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 that it’s hard to catch your breath. You eat right, exercise everyday, 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. These apps are also worth considering if you struggle with insomnia, or are kept awake by stress.

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 wake 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 that 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. It also figures out 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.

Read more about meditation in our article here, or find out more about the benefits of mindfulness in our article ‘Mindfulness and Sleep‘.

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 noises. 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 forty available sounds are a vacuum cleaner, a rainstorm, air conditioning, a babbling brook, and many more.

Treat Your Dad to A Good Sleep This Father’s Day

From sleep deprived nights after you were born, taking care of you when you were sick, checking for scary monsters under the bed, picking you up from parties when you couldn’t get a real taxi, educating you on the best bands from the 1970s into the early hours of the...

10 Tips For A Good Sleep Before Results Day

You’ve done the hard work – all those months of studying are behind you. After finally being able to close the textbooks and give yourself some peace for a couple of months, you may now be getting worried and nervous: tomorrow, you find out your results. Whether...

Give the Gift of Good Sleep This Mother’s Day

Flowers and chocolates are the go-to choices for how to treat your mother on Mother’s Day. While these are lovely ideas, there is a third option that your mum would love this Mother’s Day – the gift of a good sleep! What Good Does Sleep Do for Your Mum? Every mum...

Sleep Well Before Your Wedding Day

When the wedding day approaches, many brides and grooms may feel excitement bubbling up, as well as stress seeping in. With this mix of anticipation, restless nights can be inevitable. It may be one of the best days of your life, but that doesn’t mean that it will be...

What Is Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder?

We’ve all had those mornings where we struggle to get out of bed. We know it’ll be cold when we get up, or we feel like we haven’t had enough sleep, and we just want to sink back into bed and go back to sleep. But there are people who struggle with this every morning,...

Sleep Talking

After a long, loud day, everyone enjoys the quiet of sleep. However, when the person sleeping next to you starts to mumble or talk, it can be funny at first – and then it becomes frustrating. The person who’s talking in their sleep isn’t aware that they’re doing it,...

Make Getting A Good Sleep Your New Year’s Resolution

We’ve all been there. We make a New Year’s resolution, and we’re excited. We’re determined to see it through, to fight our way through January without dropping the new you. And yet, we’ve all let it slip away, bit by bit, until it’s suddenly December and we’re...

Do Lucid Dreams Affect Your Sleep Quality?

Getting a good sleep is important when it comes to our health and wellbeing. However, as lucid dreams can be stimulating or frightening, it’s natural to wonder if they can affect the quality of your sleep. What Is A Lucid Dream? When you sleep, your brain cycles...

Are You a ‘Night Owl’ or a ‘Lark’?

Your biological clock works on its own – a roughly 24-hour cycle called a circadian rhythm. This is influenced by light and the environment, regulating the clock so that we go to sleep and wake up on the same schedule. This body clock decides your sleep pattern and...

Four Reasons We Love Four Seasons Duvets

We all know the struggle of having to get a new duvet when the temperature changes. When the sun is out, we need a lighter duvet so that we can sleep peacefully. When the winds blow colder, a heavier duvet keeps us warm. And, when we find ourselves almost in the...

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, there are many different ways to follow your sleeping routine. Below, we’ll discuss these methods...

An Introduction Into Circadian Rhythm

Have you ever noticed that you tend to feel energised and drowsy around the same times every day?  This is caused by your circadian rhythm, but just what is it?   What is a Circadian Rhythm? Your circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is...

Our Most Common Dreams & What They Mean

Every night, each person dreams for ninety minutes, two hours, or more. Dreams are stories and images our mind creates while we sleep. They can be vivid and not always tell a simple story, leaving you feeling happy, sad or scared. Dreams happen anytime during sleep,...

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.

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.

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.

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 also isn’t often associated with tea, as it’s 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.

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.

Sleep is fundamental to good overall health. Getting enough good 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.

