It is undeniable that getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most essential aspects of living a healthy and well-balanced life, however stats from the National Sleep Foundation have found that 45% of Americans report insufficient sleep at least once in the last seven days. This alarming number of sleep-deprived individuals has inspired a new wave of technology, many of which come in the form of apps. For the modern-day mogul, many of these sleep apps have become the helping hand they need to get those well-deserved extra hours of shut-eye. Here’s some that can help you too!
- Default “Clock” App On iOS Devices
While this is only available to people who own an iPhone (generation 5S or above), this sleep app is one of the best in terms of convenience.
Available since iOS10, Apple’s “Clock” app has introduced new alarm settings for those who want reminders of their bedtime, and even incorporates features to keep track of their users sleeping patterns. These can all be found under the “Bedtime” tab, and allows the customization of the alarm times, whether that be for 15 minutes before your bedtime, or for the exact moment you should be in bed by.
Your “Sleep History” is available for viewing either from the “Clock” app, or by opening your “Apple Health” app separately, and viewing the bars that symbolize the amount of sleep you acquired on any given day.
One of the more basic sleeping apps, Apple’s “Clock” app offers convenience due to it already being installed on your device, and a minimalistic design ensuring flawless usage by anyone.
- Sleep Cycle
Simplistic yet efficient, “Sleep Cycle” is an app that utilizes several aspects of your smartphone’s technology to monitor your sleep.
At a glance, this app appears to be a basic alarm clock; set the time you want to wake up at, place the phone next to you and get some sleep. However, this app is far more than that, and actually takes advantage of both your smartphone’s accelerometer sensor (the bit in your phone that recognizes when it is being moved or turned sideways) and the microphone. By recording your movements and the extent of sound you make overnight, “Sleep Cycle” is not only able to analyze the amount of sleep you’re getting, but more importantly the quality of sleep you’re getting.
Not only this, but the app also claims to wake you in your lightest phase of sleep, just before your main alarm goes off. This is in order to ensure a gentle and more natural welcome to the day.
In terms of data, the information about your night’s sleep is presented on a graph where you can very easily view your sleep phases over the night. Not only this, but it also provides nifty bits of info like how much sleep you got that night, and the quality of the sleep you got in the form of a percentage.
While there is a free version, for those who love reading about the data that affects their sleeping habits, the premium version allows the user to view more sleep statistics such as how caffeine, workouts, air-pressure and local weather also affects your sleep.
- Sleep Better
Coming from a developer with many other business ventures related to general fitness and lifestyle, it’s no surprise that the company released their version of sleep tracking via an app.
Working very similarly to the other apps mentioned, you just set the time you want to wake up and the app will wake you during your lightest phase of sleep just before your desired wake-up time.
To differentiate, this app features a sleep diary in which you can manual write down a record of your night’s sleep and any dreams that you may have had. For Apple users, you can also link your recorded sleep data from the app to “Apple Health”.
“Sleep Cycle” is another app which offers a premium version you have to pay for, which enables you to input data such as whether you had a stressful day, consumed alcohol or caffeine so you can gain a further understanding on how aspects like these affect your everyday sleep.
These apps are truly unique when compared to those listed above, as their purpose isn’t to necessarily track your sleeping habits, but to improve them.
Researchers have found that bright lights at night can disrupt the sleep hormone melatonin and that the blue light that comes from your phones, tablets and computer screens is the most harmful of all. Furthermore, the disruption of melatonin has been proven to contribute to obesity and cardiovascular disease as well. Scary stuff! However, by making a small, conscious change to reduce the amount of bright white and blue light that you observe before going to sleep, you can drastically improve not only the quality of your sleep right now, but also reduce risk to your health in the future!
That’s where these apps come in. By using a circadian screen adjustment app such as F.lux (iOS) or Twilight (Android), you don’t even have to think about these potential dangers hidden behind the screen. These apps control your screens output and reduces blue light colours automatically after the sun goes down. Introduced gradually, the changes are almost undetectable, but they subconsciously alert your brains that it’s time for bed.
Another app that’s sole goal isn’t to track your sleep, but improve it, comes in the form of the meditation app “Calm”. This app introduces the 7 Steps of Calm, and provides 7 guided meditation sessions ranging from 2 to 20 minutes with varying background scenes and sounds to choose from.
These meditations are not only great for increasing the quality of your sleep, but also assist in improving your state of mind and happiness. While the free version only provides the first 7 meditation sessions, subscribing monthly or even annually to this app allows you to access even more sessions, with the addition of a 21-day program which is designed to improve your general wellbeing.
While it may feel as though keeping up with work, kids or school is becoming impossible with how fast-paced our world is becoming, apps such as these are popping up even faster to help you get the rest that you deserve.
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