18 Surprising Smartphone Apps for Better Sleep

Medically reviewed by
 Dr. Nayantara Santhi

Dr. Nayantara Santhi

Dr. Nayantara Santhi holds an academic position at Northumbria University. After completing her Ph.D. at Northeastern University (Boston, MA), she joined the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School as a post-doctoral fellow to research how sleep and circadian rhythmicity influence our cognitive functioning.

Read more
Last Updated On October 13th, 2023
18 Surprising Smartphone Apps for Better Sleep

Key Takeaways

  • What Sleep-Focused Apps Track: Sleep apps like Sleep Cycle, Pillow, and SleepScore can track sleep stages, movements, breathing and heart rate to provide insights into sleep quality and patterns over time. This data can reveal lifestyle factors impacting sleep.
  • Secondary Apps Can Still Improve Sleep: Apps focused on diet, exercise, relaxation and reading, like MyFitnessPal, Happify and Libby, can also improve sleep by helping manage stress, activity levels, and overall health. They promote good sleep hygiene.
  • Wearable Fitness Trackers Have Merit: While sleep apps and wearables like Apple Watch and Fitbit aren’t as accurate as clinical sleep studies, they can identify sleep issues and prompt discussions with doctors. Users should avoid obsessing over data.

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 sleep apps can even help you fall asleep faster—but you don’t necessarily have to use sleep apps.

True, there are thousands of sleep apps out there, and we will discuss some of our favorites here. However, there are also plenty of non-sleep-focused apps that can help you sleep better. In addition to sleep apps, those that help you live a healthier lifestyle through diet, exercise, and relaxation, can also ensure you get a better night’s sleep.

Save $450 On Any Mattress

Plus free shipping

Get $450 OFF Mattresses

Below, we will introduce you to nine of the best sleep apps, plus nine non-sleep apps that can help you rest easy night after night. Most of these are free sleep apps that offer in-app purchases.

Finally, we will look at some wearables and other devices that can be paired with sleep apps that help regulate sleep patterns through sleep-tracking apps and technology for those having trouble falling asleep.

9 Apps for Sleep Patterns and Other Sleep-Related Tools

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 the sleep cycle. This smart alarm clock ensures that your deep sleep cycle is never interrupted.

While this is a free app, with the premium subscription, the app can provide valuable feedback such as how long it took you to fall asleep, how often you changed positions during your sleep cycles, 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. You can then take this information to help improve your sleep patterns.

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 well-being. 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.

While many sleep apps help with sleep quality or offer things like bedtime stories, this is a little more fun because it is a sleep app that you tell your sleep stories to!


  • 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 technology that graphs your sleep data, so it is easy to read and understand when trying to help improve a good night’s sleep. When paired with an Apple Watch, the Pillow sleep tracking app can even monitor how much time you spend in each sleep stage.

My Moon Phase

  • Available on iPhone, iPad and Android
  • Free
  • 4.8 stars (33.6K 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. While many sleep apps track you when you sleep, this sleep app tracks lunar data to help you get a good night’s rest.

The app 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.

SleepWatch – Top Sleep Tracker

  • Available on iPhone and iPad
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.7 stars (328K ratings)

The tracking and analysis of your sleep that SleepWatch provides is highly advanced. Go to bed while wearing your Apple Watch or using your iPhone. Some of the features include:

Record of Each Day’s Sleep: Keep an eye on your weariness, alertness, and restfulness levels. Your mood and alertness usually reflect the quality of sleep you got the night before.

Reports on Trends: Keep tabs on your advancement. Discover how your sleep has changed over time, from Total Restful Sleep and Sleeping Heart Rate to Sleep Rhythm and Sleep Disruption.

Visualize Your Sleep: Examine the relationship between your Light, Restful, and Interrupted Sleep Patterns and your Sleeping Heart Rate.

Activity Tagging: Keep track of and keep an eye on the everyday routines and lifestyle decisions that may affect your ability to sleep. The app will encourage improvement with reminders on getting the proper movement each day.

