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Best Apps to Help You Sleep – Our Top Picks

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Written by Alex Petrović

Sleep Consultant

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15 January 2024 5 min read

It's not a stretch to say that these days, there's an app for everything. So, we're on the hunt for the best apps to help you sleep! Here's our list.

Sleep apps have become more popular in the past few years, as issues such as mental health aren't as taboo to talk about or address as they once were. That being said, there aren't just one or two sleep apps on the market but rather hundreds or thousands.

And on top of that, some apps don't even label themselves as sleep apps but can help you fall asleep quite effectively! So, considering that in 2022, over 250 billions apps were downloaded worldwide, it can be difficult to find the best app in any category.

We're going to break it all down into a few distinct categories and talk about the best sleep apps currently available – from Oura and Sleep Cycle to Head Space and Daylio, we've got them all!

The best sleep tracking apps

When it comes to apps that can help you fall asleep, a sleep tracker is the most direct way to accomplish your goal! They usually come with their own hardware that can differentiate your lightest sleep phase and when you're in deep sleep.

And if you were wondering whether sleep trackers actually help, we're here to say it does! In fact, we've recently covered a study that showcases how understanding your sleep patterns can help you get a better night's sleep.

On top of that, sleep tracker apps usually offer more than just insight into your sleep cycle – with a built-in alarm clock, meditation exercises, bedtime stories, of advice for proper sleep hygiene being very common features.

However, this is also the type of sleep app that's hardly ever free and can cost a pretty penny. So, let's take a look at a few examples and see how good these sleep apps are.

Fitbit

We're going to start with Fitbit as it's the sleep tracker I personally use. To be more specific, I use the Fitbit Inspire 2, which is near the top of our best sleep trackers list!

But what can Fitbit offer and how can it increase sleep quality? Well, for one, the sleep tracking capabilities of the watch are rather decent and break down the information in an easy-to-understand way. You get a sleep quality score every night and even a sleep profile every two weeks or so.

Plus, the app comes with some other useful features.

For example, it can act as a silent alarm clock. This is both very convenient if you don't want to wake up the people around you and healthy, as it's less of a system shock than a regular alarm clock.

It also has features to help you stay active and some preloaded meditations but I think other apps might handle these features better.

Oura

The logo for the app Oura

If even the Fitbit Inspire 2 was a bit too bulky for your taste, the Oura ring should be right up your alley! After all, it's as discreet as a sleeping tracker can possibly get!

And just like with the Fitbit, even the free version has some very good features – like tracking your sleep cycles and stress, as well as integrations with other popular health apps. With that being said, the ring itself isn't exactly cheap, as it's about 3x the price of the Fitbit.

However, it is high-quality and a fashion piece by all accounts. So, if you want to get better sleep and look good while doing it, we'd say it's still worth considering.

But make sure you're getting the right app, as there are other sleep apps that sound very similar (like Aura).

  • Price: Free/ $5.99 per month for Premium + $299-349 for the ring
  • Available on: Android and IOS

Sleep Cycle

The logo for the app Sleep Cycle

If you simply don't want to buy a sleep tracker or already have a smartwatch and don't feel like getting extra gadgets, Sleep Cycle is the ideal sleep app for you!

And that's because while it can pair with your smartwatch, it can also work via your phone. It does so by relying on your phone's microphone and using sound cues to determine your sleep cycle and any potential issues.

Sure, it might not be as precise as a physical sleep tracking device but it still seems more than capable of getting you a good night's sleep. It also comes with some really cool features, such as a record mode for if you're snoring or talking in your sleep.

It is a bit more expensive, unless you take the annual plan but considering you don't need to buy any extra tech, it's still a decent budget option. Plus, it does offer a free trial.

  • Price: Free/ $10 per month for Premium
  • Available on: Android and IOS

Best sleep apps for relaxation

Stress can make falling asleep extremely difficult. And if you've ever tried to get a full 8 hours of sleep before an exam or a job interview, you'd know how difficult it can be.

