Ever wondered which of the hundreds of sleep-related mobile phone apps are worth the hype? We’ve sampled some of the most talked-about sleep apps and can recommend five worth downloading for a better night’s sleep!
For Tracking Sleep: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
Sleep Cycle is widely regarded as the best app for tracking sleep. When you’re ready to sleep, open the app, set your desired wake-up time, and place your mobile phone on your mattress not too far from your pillow. If it’s your first time using the app, there are instructions you can walk through to test the optimal placement of your phone for tracking sleep.
While you sleep, the Sleep Cycle app utilizes the iPhone accelerometer to sense your movement throughout the night and determine which sleep state you’re in at a given time. It will wake you up with an alarm within the 30 minutes before your desired wake-up time at the point of lightest sleep – i.e. when you feel the most rested and ready to be awake again.
There are several graphs and stats you can use to monitor your sleeping habits, including when you moved from deep sleep to light sleep throughout the night, how long you spent in bed, and your sleep quality (how well you slept, based on your movements and duration of sleep). If you want to find out whether you’re a good sleeper, this app will point you in the right direction!
For Napping: Sleep Cycle Power Nap
Brought to you by the same folks at Sleep Cycle, their new Sleep Cycle Power Nap app aims to wake you up from your nap before you fall into deep sleep. It uses the same technology as the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, detecting your movement to infer which sleep stage you’re in. You can choose from 3 different nap types: 20 minutes, 45 minutes, or one full sleep cycle – all of which will wake you up in a light sleep phase.
Note: If you’re downloading the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app, you might as well splurge on the Sleep Cycle bundle: 3 apps for $2.99 (Sleep Cycle, Sleep Cycle Power Nap, and Sleep Cycle heart rate).
For Falling Asleep: Sleep Pillow Sounds
A mega-popular phone app with thousands of rave reviews and featured by the likes of BBC and the Wall Street Journal, Sleep Pillow Sounds has been coined “the app that helps the world sleep”. With 70 different ambient sounds arranged in 300,000 different combinations, this app claims to create a very relaxed environment. You can experiment with the sounds and see what works for you – even create your own mix of sounds to help to lull you to sleep.
Sleep Pillow Sounds also comes with a sleep timer, which turns the sound off after a specified amount of time, and an alarm clock, helping you to both fall asleep and wake up.
Note: The free version of this app is very limited in both sounds and capabilities, so to get the best out of it we recommend you upgrade to the pro version for $1.99.
For Waking Up: Alarm Clock Sleep Sounds Free
Don’t let the name fool you: this app also aids in guiding you to sleep with its meditation and brainwave sound recordings. Its main strength is in its alarm clock, though, with several different wake-up programs designed to ease you into wakefulness. Wouldn’t you rather wake up calmly to the sound of wind chimes, instead of being jolted awake by a generic blaring alarm? Thanks to the Alarm Clock Sleep Sounds Free app, now you can!
For Insomnia: Insomnia Cure
If you’re serious about kicking insomnia to the curb the natural way (i.e. without sleeping tablets), give the Insomnia Cure app a go. It’s only worth it if you’re willing to invest the time in learning and practicing better sleep through this insomnia treatment program, but if you are you’ll have lots of resources at your disposal within the app, including:
- Relaxation sleep sessions (wave recordings to help you relax and fall asleep)
- A 40 page ebook by Max Kirsten, renowned hypnotherapist
- Sleep fact cards (tips for better sleep)