Science has demonstrated that there are standard indicators and benchmarks for sound, undisturbed sleep. This app can decipher your sleep and offer potent, individualized insights into how well you sleep by transforming your Apple Watch into a smart instrument that tracks and analyzes these signals.

Sleep as Android

  • Available on Android
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.6 stars (364K ratings)

Standard alarm clocks do not consider your natural sleep patterns, and many sleep apps will wake you at the appointed time, even if you are in a deeper stage of sleep. When you awaken from a deep sleep, it is unsettling, and leaves you feeling exhausted from sleep inertia, and can negatively impact your productivity in the morning. Instead, a natural and peaceful awakening during a light sleep stage is often the best way to wake up.

Sleep as Android is the best sleep app on Android to help you wake up while not in deep sleep or REM sleep. This app monitors your sleep to determine the most appropriate time for you to wake up, acting as a smart alarm clock.



  • Available on iPhone, iPad, and Android
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.4 stars (6.6K ratings)

The SleepScore sleep tracking app tracks your breathing and body movement as you progress through each stage of sleep using Sonar Sensor Technology. You can learn a lot about your particular sleeping habits from this data in combination with information about your lifestyle and profile. The SleepScore App can also give you practical, individualized guidance through the app’s Sleep Guide.

Additionally, the app includes several simple-to-use interactive tools that let you deal with your own sleep data and fully comprehend your sleep cycle. You will have access to your sleep history, allowing you to contrast the standard of your sleep quality with aspects of your everyday living and sleep habits, like caffeine consumption.


  • Available on iPhone, iPad, and Android
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.7 stars (46,036 ratings)

An app called SnoreLab monitors your snoring and provides you with objective data so you can find the best treatments for you. You can test out several anti-snoring treatments and approaches using SnoreLab to measure the nightly changes in your snoring severity and find one that works.

SnoreLab also enables you to hear how you sound, so you aren’t forced to take your partner’s word on how loud you snore. This can be a startling realization that motivates you to act.

Finally, SnoreLab helps you choose the best treatments and shows you the factors disrupting your sleep. Is your nose congested? Have you taken a shower before bed? Are you utilizing any particular treatments to lessen your snoring? Have you tried throat and mouth exercises to stop snoring? All of these tools can help you prepare for a more restful sleep.


  • Available on iPhone, iPad, and Android
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.8 stars (266.8K ratings)

The BetterSleep sleep app is one of many digital sleep coaching programs designed to track your sleep with the sleep recorder to learn more about your sleeping habits. BetterSleep can capture your sleep sounds (such as snoring, talking, and outside noises) and categorize them for later listening with a touch of a button for better sleep quality.

The BetterSleep recorder is trained to recognize the types of sleep sounds that typically happen when we sleep, and our recognition system classifies each sort of noise so that you may easily listen to them back the following morning. It will also display your daily and weekly sleep statistics.

You can also create successful bedtime routines using this sleep app’s extensive audio library tools. The goal of the sleep tracker is to arm you with knowledge about potential sleep-related barriers to your sleep cycle so you can make wise decisions that will enhance the quality of your rest to help improve your physical and mental health.

5 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, iPad, and Android
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.6 stars (15.9K ratings)
Studies Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source 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 quickly at the end of a long day.


  • 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.

Scanning food items with the Fooducate app makes it 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.


  • Available on iPhone, iPad, and Android
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.7 stars (40.2K Ratings)

Cronometer can be used to take your overall health to the next level. You can use it to start measuring biometrics like your blood glucose levels, body temperature, and how much sleep you get.

Blood sugar levels can affect sleep quality, similarly to how sleep affects blood sugar levels. According to a type 2 diabetes study, persons with higher blood sugar levels have less restful sleep. The same can be said of caffeine levels. Caffeine intake can disrupt sleep as long as 12 hours after consumption.

Some other devices, such as a smart scale or wearable, can sync with will this app and even do this for you automatically. Then, add the information to your account.

