Nothing Soothed My Anxious Thoughts at Bedtime—Until I Tried This Personalized App

"I've really been struggling to fall asleep at night," is maybe the most "join the club" statement of the year. In fact, in the midst of our collective stress over the state of the world—and our upended daily routines—one report suggested that women are being hit particularly hard on the sleep front, and are more prone to anxious feelings overall.

Allow me to add myself to that list. If I had to state the facts in a wanted ad, it would read like this: Six-months-pregnant working mother of a toddler, currently embroiled in out-of-state move, seeks soothing solution to stop running through her to-do list and actually get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

So when the universe somehow answered my (totally imaginary, shouting-into-the-void) request in the form of an app, I was surprised—and relieved. The app in question? Breethe, a mental wellness and meditation app that serves up personalized support and tools to help you face your stressed and anxious feelings with the playful real-talk you'd expect of a BFF. And in my case, it happened to be the perfect companion to help me use meditation to sleep.

"We like to think of ourselves as the mental wellness app that cares about you and truly understands yourather than making self care another item on your to-do list," says Lynne Goldberg, Breethe co-founder and lead meditation teacher. That care comes courtesy of Breethe's My Life Kit, an interactive feature that curates an ultra-personalized toolkit for your unique needs. Can’t sleep or feel anxious? It’s designed to figure out why and provide customized recommendations—including meditation, hypnotherapy sessions, and informative talks—that it continues to update for you in real time.

This bespoke strategy is an intentional one. "The more we can meet someone where they’re at—in their life or even specific moments in their day—and offer real-time support that not only helps them in the moment, but eventually gets to the root of their anxiety or sleeplessness, the more lives we can change for the better," says Goldberg.

So how did Breethe fare against my very specific personal stressors? (Okay spoiler: extremely well.) Here’s what I learned once I incorporated it into my daily routine and also started using meditation to sleep.

Scroll down for 3 tips for using meditation to sleep and de-stress with Breethe's super-personalized toolkit.

1. Get personal(ized)

"When it comes to wellness and self care, there is no one-size-fits-all approach," Goldberg says, which is why I knew Breethe's My Life Kit feature would be a unique solution for my hyper-specific life circumstances.

Here's how it works: Within the Breethe app, you answer a series of simple questions rooted in behavioral science—the more questions you answer, the more personalized things get—that build out your custom library of content. And when I say custom, I mean custom. "We offer relatable meditations for (very!) specific everyday situations, like ‘Tax Season—Adulting Is Hard,’ ‘My Boss is a Jerk,’ and ‘My Family Drives Me Nuts,'" says Goldberg. 

Here are some of my personal tracks: 'Meditation for a Move' (a moment of calm that acknowledges how scary change can be); 'Pregnancy' (a guided visualization that helps you connect with your baby), 'Dealing with Impatience' (looking at you, fellow pandemic parents), and, of course, 'Better Sleep' (a bedtime hypnotherapy session).

"I’ve dealt with those exact same things," Goldberg says of my current challenges. "And meditation and self-care practices are how I survived them." When using the app, this is palpable. Breethe doesn't just feel personal because of the relevant content—it feels like a friend who's there to give you the gentle pep talk you need to face your anxious thoughts with self-compassion. 

2. Face it: You need a break

If you spend a lot of time scraping dried oatmeal off the floor, Zooming into one meeting after the next, and attempting to get five minutes alone in the bathroom, you might be asking yourself the same question I did: Is it actually productive to "do nothing?"

But here's the thing: It's imperative. "People are really struggling with sleeplessness, anxiety, work pressures, caring for families, and relationship challenges," Goldberg says. In my case, that was check, check, check, check, check. That's where meditation and mental wellness resources like Breethe can help.

"In the short-term, meditation may feel like a much-needed break from our day (which is a wonderful bonus!) but, over time, the practice actually helps you to cope and deal with the tough stuff in your life in a healthy way," she says. I took this as my cue to press pause and do something for myself—and, dare I say, even get excited about it (shout out to the tired pregnant parents everywhere).

3. Make bedtime your "me" time

As a mom to a 16 month old, I've learned the power of consistency. My son's reliable bedtime pattern (bath, book, bed) never fails to calm him—so I decided to take the hint and treat my own bedtime ritual as a consistent practice.

After reading my book, I hit play on a Breethe meditation or hypnotherapy session, close my eyes, and allow myself to relax. "Breethe is all about real help for your life," says Goldberg. "We like to say, 'The tone may be light, but the teachings and transformation are deep.'" That relatable vibe makes it easy to stick with and develop a self-care habit.

Now, no matter what the day throws at me, I know I have the ability to spend a moment focusing on my soon-to-arrive baby (something that's harder to do the second time around) or considering how I can be less reactive (give me all the patience, please). No matter what, this dedicated time never fails to quiet my anxious thoughts—if I can stay awake long enough, that is.

Want to try Breethe for yourself? Bonus: Well+Good readers can score 30 percent off a Breethe subscription now.

Top photo: Breethe; Art: Well+Good Creative

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