Sleep Well: The Best Free Self-Hypnosis Meditation App for Insomnia Relief

Insomnia can be triggered by both good and bad life events, and this sleep disorder can hit anyone at any time since it has multiple causes (discussed more fully here). Short term or “acute” insomnia can be caused by common illnesses such as colds or flu; chronic illness, disease, and various neurological disorders can cause acute insomnia to become chronic. Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications, along with some herbal remedies, can bring on this sleep disorder, though not for everyone. In both men and women, trauma, whether physical or emotional, can have lifetime negative health effects, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and insomnia, while childhood trauma, including divorce or sexual abuse, contribute to insomnia in childhood and adulthood. The blue light from our digital devices, including flat-screen televisions, smartphones, and tablets ,can contribute to insomnia when used to close to bedtime, because they suppress melatonin, and researchers have learned that the brain seems to have its very own wake and sleep cycles, which can get stuck on “wake,” preventing sleep.

Since the quantity and quality of sleep affects our health, and since insomnia can lead to “decreased quality of life, increased rates of depression, and even increased risk of heart disease,” insomnia, especially when it becomes chronic, should not be dismissed. Chronic insomnia, medically defined as an inability to fall or stay asleep for at least three nights a week for three months or longer, is not just extremely unpleasant: it’s dangerous to our mental and physical well-being. Though I use both Sleep with Me Podcast (reviewed here) and Relax Melodies (reviewed here) to ease insomnia, Surf City’s free self-hypnosis meditation app Sleep Well Insomnia Relief was in my self-care kit for years before I found the previously mentioned apps, and I still use it regularly, with reliable success.

Sleep Well Insomnia Relief
Self-Hypnosis & Meditation
by Surf City Apps

If you’re not familiar with self-hypnosis, please be assured that it is nothing like what’s shown in horror or suspense films. No matter how skilled the therapist, meditation leader, or professional hypnotist, hypnosis meditations cannot make you do anything you do not wish to. I regularly use Surf City’s Migraine Relief and Chronic Pain Relief (reviewed here), and having successfully used them, I was happy to try Sleep Well.

Surf City Apps produces professionally scripted hypnosis-meditation apps with professional background audio. Each script is read by a certified clinical hypnotherapist and hypnotherapy instructor; the same person narrates the Migraine Relief, Chronic Pain Relief, and Sleep Well Insomnia Relief meditations: I find her voice and delivery calming and relaxing. The meditations in these apps are not hidden by music, are clearly audible at any volume, and the free versions contain the exact same narration as the paid (Pro) version. That means you can listen to the free version of Sleep Well Insomnia Relief and hear absolutely everything that is said in the paid version.

Surf City’s Sleep Well self-hypnosis meditation for the relief of insomnia has over 4.4 out of 5 stars with almost 660 user reviews on the App Store, and 4.1 out of 5 stars with over 1,800 user reviews on Google Play. I especially like playing Sleep Well with Relax Melodies, since it features various sounds and melodies in “background support” mode, so you can choose your own background — setting the Background in Sleep Well to “None” — to play behind the self-hypnosis meditation.

The controls are identical in all versions of the Surf City apps and are very easy to use. The settings are relatively self-explanatory, though some brief descriptions are sometimes included, as in the definition of what Hypnotic Booster does. Since you can listen to the entire self-hypnosis narration free, I advise you to listen to Seep Well Insomnia Relief as long as you want. These are only a few differences between the free and the paid versions of this app, and none of those differences concerns the actual content of the self-hypnosis meditation itself.

The Differences Between the Free and Pro App
There are ads in the free version as well as limitations to the app controls. The Pro (paid) version (one-time fee of $3.99) allows you to turn off the audio instructions (which help you relax your body but do not specifically have anything to do with relieving insomnia) at the beginning of the narration, to disable Awaken at End (allowing you to stay asleep if you are using it at night and happen to fall asleep), and to repeat the narration 1-3 times or to loop it so it continues to play until you shut the app down. These controls alone are certainly worth the money if you want to play the narration all night long. The paid version also includes a variety of background sounds (including Brook, Beach, or Rain), and lets you continue listening to your background sound of choice after the meditation narration ends by delaying the ending of the app’s shut-off. You can choose from 5, 10, 20, or 30 minute delays, or hourly delays from 1-8 hours.

Self-Hypnosis Meditation Playlists
For iOS devices, Sleep Well Insomnia Relief is also available as an MP3 so that you can add it to playlists. If you have the Pro versions of any Surf City apps, you can Loop them so that they play all night long, although you can only play one meditation at a time. On iOS devices, at least, several of their apps are also available as MP3 versions so you can make playlists. That way you can queue up two or more different versions and alternate them all night long. I have a self-hypnosis meditation playlist which includes Migraine Relief, Chronic Pain Relief, and Sleep Well Insomnia Relief for when a migraine attack since the aura before the pain, along with the ensuing pain itself, both exacerbate my insomnia. I also have a playlist combining the self-hypnosis meditations of End Anxiety and Sleep Well for when outside — or internal — stress is making it difficult for me to sleep. Instructions on making playlists from their MP3 versions are in my review on the other Surf City apps.