Make use of the charts function on the website to monitor any patterns that can be discerned in your behavior over time. For example, Cronometer can be used to keep a log of the times you suffer from migraines and then compare that data to that of other nutrients, such as coffee or magnesium, to look for any recurring correlations.


  • Available on iPhone, iPad and Android
  • Free with in-app purchases
  • 4.7 stars (744.6K Ratings)

Noom is a diet app that is also capable of monitoring both your rest and your overall health. Any app that can help you lose weight can also help you sleep better, as weight loss can help with many sleep-related problems, such as shortness of breath when lying down. See also our guide to how weight affects sleep apnea.

You can track how much sleep you’re getting with Noom, and if you log that you’re not getting enough, the app will offer you daily tasks to complete to catch up on your sleep. This is an excellent method to hold yourself accountable and ensure you’re getting enough rest.

4 Mental Health, Reading and Journaling Apps


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 well-being.


Bedtime stories aren’t just for children, and many adults enjoy unwinding with a few chapters in a good book and a cup of caffeine-free tea for sleep. However, sometimes it can be tricky to find a new book you’re interested in once you’ve finished your current one.

Enter Likewise, which lets you find recommendations for new books and other entertainment based on what you’ve enjoyed before. You can also share your own book recommendations with others.

Libby by Overdrive

Libby is an app that works with libraries across the country to let patrons download ebooks and other media for free, using their local library card. While we strive to recommend reading a traditional print book before bed if you can, it’s hard to deny the convenience of an e-reader and ebooks. Especially if you need to find a new book quickly before bed, without the hassle of rushing to a library or bookstore before it closes.

Day One Journal

  • Available on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Android
  • 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 is 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.

Other Forms of Sleep Tracking Technology

Modern technology is revolutionizing how people monitor and analyze their sleep and fitness. Wearable sleep and fitness devices are now commonplace, offering many advantages over traditional monitoring methods. They are comfortable, lightweight, and highly accurate. They can give users valuable insight into their sleep patterns, physical activity, and overall health.

Moreover, pairing with mobile devices and apps allows for easy real-time tracking and analysis of data. It can even enable users to make informed decisions about their lifestyles.

Thus, wearable sleep and fitness devices are becoming essential tools in pursuing a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. Though at the same time, it’s important to keep their reported findings from dominating your life.

“Sleep apps can at best provide educated guesses,” notes Dr. Nayantara Santhi. “And one should not let the data from sleep apps stress one out too much.”

Apple Watch

You may make bedtime plans with the Sleep app on your Apple Watch to help you achieve your sleep objectives. Wear your watch to bed, and Apple Watch can predict when you might have woken up and how much time you spent in each stage of sleep (which they categorize as REM, Core, and Deep).


Fitbit has several sleep tools to get more sleep. Start by creating a sleep goal in the Fitbit app to get your sleep schedule back on track. The software will then recommend the best times to go to bed and wake up to achieve your objective. However, you can change these times as necessary.


A Garmin wearable can tell when you go to sleep, when you wake up, and what stage of sleep you are in. It does so by using the optical heart rate sensor on the watch to detect heart rate and heart rate variability (the duration measured between each heartbeat).

Frequently Asked Questions

How do apps know when you fall asleep?

The majority of sleep trackers utilize accelerometers, which are small motion detectors, to monitor the quantity and quality of sleep. Accelerometers monitor the amount of movement a person makes while sleeping. Following that, an algorithm is utilized to evaluate the total amount of time spent sleeping and the quality of that sleep.

Smartphones may also rely on the built-in microphone and a light sensor to track a person’s sleeping patterns. Wearable sleep trackers can also track heart rate and breathing patterns.

Do sleep trackers work when you’re sharing a bed?

If you and your partner sleep on separate mattresses, such as what a split king mattress provides, there will be less chance of their sleep patterns disturbing your app’s data collection.

