Ironically, I think that the one thing I’m most tired of is people telling me that I look tired. I’ve never been a strong sleeper, and I’m completely confident that this is directly connected to my anxiety, especially considering that when I’m anxious about not getting enough sleep, I sleep more poorly than I usually do. I’ve talked to my doctor, tried cutting out coffee and screen time, melatonin, you name it. This semester, I’ve been experimenting with guided sleep meditations. The Calm app, and its “7 Days of Sleep” meditation specifically, was recommended to me, so I figured I’d give it a try.
It’s important to note that I was limited to Calm’s free features, but complete access to the app is offered through annual billing plans, or a flat rate of $400 as a “for life” fee. With that said, I started off my first day of trying the Calm app with their free Sleep Story: “Blue Gold” by Stephen Fry. I certainly saw the pros and cons in the Sleep Stories right off the bat. While I personally prefer guided meditation so I can really focus on my breathing and train my mind and body to be ready for bed, I can see the appeal of listening to a story in which there is no pressure to completely listen. You can tune out and fall asleep at any point, which is relieving in a way, though I had trouble doing so.
The next day, I tried the free “7 Days of Calm” meditation. While my goal in trying Calm was to improve my sleep, I’ve also been wanting to improve my ability to relax throughout the day, specifically in a way that does not involve screen time. Meditation seemed like the perfect fit, and I enjoyed Calm’s meditation. I felt comfortable breathing, and I successfully allowed myself to be completely immersed in the meditation, temporarily removing myself from all of the extraneous stressors I’d experienced throughout the morning. While I was still hesitant to pay for the year-long subscription (and disappointed that “7 Days of Calm” only provided free access to the first day), I looked forward to trying “7 Days of Sleep” the next night.
I’m unsure whether I was making myself feel overly anxious about falling asleep right away, or whether Calm is actually not the right fit for me after all, but “7 Nights of Sleep” was a bit less successful than I’d hoped for. The meditation was easy to follow and I felt calm as I was completing it, but I remained awake far after the meditation was over, unsure of next steps to take. In terms of how the meditation was guided, I’d highly recommend it. I was, however, a bit disappointed that the meditation was only twelve minutes long. Upon realizing that I needed a longer meditation in order to help me to fall asleep, I looked to Spotify instead and found The Honest Guys’ guided sleep meditations to be particularly helpful.
Calm absolutely has the potential to be the right app for me. From enjoying the “7 Days of Calm” meditation, to the number of meditations catered to anxiety and stress, I can certainly see how it would be useful. However, with the $59.99/year price tag, especially considering the number of free alternatives that exist, I can’t picture myself committing to Calm in the near future. Although guided meditation isn’t perfect, it has helped me to center myself and to (often) fall asleep. Whether through Calm or otherwise, I’ve set a goal for myself to commit to at least one guided meditation each day moving forward.