It is World Sleep Day today (19 March 2021), which is as good a time as any to evaluate how you are sleeping. If you’re not getting the recommended 6 to 9 hours of sleep every night, you’re not alone.
Getting good sleep in 2020 has been difficult for many, but good sleep is now more important than ever. Sleep deficiency leads to lowered immunity and is also linked to health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression.
So what if we told you that there’s an app for that? From guided meditation to ambient sounds, white noise, music, and even bedtime stories, there are different sleep apps employing a variety of techniques to help you unwind and get that sweet, sweet shut-eye. Here’s a round-up of five apps to help you catch your zzz’s… Sweet dreams!
Pzizz: Backed by the Science of Psychoacoustics
Psychoacoustics is the study of the psychological impacts of sound. Pzizz uses that science to guide you into a sound sleep. They do this through ‘Dreamscapes’: a mix of sound effects, calming music, spoken word and binaural beats (a form of sound wave therapy involving playing two tones of slightly different frequency, one in each ear).
These ‘Dreamscapes’ are designed to help you de-stress and get to sleep quickly, with different ones for different stages of the sleep cycle. And here is something cool: some ’Dreamscapes’ are designed for naps and power naps, for those who prefer to get some shut-eye in smaller blocks during the day.
White noise works by raising the level of background noise so that it masks noise changes. It makes it so that you are less likely to notice – and be startled by – out-of-place sounds. If background noises like thunderstorms, wind, fire, or café chatter is your thing, then Noisli is the app for you.
While this is not solely a sleep app, Noisli does provide soothing sounds that can make you feel more at ease and put you to sleep more easily. You can even create your own sleep soundtracks, as the app comes with an offline soundboard with which you can make a custom mix of white noises.
You may know Calm as a meditation app, but did you know that they also have sleep soundtracks, like bedtime stories and white noise? The stories contain music and sound effects and are designed to be flowing and peaceful, to help you relax and get to sleep. What’s more – they are read to you by a whole host of celebrities, including Harry Styles, Idris Elba, and Lucy Liu.
This app is not cheap, but there are limited free resources that you can try out first. The paid version will also give you access to their guided meditation and mindfulness exercises.
For those of you with little ones, Moshi is ready to step in when you are done reading the same bedtime story for the 50th time. It is an app that plays original stories read aloud by, you’ve guessed it, famous people. They’ve got Goldie Hawn and Sir Patrick Stewart on board, as well as other voiceover actors.
Moshi’s stories are between 15 and 20 minutes long. They contain sound effects timed to the average resting heart rate of a child, which gets them into a more restful state. These stories can be downloaded for occasions when Wifi is not available. Moshi is useful during the day as well, with mindfulness content for timeout or anxiety management.
You don’t have to take our word for the effectiveness of this app – you can take the word of their 50+ million users worldwide. Relax Melodies is the ultimate in customisable sleep soundtracks. It has more than 100 ambient sounds and music choices – half of which is available for free – with which you can create a custom sleep mix.
Their library of sounds is vast, including ASMR-inspired noises, white noise, nature sounds, and binaural beats. If you like, you can even include sounds from your own music library in your mix. The paid version also includes a guided meditation section and bedtime stories.