This is why quite a few sleep apps offer things such as bedtime stories or soothing sounds that you can leave on during the night. And unlike sleep trackers, which require you to read and understand sleep data, these kinds of apps are a lot easier to get into.

Also, to get the obvious picks out of the way, you can always use YouTube or Spotify for these purposes. At least if you either don't mind the ads or have a premium version. But everyone knows about these apps, so, let's move on to potentially lesser-known picks.

Head Space

The logo for the app Head Space

When it comes to guided breathing exercises and meditations, we found that Head Space was among the best in the game. Specifically, we really enjoyed their selection of sleepcast audio tracks, as they're a mix between a bedtime story and a guided meditation.

The narrators seem to all be pros, the sound effects are high-quality, and their selection seems to be large enough to last you a lifetime – at least if you opt for the premium version.

And as fellow sleep consultants, we also like that the app has useful articles about sleep hygiene and healthy sleep habits. After all, sleep sounds can only get you so far – you need to know how your physical and mental health fit into the picture as well.

Like with some other apps on this list, our only gripe is that it can be a bit expensive unless you opt for the annual plan. Especially since you can find free sleep stories and meditations online. Although they might not be as high-quality as the ones on Head Space.

  • Price: Free/ $12.99 a month for Premium
  • Available on: Android and IOS

Insight Timer

The logo the for app Insight timer

In terms of how much content you get for free, Insight Timer is likely among the best. And while their sleep sound catalogue might not be as big as some of the other apps on here, they have an amazing collection of guided meditations.

And we specifically like that they offer plenty of spiritual and/or religious meditations free of charge. So, if your faith is a big part of your life, these tracks might be especially soothing for you.

They also have full meditation courses that can last for over a month, although quite a few are locked behind a paywall. But in terms of forming a nightly routine, these courses are an excellent tool and you'll likely fall asleep quickly after you're a few days in.

Also, while even the free version is more than solid (just read the reviews if you want proof), the membership plan is also fairly cheap and they offer a free trial.

  • Price: Free/ $60 a year for Members Plus
  • Available on: Android and IOS

Slumber

The logo for the app Slumber

If you just want a place to find soothing music and relaxing stories, Slumber is an excellent choice. Its library is quite large and there's a decent amount of variability here – with more niche approaches such as ASMR finding their place.

They also have plenty of children's stories, white noise tracks and audiobooks. And this is just with the free version!

Plus, while not every sleep app has this option, Slumber does offer a lifetime subscription for around 200 pounds. However, we did find it annoying that you couldn't find the pricing anywhere on their website.

Overall, the app is quite clean in terms of design, the interface is easy to navigate, and the stories are pretty high quality. Definitely a solid option if you care for bedtime stories more than sleep data.

  • Price: Free/ around $50 a year/ 200 for lifetime access
  • Available on: Android and IOS

Best mental health apps

On a similar note to the previous section, we wanted to shout out a few apps that help with your general mental health. And this is because depression and sleep are very tightly linked, meaning that if you don't care for your mental health, you might get insomnia alongside it.

Of course, good mental health isn't something you can download. It takes time and a lot of care. And for the best results, you should see a therapist. These apps are, for the most part, just tools that you can use to make your journey a bit easier.

With all of that out of the way, let's go over some of our favourites. And do note that we tried to cover a wide net here, so some might be more applicable to you than others.

Daylio

The logo for the app Daylio

While Daylio isn't exactly bringing anything new to the table, we just love how it's designed. It mostly focuses on tracking your mood via an array of different emojis. It can even give you a breakdown of how you felt throughout the year!

Plus, it helps keep track of other aspects of life as well, such as your beauty routine, your sleep, or even the weather. And it's all done via a simple but beautiful interface that's just fun to look at.

Plus, while we do think that the free version is rather limited, the premium plan is extremely cheap. And Daylio has a free trial, that they will even remind you of so that you don't end up spending any money unless you like the app.

It's a simple feature but we do wish all trials were made this way.

  • Price: Free/ $2 a month for Premium
  • Available on: Android and IOS

I Am Sober

The logo for the app I Am Sober

As we said, not all of these apps are going to be tailored for all of you, but they're still worth highlighting. Namely, not only does alcoholism lower your general quality of life, it ruins your sleep as well.

