Do you remember when bedtime was around 8 in the evening? You’d snuggle up in bed with a warm beverage, your room dimly lit, getting ready for your favourite bedtime story? It was easy to practice good sleep hygiene when we were younger, so when did we unlearn all of our good habits? Today, where we’re constantly busy and switched on, trying to fall asleep might be one of the hardest parts of our day. It’s also not uncommon for a significant amount of the population to suffer from insomnia and other sleep-related conditions.
It’s important to get at least *8 – 10 hours of sleep if you’re a teenager, and 7 – 8 hours of sleep for adults 18 and older in order for your body to function at its peak. Getting enough quality sleep helps to protect your physical and mental health. Moreover, continuous sleep deprivation is linked to several chronic conditions, including heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, high blood pressure and stroke*.
This World Sleep Day, we’ve highlighted 8 of the most popular apps (based on their app store user reviews) to help with sleep deprivation and improve overall quality of sleep.
Designed by world sleep expert, Professor Colin Espie (University of Oxford), Sleepio works hand in hand with the Sleepio course which uses a science-based CBT program to help resolve insomnia. You can take the sleep test at www.sleepio.com/nhs (UK) or www.sleepio.com (worldwide). The program helps people fall asleep faster and experience fewer interruptions during their sleep cycles.
The Calm app has been named best app of the year for two consecutive years, so it makes sense to have it listed here. Based on the concept of bedtime stories, Calm plays Sleep Stories for you at bedtime narrated by well-known voices, transporting your mind to a restful place which makes it easier to fall asleep at night. Some of the famous voices include Stephen Fry, Alan Sklar and Vegas Jenkins.
If you hate the sound of your regular alarm clock, you might want to download Sleep Cycle – an intelligent alarm that can track your sleep patterns and wake you up in light sleep, which is the natural way to wake. You can also access reports to track your quality of sleep and visualise your sleep cycles.
The Pzizz app aims to curb insomnia by using clinical research to create sequences of Dreamscapes – rhythmic melodies that are personalised to the various segments of your sleep cycle. The Dreamscapes are made up of music, voiceover and sound-effects that change each night, to keep you relaxed and falling asleep easily.
Inscape is a guided meditation and sleep app that is designed for busy professionals. The meditation mode allows you to quiet your mind, relieve stress and enhances focus, while the sleep mode helps your brain prepare for sleep with relaxing melodies. The app also includes personalized content recommendations based on your specific goals, time of the day and experience.
The Sleep Genius app was designed by the same neuroscience experts who led the research to help NASA astronauts get better rest. Algorithms in the app train your brain into falling asleep faster and experiencing a deeper, more restful sleep. The app is endorsed by a few Clinical Psychologists and Neuroscientists to be an effective method of conquering sleep deprivation.
The DreamMapper app from Phillips allows you to track your sleep apnea therapy progress, to help you manage your condition better. The app provides feedback on therapy usage, mask fit and apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) while also giving you access to informative video guides to help you learn more about obstructive sleep apnea.
What are your top tips for getting a good night’s rest? Join the Sleep Support community on HealthUnlocked to share and receive tips, advice and support around managing sleeping problems like insomnia, circadian rhythm disorders (jet lag), snoring and sleep apnea.
*Source: Statistics from the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute