Falling asleep shouldn’t be hard. Yet, roughly 70 million Americans struggle with a sleep disorder, of which insomnia is the most common (40%).
We all know that ample, quality sleep is the foundation for optimal health, mental clarity, and overall, a better quality of life. But how can you turn that fantasy into reality?
That’s where Calm comes in handy. From meditation to weighted blankets, Calm offers six tools (inside and outside of the app) to help you reserve your spot in dreamland so that you wake up refreshed.
1. Sleep Meditation
Stressful thoughts make it hard for your brain to let go of the day’s activities, wind down, and prepare for bed.
But several studies show that meditation may be just the thing to counter insomnia and poor sleep quality:
- A 2016 meta-analysis in The Journal of Psychosomatic Research shared that meditation significantly improved sleep quality in 330 insomniac patients.
- A 2015 review in The Journal of Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine further supported mindfulness meditation in lengthening sleep duration with long-lasting effects.
- Another 2015 study in The Journal of JAMA Internal Medicine discovered that mindfulness meditation positively impacted sleep disturbances in older adults.
That’s why Calm’s in-app library has a dedicated section on sleep meditations.
Between “7 Days of Sleep” and “Gently Back to Sleep”, the app’s guided meditations tackle different slumber-related issues, be it falling asleep or going back to bed after waking up in the middle of the night.
2. Breathing Exercise
If you’re already a pro at meditating or feel kinda weird with someone speaking into your ear, try Calm’s in-app breathing exercises instead.
Among its many tracks, Relax is best suited for helping you unwind before bed. It features an Extended Exhale technique (inhale for 4 seconds, then exhale for 6 seconds) to lull you into your zen mode.
3. Sleep Music
But meditating’s not your only option when chasing after those z’s. From a scientific standpoint, music at specific frequencies also promotes deep sleep, as evident from a 2019 study in The Journal of Scientific Reports. It showed that listening to relaxing music before naps helped participants fall asleep faster.
As such, Calm recognizes that some people prefer restful tunes, which is why it rolled out its Sleep Music library. The star-studded playlist — think Ariana Grande and Post Malone — doesn’t hurt either.
4. White Noise
Ever heard of white noise? According to the Sleep Foundation, it’s a mix of “low-, medium-, and high-frequency sounds played together at the same intensity level.” In effect, it produces a “blanket of sound” to flush out external noises such as a car door slamming or loud neighbor chatter.
Research shows that white noise may help you achieve sleep more quickly — cue Calm’s white noise track for those who are interested.
But a recent systematic review of 38 studies highlighted the poor quality of the existing research. Additionally, at least one study discovered that white noise may heighten the risk of disturbed sleep.
In other words, white noise may be perfect for encouraging sleep in a noisy environment, say, night shift workers taking naps in the middle of the day. But, the jury is still out on this noise-masking technique if your sleep environment is already peaceful and quiet.
5. Weighted Blanket
Not surprisingly, anxiety is one of the main culprits for sleeping problems everywhere. Aside from meditating to release tension and promote calm, a weighted blanket may be your new cuddle buddy in bed.
Weighted blankets are filled with beads or pellets made of plastic, glass, or metal. This provides an even, distributed load over your whole body, forming a snug, enclosed environment. This way, the blanket mimics a comforting hug to unravel your tensed-up nervous system.
And the proof is in the science: A 2015 study in The Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders discovered that weighted blankets:
- Increase sleep duration
- Promote greater ease in falling asleep
- Enhance sleep quality
More importantly, participants liked sleeping with the weighted blanket and reported feeling “more refreshed in the morning” after “a calmer night’s sleep.” Guess it’s time to check out the Calm X Gravity Blanket!
For best results, choose a weighted blanket that’s roughly 10% of your body weight. Make sure that it doesn’t restrict your movements too much during slumber.
Note: If you have sleep apnea, claustrophobia, respiratory problems, or similar medical conditions, consult a healthcare professional first before purchasing a weighted blanket.
6. Sleep Mist
With more than 3,500 years of practice to show for, aromatherapy comes highly recommended by sleep experts. After all, essential oils are cost-effective, natural sleep aids that anyone can access.
Specific essential oils, like lavender, are highly praised for their abilities to induce calmness and relaxation. Not only does this have a direct positive impact on your anxiety levels, but it also helps you enter dreamland more easily.
A large body of research underscores the general consensus of essential oils for better sleep quality:
- Based on a recent study in The Journal of Complementary Medicine Research, “lavender-scented steam inhalation increased sleep quality and quality of life” in sleep-deprived, menopausal women.
- A 2015 study featured in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine emphasized that lavender inhalation coupled with sleep hygiene “improved sleep quality for college students with self-reported sleep issues.”
- Another 2017 study in The Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine highlighted that aromatherapy massage improved the sleep quality of nurses working night shifts.
- A systematic review of 15 studies concluded inhaling essential oils improved mild sleep disturbances.
That’s why Calm created Sleep Mist to help you attain peaceful slumber every night. The Sleep Mist is a tranquil elixir of:
- Lavender: Instills deep relaxation and peace.
- Clary Sage: Reduces stress, eases anxiety, and alleviates pain.
- Frankincense: Opens breathing passages and calms the mind.
- Chamomile: Helps calm skin and promotes deeper sleep.
Simply spritz it on your bedsheets, duvets, and pillows for some snooze-worthy vibes.
Regain Your Sleep With Calm
A night of restful slumber is quintessential for a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, modern living has 101 stressors to detract you from sleeping. But with the right tools, you can regain control of your sleep routine again.
Make simple changes to your bedtime ritual to prioritize quality sleep. Try meditating in your favorite PJs or spray your silk pillowcases with Sleep Mist. Explore which tools are most effective against your current sleep issues to maximize sleep quality and duration.
Before you know it, waking up refreshed is a daily occurrence so you can take on life with your best self.