The best sleep apps to help you get a good night’s rest

It may be difficult to imagine that an app can do anything to help as you stare at the ceiling waiting for this melatonin to kick in, but perhaps you’re out of other options. If you have tried everything else, it is probably worth a shot.

I spent a few nights analyzing three of the most prominent sleep assistant programs. You’ll get no promises that they’ll help you since everybody has different sleep issues. There are also legitimate privacy concerns at play , and that I wouldn’t blame you if you stayed away on that basis alone.


Anyone who does about 30 seconds of research into sleep programs will happen across Calm. It’s among the more well-known cases, with an exceptional rating and a big ol’ Editor’s Choice badge on the iOS App Store. The first two items you need to understand concerning Calm are that it’s concentrated on overall mental wellbeing rather than just sleep, and it is going to cost you.

Calm is basically a music and audio short story app which also monitors your mood and provides things like breathing stretches and exercises. You are able to set up mindfulness and bedtime reminders, as well as request the app to check in on your mood once a day. Use it and its own stat tracking will provide you some notion of the way you have been generally feeling more than time.

There is a week-long free trial, but then, it is $70 each year. You read that right: Seventy dollars. For a mobile program.

That money does not come with perks, obviously. Calm’s sound selection features exclusive ambient noise tracks and hour-long musical collections to listen to at night.

It looked like a clear option. In the end, his buttery Texas drawl is the stuff of legend, and if he can’t get me to sleep, nobody could. Unfortunately, I can’t say that it functioned; it left for pleasant white sound as I dozed off, but the half-hour story didn’t get me to sleep any quicker than a free podcast could.

To get the most out of Calm, you’ll need to make the most of this meditation side of it, also. The sleep-deprived will find audio meditation tracks to help them get to sleep, which can be anywhere from five minutes to almost an hour in length. Calm is rich in features and includes slick presentation, but it’s difficult to shake the impression that ambient music, sleep podcasts, and breathing exercises are all things you may find for free online.

But hey, if you are into the notion of a well-constructed wrapper for all those things, Calm offers a free trial you should check out.

Sleep Cycle

The world of sleep apps, so much as I can tell, focuses pretty heavily on audio. Perhaps some light piano, nature sounds, or even a bedtime story will discharge you in the clutches of your nervous thoughts long enough to get to sleep. Sleep Cycle, yet another highlighted selection on the App Store, carries a more unique (and potentially concerning) approach.

You see, Sleep Cycle includes a distinctive sleep tracking mechanism involving your telephone’s microphone. You are supposed to open the program, set your phone down on a nightstand with the mic , and keep it going through the night. The mic allegedly picks up on your movements throughout the night while ignoring other sounds.

The idea here is not just to create a graph to explain to you the way you are sleeping, but to detect if you are in a country of”light sleep” so it can play a soft, calming alarm and make sure to feel nice when you awaken. The”intelligent” alarm clock will just go off in an opportune moment rather than unpleasantly jolting you out of a heavy sleep.

That’s. . .objectively weird, right? You might or might not find comfort in Sleep Cycle’s privacy policy, but the simple fact that it is listening to you while you sleep is simply odd on its surface. Weirdness aside, there’s a method to this madness.

The other nice thing about Sleep Cycle is that you can utilize its sleep monitoring and smart alarm attributes without opening up your wallet. You must definitely be skeptical of an app that should listen for you for several hours at one time, but I can not discount the allure of Sleep Cycle.


Headspace is another highly rated, most popular meditation app with a bunch of sleep-specific exercises, exactly like Calm. Another way it looks like Calm is the pricing, as the free trial front gives way to some $70 per year subscription to get all of that sleep assistant sweetness.

Education and flexibility are two of the greater aspects of Headspace. Regarding the first point, Headspace would like to teach you just how to meditate up front with a short, 10-part course that ideally opens the doorway to the remainder of its offerings. These include a 30-day sleep coaching class with the stated aim of gradually reevaluating your connection to sleep.

If you don’t need to bother with that, you can jump right into its audio selection, which is pretty similar to Calm’s. There are brief”wind-down” meditations to hear as you attempt to sleep, in addition to longer white or musical noise tracks. One thing I especially liked about Headspace is that the aforementioned flexibility; many of these meditations let you decide how long they survive, and that means that you may elect for two, five, or 10 minutes, or even in some instances even longer.

You also get to sometimes choose between generic female and male voices, if one is more reassuring for you than another. It is a little heftier on the celebrity content compared to Calm, though there’s an NBA-branded wellness app in there at this time. A couple of other fun things for sleep assistance include eight-hour radio mixes and an”I’m too tired, just play something random” button.

It’s a bit more colorful and cleaner compared to Calm, but you’re still potentially paying $70 for items you could seek out on your own. What Headspace offers is structure, and also the structure it provides is adapting and useful.

We hope one of these apps is able to help you sleep, particularly during a time of pandemic-fueled stress. Whether you discover solace in a short story read by one of those stars of Magic Mike or a program that listens because you toss and turn in bed, quality sleep from any source is much more important today than ever. Go out and catch some Z’s, folks.


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