Calm: The app that is supposed to change your life

It does not lack a certain irony. At noon, after the New York-based advertising agency has stared at the screen all morning, it's time to relax. What is happening? The employees stare again at the screen. But instead of the murmur of incoming e-mails and hectic keyboard clatter, ocean splashing or the sound of falling raindrops wibbles from the monitors in the open-plan office. Now is time "too CALM". "Calm" is the name of a new app that has triggered a new hype in the US. Because the free service promises in just seven days total relaxation for overworked computer workers, new peace and concentration despite digital permanent flooding. The start-up received over one million investment money, and more than 3.5 million users have already downloaded "Calm" on iTunes and the Google Play Store. Not bad for an app that does not really offer more than a brief guide to meditation. Calm: Less stress, better sleep As someone staring at a screen almost without interruption, I wanted to convince myself of the necessity and impact. Above all, since a "meditation app" for me ever pleasant little new-age appeal has (for such I'm rather unresponsive. Ohmmmmmm on the seat cushion? Nope, I'm not). So: Download and start "Calm" …

The app starts with the words "Take a deep breath" and a short clip: Rain splashing in a forest. What now? I'll let it pour a little. Then I swipe: There are other motives. Sunset on the beach with the sound of the sea. A noiseless flight over clouds. A mountain lake with birdsong. Actually, everything is very pleasant, but I have to force myself to look at my phone and really switch it off.

In addition to this short relaxation program, "Calm" also offers real online courses that promise either a better night's sleep, more confidence, new energy, creativity or concentration. Since hardly any effect can be measured objectively, except for the night's sleep, I start with the program for better sleep.

And that is a little strange. Actually, sleep researchers recommend not to use electronic devices before going to bed, but to turn them off at least half an hour before sleeping. At "Calm" I plug in the headphones and give myself a 2-minute autogenic training out. You can also choose between longer sessions: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or even 30 minutes. In addition, you can choose whether the background noise should continue after the end of the program – or they end at the same time. The program is in English, but the pleasant voice and easy-to-understand messages ( "Lie on your back, close your eyes and concentrate on your back, concentrate on your back, lying on the pillow, your shoulders relax. … " ) ensure that I actually get involved in it. Because instead of quickly checking Facebook or thinking about which ten points are urgently on my to-do list tomorrow, I'm now sprinkle me. The rainy sounds relax unbelievably …. Over the next seven days, my sleep is actually peaceful. I do not wake up in the middle of the night, I do not roll back and forth while falling asleep. Only my friend finds it a little annoying that I climb now consistently with earphones and mobile phone in bed. Yes, "Calm" can be addictive in a way. This is also confirmed by the user data from America: The typical user is female and between 30 and 35 years old. About half start the app once a day, still a staggering 40% use "Calm" eight or 10 times a month. And they are ready to pay for their well-being. Because the download and the first seven seminars are indeed free – but who wants to unlock additional content (accompanying exercises, new meditation instructions) must buy a paid subscription for $ 4.99 for three months. I would not do that now – the free offers are enough for me.