Trouble sleeping? Insomniacs of the World Unite . . . with Sam Harris’ “Waking Up” App

Are you troubled by insomnia, as I sometimes am?

When taking an informal poll among freelance creatives and entrepreneurs recently, I discovered a sorry truth: Many of us are beset by at least occasional insomnia, including disruptions to the length or quality of our sleep. 

Some, like me, have found little help from the recommended practices of ending screen time (TV, computers, smartphones and other portable devices) at least two hours before bedtime; taking warm baths with epsom salts; drinking warm milk or sedating herbal tea; and even trying prescribed sleeping pills (Zopiclone, anyone?). So what’s an insomniac to do?

Sometimes (thankfully, not too often), an over-stimulating day or evening can leave me tossing and turning, lying down and getting up, repeatedly.

Sleeplessness reduces our capacity to be productive at work and to cope with the daily stresses of family, career and health.

But meditation can often make a difference! However, some websites that I’ve visited, like and, have been useful, but not transformative. Then my friend, freelance journalist and CBC producer, Ashleigh Mattern, recently recommended a smartphone meditation app that has already helped me to sleep better.

At American Sam Harris—neuroscientist, philosopher and bestselling writer—-features a daily meditation program suitable for “beginners and experienced meditators alike.”

As his website says, ” ‘Waking Up’ guides you through a 50-day introductory course, teaching a progressive series of meditation techniques, before unlocking access to an ongoing series of daily meditations,” all of which are created and led by Harris, himself.

He has practiced meditation for more than 30 years, studying with Tibetan, Indian, Burmese and Western teachers of the craft, both in the US and overseas. 

Unlike other apps that I have tried, “Waking Up” does more than soothe a troubled mind in each moment, but instead stresses what discoveries and realities we can make or learn about the ways our minds function. Pain, stress and loss are among the emotional experiences explored and released through meditation.

And, remarkably, free access to the course for the first year is offered to those on low incomes, who wish to subscribe. Regular subscription fees are also reasonable.

Harris has written five bestselling books and given public lectures on neuroscience, meditation, philosophy and religion. He focuses on, in his words, “how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.”

Accolades have poured in. Business guru Tim Ferriss praises the program, saying, “Whether you want to sharpen your mind or experience more peace, this can help in dramatic fashion. The power of its progression is hard to overstate.”

And Harris’ soothing tone of voice makes this app a powerful vehicle to relax by.

And now it’s your turn: Visit the above website for more information. And let me know on my “contact” page if “Waking Up” restores your sleep, too!