Getting enough sleep at night is crucial for a healthy body and mind. Studies have shown that sleep is important for all kinds of bodily processes, from memory and brain function, to lowering stress levels and maintaining a healthy weight. However, according to an estimate from the CDC, more than one third of Americans may be sleep deprived.
One of the reasons researchers cite for our nation’s sleeplessness is our chronic attachment to smart phones and screens. So you might question the popularity of apps that purport to help you get to sleep, stay asleep, and better understand your sleeping habits.
However, many people have reported benefits from using these products, and their methods and techniques are all backed by some of the most recent research in sleep science. Especially if you’re someone who has trouble putting away your phone, tablet, or computer at night, try putting them to use
Here are 5 of the best sleep apps to try:
One of the most popular sleep apps, Sleep Cycle works all night to track your sleep patterns. Using the data it collects throughout the night, the app will wake you up in your lightest sleep phase—during a 30-minute alarm window set by you. In the morning, you can check the data the app provides to find out how well you slept. This allows you to adjust your current sleep environment so you can sleep better in the future. The app also includes a white noise generator and relaxing music to wake up to.
Relax and Sleep
This app by clinical hypnotherapist Glenn Harold features a soothing half hour hypnotherapy session, designed to “take you on a relaxing journey into the deepest levels of self-hypnosis.” It’s especially great for those who have racing thoughts or trouble clearing their head before bed.
Although more popular among nappers, Pzizz can also be used to relax and help you fall asleep at night. The app, which claims to be the solution to insomnia, combines hypnotic and calming elements including NLP (neurolinguistic programming), binaural beats and sound effects, all designed to help you doze off. There are multiple tracks you can try out, some for daytime or power naps and others for a full night’s sleep.
Sleepbot is another popular app which helps you track your sleep cycle. It stands apart from other apps in its ability to track nighttime motion, which tracks how you move throughout the night AND nighttime sound, which will give you a better idea about bad sleep habits like sleep-talking and snoring, as well as any other noises that may disturb you during sleep. In the morning, you can take a look at interactive graphs that show at what points during the night you were in deep sleep, light sleep, or awake. Like Sleep Cycle, Sleepbot will wake you up at the optimal time within a 30-minute window based off your sleeping patterns.
F.lux is totally different from the other apps on this list, as instead of tracking your sleep or attempting to lull you off, it addresses the root of the way technology disrupts sleep: the bright blue light that emanates from screens. When you install and switch on f.lux, it “warms up” your screen as evening comes, so that instead of emitting sleep-disrupting and eyesight-harming blue light, it emits a warmer, more orange or yellow colored light. The theory is that our brains associate this kind of light with sunset and nightfall, thus our brains know to begin to wind down and get ready for sleep—even while we continue to use the screens. This is a great app that can be used in conjunction with any of the others listed!
What tips or tricks do you use to help you fall asleep and sleep better at night?
-The Alternative Daily