Sleep is essential for good health, well-being, and job performance. But many of us struggle to fall and stay asleep. Caffeine, alcohol, and overstimulation from smartphones have all led many otherwise healthy people to suffer from insomnia. Fortunately, there are smartphone apps available that can help you track your sleep patterns, improve your sleep hygiene, and relax your mind before bed.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best sleep apps available for both Android and iOS devices:
1. SleepScore uses your phone’s microphone and speaker to measure your breathing and movement during the night. It then gives you a detailed breakdown of your sleep stages, duration, quality, and efficiency. It also provides personalized tips and recommendations based on your sleep goals and habits. You can set a smart alarm that wakes you up gently during your lightest sleep stage, or use soothing sounds to fall asleep faster. The app also integrates with other health apps and devices to give you a holistic view of your wellness. SleepScore is free to download, but you need a premium subscription ($50 per year or $6 per month) to access all its features.
2. Calm is best known for its meditation courses and guided sessions, but it also offers a variety of sleep stories, music tracks, soundscapes, and breathing exercises that can help you unwind and drift off peacefully. You can choose from different categories such as nature, fiction, non-fiction, kids, or celebrities (including Matthew McConaughey) to find something that suits your mood. You can also customize the volume, duration, and background noise of each sound option. Calm is free to download with limited content access. A premium subscription ($70 per year or $15 per month) unlocks unlimited access to all its content.
3. Headspace is another popular meditation app that also offers sleep features such as bedtime stories (called Sleepcasts), relaxing music (called Sleep Sounds), guided exercises (called Wind Downs), and mini meditations (called Nighttime SOS). You can mix and match different elements to create your own bedtime routine or follow one of the preset ones. You can also track your progress with daily streaks and stats. Headspace is free to download with limited content access; a premium subscription ($70 per year or $13 per month) unlocks unlimited access to all its content.
4. Sleep Cycle uses your phone’s microphone or accelerometer to detect your movements during the night and analyze your sleep quality. It then gives you a graph of your sleep phases (light, deep, REM), duration, regularity, and snoring frequency (if applicable). It also provides an overall sleep score based on how well you slept compared with other users. You can set a smart alarm that wakes you up gently during your optimal wake-up phase within a 30-minute window before your desired time. You can also use soothing sounds or music from Spotify or Apple Music to fall asleep faster. Sleep Cycle is free to download with basic features; a premium subscription ($30 per year or $10 per month) unlocks more features such as online backup, trends analysis, weather data, heart rate monitoring, and Philips Hue integration.
5. Pillow is designed for Apple Watch users who want to track their sleep automatically without having to place their phone near their bed. It syncs with the watch’s sensors to measure your heart rate, movement, and noise levels during the night and then gives you a detailed report of your sleep stages, quality, and duration. It also provides an overall sleep score based on how well you slept compared with other users. You can set a smart alarm that wakes you up gently during your lightest sleep stage, or use soothing sounds to fall asleep faster. You can also view your historical data, sleep trends, and correlations with factors such as caffeine intake, exercise, or mood. Pillow is free to download with basic features; a premium subscription ($50 per year or $5 per month) unlocks more features such as nap modes, advanced analytics, export options, and Siri shortcuts.