Over 25% of the population in North America takes sleeping pills all or most nights of the week in order to fall asleep. Over half those who don’t get more than 5 ½ hours sleep at night are significantly overweight.
Worse, the average American drinks 2.1 cups of coffee per day and spends on average of $3.28 ($1197.20 per year) of their hard earned cash just to keep awake during the day (source).
If you’re tossing and turning while sleeping, that’s no different from lying in bed with your eyes open. We all need deep, restorative sleep to lead happy and healthy lives. Luckily the Internet and smart device technology are making it easier and easier to both get to sleep quicker and stay asleep longer, but also to monitor ourselves while we’re sleeping such as our moving, talking, snoring, heart rate, and other markers that tell us just how well we’re resting.
Sleepicious’ top sleep help apps that you can access via your smartphone and web browser
The following web and smartphone apps have proven to help thousands, likely millions worldwide to get a better night’s sleep:
Long Deep Breathing (iTunes)
Shallow breathing over an extended time is a common problem in today’s society. Everyone’s running around tuned up on coffee and energy drinks 24/7, burning the midnight oil and are generally way too stressed. This leads to increased stress and shallow breathing. When we don’t make a conscious effort to breathe deep the oxygen-to-carbon-dioxide ratio in our blood gets out-of-balance and we become anxious, whether we’re aware of it or not.
This problem can lead to occasional sleep troubles in the short term and insomnia in the long run if not corrected. Long deep breathing is a really simple app that teaches you to breathe properly, so you’re not groggy and distressed during the day, or tossing and turning at night. There are pre-programmed deep breathing exercises, adjustable breathing duration, shallow breath warning and a visual “breathing meter” that helps keep you in sync with your goals.
Few of us have any clue what the heck we do once our eyes close for the last time each day. That is, until a loved one or friend tells us how we snore so loud the neighbors can hear it, or that we thrash and kick like a Billy Goat all night long!
Once you manage to get to sleep, Sleepbot gets to work listening to every sound you make, and noting every time its motion sensor is tripped so you can see for yourself what’s been going on (and what you’ve been saying) the next morning. The app also offers multiple alarm clock and “sleep time” reminders, and customizable warning sounds, in addition to other settings and options.
There is a photo receptor in our eyes called Melanopsin which responds to a fairly narrow band of blue spectrum light that’s naturally given off by the early to midday sun, that tells our bodies when to wake up and start the day. Unfortunately, most modern energy saving lights, all smart devices, computer screens and television sets put off this same hue of light.
This really messes with your biological clock if you spend a lot of time after sundown in environments that use artificial lighting, or if you’re glued to a PC, television or mobile device during this crucial time (learn more). Twilight is a pretty incredible app that’s only currently available on Android devices (including Android TV) which automatically turns down the blue light intensity on your screen in unison with what the sun’s doing outside, so the blue light intensity on the screen disappears with the sunlight outside – just as nature intended!
An unhappy spirit is one that most certainly doesn’t sleep right at night. Depression, anxiety and insomnia all go hand in hand with each other, forming a lifelong cycle of unhappiness that wreaks havoc on your health and sense of well being (learn more). Letting your mind relax and go into a restful, meditative state two or three times a day, including bedtime, can have a huge impact on how well you sleep that night and how rested and refreshed you wake up feeling the next day.
Omvana is a wellness app that includes 1000’s of relaxing and meditation tracks, binaural beats, guided meditation sessions and lots of soothing ambient noise tracks for when it’s time to finally hit the sheets. They’ve even compiled several inspirational tracks to listen to in the car, shower and while you work out. These tracks include many of the best inspirational leaders of our time.
How and when you wake up is just as important as how you sleep. Anyone who’s ever drifted off and been immediately woken up by someone or something knows just how maddening and disruptive this can be when compared to being awoken after several hours of regenerative rest. Many of us feel this invasion to our happiness when the alarm clock goes off too, right?
Sleep Cycle is similar to Sleepbot in that it monitors your movements while sleeping, but this app takes things a step further. It monitors your movements using the accelerometer on your phone, to determine how deeply you’re sleeping. Then it takes the data it collects and your desired wakeup time, then determines the best time to wake you within a 30-minute time window of when you need to be up, to make sure you’re in the lightest sleep mode possible when the alarm goes off. Minutes do actually count when it comes to the ideal time to wake up.
Awoken is another highly-rated sleep app. Awoken isn’t necessarily designed to help you get to sleep faster, nor does it measure anything you’re doing while you sleep. This app guides you while you’re actually dreaming, teaching you to look for different clues in your surroundings, so you can recognize you’re not awake, making the dream more lucid and clear, and so you can make mental notes to remember what you dreamt about upon waking.
Upon waking, you tell the app what you dreamed about and it stores that information for later, where you can view your dream data in a searchable keyword chart to determine what you dream about most.
Deep Sleep is for people who have trouble calming their busy mind when it comes time to hit the pillow. It’s perhaps one of the simplest apps you’ll find on iTunes or Google Play. Designed by sleep and wellness expert Andrew Johnson, the app plays guided meditation and relaxation tracks that “talk you into” going to sleep.
MotionX 24/7 (iTunes)
This $1 app from iTunes is a favorite of Dr. Phil, several CNN correspondents, and many other tech and app information sources. Considered one of the top medical apps of all time, this reviewer feels MotionX is a bit over-hyped. The company claims their technology is within 95% the accuracy of trackers used by actual sleep clinics who study insomnia and sleep apnea.
Features include time awake and time asleep, recording your snoring and talking, heart rate monitoring, and motion sensing while you sleep. The app judges your sleep quality and tells you where you can make improvements for a better night’s sleep.
This is an incredibly simple web-based sleep time calculator that lets you plug in your desired wake up time, then it calculates the 4 ideal times you should consider being to sleep by, in order to wake up feeling the most refreshed. The times it offers aren’t based on getting your full 7 or 8 hours. The app uses years of scientific data to calculate what sleep phase (deep or light) you’ll be in based on the time you go to sleep and the time you wake up.
Waking up Shouldn’t be Hard to do!
A number of criteria were used to select the sleep help apps suggested above including user ratings, interface usability, relevance to helping with sleep disorders and overall price (ie., free, one time purchase price, monthly subscription service, etc.) The collection of apps on this page should offer education and solutions to most, if not all sleep-related issues that users might be experiencing.
Here’s wishing you the best night’s sleep ever!