Sleep Well Insomnia Relief
Self-Hypnosis & Meditation
by Surf City Apps

Sleep Well Insomnia Relief begins with an explanation of the different types of insomnia and its common causes (lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, fluctuating blood sugar levels) so that you can make lifestyle changes if necessary. An explanation of how self-hypnosis works is followed by an explanation of the app’s features (Background — music or nature sounds — Sleep Booster, and Awake at End) are explained in detail, including where you can change the settings (in Settings). To avoid interruptions, you are instructed to put your phone in Do Not Disturb Mode to silence any phone or text alerts. You can disable all of these audio instructions in the paid version of the app.

After guiding your through some imagery and breathing exercises to induce relaxation, the Sleep Well Insomnia Relief self-hypnosis meditation guides you through one of two relaxation exercises: Tension Relief or Relaxing Color. The first, Tension Relief,  talks you through a body scan in which you observe, without judgment, the various parts of your body, noting to yourself how your body feels. Starting with your feet, you are instructed to observe, wiggle (if applicable), tense, and then release the tightened muscles in various parts of your body so that you can become more aware of what relaxed muscles feel like. The Relaxing Color exercise guides you through a similar body scan but uses a “relaxing color” of your choice to metaphorically fill and ease your muscles into relaxation. Both of these relaxation exercises are available in the free version of the app.

You are then given some suggestions for becoming more aware of any good things in your life and for feeling more gratitude about them. This is where the self-hypnosis narration becomes a guided meditation to encourage mindfulness. After this, you are then instructed to picture yourself in a hammock, a rocking chair, or a gently moving train, where you are to observe the gentle swaying as your body follows the narrator’s voice into deeper relaxation, rest, and sleep.

*Please note that because all Surf City apps are self-hypnosis meditations which may make you fall asleep, you should never listen to these while driving or operating dangerous machinery.*

Download Sleep Well Insomnia Relief from Surf City Apps, from the App store for all iOS devices, from Amazon for Kindles, and from GooglePlay for Android devices. You can check out all Surf City’s free apps on its website. Their apps have been downloaded over 5 million times and average 4+ stars out of 5 for Sleep Well Insomnia Relief. In addition to in-app Support — under Interact > Feedback and Support, where you can read FAQs or send them a message — Surf City is on Twitter and Facebook: they are very responsive to customer questions on their social media accounts.

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The Louisville Slugger

I did my last three years of high school in a district that was cramped for space. Because there was only an elementary school and a high school, and the district had decided to create a “junior high” category but didn’t have the building done yet, the high school building was used for both groups of students. The high school students started at 6:00 a.m. and were done by 1:30 p.m., allowing us half an hour for lunch. Then, at 2:00, the junior high students came to school. They had to stay late in the evening, and the parents didn’t like it very much, but until the new Junior High building was completed, it would have to do. That’s how I was able to work two jobs in high school. We lived near a mall, so I could be at work by 2:00 every day and work any time on weekends.

In one of the stores, I worked in the credit department, calling customers to remind them their payments were due, stuffing envelopes, and eventually, becoming a supervisor and approving borderline credit purchases when the stores called in to our central location. My other job was in a prominent retail store’s catalogue department, which was located next to Sporting Goods.

That’s where I first saw the display of baseball bats. As soon as I saw them, I knew I had to have one. I let the Sporting Goods manager help me narrow down the selection. I don’t recall whether aluminum bats were available then, but I was convinced that a wooden one would suit my purposes better.

I got permission from my one of my teachers (and the principal) to take Spanish class, which was my last class period of the day, during my lunch period. (They knew I had two jobs so that I could save money to go to college, which my parents and the rest of my family violently opposed, and I think they were trying to help me out.) That released me from school half an hour early, since, technically, my lunch period was at the end of the day. I couldn’t leave the school grounds, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t spend my lunch period outside, at the edge of the parking lot, with my baseball bat. So that’s what I did.

I practiced every day with that bat, slamming it as hard as I could against the trunk of the stoutest oak tree on the school’s property. At first, my arms, shoulders, and neck hurt so bad from batting practice, I thought it would kill me. But when I remembered my plan, I got back to work.

I attracted a lot of attention from some of my fellow students, most of them guys, virtually all of them “dead-heads,” as we called the students who used illicit drugs back then, because they were the ones who skipped their classes but, for some strange reason, didn’t leave school grounds, though they all had access to cars. At first, they just watched me. Then Leo, whom I knew from my Political Science class, sent his girlfriend, Nessa, over to inquire what, exactly, I was attempting to do “by beating that tree to death with a baseball bat.” After she returned with the answer, Leo and several of the boys came over.

They all had girlfriends. They all knew I was a “brain,” a “teacher’s pet,” a “brown-nose,” a “suck-up,” and everything else that the College Prep students got called by everyone in the school because we made good grades. They all knew I didn’t wear make-up, dress in all-black clothes, dye my hair purple or blue with Kool-Aid, or skip classes to roam the hallways or smoke marijuana in the bathrooms. They knew I’d never had a boyfriend and that I didn’t drink, do drugs, or party. In short, I was the complete opposite of all of them.

