The Best Sleep Apps To Help You Drift Off

The Best Sleep Apps To Help You Drift Off

There is so much going on now in the modern world it’s hard to catch your breath. You eat right, exercise and watch your waistline but do you look after your sleep? In this article we cover the best sleep apps out there at the moment.

Apps that monitor rest

These apps can break down your daily night’s rest into several sleep cycles. They can help you track your sleep cycles to make sure you’re getting the best sleep you can, and wak up every morning refreshed.

1. Sleep Cycle

Image: iMore

Sleep Cycle tracks your sleep patterns using your microphone. It wakes you in the lightest phase of sleep so you’re not groggy. You set a window during which to be woken (for example, between 7 and 7:30 a.m.) and it figures the best time to raise you from your slumber. It even lets you tap your phone twice to snooze.

2. Sleep Time

Sleep Time is available on both Android and iOS. It tracks your sleep quality without requiring an Apple Watch or Fitbit.

All you need to do to record your sleep with Sleep Time is place your smartphone on your bed’s mattress while you sleep. The app will use your device’s sensors to monitor your movement during sleep. It presents the data in an easy to read chart which can be used to compare your sleep quality over weekly, monthly, or even yearly periods.

Sleep Time also comes with an alarm clock feature to wake you up when you’re in a light sleep cycle.

3. Pillow

Image: Pillow

Pillow is a sleep tracking app but it is only compatible with Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad. Users can link the apps up to their Apple Watch or another wearable, to keep track of their heart rate during sleep.

The app monitors your movements and sounds while you sleep, and uses the information to keep a detailed history of how well you’ve slept, and when is the best time to wake you.

It will give you a full overview of how you’ve slept, along with mood tracking, sleep notes, audio recordings and heart rate analysis.

Apps for relaxation

Mindfulness and meditation have been proven to help people who struggle with insomnia. The apps below focus on meditation through various techniques like music, nature sounds, and voice commands. All are aimed to help you reach the state of relaxation you need to go to bed.

1. Pzizz

Image: Pzizz

Pzizz is available on both iOS and Android. This sleep app places an emphasis on getting to sleep quickly and easily. The app uses a combination of sound effects, music, and spoken word to help lull you to sleep. Users can specify if they’re ready for a long sleep session or a quick power nap. So you can catnap guilt free!

2. Headspace: Meditation

Image: Brian De Los Santos/Mashable

The Headspace: Meditation app helps you to learn meditation based on your individual goals. It’ll send you push notifications reminding you to meditate throughout the day. Each session only takes a few minutes so it can be fitted around a busy schedule.

3. White Noise

The White Noise app allows you to relax to a variety of noise. Not only does this app have white noise, but it also has pink noise, brown noise (low-frequency sound masking) and many more soothing sounds.

Plus, it gives you great flexibility to create your own soundscape, mixing up to five sounds at once. Among the 40 sounds are a vacuum cleaner, a rainstorm, an air condition, a babbling brook and many more.

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Everything You Need To Know About Sleep Tracking

Everything You Need To Know About Sleep Tracking

Sleep tracking comes in many shapes and forms but how do you track your sleep? From DIY wearables and smartphone apps to the old fashioned way of paper and pen. Below we’ll discuss all these methods and the importance of tracking your sleep.

Why should you track your sleep?

Sleep is an important factor for your health. It keeps your immune system balanced, regulates your moods and helps your body to rest and repair. Getting your forty winks is just as important as eating well, exercising and making healthy lifestyle choices. So it’s important to keep an eye on how you are sleeping and now with modern technology this is open to everyone.

Tracking your sleep helps you ensure you’re getting enough sleep. If you think you have a sleep disorder though, like sleep apnea, insomnia, or something else, sleep tracking is critical to receiving a proper diagnosis.

Paying attention to your sleep is the first step to getting better sleep. 

Sleep tracking wearable devices

Sleep tracking wearable devices often take the form of a small, clippable device you attach to your clothing, or a separate wristband or smartwatch. These devices track other important health facts in addition to sleep, such as your daily step total and heart rate. They provide a more holistic view of your overall health and wellness.

