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How Apps Can Help You Sleep

SLEEP & HEALTH

Sleep Apps – Let Technology Help You Sleep Better

Sleep problems are a common issue that most of us will experience at least once. Sleep apps can be a good solution. CURA of Sweden can help you choose the best sleep apps for you.

Lots of us have lain awake hour after hour, tossing and turning in our beds, unable to sleep. The alarm clock rings and we know it's just a few hours until it's time to get on with the day as if everything is fine. Sleep problems are a really common health issue which affect most people at least once in their lifetime. According to recent research, nearly half of adults in the UK sleep badly at least once a month. Around 36% of people sleep poorly at least once a week, with one in five having problems falling asleep every night. Sleep issues are worst for the elderly and include difficulty falling asleep, problems staying asleep, and waking up very early.

Fortunately, today there's a lot of technology that can help us sleep better. There are a variety of sleep apps to help us relax, unwind and fall asleep, with everything from calm music to soothing meditation.

Types of Sleep Apps

If you have access to a tablet or phone, there are so many great options just a few clicks away. Here we look at different sleep apps and what they offer, so you can find the one that's right for you.

In general there are three categories of sleep app: those that record and analyse your sleep, apps for meditation and sound apps. Some of the apps offer meditation, stories and sound. Let's start with the ones that record your different sleep stages:

Map Your Sleep

Sleep Cycle

An app that records your sleeping patterns and wakes you up gently when you're in the lightest stage of sleep. If you place your phone with the app on it near your pillow, it can record your movements while you sleep. This is used to determine which sleep stage you are in. The alarm is set to go off within the specific timeframe of your sleep stage, so the app wakes you up when your sleep is lightest. This makes it feel easier to get up. This smart alarm clock is a great feature of the app.When you wake up you can see the statistics of your sleep from that night, and the app gives you a summary of your sleep quality in general. Sleep Cycle is produced by a Swedish company and is the leading sleep analysis app on the market.

The app is available as a free version, as well as a premium version with more features. Sleep Cycle is available in English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Turkish, Russian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese.

Sleepzy

A Smart Alarm Clock. Similar to Sleep Cycle, Sleepzy analyses your sleep and gives you tips on how to improve your sleep quality. The app lets you know if you are suffering from a lack of sleep. It also includes a wake-up function.

The app is available in English, Swedish and a wide range of other languages.

Meditation and Storytelling Apps for Better Sleep

Headspace

This has become a classic among meditation apps. It contains hundreds of meditations, mindfulness exercises and soothing music. These not only help you sleep better, but also, for example, can reduce stress and anxiety or even improve your concentration. Nowadays, the app also contains training programs for those who want to exercise. Headspace has both free and paid versions. The app is simple and easy to use.

Calm

A mindfulness app with meditations, calming music and celebrities who read stories for adults. The app is best known for its meditations which can also help to relieve stress, anxiety and also help with personal development. Calm is often updated with new content. The app is in English. There's a one-week free trial of the full version, then you can continue with the free version but with a reduced set of features. The more comprehensive premium version is paid for monthly or once a year.

Sleep: Sleep and Meditation

With pleasant ambient sounds, stories and meditations, the Sleep app helps you to relax and unwind. You can choose which narrator you want to listen to and in the audio library you can find everything from hair dryer and a meowing cat to city rain and thunder. The app has a step-by-step timer that gradually fades the sounds out until you fall asleep. It comes in free and paid versions.

It's available in English, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and German.

Relax & Sleep Well by Glenn Harrold

Hypnotist Glenn Harrold takes meditation apps one step further with this sleep app based on self-hypnosis. Four hypnoses and meditations are free; the rest you have to pay for. Hypnosis methods and meditations are not just helpful for sleep problems. There are also ones that can help reduce anxiety, improve self-confidence, cope with phobias, weight loss, addiction and a range of other problems. Language: English.

Slumber

This is chiefly a storytelling app with a large selection of stories from different locations and settings, played with or without background sounds. It also has meditations to help you sleep. When you use the app, the screen is in dark mode, so you can avoid that irritating screen glow when you're in bed. Available in both free and premium versions. The app can be shared with up to six family members. The app is in English.

Relax Melodies: Sleep sounds

Pleasant sounds and soothing stories, adapted to your needs. That's what Relax Melodies has to offer. There are also guided meditations and breathing exercises to reduce stress and help you sleep well. Whether you want white noise, nature sounds or one of the 2 available meditations, there's something for everyone. The bedtime stories are available in almost every genre, including fairytales. The app is available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and more. Available in both free and paid versions.

10% Happier

Meditation courses, stress management and sleep meditations for sceptics. The 1% Happier app is based on the book and podcast of the same name. It was started by the American news anchor Dan Harris, who explores meditation and happiness with the help of a variety of interesting guests. The app includes stories, video clips and meditations to help with sleep, being a better parent, mindfulness and much more. The app has a one week free trial and is then subscription-based. Language: English

Sleepiest

Bedtime stories and relaxing sounds for adults and children, to improve sleep. The app includes over 25 stories, meditations and sounds. Sleepiest also analyses your sleep so you can see if it has improved with the app or not. A smart alarm clock is included.

Available in English, French, Simple Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German, Korean and Portuguese. Comes in both free and paid versions.

Sound Apps

Noisli

A simple sound app for relaxing or working. The idea is to drown out other annoying sounds. It's perfect for those who work in an open office or are studying in a noisy environment and need some peace and quiet. However, it's also for those who want calm sounds at bedtime. The app has a variety of realistic sounds like rain, forest, wind and a crackling fire. You can mix it up with your own combination of your favourite sounds.

The app currently costs around two pounds.

Shusher: help for parents

Calming sounds for the tiniest of ears. Rock your baby to sleep to the sound of a heartbeat, tumble drier, stream or ceiling fan. Can also be used by adults, of course. Make your own mix of sounds and set the fadeout times. You can also set a timer that plays sounds if your baby wakes up. The app is free. Languages: English, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch and others.

Spotify

A fantastic library of sleep sounds, bedtime stories for adults, or fairytales and soothing tunes for babies. Search for 'sleep', for example, or 'meditation'. Here are some other popular options on Spotify. Sleep well!

Sources:

https://www.formulatehealth.com/blog/insomnia-statistics-uk-how-many-people-have-sleep-problems.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/17/technology/personaltech/sleep-tracking-devices-apps.html

https://www.consumerreports.org/sleeping/do-sleep-apps-really-work/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep-tracking-devices-dos-donts/art-2048137

https://www.glamour.com/story/best-sleep-apps

https://www.verywellmind.com/best-sleep-apps-5114724

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/g26963663/best-sleep-apps//

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep-tracking-devices-dos-donts/art-20481371

https://support.calm.com/hc/en-us/categories/360000652493-Learn-About-Calm

https://www.headspace.com/

https://www.sleepcycle.com/

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