Getting a good night’s sleep is important not just for your long-term health, but also for waking up refreshed. There is a wide range of apps you can download on your phone to help aid your sleep pattern; some focus on using music to ease you into sleep, whilst others utilise data to give you information on your sleeping habits.
In this guide, we take you through the best sleep apps to help you recharge at night. If you’re on the lookout for a new phone, take a look at our range of contract and refurbished devices and find the handset best suited to your routines.
Sleep Cycle is all about giving you the data to judge your quality of sleep. The app records your sleep pattern over a set window of time and wakes you up when you’re at your most comfortable during sleep. In the morning, users can then see how they slept overnight, with a quality score dictated by the time slept, if you snored and how deep your sleep was.
The ease with which you can digest this data is part of why Sleep Cycle excels at aiding sleep. The interface is simple and broken down into easily understandable metrics, with no need to dig deeper into the data if you don’t want to. The smart alarm features combine with this data to make Sleep Cycle a truly ‘smart’ app for aiding sleep, waking, and feeling rested.
An app we praised previously as one of the best apps for mindfulness, Headspace also has impressive features dedicated to sleeping better. ‘Sleepcasts’ are exercises within the Headspace library, which aim to help you unwind with calming music and drop off peacefully. Headspace places great emphasis on using sound to ease your brain into its sleep cycle, making it a superb choice for users who prefer gentle encouragement, rather than data analysis, to improve sleep.
Upon waking up, Headspace offers small meditations to help you prepare for the day. By fitting easily into your daily routine, this app avoids the pitfall of overwhelming the user with too much information.
Price: Free (available with a premium subscription)
Available on iOS
For those who do prefer to have as much data as possible, Pillow is the app of choice. It uses the sensors on your iPhone to assess the duration and quality of your sleep, gradually building a data map for you to track. As the name suggests, the phone is placed on the mattress near your pillow, at which point the app will analyse your movements and sounds during sleep.
Pillow goes the extra mile with its data by giving you more ways to break down your sleep pattern. Heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood oxygen levels can be analysed to see in greater detail the quality of your sleep. This data can then be broken down into detailed charts to track the exact changes within these metrics.
In short, Pillow offers the tools you need to take a deep dive into what is affecting your sleep and optimise it for a better overall experience.
Another app that impressed us previously with its presentation and ease of use, Calm helps the user build a relaxing mindset. The core focus of Calm is to reduce anxiety and stress, and it does this via an extensive library of tailored recordings to help the user block out the distractions of daily life.
Achieving better sleep is part of reducing anxiety and vice versa. With Calm, you can engage with breathing techniques and meditations to relax your mind and body, helping you keep on top of this essential cycle.
Within Calm’s library are over 100 bedtime stories designed to help you unwind. These stories are narrated by famous voices including Stephen Fry and Harry Styles and are intermixed with soothing music to create chilled, gentle soundscapes.
Sound is one of the key factors that influence a good night’s sleep. Some sounds can be distracting and negatively impact our sleep pattern, yet the right combination can create the ideal snooze environment. This is what Sleepa specialises in, and it’s one of the best relaxation apps on the market.
The beauty of Sleepa is how it lets you build your own soundscape. Perhaps you enjoy the sound of rain, or wind blowing through trees; with Sleepa, you can focus on these sounds or mix and match to form your own tranquil happy place.
Every inch of Sleepa has been carefully thought out to encourage calmness. The user interface, with its deep blue and gentle orange colour scheme, is incredibly easy to navigate, getting you to your soundscape with minimal taps of the screen. There is a thoughtfulness to how Sleepa has been made that makes using it a joy.
Price: Free (premium version available)
Available on Android
Awoken is an app designed for those who want to delve a little deeper into their sleep. It centres on the phenomenon of lucid dreaming, the ability to recognise you are dreaming whilst it is happening. By being able to have lucid dreams and understand their meaning, Awoken aims to give you control over the anxiety that can occur from uncomfortable dreams.
The app presents a comprehensive suite of tools to help you develop your lucid dreaming skill, including a ‘Dream Journal’ to record what you remember, and audio cues that are intended to trigger lucid dreams whilst sleeping. These tools are remarkably easy to use and offer multiple ways to engage with Awoken, however you see fit.
The idea of lucid dreaming can be esoteric and a little tricky to understand, yet this is why Awoken is an excellent app. It understands the complexity of its subject matter and makes it as simple as possible to use, whilst maintaining its wide variety of features.
A running theme of the best apps for sleep is emphasising sleeping as its own exercise. Better sleep can lead to a healthier lifestyle over time, and the same can be said for physical exercise. Check out our breakdown of the best apps for improving your fitness and getting both your mind and body in shape.