Insufficient sleep not only causes fatigue but also leads to long-term issues like obesity and a weak immune system.
However, ensuring good sleep isn’t as easy as sleeping 8 hours a day. You need to sleep at the right time, avoid interruptions, ensure your body follows the sleep cycle, and wake up properly. If you are having sleep trouble, then getting help from some apps is better than going for the pills.
There are many apps that can help you easily fall asleep, track your sleep activity, and wake you up gently. Below I have listed a bunch of sleep apps that could improve your sleep or give you the right information to tackle sleep problems.
How Apps Can Help with Better Sleep?
Like I said before, good sleep isn’t just about sleeping 8 hours a day. Sleep has 5 stages, including wake, N1, N2, N3, and REM (Rapid Eye Movement). This basically means going to sleep and then going from lighter sleep to deep sleep and then the REM stage, during which you usually dream. Your body should go through these stages in time and without interruptions for good sleep.
Below are some ways apps can help with sleep stages:
Normally, a person should sleep within 10-20min after getting in bed. Stress, anxiety, and even excitement or curiosity can keep you awake more than usual. Staying awake too long will decrease the total time you can sleep, and depending on why you are awake, it may also stop you from staying asleep.
Using meditation, soothing sounds, bedtime stories, and therapies, apps can help you relax and get to sleep. An app can encourage you to get in bed on time and then use melodies and other relaxing sounds to clear your mind so you can easily sleep.
Apps may not work too well for sleep disorders like insomnia, but they can help track your sleep activity, so you can get the right treatment.
Your body will not rejuvenate properly if your sleep gets constantly interrupted or you stay too long in a particular stage, such as light sleep. An uncomfortable environment, snoring, external noises, and sleep disorders can affect your sleep.
As your brain can respond to sounds even while asleep, the same apps that can help you get to sleep can also help you stay asleep. Apps can keep you relaxed while asleep with sounds and soothing therapies. They can also encourage going from light sleep to deep sleep as the brain is more responsive to sound in light sleep. Not to mention, they will block uncomfortable external noises with soothing sounds.
More importantly, sleep-tracking apps can tell how good your sleep is by tracking interruptions, light/deep sleep, snoring, etc. This helps pinpoint your sleep problem and get the right treatment.
Suddenly waking up from deep sleep can cause fatigue and a bad mood. Unlike the regular alarm, a smart alarm app can wake you up gently with soft sounds starting well before the actual alarm time. The app detects when you are in light sleep to start waking you up, which ensures you are ready to wake up energetically when the actual alarm time comes.
They also have advanced snooze alarm options that won’t let you oversleep, making it difficult to snooze.
Now that you know the benefits of using apps for sleep, let’s get to the apps that will help you from going to sleep to waking up:
If you are having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, then soothing sounds will help immensely. White noise or soothing sounds can help you relax and block noise that could disrupt your sleep. This makes it easier to sleep faster and stay asleep, especially if you sleep in an area with noise, like car horns.
Sleep Sounds combines different sounds to create melodies for different purposes. There is a sleep category that has sounds like city life, fire, winter, beach, countryside, etc. The sounds are fully customizable, you can individually adjust the volume of each sound, adjust playtime, and even make your sounds.
Most of the sounds are free, and the rest can be opened by watching ads. You can also subscribe to the premium version that has no ads and all sounds unlocked.
If soothing sounds aren’t your thing, then maybe bedtime stories will help you go to sleep. Slumber offers hundreds of audio stories for adults and kids. The stories are narrated by calming voices with long pauses to lull you to sleep.
You can create a playlist of stories, so they keep playing even when you sleep, or you can put a single story on a loop. You can even add background white noise to stories to make them even more relaxing.
There is also a nice sleep tracker built-in that tells you when you went to sleep, whether you woke up between sleep or not, and when you woke up in the morning. You can track progress over weeks or months.
Most short stories are free, but full-book narrations require a subscription with a 7-day free trial.
If you want to confirm whether you snore or not, or if you want to track your snoring for treatment, then SnoreLab can help. Snoring is not only disruptive to sleep but also a big health concern as it can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
The app tracks your snoring and creates graphs to help you see how much you snore over time. It shows the total time you snored and the intensity of snoring using color codes. You can even listen to your snoring, and it will only play the time you were snoring.
