Monday morning is rapidly approaching, and when the fateful hour of your alarm arrives, you’ll be tempted to hit snooze.
Our relationship with sleep is complicated. As children we fight to avoid it. As adults there’s nothing we want more. A third of our lives are spent in bed, yet we don’t even feel the hours passing by. We wake up feeling groggy but know little about how we got there.
Your smartphone is normally the enemy of a restful snooze, but a crop of apps are out to help adults improve their nighttime habits, slumber better, and wake up feeling more refreshed. Here are nine of our favourite sleep apps.
Sleep Cycle is a smart alarm that aims to make mornings as peaceful as possible. The app uses sound analysis or your phone’s accelerometer to identify your sleep states by tracking your movements in bed. During the ‘wake up phase’ (30 minutes before your desired alarm time by default), Sleep Cycle will wake you when you are in the lightest possible sleep state to mimic the feeling of waking naturally without an alarm clock.
Developed from research to help astronauts fall asleep, Sleep Genius calls itself “the world’s most scientifically advanced sleep app.” In the morning, the app awakens you with a five-minute progressive alarm of periodic sound cycles that help you wake gradually. At night, the Sleep Genius Relaxation Program’s acoustically modified music helps reduce stress and anxiety so you fall asleep easier. And if you need a pick-me-up during the day, try the app’s Power Nap feature.
Pzizz encourages sleep using the science of psychoacoustics. The app’s patented algorithm plays a sleep-optimised mix of music, voiceover, and sound effects to quickly quiet your mind, put you to sleep, keep you asleep, then wake you up feeling refreshed. Many of the app’s features are customisable, and over time, Pzizz learns what kinds of sounds you like and dislike and evolves to give you the best sleep experience possible.
Relax and Sleep Well
Relax and Sleep Well is a hypnosis and meditation app from British hypnotherapist Glenn Harrold. A free 27-minute session guides you on a relaxing journey into the deepest levels of self-hypnosis, while subtle background soundscapes promote even deeper feelings of mental and physical relaxation. Dozens more hypnotherapy recordings that cover insomnia, stress, anxiety, mindfulness, weight loss, confidence, self-esteem, and more are available as in-app purchases.
More than two billion hours of sleep have been recorded with Sleep Time to date. Like Sleep Cycle, Sleep Time gathers intel on your sleep patterns by tracking your level of movement during the night and learns to wake you up at the perfect moment of your lightest sleep phase. The app generates comprehensive reports of the data it gathers so you can find patterns between your sleep and other variables in your life. Sleep Time also offers soothing Soundscapes to help you drift quickly to dreamland.
Seven years of research and development in the biomechanics of natural human motion and sleep optimisation are behind MotionX-24/7. The always-on activity tracker helps improve your snooze by measuring and correlating resting heart rate with sleep quality, including advanced sleep cycle monitoring with smart alarms and power naps. On the flip side of things, the app also tracks daily steps and calories burned, and provides ‘Get Active’ alerts to let you know when you’ve been idle for too long.
The idea for SleepBot was born when two of its founders had a conversation at 5am about how great it would be if they knew how much sleep they weren’t getting. After unsuccessfully searching for an easy way to track their slumber, they created SleepBot Tracker Log, a simple app anyone could use to log their hours, view stats, set alarms, and create auto-settings to get the most out of your sleep.
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Awoken is a free lucid dreaming tool for Android that aims to connect you to your mind and dreams on a whole new level. The core features are split into three segments that help you integrate the art of lucid dreaming into your daily and nightly life: Reality Checks, a Dream Journal, and a Totem Sound (it’s all very Inception). Other features include information on lucid dreaming, oneironaut achievements, and the ability to temporarily pause your training.
Does your daily workout or evening glass of wine impact your sleep? Runtastic’s Sleep Better app has the answer. Sleep Better lets you track your sleep, monitor your dreams with a journal, wake up at the optimal hour, and improve your bedtime habits. The app’s most advanced features help you understand how your daytime activities (such as caffeine and alcohol consumption, workout habits, and stress levels) and even the moon phases influence your sleep efficiency.