5 Apps for a better night's sleep

Maurice Richmond
By Maurice Richmond,
updated on Feb 22, 2024

5 Apps for a better night's sleep

‘Quality over quantity’ – how many times have we heard that time-honoured phrase bandied about? But when it comes to sleep this really is crucial. Here are some pioneering apps to help you get the most from your 40 winks, and put poor sleep to bed

Wakey wakey, it’s time to talk about Britain’s sleeping issue. Research from the Sleep Council suggests a third of us regularly get a bad night’s sleep and, alarmingly, 35% of us have had sleeping problems for more than five years – which can make us irritable and stressed. Frankly, we need some help.

While it’s true that smartphones just before bedtime are typically a no-go, there are apps designed to help sort our sleep – from soothing sounds, to addressing the worries keeping us tossing and turning. To save you some time, here’s our pick of the bunch:

1. Sleep Cycle

Your standard alarm clock, with a twist. Sleep Cycle analyses your sleep, cleverly calling on the microphone to measure your breathing, all in three phases – awake, sleep, deep sleep. You tell the app a voluntary window to be woken (such as 6am to 6.30am), and the app gently wakes you when you’re less entrenched in sleep. For the stats-minded people, it produces a nifty little report for you, measuring your time in bed, sleep quality, and heart rate.

person's feet at end of bed

2. Pzizz

Probably the one time you’d want to download an app to “send you to sleep”. This one has backing from J K Rowling, and here’s the magic behind it – psychoacoustics. Pzizz plays you “dreamscapes”, a mix of music, voiceovers and sound effects which change each night. There's a bitesize nap option too, with the overall aim being to quieten your mind, send you to sleep, and then wake you up. The developers recommend headphones for optimal results, but your phone’s speaker will do.

3. Sleep Time

State-of-the-art algorithms are at play here, as Sleep Time busily monitors your sleep and movements throughout the night. It aims to use “the natural environment” to give you some shuteye, with sounds including gentle waves and rainforest storms. Having revealed that it takes us more than an hour to fully wake up from a deep sleep, the app aims to pick the perfect time to bring you out from your dreams, plus it provides graphs and charts for analytical data on your night’s rest.

4. Digipill

Described as the app with “no gimmicks” and “designed to help real-life issues”, if there’s something churning over in your mind that’s keeping you awake, there’s a good chance Digipill can step in to help you. Featuring a whole host of “digipills” – 30-minute audio tracks covering various topics – the app is designed to help those looking for support with resilience, confidence, or how to sleep better in general. With 16 “pills” available, the developers behind the app say it is “designed to produce a gentle state of hypnotic relaxation”.

5. Calm – Meditate, Sleep, Relax

If meditation and mindfulness are up your street, then this could be the perfect app to support you on your sleep quest. Becoming increasingly popular as a tool to support work and education, meditation could be worth exploring to help you sleep at home. Featuring hundreds of programmes ranging from three to 25 minutes long, and each touching on self-esteem, forgiveness and deep sleep, the app has a lot of bases covered. Calm also has sleep stories, for those who find a bit of reading really helps you to drift off.

All apps listed are available on Google Play and the App Store

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