Best sleep apps for catching more zzzs

Opinions may vary when it comes to general wellness, but in a world where insomnia is common and coffee is king, the experts unanimously agree—you need your sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health have proven time and again that sufficient sleep doesn’t just result in a state of alertness; it also promotes a strong immune system, healthy metabolism and overall heart health, not to mention a host of other benefits. Conversely, accruing sleep debt makes you cranky and tired, and leaves you susceptible to an array of health problems.

While a lucky few are able to sleep a solid eight hours per night, nearly 40 million people suffer from chronic sleep disorders; another 20 million deal with occasional sleep-related setbacks. Fortunately, as with almost everything else, there’s an app for that (including one for best sleep podcasts.) Check out these five best sleep apps to the age-old problem of getting a good night’s rest.

SleepCycle

$0.99 on iOS

Best Apps For Sleep: Sleep Cycle

Photo courtesy of sleepcycle.com

Waking up in the middle of a REM cycle will leave you feeling groggy and unrested. SleepCycle uses your phone’s accelerometer to track your movements from its position either on your nightstand or under your sheet to wake you up when you’re in the lightest sleep state during a designated timeframe. As a result, you’ll greet the day refreshed and rested.

Sleepmaker Rain

Free on iOS and Android

For those who need occasional help drifting off, Sleepmaker Rain is a sound choice (pun completely intended). The joy of falling asleep to the rhythm of rain is a universal pleasure—and this app packs assorted storm sounds into a simple interface. Just choose your favorite and let it lull you to sleep.

Raindrops hitting a porch roof, a storm in the forest, or something really specific, like rain falling onto canvas as if in a tent—you’re covered with 21 separate tracks and three intensity levels. And if rain isn’t your thing, Sleepmaker can transport you to the beach or the wilderness with its wave and wildlife sound apps.

SleepGenius

$4.99 on iOS, free on Android

Best Sleep Apps: Sleep Genius

Photo courtesy of sleepgenius.com

Founded on the same research that helps astronauts get their zzz’s, SleepGenius gets your brain ready for sleep so you’ll doze off faster. It then guides you through each stage of the sleep cycle for a deeper rest, finishing the job by gently waking you up in the morning.

The app was created by experts in neuroscience, sleep, sound and music. It uses neurosensory algorithms to help you sleep so deep, you’ll forget all about the snooze button. There’s a power nap feature, too, in case you need a midday recharge.

Sleep Time

$1.99 on iOS and Android

Made by Azumio, Sleep Time tracks what time you fall asleep and wake up each day, as well as how often you toss, turn or get out of bed. The app then shows you long-term trends to explain your sleep patterns.

The longer you use it and the more information you record about how rested (or unrested) you feel will help determine the best sleep schedule for you. It’s fascinating to see what a difference just a small change can make for some people, and this app might do the trick for you.

Pzizz Sleep

Free on iOS

Best Sleep Apps: Pzizz

Photo courtesy of pzizz.com

Pzizz promises to “deliver sleep at the push of a button.” Based on psychoacoustics (the study of the brain’s perception of sound), the app uses a patented algorithm to put you to sleep peacefully with an optimized mix of music, voice and sound effects. It’s become a favorite among NBA players.

While its developers recommend using earbuds, users report similar results deploying a small Bluetooth speaker or even just the phone itself. If you just need a mid-afternoon snooze, an adjusted mix is available for power naps.

Written by Amy Lynch

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