The Zen Moment: Peaceful Ideas for Conquering Insomnia

We all dream of dominating the real estate marketplace, but sometimes, after a busy day, we’d just be happy to dream.

Imagine this: You pull into your driveway at dusk, close the garage, unwind on your living room couch, and think about how much you’ve accomplished. You hosted two open houses, contacted a dozen new leads, and managed to launch a direct mail campaign today. It’s a miracle you have time to rest at all.

But when the moment comes to shut your eyes, your brain refuses to switch off. Thoughts keep swimming, anxiety continues to rise, and then, in the blink of an eye, it’s time to tackle another day.

Real estate is a people-to-people business, and clients can tell when you had a long night. Any problem that prevents you from presenting the best possible version of yourself is a problem to be taken seriously.

The Internet is filled with hundreds of tips and tricks to help sleep come easier, and a few savvy entrepreneurs have taken to the digital world to offer insomniacs something a little different. Here are some alternative options readily available to help get those sheep jumping the fence a little faster.

Smartphone Apps

White Noise
Price: Limited version free; full version $0.99
The name of this app is fairly self-explanatory, but it’s far from the whole story. In addition to playing white noise options, you can record, mix, and combine sounds on your phone. And once you find that right mix, you can upload it to the White Noise community for others to enjoy.

Headspace: Guided Meditation
Price: Free 10-day package; subscriptions starting at $7.99 per month
Narrated by app founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, Headspace is less about finding something to get you through the night and more about teaching you something valuable: the skill of meditation. Each 10-minute lesson is designed to be played in sequence, with the goals of preventing insomnia and eliminating stress.

Sleep Genius
Price: $4.99
Developed referencing research compiled by NASA to help astronauts sleep, this app uses neurosensory algorithms to choose background sounds meant to align with your sleep cycle naturally, without side effects. Widely acclaimed in the academic community, Sleep Genius has been featured on NBC’s “Today,” ESPN, and other media outlets.

Bed Time Fan — White Noise Sleep Sounds Aid
Price: Free; optional upgrade available
Bells and whistles can be nice, but for some, it’s hard to beat the appeal of simplicity. With three different high-quality fan sounds to choose from, Bed Time Fan promises to drown out all unwanted background noise while it lulls you to sleep in 20 minutes or less. It even comes with a sleep timer and soft fade-out.


“Sleep With Me,” The Podcast That Puts You to Sleep
Price: Free
To insomniacs who prefer podcasts as their medium, Drew Ackerman, the mastermind behind “Sleep With Me,” is the Sandman incarnate. Bestowed with a gravelly lower register and a gift for crafting nonsense narratives, “Dearest Scooter” has mastered the art of deliberately boring people to sleep.

The concept is simple, imitating the whimsical, mundane bedtime stories parents have used on children for generations. And judging by the 1,879 five-star reviews on iTunes and 1.3 million monthly downloads, it works. Posted once or twice per week, each podcast runs about an hour long, even though Scooter admits most listeners don’t make it past the first five minutes. If his unique brand of storytelling doesn’t appeal to you, he also hosts “Game of Drones,” applying his signature delivery to everyone’s favorite TV show. Think knights and dragons and White Walkers can’t be boring? You’re in for a shock.

“Meditation Minis”
Price: Free
For those who like their podcasts more compact and to the point, “Meditation Minis,” hosted by acclaimed hypnotherapist Chel Hamilton, deserves a listen. With each weekly episode clocking in at a modest 10 to 15 minutes, Hamilton, who possesses a soothing voice and reassuring demeanor, has created the perfect platform for insomniacs with limited attention spans (Hamilton has attention deficit disorder and designed this series with people like herself in mind).

Insomniacs aren’t the only ones who benefit from this brand of “brain training.” Instead of focusing exclusively on sleep deprivation, Hamilton dives deeper by concentrating on a specific topic for each episode. “Increasing Creative Flow,” “Releasing Anger and Meditation,” and “Letting Go of Past Mistakes” are just a few examples of the directions “Meditation Minis” takes. By listening right before bed, on the airplane, or on a park bench while feeding the ducks, these quick lessons teach you to take control of your body and mind, even in the most stressful of times. Just don’t listen while operating heavy machinery!

Streaming Services

Price: Free for basic subscription; $9.99 per month for ad-free premium
If you’re having trouble sleeping, consult customized Spotify playlists using the search term “sleep.” See what’s working for others by consulting customized Spotify playlists using the search term “sleep.” Regardless of your mood, affliction, or current activity, someone on Spotify has surely built a playlist around it. And if not, there’s nothing stopping you from creating your own.

Apple Music
Price: Free for first three months; $9.99 per month after
While it doesn’t currently offer the same level of social interaction as Spotify, nobody curates playlists better than Apple. In addition to choosing something by genre or artist, Apple Music also lets you browse handcrafted playlists designed around moods and activities. Need to chill? Apple has over 30 playlists under this category, including titles like “Sleep Sounds,” “Pure Ambient,” “Pillow Talk,” and “Beneath the Stars.” Knowing Apple’s attention to detail, it’s a safe bet they have a playlist to suit your needs.

YouTube Channels

Photo credit: Courtesy of Jonnie Lawson

Jonnie Lawson
Price: Free on YouTube; $5.99+ for mp4 files
When Lawson, a self-described visual artist from Ireland, uploaded his first videos on YouTube seven years ago, he had a single goal in mind: to bring the serenity of nature to the world. His initial videos were simple and straightforward — usually short clips of waterfalls, rivers, mountains, or forests lasting no more than two or three minutes — and his expectations for exposure were mild at best.

But when he started receiving thousands of thank you letters from around the globe, he soon realized he’d tapped into an unexpected, substantial audience. People from North Korea to the Vatican have claimed that his videos cured sleep disorders that had been troublesome for decades. In fact, University College London uses Lawson’s videos to treat former ICU patients recovering from PTSD.

The applications for Lawson’s videos vary depending on need. Many fans simply play the video in the background as they sleep, while others claim the beautiful visuals aid their meditation routines. Today, Lawson’s prolific YouTube channel contains dozens of beautiful videos stretching as long as eight hours — just enough to get the average insomniac through a full night. His most-watched video, a clip of a small river flowing under a wooden bridge in Ireland, currently has over 19 million views. Give it a try!

Michael Sealey
Price: Free on YouTube; $16.99 for full albums on iTunes
There are hundreds of videos on YouTube dedicated to curbing anxiety and improving sleep, but Michael Sealey’s are among the most popular. His ever-growing channel has more than 440,000 subscribers.

Each of his videos — usually ranging from 20 to 60 minutes — features a comforting visual (such as a candle or the night sky), relaxing ambient music, and his smooth, Australian-accented voice. While the concept seems limited in scope, Sealey covers a staggering amount of applications, with videos to help people quit smoking, lose weight, exercise, improve self-esteem, and, of course, sleep soundly.

For the more spiritually inclined, there are videos to help people discover their spirit animals and practice astral projection. You could spend weeks reading through comments from grateful viewers detailing how his work changed their lives. Maybe it will change yours too.