Unwind before bed using the relaxing power of visual sleepscapes
Subscription: $13/£13 monthly
Size: 157.8 MB
Seller: Loona Inc.
Platform: iPhone & iPad
There’s nothing more fiendishly simple than falling asleep – for some, nodding off can be the hardest part of the day, no matter how mentally or physically exhausted you are. Loona hopes to combat this by offering a novel approach to meditative soundscapes.
Before settling down to a soundscape, Loona tries hard to learn your tastes and preferences in order to serve-up a personal experience. You’re asked what your hopes are from the app – falling asleep, feeling better, relieving stress, and reducing anxiety are all options to choose from. You’re also asked to pick three or more relaxing colors from a palette of options, and encouraged to select preferred dream places, sleep sounds, and narrative styles. It may seem a lot, but it’s all in the name of soundscape personalisation – trust me.
After the mini-questionnaire is over, users can enjoy their first soundscape: settle in and see what Loona has in store in the For you tab. Although this soundscape will be based on your aforementioned preferences, you can head to the Soundscapes tab to choose an alternative, if you wish. There, a whole range of options are available.
The twist with Loona is that the app’s soundscapes aren’t just soundscapes – although for some, this twist may be more of a catch. The soundscapes on offer – like The Dragon’s Shrine, The Garden of Hope, or Athena’s Favor – are interactive, visual soundscapes, where users are encouraged to interact with a relaxing, virtual environment while listening to ambient background noise.
Take The Dragon’s Shrine, for instance. You’re presented with an east Asian “legendary temple” and asked to tap on a series of lanterns to illuminate part of the ancient structure. Then, you’re required to tap a couple of bigger lanterns. Gradually, complying with more instructions results in you illuminating the whole temple.
The problem here is that Loona is placing demands on its user – getting them to do things, when really, they should be relaxing and zoning-out. For some, Loona may induce a level of stress – however small – rather than taking stress away. It’s especially frustrating when you can’t find the exact section you’re meant to tap and color, although a hint button helps out (most of the time).
Loona is beautiful and the different environments are immersive. There’s a huge range on offer, too, alongside more standard soundscapes (available in the Playlists tab) if you prefer. Usefully, Loona tracks mindful minutes and sends this data over to the Health app, so you can keep tabs on your self-care time. It’s worth noting that the app requires a princely $13/£13 monthly (or more reasonable $30/£30 yearly) in-app payment in order to function – though a seven-day trial is available to test the waters.
Overall, Loona is an app you may want to try – but with a degree of caution. Interacting with your iPhone before bed is generally considered bad practice for insomniacs, even with the blue-light-dimming Night Shift mode enabled. But for mindful moments throughout the day, Loona’s gentle “gameplay” offers relaxing, meditative interaction not dissimilar to that of solving a jigsaw puzzle.
- Immersive soundscapes
- Beautiful visuals
- A huge range on offer
- Interaction not always welcome
- It's not cheap