One of the biggest challenges my clients (and friends, family, and coworkers) report to me is that they can’t sleep. People cite a variety of causes — overactive brains, wired bodies, and anxiety. The consequences of sleep deprivation can have devastating effects on our mental and physical health. Some consequences, just to name a few, are daytime sleepiness, lack of focus, and increased emotional reactivity.
We all know insomnia is a problem, but what can we do to fix it? If you’re like me, you’ve tried everything! From exercise, to reducing caffeine, to natural supplements, to sleep apps — I’ve done it all. Sometimes a strategy works for a while, but then the sleeplessness slowly comes back. LIke me, you might feel hopeless that you’ll ever get a good night’s sleep and go back to bad habits like tv before bed, screen time in bed, and listening to scary podcasts (is that just me?).
Well, after an exhaustive search for solutions, I’ve finally found one that works (at least for me) and I’d encourage other insomnia sufferers to try it. It’s a sleep app called Calm and it actually works! I like Calm because it has multiple tools for helping you get to sleep. So if one stops working there are other tools in the toolbox.
Right now, my favorite is the bedtime stories (way better than scary, true crime podcasts). There’s a wide variety of stories read in a soothing, sleep-inducing voice. I fall asleep before the story is even over! There’s also sleep music, meditations, and more. One option I really like is a meditation series that you do during the day to help prepare you for sleep. You learn skills such as new types of breathing, and then later you do a deep sleep meditation using the skill you learned earlier in the day.
You can try calm for free for 7 days and see what it’s all about. I promise I am not being paid (or coerced) to recommend this app. I just want to help a fellow insomniac out.
Of course, therapy can help identify and resolve underlying causes of insomnia, like anxiety, and teach skills like mindfulness. Calm is not meant to replace therapy, but is a helpful tool to enhance the work you’re already doing with your therapist.