So you bought yourself an Apple Watch to keep track of your health, congratulations! Now, you just need to find the right app to record your sleeping patterns because as we all know, sleep is just important as your diet and exercise habits. Prior to the Apple Watch, there haven’t been very many convenient, easy to use devices on the market that track a person’s REM cycles or whether or not they slept soundly, or tossed and turned all night. Some apps provide an analysis of the evening for people who snore loudly.
Always start with a free tracker and avoid the ones that require purchases right off the bat. At the very least, use the trial period to decide if you like it first; you can figure out what you do and don’t want in your app before you end up wasting money on something that didn’t work out in the long run.
When looking for a sleep app, you’ll want something that gives you a variety of different information. The Auto Sleep Tracker is both inexpensive and detailed in just about every aspect of your sleep. It starts tracking your rest as soon as you go to bed, and if you don’t want to wear it while you sleep you can always set it to track on your nightstand as it charges. For those who want a more accurate reading, you’ll be pleased to know that this tracker records your restlessness, your resting heart rate, time slept, and a full report on your overall activity throughout the night. The Auto Sleep Tracker is an excellent tool for anyone who works nights or travels across country for their job and constantly find themselves in a different time zone.
Sleep tracking is automatic, no buttons needed
Includes heart rate tracking
Battery lasts for a full day without needed to be charged when using this app
Doesn’t provide alarms or wake up notifications
This app is available in English, German, Japanese, Russian, Korean, Chinese, Swedish, Turkish, Dutch, and Portugese. There aren’t very many cons for this app because the company frequently updates and corrects any problems or glitches that arise. You can use it long term and never have to spend another dime on sleep trackers or sleep watches ever again. Get a quality 8 hours with the Auto Sleep Tracker for Apple Watch, it’s perfect for anyone who is serious about setting goals for new sleep habits.
If you want an app with simple, easy to read results, try the Sleep++ for a detailed outlook on how the entire night went. The simplistic design offers a series of blue meters that make it easy to view your sleep progress. There’s no complicated set of instructions to follow, just turn your Sleep++ tracker on before you hit the sheets and let the app do the rest for you. Some sleep apps seem to have quite a few issues regarding stop and start times of your sleep, however this one remains accurate and reliable no matter how much you toss and turn. While you do have to start this one up yourself, at least you’ll know for sure that the statistics on point.
Won’t disengage due to restless sleep patterns
Accurate readings on sleep times
Small inconsistencies with restfulness levels
Has to be started manually
You can easily sync the information from you app with your phone or laptop as well so that data from days to weeks to months before don’t get lost. If your sleeping patterns change at some point, you might wonder where you went wrong. Well, just have a look at older sleep logs and see if there is a specific time that change occurred; you just might be able to pinpoint the exact event that’s keeping you awake at night.
If you like side by side, comparable statistics, try downloading the Pillow sleep tracker and see what you think! This one provides you with Rapid Eye Movement cycles, how much time you actually spent awake while you were trying to sleep, and a special feature that picks up any sound or noise that disturbs your rest. One thing that you won’t see very often with other sleep apps is a feature for napping! We all start to get tired after a long day, if you’re waking up at 5am to exercise, get the kids to school, and get to work, you’re probably pretty exhausted when you get home. A 90 minute nap is equivalent to one sleep cycle, so set your timer on the Pillow sleep tracking app and give yourself a little break before it’s time to make dinner and check homework. You can select from any of the 3 different nap modes that this awesome and versatile app has to offer.
Tracks noise that may interrupt your normal sleep cycle
Includes an alarm clock to wake you up on time
New update for automatic sleep mode isn’t working properly
May not recognize all your movements through the night
Sleeping through the night is great, but taking naps is probably the highlight of a working adult’s day if you’re even able to take one. Doing so will help your body recover faster, improve your mental focus, and give you more stamina. Although there have been some kinks with the new automatic tracking feature, the company has been working toward improvements. The Sleep++ has improved with the accuracy of restlessness, initially it may have shown that you slept longer than you actually did. Now you’ll be able to see the exact times you woke up.
With a colorful and meticulous display, the Sleep Watch app is a useful tool for anyone who likes to take in their data visually. Unlike the Sleep++ each feature has its own description and goal. New parents have an especially hard time getting any rest when they’ve got a newborn infant on their hands. Between feedings, diaper changes, and just plain crying for no reason (the baby cries sometimes too), there are definitely tough times ahead. At least with the Sleep Watch app you can keep your sanity by having a solid count of how many hours of sleep you got, versus what you still need. This app will help you take better care of yourself, thereby being a better parent to take care of your baby.
You can add notes to your times that explain what woke you up
Doesn’t fail or crash throughout the night
Has had accuracy issues in the past, however the company has worked to fix the problem.
Requires iOS 10.0 or later
This is an auto sleep tracking app, so depending on how much you move during the night you may need to adjust the sensitivity levels. Apps that have high sensitivity may turn off and on if you raise your arm in your sleep or move around a lot. One feature that makes this particular app unique are the follow up questions. While some sleep trackers allow you to take notes, this one might just ask some questions that you hadn’t thought of at first.
The SnoreLab app is a whole different beast compared to the rest. Snoring can be a sign of bigger health issues, and it can affect the oxygen levels in your body, leaving your red blood cells gasping for air as a result. This app is supported and recommend by doctors for their patients as a tool to help measure the severity of the problem and treat it accordingly. The SnoreLab records your snoring and offers solutions to resolve it; you’ll be able to play back the recording as well and see where it ranks on a scale of quiet, light, loud, or epic. Another awesome feature this app provides is the ability to select a different solution each night, for example if you’re using a wedge pillow and a chin strap for the evening, just select those options. The SnoreLab will tell you whether or not the remedies you’ve chosen worked, and whether or not you should continue using them to address the issue.
Provides trending data, so you can see the progress of your snoring over days, weeks or months
If you talk in your sleep, the SnoreLab app will be able to pick it up while recording
Free version doesn’t offer very many features, difficult to test it out without signing up for a trial
Trial period is only 5 days
So the free version isn’t the best, but like anything else in the world you get what you pay for. The paid version offers so many things that will help you get snoring under control. If you have a spouse, I’ll bet your snoring disturbs them; use the SnoreLab to improve sleep for the both of you. That term “happy wife, happy life” works both ways, so ladies feel free to download it to your apple watch as well. Make sure that you initiate the updates whenever they appear, or the app could start to behave abnormally.
With a built-in alarm clock and snore stopping wake up tools, you can’t go wrong with the Sleep Cycle app. Like the SnoreLab, this app is able to record and analyze the quality of your sleep just based off how much noise you make while you’re snoring! The “silent alarm” gives off a gentle vibration that doesn’t wake you up, but instead alerts your body of the need to change positions. So, if you snore loudly when you lie on your back, the sensation of your wrist watch vibrating will subconsciously cause you to turn over onto your side and eliminate the snoring until you roll over again.
Another great thing about Sleep Cycle is that it tracks your heart rate throughout the night as well, so you can compare your heartbeat to the extent of your snoring. The alarm that does wake you up, is set to decide when the best time would be to do so. In case you didn’t know, 90 minutes is equal to one full sleep cycle; so if you’re 60 minutes into a cycle and wake up in the middle of it, you might find that you don’t feel rested. Allowing your body to finish a full cycle will help to eliminate that onset of dragging and grogginess that is accompanied by waking up before your body is even ready.
Wake-up alarm analyzes your sleep cycle and wakes you up accordingly
Heart rate monitor tracks through the night
Silent snore alarm helps to reduce your snoring
Quickly drains battery on your Apple Watch
Data can be affected by movement from your spouse or pets sleeping in the bed with you
While there are a few small drawbacks to the Sleep Cycle app, it works as it was designed to, and will most certainly help you reduce your snoring. In turn, this will help you and others in your home sleep better at night.
So, some of us need an extremely detailed report of everything that happened during the night as we slept. On the other hand, some of us just need help falling asleep in general. When you have insomnia, it’s easy to go days without sleeping, and this creates harmful effects in your body. Sleeping is not just “juice” for your internal batteries. It helps your brain and other organs repair and recuperate from the daily damage that your body endures throughout the day. The Rain Rain Sleep Sound app is just the thing for anyone who finds themselves tossing and turning until 4 in the morning, before they give up on sleeping altogether.
Works for yoga and meditation as well
Excellent tool for those who live in dry climates, but enjoy the sound of rain and thunder during the evening
Issues with updating to the full version after you’ve already paid
Sound doesn’t play very long for people who have the free version, requires upgrade
While the Rain Rain Sleep Sound app doesn’t include detailed information like REM cycles and movement detection, it does help you get to sleep. This app has been a favorite for insomniacs for almost 6 years now, so of course it’s gone through some upgrades and changes in order to improve. If you decide to purchase the full version, and notice glitches or other strange issues, just contact the company through the app store. Like most app technologies, problems can be fixed as long as you communicate them to the makers. So, turn up the thunder and bring on the rain, because you need your rest in order to function at full capacity and take on the challenges of the day!
