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Headspace and Calm are two different meditation apps that can help with various conditions, including stress, sleep disturbances, and anxiety.

Meditation can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, and sleep disturbances. It may also improve symptoms of other chronic conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.

This article compares Headspace and Calm and what they offer. It also investigates how meditation can affect health.

Headspace launched in 2010 as an events company. However, it transitioned into an online service when users wanted to experience guided meditation at home.

The company provides guided meditation, animations, articles, and videos to help people who experience anxiety, stress, and difficulties falling asleep.

At the time of publishing this article, Headspace has an average customer rating of 2.5 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot. The company does not hold accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which has given Headspace an F grade.

Authors of positive reviews stated that they found the Headspace meditation effective and enjoyed the range of activities and meditation on offer.

However, people who left negative reviews said they had difficulties canceling their subscriptions and found the service too expensive.

Pros and cons

The following are some advantages and disadvantages of Headspace.


  • Headspace has beginner-friendly content.
  • Some sessions on the platform allow people to choose the length of the meditation.
  • Individuals can download Headspace meditations and listen to them offline.


  • Some reviewers stated they had difficulties canceling their subscriptions.
  • Some users stated Headspace is more expensive than its competitors.
  • The service does not offer a one-off purchase for lifetime access to its meditations.

Calm launched in 2012 and claims to have over 100 million downloads. It has also won various awards, including Apple’s App of the Year in 2017 and Google Play’s Editor’s Choice of 2018.

The company provides mindfulness and meditation exercises to help people sleep better, relax, and focus.

At the time of publishing, Calm has an average customer rating of 1.9 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot and an F grade from the BBB. However, it does not have accreditation from the BBB.

People who wrote positive reviews stated that Calm meditation and mindfulness services were effective, with several reviewers saying they slept better after using the app.

However, negative reviews focused on difficulties in canceling subscriptions.

Pros and cons

The following are some advantages and disadvantages of Calm.


  • Calm offers a one-off purchase for lifetime access to its meditations.
  • Calm offers free content available without a subscription.
  • The app has content for children and families.


  • Some of the meditation sessions are long and may not be suitable for people on the go.
  • Calm has a higher subscription cost than some of its competitors.

Medical News Today includes apps that are reputable, well received, and come with a range of price points and features.

Additionally, MNT looks at some of the following:

  • Health claims: MNT includes companies that make no questionable health claims.
  • Trust: MNT includes companies that operate with transparency in regard to their products, services, and leadership. Also, where relevant, brands have certifications from reputable, third-party organizations.
  • Business standards: MNT will choose companies that follow safe and ethical business and marketing practices.
  • Reputation: MNT will choose companies with no warnings from governing bodies or unresolved lawsuits and have positive standings with the BBB.

Below is a direct comparison of Headspace and Calm.

Free trial7- or 14-day free trial7-day free trial
Cost$69.99 per year

$12.99 per month
$69.99 per year

$399 for lifetime access
Caters to beginnersyesyes
Cater to childrenyesyes
Meditation topics• sleep
• anxiety and stress
• financial stress
• body positivity
• anger
• focus
• creativity
• walking
• running
• sleep
• anxiety and stress
• work
• self-care
• inner peace
• focus
• emotions
• relationships
• personal growth
Sleep features• sleepcasts
• bedtime meditations
• sleep music
• soundscapes
• sleep stories narrated by celebrities
• bedtime meditations
• sleep music
• soundscapes
• lullabies
New meditationsmonthlydaily
AccessibilityiOS and Android devices• iOS and Android devices
• computer

Headspace and Calm both offer several meditation topics.


Headspace offers various meditations available on demand that range from 1 to 5 minutes, such as the following:

  • relationships
  • financial stress
  • body positivity
  • anger
  • focus
  • creativity
  • children
  • walking
  • running


Calm provides meditation for the following:

  • beginners
  • children
  • work
  • self-care
  • inner peace
  • focus
  • emotions
  • relationships
  • personal growth

There are also many hours of guided meditations available on demand. Narrators of some guided meditations include famous personalities, such as Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes.

Headspace and Calm offer content that may help a person fall asleep faster.