 

 

 

The Best Sleep Apps To Help You Drift Off

There is so much going on now in the modern world that it's hard to catch your breath. You eat right, exercise everyday, 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. These apps are...

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. For centuries,...

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...

How Stress Affects your Sleep

Stress can impact your life in many ways, but how does stress affect your sleep? It's late at night, you're lying in bed, worrying and feeling anxious, which makes it almost impossible to turn off your brain, relax and fall asleep. People who suffer from chronic...
Meditation to Help You Sleep

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 meditation to help you sleep. Sleep meditations can settle a restless mind and body, and help us drift off. They are a much more healthy alternative to sleeping tablets or repeated restless nights of tossing and turning.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a way to train your mind to be more aware of the present moment. We tend to get caught up in our thoughts the most at bedtime, when we finally have the time and space to reflect on our day.

Meditation helps lower your heart rate, which encourages slower breathing. It is a natural sleep aid as, when we meditate, we let go of the stresses of our day, allowing us to rest and prepare the mind for relaxation. As a result, this may increase the chance of a peaceful night’s sleep.

What Is Keeping Us Up at Night?

Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Being exhausted and overworked should not be a sign of success; if you snooze, you definitely do not lose.

We’ve all experienced nights when, as soon as our head hits the pillow, your mind kicks into overdrive. There are many things that keep us up at night. Stress, worries, anxiety, and technology all play a role in disrupting our sleep habits.

Regularly sleeping fewer than seven hours a night increases the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Sleep deprivation can cause impairments in short and long-term memory, decision making, attention, and reaction time.

Why Might You Choose to Meditate Before Bed?

If you have insomnia or difficulty falling asleep, meditation has been shown to improve the time it takes you to fall asleep and the quality of sleep you will enjoy.

Meditation for sleep should be approached the same way we approach meditation in the daytime with a relaxed, gentle focus. When we allow the body to relax, we are not trying to force sleep but to aid relaxation. You want to stay away from encouraging more thoughts or tension within your body.

Types of Meditation

Breathing Exercises

This involves regulating your breath, such as counting breaths, alternating breaths, and holding and letting go of your breath.

Mindful Body Scanning

This is often a guided meditation. As you lie on your bed, you will be asked to notice the breath and any areas of tension in your body. Then, starting from the head, you can think of releasing any tensions held in each part of your body, part by part.

Visualisations

A visualisation asks you to imagine an image or scene to help release the stress or tension from within.

Counting

To slow the mind down, you may be invited to count slowly: starting at ten and counting backwards to one, then starting at ten again.

A Simple Meditation Exercise For Bedtime

Before you begin a sleep meditation, there are a few steps to take;

  1. Lie in your bed flat on your back, take a few deep breaths, and close your eyes
  2. Allow your body to be still and rested
  3. If you’re using a guided meditation, follow the instructions
  4. If practising an unguided meditation, do so at a pace that feels natural to you

Shall We Begin?

Start by scanning through your body, looking for areas of tension.

Start counting your breaths, in and out.  If your mind wanders, keep bringing it back to counting your breath, one to ten. The idea is to step away from the worried thinking and give your mind a different object to concentrate on for a while, so you can drift off.

Focus on these areas of tension and imagine letting go of it, releasing it with your breath.

Begin with your head, moving slowly through your body, scanning for areas of tension and releasing this tension with your outward breath. Move all the way down to your toes. This process can take as long or as short as you like; ideally, you could dedicate ten minutes to this relaxation technique.

It can be hard to do this yourself so, if you are looking for help, you can find a guided meditation in a variety of places, including YouTube, Podcasts, CDs, and even on Spotify.

Remember to dedicate this time to yourself; your sleep is important and so is your health. Self-care is important, and you deserve a peaceful, restful sleep1.

 

 

Can Hypnosis Treat Insomnia?

Hypnosis may conjure up images of people acting silly on stage, but it’s usually more boring than that. Hypnosis can be sleep-inducing – but not from yawns of boredom. It could actually be a way to help people who are struggling with insomnia. This is because hypnosis...

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 night-time 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...

