We have found the ultimate secret to rockstar productivity, a better mood and that youthful glow. Guess what? It’s sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting seven to nine hours of it. But sometimes life can get in the way of a proper night’s rest. Whether it’s late nights at work or the neighbor playing music at all hours, there are a whole slew of reasons why you may be skimping on sleep — but it’s time to make those Zzzs a priority.
This week, to Upgrade Your Life, we’re expanding our list of gadgets and sleep trackers to give you some apps that will help you sleep better with more than just rain noises. Sleep is a science, and it’s time we started treating it like one.
1. Ease Your Mind: You’ve had a long day and all you really need is some rest, but after you finally sink your head into the pillow you just can’t. Your mind is racing and all you can think about is what you have to do tomorrow. Sound familiar? Easing your mental tension can be key in putting your brain at ease and letting you really relax, and that’s what makes Calm so great.
The paid version of the app guides you through all kinds of mediation to boost creativity or confidence, but with the free version you get a guided audio session to ease your mental tension. If you only have five minutes, just select the five-minute session — but you can go all the way up to 20 minutes. The sessions are a great way to calm your mind so your body can rest.
2. Train Your Sleep: We’ve all heard about sleep cycles, but do you live your life by them? Science says that you should. According to Sleep Genius, you need five 90-minute sleep cycles, and you should also go to bed 15 minutes before you plan to fall asleep. Their app has all kinds of features for you to learn about your sleep so you can rest to the max. The Revive Cycle alarm function wakes you up gradually with increasing volume, and before you know it, you’ll wake up without any alarm at all. From power naps to sleep reporting, the app gives you all the info and tools you need to sleep like a pro and set up your body clock the right way.
3. Your Sleep Assist: If the regular soothing-sound apps just aren’t doing it for you, try MUJI’s version. MUJI to Sleep is an app that simply lets you swipe through sounds to help soothe you to sleep. From forest noises to a roaring fire, these sounds are much more scientific than they seem. MUJI made sure to record everything using a special microphone that captures sound in the same way you process it in your head. This way, you feel like you’re actually in that super relaxing place on your way to dreamland. It’s best to use headphones for the full experience.
4. Your Sleep Crash Course: Let’s get personal. The way you sleep is unique to you. Some of us wake up when we hear sirens outside and some of us could sleep through a rock concert. Maybe your natural body clock wakes you up with the sun or maybe it wakes you up at lunchtime. Sleepio wants to know every little detail so it can make a sleep training system just for you. First, you’ll take a quick, free sleep test, answering questions about how you sleep, like, “Do you have difficulty falling asleep?” or “How refreshed do you feel in the morning?” With all of that data, they take their sleep science and make a personal plan for you using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. From your bedroom to your morning routine, they’ll get your sleep in tip-top shape.
Try it: $12 weekly, $7.50/week for 12 weeks or $3/week for one year. The iOS app is free.
5. Master the Power Nap: The key to power naps is to make sure that you wake up before your body goes into deep sleep, leaving you refreshed rather than groggy. The Power Nap app from Sleep Cycle uses your smartphone’s accelerometer to track your movements and wake you before you’re really deep into dreamland. With this app, you can catch some much-needed shuteye on your lunch break or before a long night out to get a natural boost that doesn’t involve an ounce of coffee.
DL It: $2 on iOS
How are your sleeping habits? We want to hear all about them in the comments!