Fitbit

Image: Fitbit

Not only for keeping an eye on your physical fitness, the Fitbit Charge and Charge HR wristbands include automatic sleep tracking.

Automatic sleep tracking will record your sleep and then review your sleep duration in the Fitbit app. You will receive handy sleep insights and can also view the stages of sleep you are reaching each night.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch does not provide sleep tracking on its own, but many sleep tracking apps integrate with it, such as Pillow and Sleep Tracker.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

The Samsung Galaxy Watch has a built in sleep tracker that logs your sleep. You can activate the option to record REM sleep in its settings. After a recent update in October 2018 this is set to default. To save on battery life it is no longer required to set it to monitor your heart rate to track your sleep.

Sleep Tracking Apps

Image: Pillow

Sleep tracking apps are available on your smartphone or tablet. Their convenience makes them incredibly popular as does their price and ease of use. These apps use your phone’s accelerometr to monitor your breathing and body movements while you sleep. Many also claim to be able to determine what stage of sleep you are in, so they can time your alarm to go off when you are most likely to be in a light stage of sleep (making you less drowsy).

However, sleep tracking apps rely solely on your phone’s accelerometer, and since you make similar movements during deep and light sleep, there’s no way the phone can tell what stage of sleep you’re in. Also, it’s important to note that if you share the bed with a partner or pet, their movements can interfere with your data1.

However, these devices are a useful first step in determining whether you need to see a doctor about a potential sleep problem. Apps such as Pillow, Sleep Cycle and Sleep Time. Find out more about sleep tracking apps in our article here.

The old fashioned way

If you prefer to keep things tech-free you can try a sleep diary.

For each day, note the following:

  • When you went to bed
  • When you woke up
  • Total time spent asleep
  • Any naps
  • Other information, such as exercise, diet, energy level, feelings of fatigue, or naps taken

There are many ways to monitor and track your sleep, however if you think you may have an issue with sleep get in touch with your doctor who can best advise the right route for you.

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We at SlumberSlumber welcome anything that helps give you a more restful sleep. Clean sleeping’s strict rules might not be for everyone, but taking away some handy tips can really make a difference. Creating a peaceful sleeping environment, allowing yourself to shut off and steering clear of caffeine can all help you get your forty winks.

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The Best Bedtime Teas For Sleep

The Best Bedtime Teas For Sleep

A third of us will experience insomnia at some point in our lives. It’s important then to prioritise relaxation and unwinding before bed. Practising good sleep hygiene is one way of doing this, but you can also incorporate bedtime tea into the mix. In this article we look at the best bedtime teas we have found.

 

For centuries herbal teas have been used as a natural sleep aid, but which ones are still popular today?

Chamomile

This tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which may help you drift off to sleep.  Regarded as a natural relaxant chamomile works as a mild tranquilizer, relaxing the nerves and muscles.

A recent study involving postpartum women who had poor sleep quality found that those who drank chamomile tea for a two-week period reported overall better sleep quality than those who didn’t1.

Valerian Root

One of the most popular herbal sleep aids in Europe and the US, valerian root may increase sleepiness by increasing levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA. Small studies suggest that valerian root may improve overall sleep quality by shortening the time it takes for you to fall asleep 2.

Lavender

Best known for its relaxing scent, we wouldn’t often associate lavender with tea. Drinking lavender tea may improve sleep quality, especially for those who are suffering from insomnia or anxiety-related disorders.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm isn’t often associated with tea, it is from the mint family and is most often used in aromatherapy. This citrus-scented herb has been used for reducing stress and improving sleep since the Middle Ages.

Drinking lemon balm tea may decrease insomnia-related symptoms. A recent study showed people experienced a 42% reduction in insomnia symptoms after receiving 600 mg of lemon balm extract per day for 15 days3.

Passionflower

Passionflower tea is made from the dried leaves, flowers and stems of the Passiflora plant. This floral tea calms the mind and also alleviates indigestion helping to ease the stomach.