The Best Sleep Apps To Help You Drift Off

There is so much going on now in the modern world that it's hard to catch your breath. You eat right, exercise everyday, 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. These apps are...

How Stress Affects your Sleep

How Stress Affects your Sleep

Stress can impact your life in many ways, but how does stress affect your sleep? It’s late at night, you’re lying in bed, worrying and feeling anxious, which makes it almost impossible to turn off your brain, relax and fall asleep. People who suffer from chronic stress find that they have poorer sleep quality, and find it harder to function during the day.

The Science of Stress

When you experience a perceived threat, your body’s stress response is triggered. As a result, your body will experience physical changes, such as shallow breathing and a burst of energy from the release of adrenaline and cortisol. This is sometimes described as the ‘fight or flight’ response, but it isn’t always the appropriate way to deal with the stresses of modern life.

How Does Stress Affect Sleep?

If you don’t sleep enough at night, your body boosts its levels of stress hormones. When you enter a deep sleep, the brain chemicals tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones. As a result, when you don’t sleep well, your body keeps pumping out those stress hormones. When you wake up the next day, you feel more stressed, and the following night you might find it harder to fall asleep. The more exhausted you feel, the harder it is for you to focus at work and at home, leading to even more stress. This can make you irritable with friends and family, causing stress over relationships1.

Sleep and Busy People

Busy people may have trouble getting enough sleep, because being busy and not devoting eight hours a night to sleep can trigger the stress response. This can lead to a cycle of stress and trouble falling asleep. It’s important to allow yourself eight hours for sleep at night time, no matter how busy you may be.

Stress, Sleep and Your Health

People who have high, prolonged levels of stress have a higher risk of heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, stomach issues, and more. They are also more likely to grind or clench their teeth, which can lead to dental problems. That’s why it’s so important if you feel overly tense, to try different stress relief methods and to make getting plenty of sleep a high priority2.

The Best Sleep Apps To Help You Drift Off

There is so much going on now in the modern world that it's hard to catch your breath. You eat right, exercise everyday, 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. These apps are...

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. For centuries,...

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...

How Stress Affects your Sleep

Stress can impact your life in many ways, but how does stress affect your sleep? It's late at night, you're lying in bed, worrying and feeling anxious, which makes it almost impossible to turn off your brain, relax and fall asleep. People who suffer from chronic...

Stress and Sleep Around the Holiday Season

Stress can wreak havoc with our sleep and, with the holiday season fast approaching, there is a never-ending list of things to worry about. Stress and sleep just don't mix well together, but what can you do this holiday season to make sure that your sleep doesn't...

Stress and Sleep Around the Holiday Season

Stress and Sleep Around the Holiday Season

Stress can wreak havoc with our sleep and, with the holiday season fast approaching, there is a never-ending list of things to worry about. Stress and sleep just don’t mix well together, but what can you do this holiday season to make sure that your sleep doesn’t suffer?

Five Ways to Help Combat Stress Around the Holiday Season

1. Rest

Often easier said than done, a great way to minimize the build-up of stress is to take regular rest breaks. It is important to make sure to take time to rest and relax each day. This can help to keep your body and mind healthy, especially during busy or pressure-filled times, like the Christmas holiday season.

Resting for even just five minutes here and there throughout the day can be enough to diffuse and offset a build up of stress.

2. Eat Well

During the holiday season, many of us will overindulge and give ourselves permission to forget about eating healthy. It’s best to remember to enjoy your food in moderation. A quick trick is to eat slower. It takes the brain approximately twenty minutes to let us know that our stomach is full. When you eat slower, you eat less, and will feel less full and bloated afterwards.

Another strategy is to eat a little bit at a time, then give yourself twenty minutes before you eat more. If you do this, you may discover that you don’t need or want as much as you originally thought.

Being selective about how much you overindulge can help prevent the unnecessary stress that comes from eating a lot of unhealthy food. The more you manage your stress now, the less of an issue it will be once the Christmas season is over.

