Do you have trouble falling asleep or getting a good night’s rest? There are millions of others like you. These apps and websites can help you sleep peacefully at night.
Doctors and scientists have found that lack of proper sleep can adversely affect several things, such as happiness, weight gain, productivity, etc. Plus, there are different reasons for people to not be able to sleep easily. These tools tackle various issues, and hopefully one of them is the trick you were waiting for all this time.
Note: Insomnia can be a debilitating disorder. You should seek advice from a medical professional if you have a recurring problem. These apps and tools are more to help those not diagnosed with a clinical condition.
1. Sleeep (Web): Calculate When You Should Go to Bed
You don’t fall asleep the minute your head hits the pillow, right? A major reason you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep is that you aren’t starting the process at the right time. Calculate when to go to bed with Sleeep.
Sleeep’s premise is that an average sleep cycle is 1.5 hours, and humans need four or five of such sleep cycles in a night to feel well rested. Along with that, you need about 14 minutes to fall asleep, and the best time to wake up for the human body is with sunrise. Tell Sleeep where in the world you are, and it’ll calculate the time for you.
Once you give it access to your location, you’ll get three times at which you should go to bed so that you wake up with the sunrise. These times take into account the 14 minutes, so if you plan to watch Netflix in bed, do that before. Set an alarm for the time to put your phone away, and an alarm for when to wake up with the sunrise.
2. Slumber Bear (Web): Different Sleep Cycles for Different People
Sleeep suggests timings based on the most widely accepted sleep cycle for the average human. This is called the monophasic cycle, largely applicable to anyone with a normal 9-to-5 job and a fixed routine. But there might be a different sleep cycle that’s quicker and better for you to battle insomnia.
Slumber Bear lists different sleep cycles, and includes a quick calculator to figure out how to apply it to your life. The cycles are:
- Biphasic cycle: 6 hours at night, one midday nap
- Everyman cycle: 3.5 hours at night, three 20-minute naps in the day
- Dymaxion cycle: 4 naps of 30 minutes each, throughout the day
- Uberman cycle: 6 naps of 20 minutes each, throughout the day
Slumber Bear lists the pros and cons of each type of sleep cycle, and who it’s best for. Tell the cycle’s calculator what time you want to start, and it will come up with alarm times for you. Add it to Google Calendar or an alarm app, and try out your new cycle.
3. Military Method (Web): Fall Asleep Anywhere in 120 Seconds
The U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School developed a sleep method for pilots to be able to fall asleep anywhere. It takes practice, but after six weeks, 96% of pilots can fall asleep within 120 seconds. And now you can learn how to do it.
Sharon Ackman’s viral article on Medium breaks down the steps involved in this 2-minute exercise. With it, you can even fall asleep while sitting upright on airplanes, so getting to lie down or stretch will only make it easier.
Step by step, Ackman will tell you how military personnel relax different parts of their body to signal to the brain that you’re ready to fall asleep. And finally, there’s an excellent trick to clear your mind and not think about anything.
Ackman’s story is also available in audio form, which you can download and play every night as a form of guided meditation.
4. Nightly (Android, iOS): Science-Backed Ways to Fall Asleep Faster
Nightly combines scientific research and smart algorithms to help you fall asleep faster, and then enjoy uninterrupted sleep. You start the routine by watching a video that relaxes the mind, priming it to fall asleep. After the video, put the phone next to your pillow and the app will play soothing sounds to help you drift off.
Throughout the night, the app monitors your sleeping pattern and behavior. At points where you are likely to experience unrest or have a bad dream, Nightly will restart the soothing sounds to relax you while you’re sleeping. A smart alarm wakes you in the morning when you’re in light sleep, rather than when you’re in a state of deep sleep.
The app tracks your sleep behavior and timings to provide sleep statistics. There’s a 14-day free trial, after which you’ll need to pay $30 annually. It might seem like quite a bit, but it’s worth it for a good night’s sleep.
5. Nothing Much Happens (Podcast): Bedtime Stories for Adults
The glow of a screen can strain your eyes, so many of us listen to music or podcasts while we’re trying to fall asleep. But there are a few podcasts whose aim is to make you sleep, not listen. Sleep With Me is the most popular, but Nothing Much Happens is quickly gaining a lot of fans.
Nothing Much Happens describes itself as bedtime stories for adults. Hey, if it helped you fall asleep as a kid, why won’t it work when you’re a grown-up? These aren’t “adult stories” though. In fact, as you’ll see, the stories aren’t particularly that interesting and engrossing either. As the title suggests, nothing much happens.
Host and narrator Kathryn has a smooth and calming voice, with which she reads out details about everything in the story. That effect puts your mind into relaxation mode, and you’ll find yourself drifting off to sleep even before an episode finishes.
There are almost 50 bedtime stories for you to listen to. And if you finish with that, try these other podcasts to help you fall asleep.
Best Apps for Tracking and Improving Sleep
Did you check your phone before you went to sleep? The blue light of a smartphone’s screen has been shown to disrupt the body clock, and prevent you from falling asleep easily. It’s one of the first things you should address if you’re having trouble with sleep.
Try a combination of blue light filter apps, sleep tracking apps, and meditation apps to conquer the physical and mental barriers to falling asleep. To get you started, we’ve reviewed some of the best sleep apps for tracking and improving sleep.