INSOMNIA HACK: How to make the most of your 30 day free Audible trial
Not being able to sleep is bloody awful.
I used to have most of my panic attacks at night and for years bedtime was an absolute struggle for me. Living with anxiety is exhausting ANYWAY, adding a lack of sleep into the mix tips it from being exhausting to being akin to having a constant flu.
I'd wake up each morning with muscle pains, headaches and feeling even more tired than I had the night before - which meant I had REAL difficulty concentrating and remembering things, and then I discovered Audio Books.
What happened next was a journey into the light. I found myself able to sleep in a way that I had never before managed (even in the years that I was pre-panic attack).
I get a lot of questions on Twitter from those of you that are unable to sleep and feel at your wits end; so many of you struggle with this aspect of mental illness and I really DO UNDERSTAND how incredibly difficult it can be to lie awake night after night.
I'll talk you through signing up, when to hit play and even which titles to download in your first 30 days to make sure that you can minimise those horrendous nighttime panics. I have recommended Audio Books and Podcasts to people both online and IRL, as a way of managing insomnia, and many have told me that they have been just as effective for them as they were for me.
Why do Audio Books help so much?
You can read my Open Letter to Stephen Fry here, if you want more detail, but here's the jist:-
A lot of my anxiety came to me at night, and I found that comforting and familiar TV shows helped to distract me from these invasive thoughts. Eventually I would become tired enough to fall asleep, but TV is incredibly intrusive and stimulating and the whole process could take HOURS.
Eventually I discovered that by listening to Audio only, I could reap the benefits of the distraction without having the bright lights and temptation to sit up and watch that came with having a laptop/TV blaring into the darkness. At first I discovered CD based Audio Books (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was my very first), later Podcasts (which I still use today) and eventually I found Audible.
Being unable to sleep was a nightly occurrence for me pre-audio, and it's by no means perfect now BUT anxiety very rarely keeps me up at night anymore - only once or twice each month, as opposed to every single night.
What is Audible?
Audible is the world's largest collection of digital audio books and is owned by Amazon. You can listen to Audio Books by purchasing them individually or by signing up for a membership.
If you do choose to become a member you can opt to have a 30 day free trial, which means that you will have access to all member features for that time. I have been a member for around 18 months, this isn't a #Spon - I pay £7.99 each month for my membership, which entitles me to one new Audio Book download each month.
Paying each month for an Audio Book may seem like an unnecessary expense, but for me it has improved my quality of life so much that it is totally worth it. I'm not actually here to convince you to part with your money though, I'm here to show you how you can actually make the most of your 30 day free trial and collect a decent amount of material to listen to over and over again that will help you sleep long term.
How Do I Use It?
Well here are the basics:
- Head over to Audible.com and set up and account (using an email address or your existing Amazon account)
- Choose a 30 day free trial and select a plan (if you're sure you'll cancel before 30 days to keep it free, it doesn't matter which plan you choose - but I think the £7.99 plan is more than adequate - and, as you can tell from the screenshot above, I listen A LOT)
- Download the Audible App to your Smart Phone - I highly recommend this as it allows you to listen easily without having to run a laptop/PC.
- Choose your first Audio Book
Choosing your first title
Every title costs you 1 credit. Your first credit is free (included with your 30 day trial). It's the only paid-for title that you will get for free (and you'll get to keep it even after you've quit) so think about it carefully. Click HERE for a list of titles that I have listened to and can personally recommend.
Choose something long
If you intend to give up your membership before the first payment is taken (at 30 days), then you'll want to choose something that has a decent amount of content and also something that you know you'll enjoy. A book that you've read and enjoyed is a solid choice.
Choose a narrator you like
My go-to guy is Stephen Fry, but I also have plenty of titles that I LOVE which are narrated by many many other wonderful people. Take advantage of the "Sample" feature before you buy and listen to an audio sample of the book - work out what you like to hear in a voice, think about the pitch and tone that relax you most. This is almost as important as content when it comes to helping you sleep.
Choose something that is priced at more than £7.99
This is particularly important with the books you choose if you continue to pay for the plan, but is also sound advice for your first month. In theory your credit is worth £7.99, so spend it on books worth at least that much - Audio Books tend to be pretty expensive and don't come down in cost in the same way as a movie or music album; so it shouldn't be too tricky to find one you want.
Once you've picked your title, it will become available in your library and app and you can start listening right away - but there are a couple more bits I want you to take care of first, to make sure you're really getting the most from your trial period - namely: getting even more content.
Choose some more free titles
As a member of Audible, there are certain titles which are available totally FREE to you. These titles are not free to non-members, but if you download them now, they will remain in your library forever - this makes it REALLY important that you spend some time downloading the free stuff before your 30 days are up.
The free titles rotate. These titles are available for free to members now (June 4th 2018) and I recommend you get them while you can:
- The Unbelievable Truth
David Mitchell hosts a Radio 4 panel show, which is best described as the love child of Quite Interesting and Would I Lie to You - if you like either of these shows, you WILL enjoy this so don't miss your chance to download series 15-19, which are all free.
Funny, often dystopian Charlie Brooker esq stories written by different authors and narrated by comedians, Crackanory was created by TV channel Dave and is really eclectic and entertaining mix of short stories.
- The Ricky Gervais Guide to...
Hosted by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, these shorts are absolutely hilarious. Ricky and Stephen attempt to get Karl Pilkington's wisdom on a variety of topics including Medicine, Philosophy and The World and I CHALLENGE YOU to be able to ignore his ramblings and feel anxious. I'm convinced it's impossible.
- Sue Perkins' Earpedia
I love animals, so for me these short little factual "bits" about different species is just plain awesome. Sue Perkins is a BRILLIANT narrator too.
Remember to listen
Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of an in-your-pocket arsenal of distraction that can help you through scenarios that have been previously harder to navigate.
I listen on public transport**, while walking through busy city centres AND when I turn the lights off and prepare for sleep. If I start to feel anxious, I just refocus on the audio and it nearly always helps me get back into my calm zone.
**Once a title is downloaded, it can be listened to in flight mode so you can also use Audible on planes. YOU ARE WELCOME.
I have chosen to recommend Audible to you as something that I have tried, tested and used to help me with my self care routine. While I would never recommend anything to you without personally being able to vouch for its effectiveness, some of the links in this post are Affiliate links and if you sign up to a 30 day free trial through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
All views in this post are my own and I was not approached to write this post by either Amazon or Audible.