Does the Calm App Actually Reduce Anxiety and Help Sleep?

January 2, 2023 • Shannon Flynn


In today’s hectic world, finding ways to engage in self-care is almost a requirement for staying sane. One of the most popular suggestions is consistent meditation, an ancient mindfulness practice repopularized by self-help gurus and app makers alike. 

Everyone is becoming more aware of the inarguable benefits of meditation, including the makers of the Calm app. There are plenty of meditation apps on the market — but are they worth it, and do they provide the benefits everyone keeps talking about?

What Does the Calm App Offer?

When someone downloads the Calm app, they see a minimalist interface, asking users, “What can we help with today?” Inputting an answer, ranging from self-improvement to reducing anxiety, leads you to what the app believes will help you the most.

The Calm app is one of many meditation apps on the store, ranging in price for premium memberships and resources the application houses.

In the app, users can find the following:

  • Guided meditation
  • Sleep stories
  • Relaxing music
  • Stretching exercises
  • Mindfulness masterclasses
  • Nature scenes and sounds
  • Breathing timers

It is also one of the first apps in this category to offer a clinical mental health offering under Calm Health. This offering has more conditions attached to its usage. However, it is one of the first mindfulness apps to extend its services into more medical realms.

Who is Calm For?

In short, the Calm app is for anyone — beginners looking to try meditation and veterans could all find value in the app’s offerings. Since it provides more than meditation, Calm has a broader audience than other apps. Maybe you’re not interested in meditation but need help sleeping — Calm has also tackled that arena. 

It also helps many supplement an already existing mental health routine, from coping with panic attacks by consciously breathing or meditating to curb cravings to work on a specific health food plan. The benefits meditation offers create such an expansive umbrella for different types of audiences, it could seemingly benefit anyone.

A recent collaboration with Adidas attempts to connect the bridge between mindfulness and athleticism, providing AdiClub members with access to Calm’s premium features. The mission behind this joint effort aims to normalize restoration in typically pressured athletes.

However, Calm isn’t just for people who use it — it also provides opportunities for stars and artists to design art in a different venue. Musicians like Grimes and Moby are looking into apps like Calm to experiment with sounds in a new way. They create dreamy soundscapes for relaxation and sometimes even remixes, bringing fans into the app by spreading the word about mindfulness in an even more enticing way.

Are There Real Benefits?

When advertised to workers, mindfulness practices helped them even in the darkest times of the COVID-19 pandemic. GoFundMe even added access to Calm to their company benefits as part of a wellness suite, a progressive move toward a more comprehensive corporate wellness program.

Regarding students, studies show Calm’s efficacy in helping reduce stress and increase self-compassion. It worked to the point where many would recommend it to other college students and continue using it after the study.

Some would debate using an app to achieve calm is counterintuitive. As human dependence on technology grows, there’s a question if there is an authentic way to shut the mind off from the world’s distractions. This doesn’t stop app engineers from finding effective methods for tech to be intelligent enough to provide us relief, making it at least approachable with a visually stunning phone app.

Calm also has resources on their site — Calm Science — as they strive to provide evidence to back their efforts. From using meditation to assist with midlife crises to analyzing the reception of their paid subscribers, every study shows an overwhelmingly positive impact on mental health and sleep.

Is Calm the Best Meditation App?

Those who meditate do not need an app to do so — you can simply sit or lay down and close your eyes to focus. Despite not being necessary, these apps — notably Calm — offer well-researched aids to amp up any self-care practice. 

For novices and connoisseurs alike, it modernizes the practice of meditation, making it accessible to younger generations reliant on technological assistance to maintain habits.