Sleeping apps have never worked for me. Calm made me feel nervous, where Headspace just made me feel like I was awful at meditating. I’ve always been the kind of person with constant racing thoughts, and even speedier thoughts around nightfall. I think about all sorts of things that could go wrong in life, from what I have to do tomorrow, to forgetting to feed my cat that day.
But I think I’ve found an app that quells these nervous thoughts.
I’m a sucker for ads, so when I got an ad for Loóna, I decided to give it a try. Loóna’s app store page describes the app by saying: “Trouble powering down and falling asleep after a long stressful day? Try Loóna as your guide that will take you on a calming journey.”
And this is exactly what the app does.
Loóna is a crossover between a colouring app and sleeping app. Essentially, Loóna combines the peacefulness of colouring, say, a mandala with calming story-telling.
When you first get onto the app, you’re greeted with tranquil music and a bunch of different stories: “The Summertime Market” or “The Hut on Chicken Legs.” Each story ranges from fifteen to thirty-five minutes. So far, my favourite sleep story has been “Old Fashioned New York Cafe” which is only fifteen minutes and a perfect introduction into the app.
You start off by colouring a 3D image. These images are dreamy, fantastical settings that put you right into the sleeping mood. The artwork feels peaceful but intriguing, making you only want to colour the piece more!
Once you tap a part of the artwork, the art goes from grey to colourful. In this way, Loóna activates your mind by looking for grey spots but also simultaneously turns it off by giving your brain a relaxing task.
Once you are done colouring the whole image, Loóna rewards you with “a sleep story for grown-ups.” Now, I’ll be honest here and admit that I can’t remember what a single one of these stories is about—but this is a good thing. By the time I’m done colouring, the story will make me immediately pass out. This is why I think that Calm and Headspace don’t work for me—I’m too aware that I’m trying to sleep. But with Loóna, I feel such a sense of reward after I’m done colouring, that I can’t help but fall asleep to these peaceful stories.
The app also lets you skip the colouring part and just go straight to the story-telling. Or, if you’re more into the colouring (like I am), you can colour without the story!
The app describes the way it works: “Its unique mixture of visualization, sonic ambience, interaction and storytelling helps to evoke the dreamy nighttime environment and create the ideal conditions for a deep and peaceful slumber.”
Loóna comes with ten free stories, but you can unlock more for $69.99 a year after a 7-day free trial. Buying the premium version of Loóna will also get you offline access, no ads and Loóna’s entire library of music and art.
Although this price is pretty steep (and is the main complaint on the app store), I myself have gone through 4 stories thus-far. I’ve been saving my journeys with Loóna for nights where I’m feeling particularly anxious. And like I mentioned before, I can reuse images and stories because I get so zoinked out, that I don’t even remember them!
Overall, the app is fun, innovative and helps me sleep better. Who knew my answer to my sleeping problems was in my phone all along?
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