Tossing and turning in bed while begging for sleep to come is what you’ll find me doing most nights. My mind is racing with anxieties from the day, a to-do list on replays with tomorrow’s tasks, and that one TikTok song I can’t seem to get out of my head.
Does any of this sound familiar? If not you’re lucky, but if it does you might want to keep reading. I’ve tried different meditation apps in the past to try and relax me into a mindful state of sleep with rare success. The Calm app is one that I haven’t tried before, but I’ve heard a lot about. Calm started by focusing on mediation services, but in 2016 they added ‘Sleep Stories’ to the app. According to Calm, ‘Sleep Stories’ are specifically designed to tell enjoyable stories for people to fall asleep to. It seems to be working – in 2017, Calm was Apple’s App of the Year and since then, the brand has grown its content, especially its sleep content.
Calm has partnered with multiple celebrities to narrate some of their ‘Sleep Stories,” with Shawn Mendes being one of their most recent partners. I’ve listened to Shawn’s music since he was coming up on Vine and was a part of the Magcon group. Since I’ve always struggled with falling asleep, I thought maybe Mendes could be the missing part of my bedtime routine.
This thought process led me to trying out Mendes’ Sleep Story on the Calm app for one week. I tracked my reaction to the story, how restful I woke up the next morning, and my overall experience of using the app. My biggest hope was finding something that could improve my nightly sleep. So did it work? Keep reading to find out.
While Calm is a free to download app, I quickly realized the ‘Sleep Stories’ content was only available for Calm Premium members. They only offer an annual subscription for $69.99, but since I’ve never used the app, I used the one-week free trial.
After starting the free trial, I quickly realized how many options there were in the sleep category. From meditations to music to sounds or soundscapes to ‘Sleep Stories,’ there seemed to be something for everyone.
I quickly found Mendes’ sleep story. The story was called, “We Are Connected,” and it was 34 minutes and 41 seconds long. I was surprised to find only one story he narrates, but I just thought, “I’ll memorize the story by the end of this week.”
Despite the fact I knew he’d be narrating, I found myself surprised to hear Mendes’ voice. I laughed to myself about how he was going to be putting me to sleep this week.
The story begins with an introduction of Mendes checking in with you. I found the check-in to be soothing, allowing myself a moment to think about the day I had and allowing myself to release my pent-up anxieties and stresses. It’s often easy to forget to check in with ourselves, but by doing this, it lifted a weight from my shoulders.
The check in was followed by a short series of breathing. I again laughed slightly to myself, thinking, again, “Shawn Mendes is putting me to sleep.”
The story began after this and all I can remember is a little girl and something about Antarctica… I feel asleep.
I woke up the next morning to my sunrise alarm clock feeling pretty well rested and surprised. I couldn’t remember anything about the story, but I guess that’s a good thing.
Days 2 to 5
For the next four days I kept using the app, clicking on Mendes’ story each night. I became used to his voice and the idea of him putting me to bed seemed less strange or laughable. Instead I found myself excited to lay in bed and have a moment to check in on how my day went.
I became determined to stay awake to know more about what the actual sleep story was. Our main character was a little girl and she sat on an Antarctica-shaped rug. Not what I would have guessed the first night! She was going through a photo album, reliving the memories on the page, when a ray of sunlight came in through the window. The light keeps getting described and the last thing I remember is that she determined the light was a message from outer space as I drifted off to sleep.
This was the farthest part I could get in the story. I woke up similar to the first day, but mostly surprised each day how quickly I fell asleep. Maybe I had found the key to improving my sleep.
This was my first night of tossing and turning. Just like the nights before, I clicked on Mendes’ story preparing myself to go to sleep. I knew what was coming, the self check-in, followed by the breathing, finishing with the story. However, instead of following the story, I found myself focused on my position in bed.
Normally, I start by sleeping on my stomach and end up on my back by the time I wake up. That night, I couldn’t find a comfortable position to sleep in. I tried just telling myself to focus on the story, but I just grew frustrated. I couldn’t settle on a position, flipping myself like a pancake searching for a spot.
What felt like years later, I finally settled on sleep on my right side. By this time I had no idea where the story was and I decided to turn it off. Why didn’t I just start it over? That’s a great question and something I asked myself the next morning as I woke up more tired than previous nights.
My final night of trying out Mendes’ sleep story was here, and I couldn’t believe it. Using the app each night gave my night routine more structure because I knew once I turned it on I was going to sleep. Plus, I had found his voice very soothing to fall asleep to, so I knew I’d be missing that.
Just like the previous nights, I laid down for bed (finding a comfortable position this time) and began the sleep story. I found myself fully immersed as I had previous nights, checking in on myself and breathing along with Mendes’ voice. The story began – this time, I didn’t even get to the light part as I drifted off to sleep. Besides the first night, this was the fastest I had fallen asleep.
I woke up the next morning ready for the day, feeling just as surprised as before, thinking, “I can’t believe this worked.”
Overall, I loved using the Calm app and found it very beneficial for my nightly routine. I have a wandering mind at night, which is normally what mades it difficult for me to fall asleep. Having a dedicated routine of checking in with myself, incorporating some breathing, and ending with a detailed story I still don’t know, worked really great for me. I still think it’s a bit strange to have a celebrity essentially put you to sleep, but I think Mendes has the perfect soothing voice to do just that.