what I did before it. I eventually signed up for the annual plan, and I have access to everything. You can cancel anytime, but I honestly use this app a few times a week. Their sleep stories help me fall asleep within 20 minutes, and if I wake up at 3 am, I play some rain sounds and I'm back asleep in 10 minutes (not 2 hours). I'm really enjoying exploring all of the other features that the app offers, too. I now meditate a few times a week with the app and find the meditation helps me control my emotions and feel balanced and in control all day. I finally get the amount of sleep that I need to be a functioning human (because, no, sleep is not a luxury), and I can't wait to see what new features and stories they have coming in the next few months.
Update: If you're looking for relaxation on the go, our friends at Calm are offering you a free 7-day trial! Click here and get started today!