The 12 best sleep apps to beat insomnia

Anna Bonet
·5-min read
Photo credit: Adam Kuylenstierna / EyeEm - Getty Images
Photo credit: Adam Kuylenstierna / EyeEm - Getty Images

From Netdoctor

There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to sleep. Sometimes work stresses or relationship woes will keep you tossing and turning all night long, but other times it can be impossible to pinpoint why you just can't sleep. Whatever it is, sleep deprivation can really have an impact on your wellbeing.

Thankfully, technology has stepped up its game and now there are a number of tools at your fingertips to combat insomnia. From measuring the quality of your slumber, to playing relaxing sounds that will soothe you to sleep, try one of these apps to help you get a good night's kip:

This wonderful app uses "dreamscapes" – a mix of voiceovers, sound effects and calming music designed using the latest clinical research – to help you sleep better at night, or take power naps during the day.

It's recommended by the NHS and is free!

Pzizz.com; available on Apple iTunes App Store or Google Play Store for free (with some in-app purchases.

The in-built relaxation program is designed to reduce stress and anxiety – two factors which often get in the way of sleep. The calming music helps clear the mind, slow your heart rate and relax your body. Meanwhile, the revive cycle alarm function wakes you gradually over a five-minute period.

Sleepgenius.com is available on Google Play from £4.49.

While it can be used at any time of the day, Headspace helps you train your brain to sleep better using meditation and mindfulness. The short, guided exercises encourage you to let go of the day and slip gently off to sleep.

Headspace.com is available from the Apple iTunes App Store or Google Play Store from £71.88 for an annual subscription.

Billed as a ‘sleep assistant’, this app is best for Apple Watch users. If you wear it overnight, you’ll get an overview each morning of your sleep quality, including heart rate analysis and audio recordings – which is particularly helpful for those who might have sleep apnea. You can also add notes when you wake up each morning to track your mood.

Pillow.com is available for free from the Apple iTunes App Store.

This Google Play app is home to a range of relaxing audio to help lull you to sleep. You can choose from nature sounds, instruments, rain or white noise, and they can be mixed to create the perfect atmosphere for you. Perhaps that’s rain and a piano, or the sounds of the forest with thunder – experiment and see what sends you to sleep.

Sleepo.com is available for free from the Google Play Store.

Research has found white noise can improve our ability to get to sleep enormously - if you've ever tried it with a baby, you'll have seen it with you're own eyes.

This wonderful app offers a huge range of different sounds, including waves, cars, city streets, vacuums and rains, and is simple to use.

White Noise Lite is available for free from the Apple iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

This app is a sleep tracker and smart alarm clock in one. It uses both motion and audio detection to analyse the quality of your sleep, allowing you to keep track of factors such as exercise and alcohol intake to see how they affect you that night. The app also rouses you gently by starting the alarm very quiet and gradually increasing the volume, helping you awaken feeling less groggy.

Sleepcycle.com is available for free from the Apple iTunes App Store.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

This lovely app can be used in the daytime to keep your anxiety at bay, but is also a great one for helping you sleep at night. It recommends everything from short guided meditations to breathing techniques, plus there's a Sleep Better option, designed to get you wound down and ready to sleep.

Stop, Breathe and Think is available for free from the Apple iTunes App Store and Google Play Store, with some in-app puchases.

If you find that reading helps send you to sleep, but perhaps don’t want to wake your partner by keeping the light on, it’s worth considering listening to audiobooks. Audible has a huge choice of books to plug into, and features a sleep timer, meaning it will automatically turn off by the time you’ve fallen asleep.

Audible.co.uk is available on subscription from £7.99 per month from Amazon.

Similar to Headspace, Calm has a meditation function to lower stress and relax you before bed. It also lets you play nature noises during sessions, helping you get a more restful night.

Calm.com is a free download with optional subscription £9.99/month available on iOS/Android.

If you're a fan of a David Attenborough documentary, you'll be a fan of this app, which helps to lull you to sleep with its 13 customisable soundscapes to choose from, including birdsong oceans, rain on grass or forrest sounds.

Nature Sounds is available for free from the Apple iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

With the largest sleep library in the app store and incredible reviews, Slumber is a great choice for the insomniacs among us. Uses hypnotic stories, relaxing meditations, and sound experiences to get you to sleep, this one is unlikely to let you down.

Slumber has a free 7 day trial then is available for £37.99 the Apple iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Last updated: 22-01-2021

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