So, we believe that an app that helps you with that is worth shouting out.

The app itself serves two purposes – to track your progress and to let you into a community of people going through similar struggles. And we think that last part is especially helpful, as battling addiction can make you feel like you're alone.

We will admit that it felt a bit off that this app does have a pricey subscription fee but you can just use the free version.

  • Price: Free/ $9.99 a month for I Am Sober Plus
  • Available on: Android and IOS

Better Help

The logo for the app Better Help

The last app we want to feature in this section is Better Help. And it's quite a bit different from the rest as it's an app that connects you to an actual therapist.

Of course, this means that using the app is also significantly more expensive. But for people who want to start therapy but can't or aren't comfortable with seeing one in person, this is an invaluable tool.

You can schedule video calls with your therapist and text them more or less whenever you want. Plus, it's arguably the most popular therapy app at the moment, which means it's held to a high standard.

With that being said, we do also advise you to read some of the reviews online prior to signing up. It's not the only therapy app out there and we have seen some people complain about the user interface.

  • Price: $65-90 per week
  • Available on: Android and IOS

Best alarm apps

It might sound a bit ironic talking about alarm clocks when searching for the best apps to help you sleep but hear us out. A big part of falling asleep fast and having better sleep in general is waking up when you're supposed to.

In other words, if you can avoid hitting the snooze button five times in a row, you're going to have a much easier time falling asleep at night!

Also, these apps typically have options for waking you up in a more relaxed manner, usually while you're in light sleep. And this can do wonders when it comes to setting the tone for the rest of the day.

Sleep as Android

The logo for the app Sleep as Android

While we did our best to find apps that worked on both iPhones and Android devices, we had to make an exception here. And that's just because of how good we think this app is.

This is mostly due to the fact that this app doubles as a sleep tracker. It can either use your phone's microphone or connect to a smartwatch. And it can then use that data to wake you up while you're still in light sleep.

There are also cool features such as snore prevention and you do get quite a bit of data about your sleep in general. Plus, we've seen this app being praised for getting pretty consistent updates.

The only slight gripe we have is that pricing is a bit weird. you can get a separate app for a one-time purchase or get a subscription that also involves a different app. With that being said, the team behind the app seems very committed and you can read all about it on their page.

So, we're sorry iPhone users and Android users, check this app out if you have issues waking up on time.

  • Price: Free/ around $20 one-time purchase
  • Available on: Android

Alarmy

The logo for the app Alarmy

When it comes to waking you up in the morning, the best sleep apps shouldn't just sound like a nuclear reactor. Not only can this wake up other people in the room but it also jolts your system awake. And unless you're lucky enough to be in your lightest sleep phase, you're going to want to go right back to bed.

However, Alarmy gets around this problem by having different tasks that you have to do to turn the alarm off. Our favourite is the QR scan option as you can pick one item and put it at the opposite end of your room. By the time you walk over there and steady your heads enough to scan the QR code, you'll likely already be wide-awake.

At least, that's the option I personally use.

However, there are plenty of other options on here that you can choose from! And the free version does contain quite a few very solid options, so, getting the subscription isn't mandatory. Although it does make the app a bit better and removes ads.

  • Price: Free/ $4.99-7.49 a month
  • Available on: Android and IOS

Conclusion

Overall, there really is an app for everything. So, whether you want to better your mental health, relax, better your sleep quality, or just get up on time – there's an app for it!

Plus, all of these apps do have free versions, so you can check out as many as you'd like. And then move on to the premium option if you think that the app is worth it.

So, let us know what you think and feel free to share which apps you like to use to get better sleep! The appstore jungle is enormous and we've likely missed out on some gems.

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About the author

Alex Petrović
Sleep Consultant
A CPD certified Sleep Consultant with more than 2000 hours of research into all the different ways we can get a great night's sleep. As a former insomniac, I know how difficult life can be without a nightly recovery and I love that I get to share everything I've learned with you all. So hopefully we can all sleep soundly!
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