Passionflower is a natural relaxant. A 2011 study found that it improves sleep quality in the short-term4.

Sleep is fundamental to good overall health. Getting enough quality sleep is important for maintaining your immune system and metabolic function, processing the day’s memories and maintaining normal body weight.

If you are finding it hard to sleep and it is interfering with your day to day life get in touch with your doctor.

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

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The Best Bedtime Teas For Sleep

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How Can I Get Rid Of My Insomnia?

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What Causes Insomnia?

What Causes Insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep condition that can make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep and can disrupt your sleeping pattern. Many people will experience this condition at some point in their life, but what are the causes of insomnia?

What are the causes of insomnia?

Insomnia is often associated with other health conditions, but there are some main causes that might have caused your insomnia. If it is as a result of an underlying problem it’s important to get in touch with your doctor, as if you treat this issue the insomnia will also be lessened.

Common causes of insomnia:

  • Stress

    We all experience stress in our daily life but constant worries or fears about work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma also may lead to insomnia.

  • Travel or work schedule

    Disrupting your body’s circadian rhythms can lead to insomnia. Your circadian rhythms act as an internal clock, guiding such things as your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism and body temperature. Shift workers who frequently work late or change shifts and those who suffer jet lag from travelling across multiple time zones would be prone to insomnia for this reason.

  • Poor sleep habits

    If you have an irregular bedtime schedule, nap during the day or take part in stimulating activities before bed you are practising poor sleep habits. If you have created an uncomfortable sleep environment, and have been using your bed for work, eating or watching TV and interacting with your smartphone this can interfere with your sleep.

  • Mental health disorders.

    If you suffer from anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder your sleep may be disrupted. Awakening too early and finding it hard to awaken can be a sign of depression. Mental health conditions can affect your sleep in a number of ways, each is individual to the sufferer.

  • Medications.

    Some prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, such as antidepressants and medications for asthma or blood pressure. Something you may not know is that many allergy and cold medications and weight-loss products can contain caffeine and other stimulants that interrupt your sleep.

  • Medical conditions.

    If you suffer from chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), overactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease you are more susceptible to developing insomnia.

  • Sleep-related disorders.

    If you suffer from another sleep disorder such as sleep apnoea, this can disturb your sleep. Restless leg syndrome causes unpleasant sensations in your legs and an almost irresistible desire to move them, which may prevent you from falling asleep.

  • Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.

    Coffee, tea and soft drinks contain caffeine and are stimulants. If you drink them in the evening or late afternoon, they can interfere with your sleep. Tobacco contains nicotine which is also a stimulant and can keep you up. While you may think that alcohol can help you fall asleep it prevents you from entering deeper stages of sleep which can cause you to wake up during the night and rise the next morning feeling less refreshed and rejuvenated.

Insomnia and ageing

As we age we find that we are more susceptible to experience insomnia.

This is for a variety of reasons such as:

  • Changes in sleep patterns.

    When we age our internal clock often advances, so you get tired earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning.

  • Changes in activity.

    Being less active can interfere with your sleep. The less active you are, the more likely you’ll be tempted to take a nap during the day which can affect your sleep at night.

  • Changes in health.

    As you get older you might experience health conditions associated with ageing such as prostate and bladder problems that can increase urine frequency at night. You might also be suffering from chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis. Sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome also can become more common with age.

  • More medications.

    Older people tend to use more prescription drugs which increases the chance of insomnia associated with medications.

Complications

Sleep is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. Whatever your reason for developing insomnia it can affect you both mentally and physically. People with insomnia report a lower quality of life compared with people who are sleeping well.

Complications of insomnia may include:

  • Lower performance at work or school
  • Slowed reaction time while driving
  • Mental health conditions, such as depression or an anxiety disorder
  • Increased risk of long-term diseases or conditions, such as high blood pressure or heart disease. 1

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Natural remedies for insomnia can help restore your sleep schedule without the intervention of medication. There are many natural alternatives that can help aid sleep without the nasty side effects of sleeping pills.  Please note that these natural remedies cannot...

