For many, winding down for the evening involves euphoric relaxation techniques; such as scented candles, warm baths or a mug of hot choccy. There are a number of ways to preset your mind into a tranquil state, ready for a blissful night’s sleep ahead. I, however, am not one of those people. I’m a tosser (get your mind out of the gutter). Most nights consist of me flipping myself around like a rotisserie chicken, trying to find a comfortable position for a semi-decent night’s sleep. My husband on the other hand is one of the lucky few. Without any effort at all, he is able to switch off, wind down and reach the point of deep slumber as soon as his head hits the pillow. I’m not bitter by any means, but all I’m saying is that he isn’t kept up most of the night with the sound of his own snoring.
‘Switching off’ is a skill that I rarely get to put into practice. Between blogging, photo shoots, emails, paperwork and constant cleaning I find it very hard to unwind. I’m repeatedly muttering to myself the endless list of things I need to do for the next day and making mental notes of what I’ve already done. I probably sound completely nuts, but it’s just the way my mind works. I put myself into over-drive and I’ve had to find a few shortcuts along the way to help me get that much needed R&R time that is important for one’s own sanity.
Taking into consideration that my iPhone is pretty much surgically attached to me, I began looking into apps which deliver help in relaxation and more importantly, sleep deprivation. Of course, I could go down the essential oils route; which I have done in the past, but when I’m on the go (which I am most of the time) I can’t be faffing about with oils. I’m embracing the new age where phones dictate your life. Not the most healthiest approach in some aspects, but the apps that I share with you today have helped me tremendously in my hour of need when I’ve needed to relax my mind, body and soul.
This is by far the best app that I’ve ever downloaded. For nights when I’m really struggling to switch my mind off, I pop this app on, turn on the timer (there’s a 3 hour automatic switch-off mode on the app) and I let it do its magic. I absolutely detest dead noise and I always feel like I need a little something in the background to make me feel more secure. This app really spoils you with the variation of sounds, there’s 50 to choose from and they all promise to put you in a deep sleep within 20 minutes. Sounds too good to be true for a border-line insomniac like myself, but it really does work. There’s a Lite option; which is available as a free download or you can upgrade to the Premium for £2.29. The free download still has a vast array of sounds; which you could play individually or together to create your own perfect blend, but the Premium offers a wider selection as well functionalities to save your pre-made mixes. I’ve never downloaded the Premium and in all honesty, I’ve never had to. The free version works just fine for me. There’s no adverts and it’s helped me enormously at times when my mind just doesn’t want to play ball.
One of the most popular apps for meditation. I’ve dabbled in a bit of meditation here and there, but I’ve never made it into a regular thing. Headspace offers 10 spurts of audio-assisted meditation at 10 minutes each. This isn’t the traditional ‘you are an independent woman’ crap, the short but sweet intervals of guidance offer relief for anxiety, stress, insomnia and medical-related issues. All you need is 10 minutes in the day; which is more than do-able for even the busiest person. I typically pop this on while I’m soaking in the tub to rid myself of the negative thoughts that have accumulated throughout the day.
Much like the name suggests, this app offers ‘pills’ or rather ‘digital pills’; which uses psycho acoustics to unlock your subconscious and change your perception. You can aid insomnia, reduce stress, promote weight loss, stop smoking, ease anxiety, gain confidence and increase motivation all within one little app. It’s essentially a self-help book without the condescending tone. The app offers 15 to 30 minutes sessions aimed at tackling your different needs. I must admit, I’ve been dubious in the past on the science behind hypnosis, but this app has certainly helped me in reducing my stress when I’m feeling particularly ‘delicate’.
The geek in me couldn’t resist the temptation of this app. Sleep Time is an app which monitors your movement throughout the night and determines the times when you’re in your deepest sleep vs your lightest sleep. The results are depicted through a graph; which isn’t really necessary to cure your insomnia but it’s certainly interesting. What sets this app apart from the others is that during your lightest period of sleep, the inbuilt alarm gently wakes you to a choice of 20 sounds (or your favourite iTunes song) and therefore preventing you from breaking a deep sleep. You can also choose a variety of background melodies to help you sleep as well as monitor your heart rate when you eventually awake. Your body regenerates and repairs throughout the night so monitoring your sleeping pattern can help you determine certain habits; which are causing you to struggle while you sleep. There’s a chargeable version of this app; which is also available, but I wouldn’t waste your money as it’s no different to the free version.
In all honesty, this app is pretty much like Digipill and Headspace, but the animations that comes with it intrigued me. The app offers the same level of service in terms of relaxation, with a variety of ‘programmes’ for you to complete depending on your needs. What I love most is the animated backgrounds which you can choose to play on your phone while you listen to the audio. From moving clouds to rolling rivers, spending 10 minutes in your day looking and listening with this app will put your mind at ease in no time. I love streaming this app on my Apple Tv when I’m laying in bed just so I can visualise everything a little clearer.
What are your favourite relaxing techniques? Comment below with suggestions of what I could try next.