The 10 Best Sleep Apps To Help You Fall Asleep Faster And Sleep Through The Night

by | Aug 22, 2022 | Physical Health

There’s no better feeling than climbing into bed after a long, exhausting day and drifting off to sleep. But if your version of “drifting off” is more like… staring at the ceiling for 45 minutes and trying to count sheep, you may want to consider turning to your phone for a little help getting some shut-eye. Seriously!

It sounds totally counterintuitive, but your phone might actually be your answer to more peaceful sleep (as long as you’re not looking at it, since the bright light can trigger your body to more alert). The key is downloading apps that can soothe you to sleep with calming sounds or stories, block out traffic noise or your partner’s snores, or track your sleep so you can learn more about your bedtime habits and what helps you get more and higher-quality ZZZs.

And the best sleep apps aren’t just for people who have trouble falling asleep. They may also be the perfect remedy for those who regularly wake up feeling groggy, have difficulty staying asleep throughout the night, or who just can’t seem to focus during the day. A sleep app may help you pinpoint the source of your problems, says Dr. Mary Ellen Wells, director and associate professor of neurodiagnostics and sleep science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

There are tons of sleep apps out there, but these sleep expert-recommended ones are the perfect place to start. Try one of these 10 best sleep apps — they could help you fall asleep faster tonight and wake up more refreshed tomorrow.

1. Calm

Best for Meditation
Meditation is a solid way to destress before bed so you can actually sleep through the night, making this app super handy, according to Wells. Calm is technically free, but you’ll need a subscription to use it. And if you’re willing to shell out the coin (about R249.99 a year), it’s totally worth it.
With sleep stories (including some narrated by Matthew McConaughey), soothing music, and guided lessons on gentle movements that will relax the body, Calm could be the answer to making sure your anxieties don’t come to bed with you.
Free: The free version of this app will give you access to a limited number of soundscapes, timed meditation options, day 1 of all the multi-day meditation options and certain sleep stories.
Premium: For a monthly or yearly subscription, you can unlock the app’s entire library of more than 120 sleep stories, hours of guided meditation, master-classes and exclusive music tracks.

2. Headspace

Best for Mindfulness Exercises
If you haven’t already downloaded Headspace, an app filled with meditations for every possible situation, I’ll give you a moment.
Got it? Good. To help your mind relax, Headspace has created sleep packages including “sleepcasts” which are 45-to-50 minute stories (about cats at a marina, or descriptions of a stormy night). You can even manipulate the speaker’s voice to be louder or softer than the background ambient sounds.
Stories not your jam? No problem. Listen to a wind-down that guides you through falling back asleep and deep breathing, or sleep music instead.
Free: You’ll have access to the first 10 Basics sessions, three sessions of ‘Everyday Headspace’ and the ‘Falling Back to Sleep Wind Down’ session.
Premium: With a subscription, you’ll have unlimited access to guided meditation exercises for both kids and adults, mental reset sessions, a mindfulness/meditation tracker and the ability to add friends so that you can meditate together, among other features.

3. Pillow

Best For Figuring Out Why You Can’t Sleep
Pillow is a sleep tracker for iOS that will automatically sense when you fall asleep so it can monitor your movements, record you so it can discover if you snore or sleep talk, and track your sleep stages. With the app, you can compare your most recent night’s sleep to others to determine what’s keeping you up — whether it’s that extra cup of coffee or skipping a workout.
The key to this app, though, is how it works with your Apple Watch’s accelerometer (it tracks your movement since it’s attached to your wrist).
Free: On the free version of this app, you’ll get basic information about your sleeping habits, including how much time you spent in the light, REM and deep stages of sleep.
Premium: The premium version lets you record and playback sounds you may have made while sleeping, compares your sleep quality to your other Apple Health metrics and gives you unlimited access to your sleep history.

4. Relax Melodies

Best For Sounds To Fall Asleep To
With the Relax Melodies app, you can set sounds and meditations to play all night long or programme them to turn off after a set amount of time, so you can drift into sleep and rest in silence.
Try this routine to wake up refreshed: Listen to one of the app’s quick meditations followed by the sound of rainfall to help you stay in dreamland until your alarm goes off.
Free: You can get access to a limited number of sleep sounds using the free version, but you can’t use other apps while using Relax Melodies.
Premium: The premium version lets you listen to your sleep sound mixes while using other apps, gives you 124 sounds and melodies you can create your own mix with and offers 5-day programs and life coaching sessions on various subjects.

