Unsurprisingly, there’s an app for almost everything — even to help you sleep.
In recent years, the popularity of sleep apps has boomed and it’s easy to understand why — we rely on our phones for almost everything, including food delivery, hailing rides, and identifying music.
So when we’re awake in the wee hours of the night, staring at our ceiling, it’s only natural that we would turn to our phones for help, especially at a time when most of us are struggling to get a proper night’s sleep. A 2020 sleep survey found that 59% of respondents are averaging less than six hours of sleep per night, which is far below the recommended eight.
But how do sleep apps work?
Many apps have multiple features that cater to individual needs, whether that’s a guided sleep meditation, calming sleep music, or a soothing bed-time story narrated by Harry Styles. These features are designed to help you fall and stay asleep, much like a weighted blanket.
If you’ve spent most of your days feeling like an extra in the Night of the Living Dead, check out these five sleep apps to help you sleep better.
Calm is a popular sleep, meditation, and relaxation app with different features, including exclusive music to help you sleep, stretching exercises to do before bed, and scenes and sounds from nature to help you unwind.
But one of the more well-known features is perhaps the Sleep Stories section, featuring a selection of bedtime stories for kids and adults read aloud by celebrities with calming voices. The star-studded list includes Matthew McConaughey, Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Harry Styles, and many more.
Some features and stories are free, but subscribing can unlock a wide variety of resources to help you sleep.
If you spend hours lying awake, head buzzing with one anxious thought after another, Headspace is the sleep app for you.
The app provides a guided sleep meditation to help you rest your mind so you can get some quality sleep. Headspace offers other themed meditations, such as meditation for stress and meditation for relaxation, so you can select the one that’s most suitable for you.
Similar to a podcast, Headspace also has sleepcasts, which provide audio-guided tours of serene environments. These sleepcasts are designed to help you wind down as you listen and creates an immersive experience that takes you out of your head so you can focus on the present.
Sleep Cycle may not help you fall asleep, but it’ll analyze your sleep patterns so you can wake up easier. In contrast to setting an alarm that jolts you awake, this sleep tracker app works by waking you up when you’re at your lightest sleep phase so that you feel more rested.
On average, people go through five stages of sleep, which include two stages of light sleep, two stages of deep sleep, and a final stage of REM sleep.
Waking up from one of the deep sleep stages is the most difficult and can also lead to grogginess throughout the day, which is why it’s essential to wake up during the light stage. Sleep Cycle tracks the movements of your body as you sleep and uses that data to determine the right time to awaken you.
The sleep app Rise gives customized schedules based on activity data from your phone. The app is designed to help you practice healthy habits and improve sleep by providing suggestions based on your unique sleep biology.
For instance, based on your energy schedule, Rise will recommend when to avoid big meals, when to wind down, and when to go to bed. This sleep app is particularly useful for athletes because it helps them get more sleep by tracking their sleep schedule, which in turn, improves their performance.
Making the effort to cultivate any healthy habit can be hard, but it’s a little easier and a lot more fun when it’s in the form of a game.
In SleepTown, you can build a town by setting goals to go to bed and wake up by a certain time. By doing so, the app lets you construct new buildings, but if you fail for the day, your buildings are destroyed. SleepTown motivates you to maintain good sleep hygiene and healthy habits by rewarding you with rare buildings when you’re consistent with your goals.
But What Else is Essential for a Good Night’s Rest?
Sleep apps alone can’t improve the quality of your sleep. They can help you calm your mind before bed and track your sleep-wake cycles, but a good night’s rest actually depends on whether or not you have a prime setup for good sleep.
Consider investing in a weighted blanket if your sleep deprivation is severe. Studies have shown that weighted blankets can improve the quality of sleep by mimicking the comforting feeling of a hug or a massage. If you tend to overheat during the night, be sure to purchase a cool weighted blanket so you can sleep soundly.
In addition to blankets and other bedroom accessories, take a long, hard look at your mattress. Do you struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position? Do you jolt awake every time your partner tosses or turns in their sleep? Have you had the same mattress for more than eight years?
If the answer to each of those questions was a ‘yes,’ it’s time to swap out your old mattress for a new memory foam mattress.
The best memory foam mattresses are designed to alleviate aches and pains and reduces the transfer of motion, which means you’ll barely feel anything even if your partner needs to get up in the middle of the night. Memory foam also has contour-adapting capabilities, making it ideal for all sleeping positions.
Getting quality rest doesn’t need to be a challenge. In fact, the combination of an ingenious sleep and a top-rated mattress is unbeatable, so say goodbye to sleepless nights and hello to refreshed mornings.