Have trouble getting enough shut-eye? There’s an app for that (surprise, surprise!). Indeed, there are so many sleep apps that claim to help you fall and stay asleep that it can be difficult to decide which ones are worth a shot. That’s where the Good Housekeeping Institute’s experts come in. We solicited feedback from real consumers, spoke with a clinical psychologist, and had Rachel Rothman, our chief technologist and director of engineering, report back on some of the most effective sleep-focused apps she’s tested.
However, if you choose an app that also provides insights into your sleep patterns, such as how much time you spent in the REM cycle, try not to obsess over the data, as this can lead to a whole new snooze-time problem.
Whether you want to fall asleep to the soothing sounds of nature, white noise, or a bedtime story, download one of these apps today to get the rest you (desperately) require. Good night!
Put on the Oura ring and drift off to sleep. “This is one of the most accurate trackers on the market, and it uses hardware, so you benefit from having that sensor,” says clinical psychologist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. You’ll be able to learn about and track things like heart rate, temperature, and sleep activity thanks to tiny sensors that detect body signals via the highly sensitive arteries in your fingers. You’ll learn what’s going on inside during the day if you wear it all day.
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The experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute adore how simple it is to use the Core app and its companion meditation device. To begin, simply pick up the small handheld device while the app on your phone guides you through a soothing meditation session for sleep, anxiety, or stress. It’s the ideal tool for helping you focus your attention on Core’s gentle vibrations and guide your breathing just before drifting off, especially if you have trouble meditating in the first place.
Our testers liked Core’s natural wood design, which not only looks good on a nightstand but also includes ECG biosensors that measure and track your progress in the app.
Slumber provides a variety of experiences to help you fall asleep, including meditation, a six-part bedtime story series, and the sound of a warm jacuzzi. You can also select a background noise (such as rain or the ocean) to play for up to 10 hours after the main track has ended. Each week, new sleep-inducing stories and meditations are added, and if you upgrade to the premium version, you can listen to them all.
The Calm app is extremely simple to use, and the Sleep Stories section contains bedtime stories (for both kids and adults!) read aloud by people with soothing voices, including celebrities such as Matthew McConaughey. Only a few stories are free, but a subscription unlocks a massive library of meditations designed specifically for sleep — as well as categories like stress.
TEN PERCENT HAPPIER
If you still haven’t discovered a sleep app that functions for you, Ten Percent Happier is worth a shot. It presents a wide range of reflections — including ones for rest — that range from 3 minutes to 45 minutes to assist you to relax and fall asleep. There are also reflecting courses traversing a variety of genres and the chance to message a coach for extra help.
Why not try journaling if you want to establish a nightly routine that helps you relax before going to bed? This does not even require the use of a journal. Reflect is an intelligent journal that prompts you to organize your thoughts by asking you guided questions. It allows you to reflect on the day, your thoughts, and any problems you may have encountered. You may find yourself moving past thoughts that would have otherwise kept you awake.
If your children (or cartoon fans!) are looking for an illustrated storybook to read before bed, Moshi brings fantastic worlds to life with real-life celebrities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Goldie Hawn lends her voice to a Moshi track aimed at reducing children’s anxiety about germs and daily routines. Most stories last between 15 and 20 minutes to keep kids entertained while they prepare for bed, and you can download them for future use.
Somryst is like having an on-demand sleep trainer. “It’s one of several sleep apps built with CBTi (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy),” says Breus. “It gives you actual insomnia therapy that’s FDA-approved and proven to work, and this app has a lot of data behind it.” Check your health insurance to see if it covers this app; if not, you can still reap its benefits by completing a sleep questionnaire and consulting with a sleep specialist via telemedicine before diving in. You’ll gain insight into your own sleep issues and learn sleep strategies that are designed to stick because you’re actually training your brain.
Noisli isn’t strictly a sleep app, but it’s ideal for anyone who enjoys falling asleep to music or sounds. It allows you to mix and match various sounds (such as thunderstorms, wind, fire, or café noise) to create the perfect noisescape for you. If you’re not in the mood to be creative, it also includes premade playlists that you can listen to without having to think about it, including one for sleep.
Rise analyses your sleep habits and offers recommendations to optimize your routine for quality sleep using data from your phone and optional wearable devices (such as an Apple Watch or Fitbit). For example, it recommends when to begin winding down, when to eat large meals, and when to begin avoiding blue light for the night, all in the name of preparing you for a good night’s sleep.
Another sound-mixing app to help you create the ideal sleep scale to drift off to, but this one has some unique features. Relax Melodies include nature sounds, binaural beats (sounds of different frequencies in each ear for a more immersive experience), ASMR-inspired noises, white noise, and more. There are also bedtime stories and meditations.
We won’t be the first to tell you how screens can disrupt your sleep, but we also understand how difficult it can be to disconnect from your devices before bedtime. Reducing your exposure to blue light, which can suppress the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, is a good middle ground. Twilight dims the blues on your screen and replaces them with a red tone that is easier on the eyes and better for sleeping.
Building healthy sleep habits can be a difficult process, and SleepTown makes it a game that may actually motivate you to stick with it. Essentially, you set sleep-related goals (such as waking up at a specific time), and as you meet them, you build buildings and expand a mini town within the app. However, if you fail to meet your objective, your buildings will be demolished.
Sleep Time is a half-smart alarm clock, a half-soundscape app for anyone who wants to make falling asleep and waking up a little easier. You can learn about your sleeping habits by using its personalized sleep reports (like how often you hit snooze and when).
How we wake up is also an important aspect of sleep. App for smart alarm clocks Sleep Cycle analyses your sleep to wake you up at the optimal time—that is, during a light sleep phase—so that waking up feels as gentle and easy as possible.
This sleep and mindfulness app for kids may not only help your children sleep, but it may also teach them good mindfulness habits that will benefit them throughout their lives. And, hey, if your kids sleep better, so will you.
This wildly popular smart alarm (4.5 Average ratings based on 317,569 reviews) has a devoted following for a variety of reasons, including its Spotify integration, which allows you to wake up to your favourite music.