11 Surprising Apps for Better Sleep

By Marygrace Taylor
Last Updated On February 10th, 2020

There are a host of smartphone apps that can help make our lives easier. From paying bills to locking doors, there’s an app for everything. The right app can even…

11 Surprising Apps for Better Sleep

There are a host of smartphone apps that can help make our lives easier. From paying bills to locking doors, there’s an app for everything. The right app can even help you fall asleep faster—but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a sleep app to do so. True, there are approximately eight million sleep apps out there, and we will discuss some of our favorites here, but there are also plenty of non-sleep focused apps that can help you sleep better. In addition to sleep focused apps, those that help you live a healthier lifestyle through diet, exercise, and relaxation, can also ensure that you get a better night’s sleep.

Below, we will introduce you to 5 of our favorite sleep-related apps, plus 5 non-sleep apps that can help you rest easy night after night.

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Sleep-Related Apps

Sleep Cycle

  • Available on iPhone, iPad, and Android
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.7 stars (217.2K ratings)

The Sleep Cycle app uses your phone’s microphone to monitor your movements and breathing patterns during sleep. It then uses this information to wake you up during the lightest stage of sleep. This alarm ensures that your deep sleep cycle is never interrupted. With the premium subscription, the app can provide you with valuable feedback such as how long it took you to fall asleep, how often you changed positions, and whether or not you snored during the night. The app will even offer you a sleep score every morning so you can better understand the quality of your rest.

Dream Dictionary

  • Available on iPhone and iPad
  • Free
  • 4.6 stars (958 ratings)

You dream every night, but, unfortunately, you won’t always remember them. Some believe that making an effort to write down your dreams can help improve dream recall. When you start to remember your dreams more fully, you can begin to analyze what they might mean. Many people believe that dreams hold valuable information about our health and wellbeing. The Dream Dictionary app helps you get one step closer to analyzing your dreams.

When you wake in the middle of the night or the morning, write down everything you remember from your dreams. Then, you can use the Dream Dictionary app to identify key themes and concepts. Who knows what you might uncover when you start to understand your dreams better.

Pillow

  • Available on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.4 stars (48K ratings)

The Pillow app can automatically track your sleep and wake times. The paid version also monitors your heartbeat and can detect snoring and abnormal breathing during sleep. This feature is helpful for those that suffer from sleep apnea or other respiratory issues. The paid version also includes sleep analytics that graphs your sleep data, so it is easy to read and understand. When paired with an Apple Watch, the Pillow app can even monitor how much time you spent in each sleep stage.

My Moon Phase

  • Available on iPhone and iPad
  • Free
  • 4.8 stars (22.6K ratings)

File under weird but true: Studies show that people sleep worse—and get less sleep overall—when the moon is full. And though we sadly can’t change the lunar cycle, keeping track of it is a cinch with MoonPhase.

The app tracks the phases of the moon (obviously!) but is also packed with other cool astronomy info like eclipse indicators, moonrise and set times, and when you can expect a Blue Moon (that’s two full moons in one month). Once you know that a full moon is on its way, you can try doing things to make yourself extra tired and up your odds for a great night’s rest, like planning an extra vigorous workout or skipping your afternoon coffee.

Good Morning Alarm Clock

  • Available on iPhone
  • $4.99
  • 4.5 stars (2.5K ratings)

Like the Sleep Cycle alarm, The Good Morning Alarm Clock works to wake you up during the optimal sleep phase. When deep sleep is interrupted, it can leave you feeling groggy in the morning. If you wake up during a light sleep stage, you will likely feel more rested. The app also syncs with the weather so you can determine how your sleep may be affected by seasonal changes.

Diet and Exercise Apps

My Fitness Pal

  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iMessage, Apple Watch, and Android
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.7 stars (907.6K ratings)

Eating a healthy diet is essential to sleep. The My Fitness Pal app and food diary can help you monitor your nutrient intake from day to day. It can also help you track when you are eating. Since it is essential to avoid large meals at least 2 hours before bed, the app can help you track when and what you are eating. By reviewing your log, you can determine how certain foods affect your sleep.

My Fitness Pal also allows you to monitor calories and other nutrients. The app’s database has over 6 million food items to pull from, including recipes and restaurant menus. With over 4 million barcodes stored in the app, you can even scan food items to access their nutrients and add them to your diary.

8 Fit

  • Available on iPhone and iPad
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.6 stars (15.9K ratings)

Studies show that regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. The 8fit app can make working out at home easy and convenient. After setting your goals, the app will provide you with recommended workouts that fit your needs. Each workout on the app is between 15 to 20 minutes long and can be done at home with no exercise equipment. The app also provides meal plans based on your goals plus healthy recipe options.

When you are working out and eating right, it will be easier for you to relax and fall asleep at the end of a long day.

Fooducate

  • Available on iPhone
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.7 stars (50.2K ratings)

Believe it or not, the foods you eat can affect your sleep. Understanding nutritional value can help you determine if something is appropriate for you to eat before bed. When scanning food items with the Fooducate app, it is easy to find out just how healthy something is. The app scores each food item with a nutrition grade–A, B, C, or D– to tell you whether or not it is safe to eat. It also tells you whether or not it contains artificial sweeteners, trans fats, caffeine, high fructose corn syrup, and GMOs.

Mental Health and Journaling Apps

Happify

  • Available on iPhone
  • Free
  • 4.5 stars (2K ratings)

Stress and anxiety can harm our overall health. When you are dealing with excessive worry, it can be impossible to find quality sleep. The Happify app offers science-backed games and activities that help reduce stress and combat negative thoughts. Using research from positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy, the Happify team created an app full of simple actions that boost your mood, and improve your outlook and emotional wellbeing.

Day One Journal

  • Available on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.8 stars (38.7K ratings)

When worries keep you up at night, one of the best things you can do is write in a journal. Many believe that when you put your thoughts down in writing, it is easier for you to let them go long enough to fall asleep. The Day One Journal a highly rated journal app that allows you to record your thoughts through writings, drawings, photos, videos, or audio recordings. Journaling can help reduce stress and improve your mental clarity, both of which can help you find better sleep.

Sleep and lifestyle apps are not necessary for health, but they do make it easier to monitor our diet, mental state, and sleep. When you are more aware of your habits, you can easily find ways to improve. To stay on top of your sleep health, consider incorporating a few of these apps into your daily routine.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.


About the author

Marygrace Taylor is a health and wellness writer based in Philadelphia. She’s covered healthy sleep and sleep hygiene for Amerisleep and other outlets since 2014. She also writes about diet and nutrition, women’s health, and fitness for outlets like Healthline, Men’s Health, and Prevention.

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