Do you struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep? A good night’s sleep is paramount to a healthy life, and the effects of poor sleep can weigh heavily on your day to day life.
Aside from the obvious bad moods, not getting enough sleep can lead also to concentration issues, weight gain and increased risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. Poor sleep habits also lead to severely impaired driving abilities, meaning you are far more likely to crash and cause an accident. So the obvious solution is to get a good night’s sleep every night, and wake up feeling well rested and ready to take on the day.
However, for many people, it just isn’t as easy as going to bed early and getting a good night’s sleep. For those of you who are light sleepers who wake up often, are prone to tossing and turning all night, or who simply struggle to switch off and actually fall asleep in the first place, we’re here to help!
The good news is that technology is making it easier for all of us to fall asleep, and we don’t mean fancy, expensive gadgets either! Your smartphone can be a really handy tool when it comes to improving your sleep, as long as you are using it correctly, and not to browse Facebook at night. Although there are plenty of paid apps with very good reviews, we’ve kept this article to free apps only. So, to help you get some good shut eye, read on.
Pzizz is a free app which features both a ‘sleep’ and ‘power nap’ option. The app generates a soundtrack for you and allows you to customise the length, volume, and balance of background sounds/music and the soothing voice of master neurolinguistics programmer Michael Breen. This app has consistently good ratings and reviews from a number of sources, and lots of insomniacs sing its praises!
F.lux will adjust your phone’s brightness and colour temperature to suit the time of day and surroundings. Plenty of research has shown that bright blue light emitted from phone screens can disrupt sleep patterns, but F.lux allows you to have a warm-toned light at night to help combat that.
There’s a reason everyone loves falling asleep in a nice warm bed while it’s raining outside. Something about the sound just calms and relaxes you, and makes it easier to drift off. Perhaps you prefer the rustling of leaves or the waves of an ocean? Whatever your favourite sleep sound is, this app has it. You can combine endless sounds to comfort and lull you into sleep, along with binaural beats, which supposedly have a calming effect on the brain.
SleepBot is more of a sleep tracking app than an app to actually assist you in falling or staying asleep. However, it has an interesting feature in that it claims to be able to track your movements to determine if you’re in deep sleep or light sleep, and in turn wakes you (with a song of your choice) when you are in your lightest sleep phase. As a result, you set your alarm to go off any time within a 30 minute period, and the app decides when is the best time to wake you is. You can track your sleep through reports and graphs, meaning you know how much sleep you’re actually getting per night and how often you wake up.
Similar to Pzizz in style and intent, this app is described as ‘the ultimate guide to self-hypnosis’ and features guided meditation and hypnosis tracks from Glenn Harrold, a British hypnotherapist. You can try new sessions and save ones that have worked well for you. Consistently positive reviews indicate that this might be worth a go, especially if your problem is that you can’t “switch off” your brain and relax at night.