5. Pzizz

Best for Insomniacs
Pzizz uses psychoacoustics (aka, the psychological effects of sound) to treat insomnia.
The app (which works offline, too, so you don’t have to be connected to the internet) has more than 100 billion sleep music sequences called “focuscapes” to help you stay alert during the day, and customisable narrations with programmed alarms called dreamscapes to help you sleep and nap.
Free: The free download will give you access to the ‘Classic Pzizz’ content and features, which include limited options of its premium features.
Premium: The premium app features 100 billion sequences of sounds to sleep, nap and wake up to. The more you use it, the more it personalises your sleep experience.

6. Sleep Cycle

Best for Visualizing Your Sleep Trends
This sleep app is all about waking up. Instead of programming an alarm, Sleep Cycle monitors your sleep with sound analysis through your phone and wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase — the time when you’d wake feeling most rested (don’t worry, you can still set an approximate time, so you aren’t late for work).
At the end of the week you can look back at your sleep quality, compare it to that of other users, and track what might be causing your restlessness.
Free: You can get access to sleep analysis and detailed sleep statistics with its free version, along with integration with Apple Health.
Premium: By signing up for the premium version, you’ll also get info about how the weather affects your sleep, analysis of your long term sleep trends and an ability to take sleep notes that can help provide a deeper analysis of your sleep patterns.

7. White Noise

Best for People Who Are Easily Distracted
White Noise and its collection of sounds is ideal for people who want to quiet their minds when dead silence is too much or they need to drown out the sound of loud roommates.
Though there is a free version, it has ads, which Wells says would counteract the work of even the best apps. So consider purchasing an upgrade if the free version doesn’t do the trick. Whichever you choose, you can mix and combine any of the programmed sounds for a customizable sleep experience.
Free: With the free download, you’ll get access to background noise that may help you focus better, but unwanted ads may be annoying.
Premium: With the premium version, you can get rid of the ads and receive access to more features, like Apple TV & Apple Watch support.
Best For Sleep Accountability
SleepScore helps you improve your sleep according to your goals, whether it’s sleeping for longer, waking up less or using sleep to sharpen your mind. The app uses your microphone and speaker to track your sleep by measuring your breathing rate and body movement all night long. It collects all this information and then presents it to you in easy-to-read-charts.

Free: The free version of this app offers more features than most other free downloads, including a sleep tracker, a smart alarm clock, your daily ‘SleepScore’ and up to seven nights of sleep history.
Premium: For a fee, you can also get access to sleep advice from sleep experts, sleep challenges aimed at motivating you to improve your sleep and a report you can share with your doctor.

9. Slumber

Best for Alternative Techniques Like Hypnosis And ASMR
While Slumber offers more typical features like soundscapes and assisted sleep meditation, it also offers ‘soothing stories’ by therapeutic hypnotist Dan Jones which utilize suggestive hypnosis techniques to help you fall asleep.
You can also adjust the volume of the soundscapes you’re listening to, according to your preferences. The story and soundscape combo aim to induce a deep calm that’ll help you get your best sleep.
Free: You’ll get ten slumber episodes for free with the unpaid version, but for unlimited access to the Slumber library you’ll have to subscribe to its paid version.
Premium: By subscribing, you’ll get access to weekly new stories and mediationsplus other features like its ASMR and breath control guided technique functions.
Best for Creating Your Own Soundscapes

You can use Noisli to drown out distracting sounds in order to create the perfect environment for you to relax or sleep. The sounds are completely customizable, and you can mix them according to the ambience you want to create.

If you’re using the app while working, an advanced timer feature will let you combine the soundscapes with time management techniques to ensure you stay focused.

Free: A basic version of this app will only get you access to 16 sounds and 15 hours of streaming a day.

Premium: With its pro version, you’ll get 28 sounds and unlimited streaming, in addition to access to its advanced timer.

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