Suppose you and your partner sleep on the same large mattress. In that case, it may still work as long as you keep your phone close to your body and on your side of the bed. However, this may not be ideal because your partner may require a different mattress for healthy sleep. Partners may have different sleep routines or comfort preferences that make a split mattress necessary.

What is sleep-tracking technology?

Sleep-tracking technology relies on motion detectors, heart rate monitors, microphones, and more to compile information on when you fall asleep, how long you sleep, and what happens while you sleep. This allows any apps or devices to know when you are tossing and turning or waking up in the middle of the night, versus when you are snoozing soundly.

Some monitoring systems also track the stages in which you sleep and adjust the time when your alarm goes off so that it goes off during a phase in which you are sleeping more lightly.

Are there drawbacks to using sleep apps?

There are concerns regarding data privacy with sleep applications because these apps may share sensitive user data with business and marketing partners in a way that is unknown to the apps’ end users. Some sleepers may also find it easy to obsess over getting the “perfect night’s rest” every night, creating feelings of anxiety that are detrimental to a good night’s rest. Sleep apps are not also precise, although they can give a very general idea of one’s sleep.

This is why we recommend not looking at your results every day. Instead, look at them weekly or every other week. This can help you see where you are doing well and where you might need to improve. It’s also good to accept that even with all of your best efforts, there may be the occasional night you struggle to sleep because of stress or other issues.

How accurate are sleep apps?

A sleep tracker is able to make educated guesses about the stages of sleep you experience by observing movements, breathing, and heart rate. However, measurements of brain activity taken during a clinical sleep study (polysomnography) are the most reliable approach to determining which stage of sleep a person is currently experiencing, along with other measurements involving heart rate and breathing.

This kind of information is not captured by any of the consumer gadgets now available on the market. Even a home sleep study prescribed by a sleep specialist can’t match the data that a sleep center’s equipment can collect.


Sleep apps are becoming increasingly popular among those looking for a better night’s rest. The apps use various methods to track sleep, including motion sensing and sound analysis, to help users sleep better.

“All sleep apps focus on the timing of sleep,” says Dr. Santhi. “Ever wondered why? Well early in the night when sleep pressure is high, we tend to have a great amount of  ‘deep sleep’ or stage N3. This reduces as you sleep through the night.”

“On the other hand REM sleep is primarily governed by the circadian clock and REM sleep tends to occur later in the night towards the early morning hours. This is why the duration of deep sleep is greater in the first part of your sleep and there is more REM sleep towards the latter part.”

By providing users with access to personalized sleep data and tools, these apps can help improve sleep quality and duration. We do want to caution that sleep apps are not as precise as the equipment used in proper sleep studies. They can be relied on for a general idea of how well you sleep at night, but it’s important to avoid obsessing over the data.

“One of the best things to do for sleep is to not stress about it,” says Dr. Santhi.

Sleep and lifestyle apps are not necessary for health, but they do make it easier to monitor our diet, mental state, and sleep. Ultimately, sleep apps are a useful addition to any sleep routine, allowing users to gain insight into their sleep habits and create a more restful and restorative sleep environment.

When you are more aware of your habits, you can easily find ways to improve sleep hygiene. To stay on top of your sleep health, consider incorporating a few of these apps into your daily routine.

About the author

Eric Ridenour is a health and wellness writer with a strong focus on sleep and nutrition. With a background in health science and psychology, Eric has a deep understanding of the connection between sleep and overall well-being. His expertise has been sought by various businesses and individuals, and his work has been featured in reputable publications such as Thrive Global, Drug Report, and Authority Magazine. Eric's commitment to promoting better sleep and comprehensive wellness is evident in his writing and consultations. He is a published author working on his second book.

View all posts

Discover the ultimate sleep system

Choose your mattress

Shop top-rated mattresses with proven sleep-boosting materials.

Get a pillow

We have the perfect pillow to pair with your mattress.

Browse Pillows

Pick out bedding

Bring out the best in your mattress with our soft and breathable bedding.

Browse Bedding