Sleep. We all need it, yet many of us do not get enough. While it is common knowledge that we need 7-8 hours per night, the average American will sleep for around 5-6 hours, falling well short.
How can we increase the amount of time we sleep, yet also increase our sleep quality so we don’t hear that dreaded alarm and snooze and then wake up feeling like we’ve barely slept at all? We’ve found three apps which will help you nod off, stay asleep and wake up feeling more refreshed.
Pillow is a sleep app based on science and the four universally accepted sleep stages. These sleep stages tend to vary in succession or what we like to call sleep cycles. The science says that when you are awoken out of REM sleep or really deep sleep, you will feel groggy and not be able to perform to your best capability.
Pillow aims to help your sleep by tracking it through your iPhone or Apple Watch. Pillow will calculate your sleep quality based sleep cycle duration, the percentage of sleep time in each of the four stages, disturbances through the night and environmental noises. Upon waking, Pillow also enables you to enter your mood based on your sleep, this can then be correlated with the sleep score.
Pillow also contains 5 sleep tracking modes and integrates seamlessly with Apple Health. You can also enable power naps, although you’ll have to pay for the premium version to use this feature. Pillow also has sleep melodies and wake up sounds so you can easily doze off to sleep and also wake up slowly and gently as opposed to reaching for the alarm as it is giving you a mild heart attack in the morning.
When you set a wake-up time, Pillow will ask if you can be woken up within a certain time frame of this time as it will allow the app to wake you during a light sleep cycle as opposed to when you’re in deep REM Sleep. This will mean (in theory) you should wake up feeling more refreshed.
Using white noise has been proven to help sleep and the aptly named app White Noise should be able to help you get some shut-eye.
The app helps by cancelling out potential other noise and serves as an anti-noise mechanism. This means you can focus on purely the one (white) noise and thus ending up closer towards sleep in a shorter time. Additionally, random external noises will also cause you to struggle to fall asleep, or wake up randomly through the night, so by using White Noise this will be cancelled out and again help you stay asleep.
The White Noise app is available in three versions: free, full and pro. The free version includes ads and has 40 sound loops and alarms to help you fall asleep and wake up. The full version has more alarm sounds and the professional version has even more alarm sounds and an extra 50 high-quality sound looks and allows you to adjust volume and pitch when you’re creating your own sleep sounds.
Additionally, using the professional version you’ll be able to save your own mixes, set timers for your sound and be able to download even more loops for free from an online app market.
Finally, stress and worry have been proven to be a huge influencing factor affecting sleep and getting off to sleep in the first place. One way to reduce anxiety and stress is to focus on other tasks and drawing offers a sense of accomplishment and has a meditational zen effect. There are several apps, but Recolor is one of the better ones.
Recolor features over 1000 pictures which are proven to help rest your mind, you can use unique styles and colours to create unique designs and express your creativity. The app is free but as most offers in-app purchases to unlock many other features.