None of that stopped them from teaching me to correctly use the bat, however.

I slept every night with the bat under the edge of my bed. I’d cleared a wide space in my room so the bat wouldn’t connect with anything except what I wanted to hit. I kept the curtains open, though I found it difficult to sleep with the streetlight shining in, because I needed to be able to see my target. I even practiced reaching under the bed, grabbing the bat, jumping out of bed, and swinging it in that virtually empty room.

When my stepfather Fred finally came for the last time, I heard him sneaking down the stairs to my bedroom, which was now on the lower level of the house, so I was already standing in the dark with the bat. It was the middle of the night, in the middle of winter, in the midst of my most extreme discontent.

He came into my room, dropped his pants, felt around the empty bed, stood up, turned his back to me, and cursed under his breath.

That’s when Mr. Louisville Slugger and I struck.

His bellows brought my mother Maida, who didn’t come near me. Instead, she ran out of the bedroom to call the number Fred gave her. About an hour later, one of his employees came from work. The employee said nothing when he was taken to Fred, writhing, without control of his limbs, on the floor of his stepdaughter’s bedroom. The employee said nothing when he saw me, teeth clenched and eyes narrowed, standing in the corner with a raised baseball bat. He said nothing when he put his hands under Fred’s arms and dragged him, screaming through dishtowels stuffed into his mouth, out of my bedroom, across the laundry room, through the dark garage, down the driveway, and to the bed of the employee’s pick-up truck.

As instructed, the employee drove to work and dutifully deposited my stepfather on an icy bridge over a ravine in the parking lot. Taking Fred’s keys, the employee retrieved Fred’s walkie-talkie from his office. The employee returned to the building in which he himself worked. He dialed our home phone number. Maida answered. She screamed. She ran out of the house, jumped into Fred’s car, and sped off to his workplace, a government installation that required high security clearance.

Here’s how their story went:

The employee, who worked third-shift, had phoned Fred, who was the Manager of Physical Plants and who was always on call in case something went wrong with any of the facilities, to inform Fred that something had happened to one of the generators and that no one could get it started. Later, after Fred had arrived at work, he radioed said employee, informing him that Fred had fallen on the bridge which led from the parking lot to the main building, and hurt himself bad. The employee called Security, who, after finding Fred, immediately contacted the hospital. An ambulance raced Fred  — and the stalwart employee, who refused to leave my injured stepfather — from the ice-covered bridge at work to the emergency room. My mother, who was not legally permitted to even be in the parking lot, accompanied them.

One week later, the stalwart, taciturn third-shift employee, now promoted to day-shift supervisor, came to the house to inform my mother that the company had installed a hospital bed, along with all the equipment necessary to care for Fred, hired several shifts of nurses, and was transferring Fred to the “hospital room” at work. It seems the company was not about to lose its hundred-trillion-hour accident-free safety record simply because my stepfather had slipped on an icy bridge. By keeping Fred hospitalized on its premises, Fred would technically be at work every day. Thus, despite the eight months that Fred would be unable to actually work due to his numerous and complex injuries, the company would not have to re-set its neon Safety Hours sign at the entrance to zero.

Fred’s injuries were reported as having occurred after his falling on ice on the very same metal bridge that Fred himself had apparently reported as “extremely dangerous during inclement weather” several weeks previously, when Fred’s newly promoted stalwart employee had slipped but, fortunately, not been seriously injured. Paperwork detailing Fred’s report concerning this very dangerous bridge as well as the stalwart employee’s minor accident was discovered in Fred’s office files by his equally trustworthy and ambitious personal assistant three weeks after my stepfather’s unfortunate mishap.

My mother bitterly and angrily related all this to me during the period Fred was not allowed to come home because of his grievous injuries, during the many long months she was not permitted to visit him since she did not have the security clearance to see him in the hospital room constructed for him at work.

A hospital room which absolutely no one was supposed to discover, not even his family members, as it was not only illegal, but unethical as well.

Medical Summary of Fred’s Injuries:
Fractured hips, pelvis, upper and lower left leg, upper and lower left arm, left shoulder, left collarbone, both hands, wrists, thumbs, multiple fingers

Words cannot begin to express my severe disappointment.
I’d been aiming for my stepfather’s spine.

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  • This chapter, slightly modified, is an excerpt from my true crime memoir,
M is for Munchers: The Serial Killers Next Door
© 2014, 2017, 2019 by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman.
All rights reserved. No content may be copied, excerpted,
or distributed without the express written consent
of the author and publisher, with copyright credit to the author.
Please don’t support the piracy of Intellectual Property.

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Filed under App Review, chronic pain, healing, health, Health and Wellness, hemiplegic migraines, Insomnia, Meditation and MIndfulness, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Review, Self-Hypnosis Apps, Self-Hypnosis Meditation Apps