Do you have trouble falling asleep? From excess caffeine to unhealthy habits, a wide range of things can keep us awake well into the night and make getting a full night’s sleep difficult.
Insomnia can take a serious toll on your body, sapping your energy and wearing you down physically. Luckily, it’s surprisingly easy to treat without using medications or health supplements.
In fact, you can treat many forms of insomnia and improve your sleep quality using nothing more than a little bit of self-discipline, your smartphone and a wide variety of sleep optimisation apps.
This sleep app is prob the best 3.99 I’ve spent today — Erskk (@erskk) September 3, 2014
In this blog post, we’ll share eight smartphone apps to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, get better sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed than you ever have in your life. Grab your iOS or Android device, open the App/Play Store and get ready!
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock takes a scientific approach to waking up and programs your alarm to wake you up when you’re in your lightest sleep phase. The result is better daytime energy levels, less morning tiredness and much more refreshing sleep.
This amazing app does all this by monitoring your movement via the accelerometer that’s built into your iPhone. Available for iOS and Android, although Android users are forced to deal with a slightly higher price.
F.lux (or Twilight)
Reading text on your smartphone’s bright display can trick your brain into thinking it’s the middle of the day, making sleep difficult. If you like to read in bed, you’ll also start to develop eye strain from the contrast between your phone and bedroom. F.lux is a cool app that automatically adjusts the brightness, contrast and colour on your smartphone to match the time of day. As the sun sets, your screen’s contrast level starts to decline and your phone becomes more readable in the darkness.
Unfortunately, F.lux is currently only available for jailbroken iOS devices. A free app for Android called Twilight replicates most of the functionality, albeit with a slightly different interface or you can install the desktop version here.
UP Coffee (or Caffeine Tracker)
Is your coffee habit keeping you awake? Caffeine has a surprisingly long half-life, and a cappuccino you drank early in the afternoon could still be lingering in your system and keeping you awake close to midnight.
UP Coffee is a free iOS app that lets you monitor how your caffeine intake is affecting your sleep patterns. It also lets you compare your caffeine intake to the app’s entire user base and put your espresso addiction in perspective.
Available for iOS, UP Coffee tracks both coffee and caffeinated energy drinks such as Red Bull. A similar app called Caffeine Tracker is available for coffee-loving Android users interested in learning more about the biological side of their habit.
Noisli (or Lightning Bug)
Do you need ambient noise to fall asleep? Noisli is a cool application that simulates the sound of rain, wind, lightning, forest animals and more. You can even combine sounds to create your own forest-lightning-by-the-beach sleep environment.
As well as generating ambient noise, Noisli also generates colour. You can fill your bedroom with yellow, blue, green or many other colours to fall asleep to in peace and tranquillity.
Noisli is only available for iOS devices, but a similar app called Lightning Bug is a decent Android alternative. Like Noisli, Lightning Bug simulates a wide range of natural environments and lets you fill your bedroom with coloured light.
Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson
Do you have serious problems falling asleep? If you just can’t fall asleep, no matter how hard you try to relax, hypnosis could be a good option. Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson is a hypnosis-based smartphone app that promises deep, refreshing sleep.
How does it work? Lie down in bed, put in your headphones and listen to the deep, soothing voice of Andrew Johnson as he talks you to sleep. After five to ten minutes of hypnosis, you’ll be as relaxed as you’ve ever been and ready to fall asleep.
Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson is available for iOS and Android. The app is easy to use and has a useful feature that switches it off after one 30-minute cycle to help you fall asleep without using up your smartphone’s battery.
What do you dream about? Not everyone can remember their dreams, but if you can you might want to record them for future review. Dreameo is an iOS app that acts as a sleep journal, letting you catalogue and review your dreams from any date.
The app itself is simple – every morning, after waking, you log your dream using the built-in dream diary. Each dream can be tagged with a theme, letting you look back and review weeks or months of sleep interpretations.
Yoga for Insomnia
Got insomnia? Instead of spending your time in bed staring at the ceiling, get out of the covers and perform some relaxing yoga poses. Yoga for Insomnia is an Android and iOS app that claims to cure insomnia through therapeutic yoga.
At £2.99, the app isn’t free, but it’s a small price to pay for a detailed list of poses and holds that make falling asleep easier. Give it a try before you go to sleep tomorrow night to make falling asleep simple and recharge mind for the next morning.
Do you snore? An estimates 50% of all people snore, although some are obviously worse snorers than others. SnoreLab is an iOS app that analyses your sleeping and snoring patterns based on the noise you make while sleeping.
SnoreLab is surprisingly easy to use – just plug in your iPhone (the app is battery intensive) and keep it about one metre from your body as you sleep. As you wake up, you’ll be able to monitor your snoring intensity and its impact on your sleep.
Available from the iOS App Store for £2.49, SnoreLab is a cheap remedy to a very common sleep issue. Unfortunately, since the app was written with the native iOS programming language, an Android version isn’t yet available.
What’s your favourite sleep-related app?
Does your smartphone have any sleep-related apps? From your favourite alarm to scientific sleep tracking and analysis apps, post your favourite iOS or Android sleep apps in the comments and let us know if they’ve helped you enjoy better sleep.