One of the main goals of Headspace is to help people get a restful sleep. The company provides sample audio and video that individuals can try before signing up for a subscription.

Headspace has various “sleepcasts” that reportedly create an environment for healthy, restful sleep.

Sleepcasts are 45–55 minutes long and begin with a breathing technique or meditation exercise, followed by a narrator describing a sleepy landscape with an appropriate and relaxing background soundtrack.

Headspace also provides sleep music that features sounds such as white noise and rain.


Calm provides many sleep stories, some of which feature narration by famous personalities, such as Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, and Stephen Fry.

The company also has soundscapes and various music options to help promote peaceful sleep. In addition, Calm provides presleep meditations. These range from 2 to 30 minutes and may help people relax before going to sleep.

A 2021 study investigated the effect of Calm on sleep disturbances in adults. The research followed 263 participants who used the app for 8 weeks. Researchers found that the app reduced fatigue, presleep arousal, and daytime sleepiness.

Headspace and Calm both offer meditations that involve mindful movement.


Headspace offers Headspace Move.

People can choose from several different workouts to address particular areas, such as focus and energize.

Headspace offers three different types of mindful movement:

  • mindful fitness, which involves low or medium impact cardio sessions
  • expert trainers, where two Olympians, Kim Glass and Leon Taylor, coach workouts
  • rest day meditations by Andy Puddicombe, a meditation and mindfulness expert


Calm offers mindful movement through its app.

The mindful movement sessions feature shorter meditations that focus on mobility and stability. The company states that these sessions are suitable for people of all fitness levels.

Headspace and Calm display their privacy policy on their websites.


Headspace summarizes its privacy policy on its website.

The company will collect a person’s email and password. Additionally, it will collect an individual’s geolocation data for use in analytics and to prevent fraudulent or unauthorized activities.

People can access the data that Headspace collects through their account settings on the Headspace app or desktop site. There, they can choose to opt out of certain data collection practices, such as cookies.


The following table summarizes the information Calm that collects.

Collected information
User-provided information• names
• email addresses
• passwords
• street addresses
• payment methods
• goals
• previous meditation experiences
• moods and reflections
• feedback and survey information
• information in app messages and services
• health-related information
Service-provided information• usage information, including sessions, features, and videos accessed
• transactions
• log information, including web browsers, IP addresses, and pages visited
• device information, including phone models and mobile networks
• video and phone conversations, with users’ consent
• cookies and other tracking data
• targeted content based on a person’s location and first name
Information from other sources• transactions from third-party app stores
• name and contact information from third-party calendar services
• social media profiles
• marketing and advertising partners
consumer research platforms
• business contact databases

Calm will use or share the information it collects in the following ways.

What does Calm do with the information?
Using information• providing, maintaining, and improving services
• processing payments and orders
• sending transactional information to the user, such as receipts
• marketing messages
• monitoring and analyzing user trends
• find out and prevent illegal or fraudulent activity
• following the law, such as tax filing
• personalize a user’s experience
• organize rewards and contests
Sharing information• shares information with business partners and contractors
• shares user information with law enforcement agencies as the law requires
• shares user information if the user breaks the terms and conditions of the service
• shares user information during the sale or merging of business
• shares user information with third-party services with the user’s permission

Headspace and Calm offer several subscription plans.


At the time of publishing this article, Headspace offers a free trial for monthly and annual subscription plans.

The monthly plan comes with a 7-day free trial. After the trial ends, the plan costs $12.99 per month.

The annual plan comes with a 14-day free trial. When the free trial finishes, the plan costs $69.99 per year.

Headspace is available to download for iOS and Android devices.


Calm offers a 7-day free trial for its premium content. This free trial automatically renews as an annual subscription unless the customer cancels this before the trial period ends.

At the time of publishing, an annual subscription costs $69.99, and a person can purchase a lifetime subscription for $399.99.

People can access Calm through a browser or download the app on iOS and Android devices.

Headspace and Calm are two apps that offer similar meditation services.

Both companies offer free trials. However, an individual needs to pay for a monthly, yearly, or lifetime subscription to access their content after their trial ends.