Technology and Sleep: What Apps are out There That Can Help You Get Better Sleep?

A good night’s sleep can be hard to come by, but it’s vital for a healthy lifestyle. If you aren’t getting the kind of zzz’s you need, turn to your smartphone for apps that track your sleep habits and block out disruptive sounds.

Sleep Pattern Monitors

  • Sleep on It (iOS): Sleep on It is a free iPhone app from MedHelp that keeps track of how much sleep you’re getting and helps you identify sleep problems you may be having. There are also support forums and a built-in alarm clock. Log into your account on the MedHelp website to generate a printable version of your sleep data.

  • SleepBot (iOS, Android): SleepBot’s motion detectors analyze your activity to generate graphs detailing your sleep habits. Audio recording lets you discover whether you’re snoring or grinding your teeth at night. This free app won an award from the United States National Institute of Health and the National Academy of Engineering for being innovative and beneficial to users’ health.

Noise-Masking Apps

  • White Noise Lite (iOS, Android): Recommended by medical professionals on The Dr. Oz Show, White Noise Lite is a free app that masks outside noises. The wide range of frequencies provided by the more than 40 available sounds means that not only will the app help you fall asleep, but it will also help you stay asleep. (Note that this app is called White Noise Lite in the iTunes store and White Noise Free on Google Play.)

  • Relax Melodies (iOS, Android): Drift off to sleep with a relaxing medley of sounds that you have arranged yourself. Relax Melodies comes with 50 sounds, and you can mix several of them together for your own personalized blend, or you can opt for one of the pre-programmed arrangements. Upgrade to Relax Melodies Premium for $2.99 to get access to even more sounds.

App-Device Partnerships

  • SleepPhones (iOS): The Sleep Doctor, Michael Breus, PhD, recommends comfortable SleepPhone headphones to block out noise while you sleep. These can be paired with the free SleepPhones app, or used with any MP3s or CDs. SleepPhones can be plugged into smartphones, computers, e-readers, tablets and other devices.

  • UP (iOS, Android): Pair the free UP app with a Jawbone tracker to help you develop a healthy lifestyle. The duo will record when you sleep and whether the sleep is light or deep. When it’s time to get up, the Smart Sleep Alarm will rouse you at the right point in your sleep cycle, so you wake feeling rested. Plus, the tracker will record not only your sleep patterns, but also your fitness and eating habits. (The app stores also have another version of this app to use independently from a tracking device.)