The White Noise Lite app isn’t just for adults, it can also be used for kids, adults and even to help soothe a crying infant. Some of us fall asleep a little bit more easily with certain sounds including music, the light sound of television, thunder and rain. Block out other distracting noises and choose from a catalog of 40 plus unique sounds including beach waves, the pur of a cat, wind blowing, and so many more. Other sleep sound apps only provide you with a few common options that you find on Youtube or other streaming sites. Use the White Noise Lite app for your Apple Watch
Includes a large variety of sounds rather than just one or two basic noises
Excellent for children who have a hard time getting to sleep due to fear of the dark, etc.
Occasional glitch that causes sounds to get “stuck,” just restart the app to fix the problem
If you want a simple sleep app with great features, I would highly recommend this one!
Another awesome, free app for sleeping is the Beddit! This works great for anyone who has an Apple Watch, but doesn’t want to wear it every single night. Some of us love the Apple Watch but don’t enjoy the restricting feeling of having something attached to your wrist all night. Instead, use the Sleep Monitor that comes with the Beddit App, you can easily place it underneath your sheets and fall right to sleep. After a specific time period, your app will automatically screenshot your progress so that you can accurately view changes in your sleeping pattern, without worrying about losing the information due to glitching or system updates.
Hands-free monitor conveniently won’t disturb you under the sheets
Can be manually turned off and on or automatically
Could pick up motion from your pets or spouse
The Beddit has definitely had some bug issues in the past, but it has vastly improved since its original debut on the Apple Watch market.
Last but not least, the Relax and Sleep Well App is another high quality options for insomniacs who are facing too many distractions when it comes to the task of falling asleep. Offering 4 free sessions, this app provides hypnotherapy so that you can focus on sleeping and sleeping alone. Instead of lying awake for hours and hours, thinking about random things that happened during the day or awkward situations you found yourself in during the 8th grade, use the Relax and Sleep Well app to focus solely on the hypnotherapy. I guarantee you’ll find yourself drifting off into a deep slumber, and wake up wondering when you passed out! Sometimes you just need someone to help guide you into a more relaxed state, audio-author Glenn Harrold can assist you on that journey.
Takes a different approach than other white noise apps
Isn’t complicated or difficult to use, provides more simplicity than other apps
Still provides quality sleep even though it’s a free app
Some consumers don’t enjoy the sound of Glenn’s voice, either found it disturbing and weird or couldn’t help but laugh
So, the narrator has somewhat of a “funky” sounding voice, which can be unpleasant for some people. However, you’ll see little to no complaints about being able to fall asleep with this app, it does exactly what it’s supposed to and lulls you into a deep slumber.
If you have a baby at home who doesn’t enjoy white noise, music, or nursery rhymes, try playing a hypnotherapy session instead. A baby won’t understand what’s being said, but the calming, relaxing tone that Glenn Harrold provides might just make your job as a parent a little bit easier. Of course, all you need to do is connect it to your Apple Watch if you’d like to use it for yourself!
The first app that you pick out might not work as well as you’d hoped, and that’s okay. Sometimes you have to try a few different ones before you settle on an app that provides everything you need when it comes to getting that 8 hours of sleep every night. If you’re still new to your Apple Watch and haven’t quite gotten the hang of it, I’d recommend starting with a free app that has simple features, like one of the white noise options.
Once you get used to it, move on to one of the more advanced options, I personally really like the SnoreLab because of the silent vibration that wakes you up if you start to snore too loud. If you want to look for a sleep app outside of these, make sure that it’s been around for a few years and has a good standing with consumer reviews. You can still try newer apps, just remember that there might be glitches and other issues that haven’t been worked out yet.
Sleep Accessories / Marissa Gvozdenovich
Many people would argue that one of the biggest reasons Americans lose sleep is digital distractions. We have all been there—with a couple of taps, we are fully engrossed in social media feeds, news articles, or YouTube videos.
Because of this, sleep experts and doctors recommend keeping devices out of the bedroom in order to let your mind and body get its necessary rest, but now there are a number of apps available for both Android and iOS operating systems that actually help with sleep.
Sleep and Health
It’s no secret that many adults don’t get enough sleep. Whether that’s is due to distractions, stress, or a medical condition, we all need to aim for the correct quantity and quality of sleep. Not getting proper rest can lead to weight gain, hypertension, hormone disfunction, a weakened immune system, an increased risk of heart disease, and the inability to think clearly or make decisions. On the other hand, achieving restful sleep can have an incredibly positive effect on your health— your memory improves, your emotional and mental health is balanced, you can think logically, your hormones function properly, and your body is able to heal quickly.
Because of sleep’s influence on overall health, it must be a priority. The general rule is to aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each and every night, although that may vary based on the individual. To find out how much sleep you need, keep track of how much sleep you get in correlation to how tired you feel the next day.
Part of making sleep a priority is living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining good sleep habits. Your body will have an easier time falling and staying asleep when you exercise, eat right, and generally take care of yourself. It is equally important to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, make sure your bedroom is calm, cool, silent, and dark, and do relaxing activities before bed like taking a bath or shower, reading, writing in a journal, drinking herbal tea, or meditating. Using a sleep app may be the perfect addition to your sleep routine, too.
Sleep Apps—Key Considerations
Function | The sleep apps on the market can perform a variety of functions that help users fall asleep, stay asleep, or monitor their sleep. More specifically, sleep apps can track your sleep cycles, play peaceful sounds, maintain your sleep schedule, or guide you in meditation or hypnosis. Generally, each sleep app specializes in one or two of those functions. Depending on the app’s function, it may need to run all night while you sleep or just when you go to bed or wake up. Additionally, many sleep apps can be used by themselves, while others can link to different apps or devices (i.e. smart watch) that gather relevant data pertaining to your heart rate, movement, and sleep cycles.
Cost | As with all apps, certain sleep apps are free to download and free to use, others are free to download and require a subscription, and others have a fixed cost to download. Oftentimes, paid apps also have a free version with limited functionality or a free trial period. Paid apps typically have more advanced or complex functionality, but depending on your needs, the free apps could provide all the functionality necessary. Consider what features would help you and how often you plan to use the app in your cost-benefit analysis.
What Are The Top 10 Sleep Apps?
Here is a summary of the top ten sleep applications, each offering a unique combination of desirable features. All of the products are highly rated, sleep tested, and compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems.
The Calm app’s main functions are to guide users in meditation and to help them sleep. There are a number of meditation programs available on demand that promote mindfulness, relieve anxiety, and induce relaxation, but the feature that is most unique is Sleep Stories. Sleep Stories are described as relaxing tales on a variety of topics that help users fall asleep, similar to reading a child a bedtime story.
The Calm app is free to download, and the premium functionality is available by subscription: monthly ($12.99/month), yearly ($59.99/year), and lifetime ($299.99). Without a subscription, users can download the app and access a small number of meditation sessions and Sleep Stories.
High-quality meditation and sleep sessions
More helpful than expected
The Sleep Cycle app is described as an intelligent alarm clock—it tracks your sleep cycles using sound analysis to determine when to wake you up. Sound analysis is able to detect movement and vibration, which allows the app to pinpoint each sleep phase and wakes you up when you are in a light sleep. The science behind this is that waking up when in a light sleep as opposed to a deep sleep will allow you to feel more rested and energetic. This app simply needs to be set before bed and placed near you while sleeping.
The Sleep Cycle app is free to download and offers a free version as well as a paid version with a 1-month free trial and $29.99 per year after that.
Freemium includes many features
Provides lots of sleep data
Cannot play audio when app is in use
The Relax Melodies app is designed to use soothing sounds and meditation to allow users to fall asleep easily. Users can create their own melody mixes which can promote emotional wellbeing (stress and anxiety relief) and sleep. Mixes can be borrowed from the community or customized from over 100 different sounds and melodies.
The Relax Melodies app is free to download and offers in-app subscription purchases. The free version allows users to create mixes from a limited number of sounds and does not include the meditation feature. Upgrading to the pro version gives users access to all sounds and meditations for $4.99 per month, $19.99 per year, or $99.99 for a lifetime subscription.
The Headspace app helps users achieve restful sleep through meditation and sleep sounds. The app provides a number of guided meditations and mindfulness techniques that reframe stress and allow users to drift off to sleep. There are a variety of sessions available including daily meditations, Mindful Minutes, mini meditations, mindfulness exercises, and “SOS” sessions for times of high anxiety. There is also a Sleep Sounds portion of the app that produces feelings of relaxation.
