Trying to fall asleep when you have a million things on your mind is frustrating. For those nights when you find yourself restless and in need of some shut-eye, what do you do? You might try yoga, meditation, or earplugs. But when that doesn’t work, have you thought to experiment with a sleep app on your phone?
We know, we know — the phone before bed is a big no-no. But when it’s used as a tool for better sleep, we’re all about it. We already know which apps will track our sleep, so we found the 10 best sleep apps to help you catch some much-needed Zzz’s.
When you have a million thoughts darting around your brain, it can be difficult to silence your mind before bed. Meditation is a great tool to help you round up those thoughts and get some rest. Headspace is an app that provides guided meditation. A conversational voice will talk you through breathing exercises to bring oxygen to your brain and therefore calm your mind.
Each program on the app has a different theme depending on what you want to get out of your meditation session. You can focus on targeting anxiety, self-esteem, or sleep. When you settle the mind, you settle the body — which makes it easier for you to doze off. You can sign up for free or subscribe to access more tools for meditation.
Calm is another meditation app — only this one includes a variety of meditations catered specifically for sleep. The app also provides sleep stories (for kids and adults), meditative music tracks, and over 100 guided meditations. What’s cool about Calm is that celebrities with soothing voices — such as Matthew McConaughey’s sexy southern drawl — are used as narrators for certain bedtime stories.
Bedtime stories aren’t just for kids. They're actually proven to distract you from your thoughts and help you unwind into a deep sleep. The music featured in Calm includes white noise, sounds of nature, and original compositions to ease you into relaxation mode. This app has gained heaps of praise for helping users fall asleep peacefully. You can sign up for free or purchase Calm Premium to unlock the best of this app.
Slumber offers a variety of experiences to help you fall asleep, such as meditation, sounds, bedtime stories, and ASMR. It’s handy because new stories and guided meditations are added each week, so you don’t have to worry about repeating content.
The sounds are included as background effects and can play up to 10 hours. Some of the sleep-inducing sounds on Slumber include the ocean, a snowstorm, or a fan. The variety that Slumber offers makes it an all-inclusive app for better sleep. It's available for free, with the option to upgrade to a premium service.
4. White Noise
Technically speaking, white noise is sound containing many frequencies with equal intensities. The resulting sound is supposed to reduce brain wave complexity and induce stable sleep. White noise is also meant to increase focus, soothe headaches, reduce stress, and block distractions. As with ASMR, it doesn’t work for everyone as some people don’t find it restful.
The White Noise app lets you record and loop a few sounds at once (kind of like a DJ). For instance, a cat purring, a waterfall, or a campfire. The full version includes 40 looped sound effects. Be sure to keep your phone on charge while you use this app as it may drain your battery. White Noise is only available in the App Store for $0.99.
5. Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds
Relax Melodies is a popular app that includes breathing techniques, sleep moves, relaxing sounds, and guided meditation to help you sleep well. This app recognizes that it's important to remove stressors from your mind before attempting to fall asleep, and it provides to tools to do that. The breathing techniques, specifically, help reduce the anxiety that might cloud your mind at the end of a long day. Relax Melodies also includes "community melodies" that are mixes created by other users. You can see what works for them, as it might work for you. You'll find this app for free in the App Store or on Google Play.
How peaceful is it to fall asleep when it’s raining? It makes us want to cuddle up under our silk quilt and catch some Zzz’s. Noizio is available for iPhones, Androids, and macOS and includes 30 nature sounds for relaxation, meditation, or increasing concentration. The sound library includes a thunderstorm, a campfire, and a space drone. Noizio allows you to play all of the sound effects offline and includes a sleep timer so that it doesn't drain your battery. You can purchase it for $9.99.
7. Sleep Pillow
Sleep Pillow is a widely used app that provides solutions for a good night's sleep. The app includes 70 naturally recorded sounds that are enhanced to help you fall asleep. The ambient sounds on this app are rather creative and outside of the box, such as a mother's heartbeat, a beach resort hammock, or a horse running in a field. You can also create your own sound mixes as it includes up to 300,000 different combinations. Sleep Pillow available for iOS or Android devices for $4.49.
Pzizz boasts that it figured out the science to help you fall asleep fast. It uses psychoacoustics to create dreamscapes for a good night’s sleep. Each dreamscape is tailored to your sleep cycle, so there’s a level of personalisation with this app.
Pzizz has three options: sleep, nap, and focus. In the case of a much-needed nap, you can set a timer for the length of the sleep session you want, and it will play soothing sounds while you snooze. A gentle, built-in alarm will wake you up when it’s time to get back to work. Pzizz is available for free in the US App Store, which you can switch to in the settings of your Apple device.
9. Yoga For Insomnia
One of the best ways to wind down after a long day is with restorative yoga. It helps you focus on your breathing and being in the present. For instance, this study found that yoga increases the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. The Yoga for Insomnia app provides guided instruction on a series of poses aimed to help you sleep. Each slow-paced movement focuses on breathing methods that will calm your mind. You can also use an Ecosa pillow as a prop. It's available to use on iOS, Androids, Nook, or Mac.
10. Pocket Yoga
Now that we know that yoga is a handy sleep aid, the Pocket Yoga app makes it easy to continue your practice in the comfort of your own home. You can choose among 27 different sessions, and sift through 200 illustrated images. The app also provides a pose dictionary so that you can learn the correct posture, alignments, and benefits of each move. For instance, Happy Baby pose (Ananda Balasana) is meant to stretch the spine and calm the brain. It helps reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Pocket Yoga is available for $2.99 in the App Store or Google Play.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, consider experimenting with a few of these sleep apps. It may provide a solution to your restlessness or insomnia. The best way to use each app is by incorporating it into your bedtime routine while you lay on a supportive, memory foam mattress.
Ahhh, you’ll be dozing off in no time.