3. Drink in Moderation

Alcohol is a drug that lowers your mood and has a negative effect on the body. While you may feel good WHEN you are drinking, your body will experience the negative effects afterwards. Be mindful about what, and how much, you drink because it ALL has an effect on your body, mind, and mood.

4. Practise Mindfulness

Living in the moment is a great way to discover the present joys in life. You can do this by practising mindfulness.

Mindfulness is being present in the moment. It can reduce anxiety, since anxiety occurs when we think about the future in an overwhelming manner. The more time you spend in the present, the less time you’ll spend worrying about the future.

Don’t Put Holiday Pressure on Yourself

The Christmas season is often filled with things you feel you ‘have to’ or ‘should’ do. Most often, doing things we feel we have to do can create stress and, for people who are overly anxious, anxiety.

So this holiday season, plan on doing more things you want to do rather than things you feel you have to do. It’s okay to say ‘no’ to requests or demands you don’t want to fulfil. Spending your time doing the things you want to do this holiday season is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. You are not being selfish by putting your mental health first. 1

How to Sleep Better When You Are Stressed

When we get stressed, we cannot sleep, and then the stress gets worse. It is a never-ending cycle that has bad consequences for our mental and physical health. Managing your stress is an important way to ensuring you have a better quality of sleep.

Relaxation Techniques

If you are feeling overwhelmed, there are a number of ways you can help calm down your brain. There are many relaxation strategies that can help, such as breathing techniques, mindfulness, or guided meditation. Allow yourself time to dedicate to relaxing before bed. Some guided meditations can last less than ten minutes and help you switch off and drift off.

Belly Breathing

Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position and put one hand on your belly just below your ribs, and the other hand on your chest.
  2. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
  3. Breathe out through your mouth. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
  4. Do this breathing three to ten times.
  5. Take your time with each breath.

4-7-8 Breathing

This exercise also uses belly breathing to help you relax. You can do this exercise either sitting or lying down.

  1. To start, put one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest, as in the belly breathing exercise.
  2. Take a deep, slow breath from your belly, and silently count to four as you breathe in.
  3. Hold your breath, and silently count from one to seven.
  4. Breathe out completely as you silently count from one to eight. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you count to eight.
  5. Repeat three to seven times, or until you feel calm.2

Switch Off the Smartphone

Our smartphones give off a blue light that can interfere with our body’s natural rhythm. Try switching your screen to night mode if your phone supports this. Remember to dim down the brightness, and try to resist from using your phone an hour before bedtime.

Take a Hot Bath or Shower

Taking a hot bath or shower will help you unwind and de-stress. Plus, going from warm water into a cooler bedroom will cause your body temperature to drop, naturally making you feel sleepy.

Journaling

Often at night time, we can go over our daily to-do lists and worry about workload or the upcoming daily tasks. It can be helpful to write all these feelings down before bedtime, or even write a to-do list to get these worries out of your head and onto paper.

Exercise

Regular exercise can help to promote a deeper sleepExercising during the day reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body, but avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime.

Avoid Alcohol & Caffeine

Avoid caffeine at least four hours before bedtime. As a stimulant, it will keep you awake. Alcohol is a depressant that you might think will help you fall asleep. However, when your body metabolizes it during the sleep cycle, it often disrupts sleep and wakes you up. 3

The Best Sleep Apps To Help You Drift Off

There is so much going on now in the modern world that it's hard to catch your breath. You eat right, exercise everyday, 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. These apps are...

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. For centuries,...

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...

How Stress Affects your Sleep

Stress can impact your life in many ways, but how does stress affect your sleep? It's late at night, you're lying in bed, worrying and feeling anxious, which makes it almost impossible to turn off your brain, relax and fall asleep. People who suffer from chronic...

Stress and Sleep Around the Holiday Season

Stress can wreak havoc with our sleep and, with the holiday season fast approaching, there is a never-ending list of things to worry about. Stress and sleep just don't mix well together, but what can you do this holiday season to make sure that your sleep doesn't...