Headspace is free to download and offers three subscription options: $12.99 per month, $94.99 per year, or $399.99 for a lifetime subscription.
High-quality meditation and sleep sessions
More helpful than expected
The Sleep Well app uses hypnosis to lull its users into restful sleep experiences. Hypnosis can help to retrain your brain and body to fall and stay asleep while easing anxiety and stress. The app offers audio hypnosis recorded by certified hypnotherapists as well as a Sleep Booster feature which plays beats that correspond with the brainwave frequency linked to deep sleep. The features of this app can be used before bed or on a loop while you sleep.
The Sleep Well app is free to download and offers a one-time, in-app purchase for $3.99 which enables special features like Sleep Booster. The free version of the app allows you to listen to the hypnosis session with soothing background music.
Simple and easy to use
Only offers one hypnosis session
Session may be too short
The unique concept behind Digipill is to use psychoacoustics, or audio “pills”, to change your perception. These “digital pills” are essentially the treatment you are prescribed based on whatever aspect of your life you are trying to improve or change, including how well you sleep. Some pills are hypnotic, and others more closely resemble meditation, but all pills on this app have been developed by a registered psychotherapist.
The Digipill app is free to download and includes one complimentary pill; other pills are available to purchase individually, or you can have access to all pills with a monthly subscription costing $4.99 or a yearly subscription costing $19.99.
Effective for sleep
Background music may be distracting
The Pzizz app also makes use of psychoacoustics to help users fall asleep fast and stay asleep all night. Pzizz offers audio tracks, called “dreamscapes”, which are a combination of soothing music and sounds with sleep-inducing voiceovers. The app provides a new dreamscape each night, and they are minimally customizable. There are also dreamscapes designed specifically for taking power naps during the day.
Pzizz is free to download and offers both a “Classic” version, which is free and includes a limited number of audio tracks, and a “Pro” version, which has a 7-day trial followed by a subscription purchase. The three subscription options are monthly for $9.99, yearly for $99.99, and three years for $179.99.
Has a napping feature
The White Noise app is essentially a sophisticated sound machine that helps block out distractions and lulls you to sleep. The app offers over 40 sounds including city streets, crickets chirping, ocean waves, water falls, and many more. You also have the ability to mix and record your own sounds, or download more from the White Noise Market. White noise also has clock and alarm features.
There are two versions of this app: White Noise, which $0.99 to download, and White Noise Lite, which is free. The paid version eliminates ads from the app.
Free version includes many features
Sleep Time is a combination sleep analysis and alarm clock app—it tracks your sleep cycles and wakes you up within a 30-minute window of light sleep using soothing soundscapes. You may also add notes to your sleep diary that could impact the quality of your sleep, like whether or not you ate, drank alcohol, or exercised before bed, or if you are traveling and not in your own bed.
Sleep Time is free to download and offers 2 subscription options of $9.99 per month or $29.99 per year. The paid version provides access to all soundscapes, as well as sleep programs and more detailed sleep analysis.
Provides lots of sleep data
App may crash
Although this doesn’t refer to one app specifically, any app that plays podcasts could be just as useful in helping you sleep as any of the apps above. Using the same concept as a bedtime story, listening to a podcast can free your mind of any stress or anxieties that could be preventing sleep by drawing all of your attention to what the speakers are saying.
A podcast that is humorous or story-based can relax your brain and body and help you drift off to sleep. Use a podcast app with a sleep timer feature to ensure that the audio doesn’t wake you once you’ve fallen asleep.
What Else Should You Consider When Using And Downloading Sleep Apps?
If you plan on trying a sleep app, consider the functionality that would improve your sleep the most. Since there are different types of sleep apps available, it is important to first evaluate your sleep habits and any concerns you have about the quantity and quality of the sleep you are getting in order to determine which app fits you. In other words, why use a meditation app when all you really need is an alarm to keep you on schedule?
Lastly, using a sleep app takes self-discipline. As mentioned earlier, a device in the bedroom usually distracts people from sleeping, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Making sleep your priority at bedtime, not mindless scrolling, is the first step to breaking the digital distraction habit.
Sleep Apps – Final Thoughts
Sleep apps can serve as the perfect addition to your existing sleep routines or they can help you get your sleep habits back on track; they can also help you monitor and improve the quality of your sleep. However, it is important to remember that sleep apps should be viewed as tools that can help you meet your sleep goals and track your sleep patterns, not cure chronic sleeplessness or insomnia. For more serious cases of insomnia, consult a doctor for the best course of action.