If you are under treatment for snoring, the app can help track snoring according to the remedy you are using. For example, if you are using a mouthpiece with a wedge pillow and sleeping sideways, then you tell this information to the app, and it will track and record accordingly.
Its free version offers basic tracking with limited audio playback. You need to get a subscription to unlock complete tracking and cloud backup.
Digipill offers many relaxing and motivational therapies, like digital pills, to help you overcome different problems. Out of these pills, there are some that could help with better sleep. There is a Sleep Deeply pill that has a soothing lullaby that will relieve tension and help you get to sleep faster.
Some pills could solve problems that might be indirectly affecting your sleep. For example, Sanctuary can remove anxiety and boost confidence, Increasing Comfort for comfort and reassurance, and provide Closure to move on from a bad experience in the past.
The pills usually consist of appropriate background music with commentary to help unlock your subconscious. The pill player is easy to use, too; just play the audio and move forward/backward as you like.
Only the T-break pill is available for free, you have to buy the rest of the pills individually inside the app.
Your first step to better sleep is knowing how good your current sleep is. This is where the Sleep Cycle app will help you by recording when you sleep, how good your sleep was, and when you woke up. Afterward, it keeps track of your daily sleep and shows changes over time.
The app will record how long it took to you to sleep after going to bed. Once asleep, it will track how long you were in light sleep or deep sleep, along with other activities like snoring, sleep talking, coughing, waking up, etc. Its built-in smart alarm also wakes you up gently over an hour before the real alarm.
You can also create sleep notes and comment on your wake-up mood. All this information is recorded as graphs with daily sleep health shown over days, weeks, or months.
Sleep tracking and the wake-up alarm are available for free. The paid subscription lets you record sounds, add sleep notes, backup data, and compare data with other users.
SleepTown is basically a building game that helps you build a town by following your sleep schedule. It is best for people who have trouble going to bed on time or are addicted to using the phone in bed.
To use the app, you have to tell it your sleep schedule, from going to bed to waking up. When it’s time to sleep, you need to turn on the app and let it know that you are going to bed. The app will start a building, and if you wake up at the scheduled time, the building will complete.
However, if you will fail to get in bed on time or wake up late, then the building will be destroyed. Which building you will get is a surprise every day, and there are dozens of buildings to unlock. Following your schedule, you can create a whole town with different buildings.
The free version offers a small town with limited types of buildings. The premium version lets you create a whole city with all the buildings and unlock achievements.
Breathing exercises can help you relax and sleep comfortably, and Breakthwrk is the perfect app. Finding and following the right breathing exercise can be difficult without visual cues. Breathwrk makes this easier by creating a custom breathing exercise plan for you and then helping you follow it using visual and audio cues.
Although the app offers breathing exercises for many purposes, it has a dedicated feature for sleep, stress, and anxiety. It will ask a bunch of questions to understand what kind of sleep problem you are dealing with and then offers exercises accordingly.
There are also breathing exercises by experts with instructions in their voices. Although most of those exercises are only available in the premium version. The free version offers basic sleep exercises provided using visual and audio cues.
Sleep as Android
Properly waking up is just as important as good sleep. Suddenly waking up can cause stress, fatigue, and a bad mood. Sleep as Android is a smart alarm app with built-in sleep tracking that gently wakes you up before the alarm time. It tracks your sleep to start waking you up in your light sleep phase.
The app uses a slow volume tone and vibrations to gently wake you up and goes to max volume when the actual alarm time comes. It also offers multiple options to snooze. You can even set up a challenge that you have to pass to snooze the alarm, like solving a puzzle or answering simple math.
The smart alarm and snooze challenge is available in the free version. If you want sleep tracking and sounds to help you sleep, you’ll have to upgrade to premium.
No matter what sleep problem you are facing, I am sure one of these apps will help you. Apart from these, I will also recommend you sleep on time at night. In darkness (i.e., at night), your body produces melatonin hormone responsible for inducing sleep. Not following this natural signal will not only affect overall sleep but also cause problems like blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, etc.
If these sleep apps aren’t enough, maybe some sleep gadgets will help you.