My Experience with Insight Timer
And How It May Help You Too
When I was young, I found that all my problems seemed worse during the night than they did in the day. It’s as though as soon as night fell all of the small worries in my mind grew excessively, regardless of whether the worries were actually serious, or just things a child would construe as such. Take for example my clearest memory of such a thing. It was the night before going back to school after a holiday, and I realised I couldn’t find my Geography work book. That night, after saying goodnight to my parents, I stayed up crying. What am I going to do? Will my teacher yell at me in front of everyone? Should I just stay off tomorrow instead of dealing with it? For about an hour or so these thoughts are all that filled my head. Instead of sweet dreams, I had endless negative possibilities running rampant. My brother saw me and came in to ask why I was still awake, and I told him what was wrong. “It’s just a book.” It wasn’t said in any criticising or sneering way as it might be interpreted on paper, but with a reassuring tone. He was right, of course, it was just a book. And in the end everything did end up fine, but its moments like these that always made me struggle to sleep. When the lights went out my brain suddenly turned into an overactive machine that pumped out the smallest things just to keep me up all night.
After several years, and realising that this general anxiety was linked to something much bigger, my sleeping became worse and worse. I had tried apps at the recommendation of doctors but they were restricted by a paywall, blocking off the broader content which could’ve really helped me at the time. Due to this I was put off of self help apps, that is until my time at Sixth Form. It was here where my mental health really shifted to worrying places, but I thankfully had the help of the amazing pastoral team. After a few months of going up there, the woman who I would speak to the most about my issues name dropped an app that she found to be helpful. That app was called “Insight Timer”. She spoke about how it was helpful for meditation and sleep, and best of all, it was free. At that moment I didn’t fully believe it given my experience with apps such as this, but after a few more weeks I thought “Hey, What’s the worst that can happen?”
Just like she said, it was free, though I did need an account and they didn’t require any personal details to be given which to me is a bonus. Now I’m not really a fan of meditation, so my goal with the app wasn’t to use it in that way. Rather, what I wanted from the app was a way to help me get some better sleep. That same night, before heading to bed, I searched within the app for Rain Music, as it’s the type of sound that is very relaxing to me, and a plethora of options to choose from came up. I just clicked on the first one I saw, an hour and a half long rain track by a man with the username of ‘Desh’. After saying goodnight to my parents, I hit play on my phone, and the calming sound of rain and a hint of rumbling thunder filled the air around me. Instead of my usual thoughts of daily worries, my head seemed to become more calm and pacified. The sensations of the sounds swayed me off to a restful sleep, and that next morning I woke up refreshed. I have been using the app ever since.
It really has changed the way that I sleep. Before Insight Timer, the silence of my room really bothered me. It always seemed like there was a slight ringing in the back of my ear and when trying to sleep it seemed to be amplified, filling the silence with something really not ideal to the situation. The music really helps to drown it out, exchanging the annoying nature of the ringing with something much more calming.
Not only that, but I also discovered the ‘Timer’ section of the app. Here you pick the duration, activity type and ambient sounds that you’ll hear. My most commonly used custom preset is the 20 minute session which is intended to help me focus on my breathing. The chosen sound is ‘Crystal Rain Drops’ which has chimes interspersed amongst the rain sounds and, much like the track I listen to when I sleep, is extremely useful. When my anxiety goes into overdrive as it often does on tough days, I use the ‘Timer’ function and the chimes help me to regulate my breathing as well as my thoughts. It helps me slow everything down and I truly think that this app can benefit people who have similar anxiety problems.
Is the app a cure for anxiety and depression? No. Will it work for every person who suffers from mental health issues? No. Every person has different needs. Where I might find the app helpful, many others may not. They might have their own fix which I probably wouldn’t find to be such, and that is perfectly fine. If you’ve read this piece of writing and come away from it with the mentality that it’s not the type of concept you like, then that’s okay. I’m just sorry I couldn’t offer anything to you if that’s the case.
If you did, however, come away from this with an interest in Insight Timer, then I would strongly recommend this to you if it’s ‘your thing’. As well as a wide variety of music tracks and meditation offers (100,000 as claimed on the website) for free members, Insight Timer also offers a subscription for $60 (around £44) per year, 50% of all income going to the creators on the platform. There is a 30 day free trial, one I assume you get charged at the end of, but you can cancel at any time if you find the Insight Timer Plus feature is not for you. I’m honestly not too savvy with the site, so if you want more details then please head to their website yourself so that you can find all of the benefits out for yourself. Not to mention that Insight Timer is available on either your computer or your mobile app store, so you can meditate at work or whilst on holiday, or from the comfort of your room like me.
This app really has helped my sleep pattern, and whilst I recognise that some people won’t find the same comfort as me, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my experience, especially if I can help someone out along the way.
Thank you for reading, it really means a lot to me that you’ve gotten through to the end, and whilst I have you here consider dropping me a like to let me know if you’ve enjoyed my writing. Any tips are welcomed too as it’ll help me to keep producing the content I enjoy making and you hopefully enjoy reading~