How Do You Practice Good Sleep Hygiene?

Have you ever heard of the term sleep hygiene? It's often used to refer to your nighttime habits and whether you practice good or bad sleep hygiene can have an effect on your sleep pattern. If you want to get a better night’s sleep, the answer often begins with...

How Can I Get Rid Of My Insomnia?

When you suffer from insomnia it can affect every aspect of your life. It can be hard to imagine how you will overcome this condition and finally get some sleep but be reassured to know that insomnia can be overcome,  but how can you get rid of...

Meditation to Help You Sleep

Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and when we lose out on sleep it can have lasting effects on our physical and mental health. When you are finding it hard to sleep due to outside influences such as stress, illness or chronic pain you can use...

What Is Insomnia?

What Is Insomnia?

Have you ever had long periods where you find it difficult to get to sleep? Are you often up late at night counting down the hours until you have to get up? You may be wondering if you have insomnia, but just what is insomnia and how do you overcome this common sleep disorder?

What is it?

Insomnia is a common sleep condition that causes the sufferer to experience difficulty in falling asleep or even staying asleep. People with insomnia tend to have difficulty falling asleep (onset), staying asleep (maintenance), and/or they wake up too early in the morning. Sufferers can experience sleeplessness even when there are ideal conditions for falling asleep and when they are not disturbed1.

What are the symptoms?

  • Feeling as if sleep was unrefreshing.
  • Experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • General lack of energy.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Mood and behaviour disturbances such as irritability, aggression, and impulsive behaviours.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Decreased performance at work or school.
  • Troubles in personal and professional relationships.
  • Decreased quality of life.
  • Depression2.

How long will it last?

Insomnia is characterized based on the length of time the sufferer experiences sleeplessness.

 Acute insomnia

This often happens because of life circumstances such as bad news, external stressors, anxiety or depression. Many people may have experienced this type of sleep disruption and will find that it tends to resolve without any treatment required.

Chronic insomnia

This is categorised by disrupted sleep that happens at least three nights a week and lasts for at least three months. There are many causes for experiencing chronic insomnia. Changes in the environment, unhealthy sleep habits, shift work, other health conditions, and certain medications can all affect our sleep patterns. If you suffer from chronic insomnia you should get in touch with your doctor who can help you restore a healthy sleep pattern3.

What should I do if I think I have insomnia?

If you think you are suffering from insomnia it is important to go to your doctor. You and your doctor will need to talk about things that could impact on your sleep and your sleep history, to therefore determine the best way to help you 4.

Stuff you should know

  • Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders with approximately half of adults report having symptoms of insomnia at one point in their lives.
  • 10% of people have experienced chronic insomnia.
  • It is more likely to occur in women than in men.
  • It is more likely to affect elderly adults.
  • People who are naturally more awake and alert may be more likely to suffer.
  • If you regularly use stimulants and alcohol you may experience it more often.
  • People with poor sleep hygiene practices are more likely to experience the condition.

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Natural remedies for insomnia can help restore your sleep schedule without the intervention of medication. There are many natural alternatives that can help aid sleep without the nasty side effects of sleeping pills.  Please note that these natural remedies cannot...

How Do You Practice Good Sleep Hygiene?

Have you ever heard of the term sleep hygiene? It's often used to refer to your nighttime habits and whether you practice good or bad sleep hygiene can have an effect on your sleep pattern. If you want to get a better night’s sleep, the answer often begins with...

How Can I Get Rid Of My Insomnia?

When you suffer from insomnia it can affect every aspect of your life. It can be hard to imagine how you will overcome this condition and finally get some sleep but be reassured to know that insomnia can be overcome,  but how can you get rid of...

Meditation to Help You Sleep

Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and when we lose out on sleep it can have lasting effects on our physical and mental health. When you are finding it hard to sleep due to outside influences such as stress, illness or chronic pain you can use...

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