Get Better Sleep With These 5 Great Sleep-Tracking Apps

by Christa Avampato on 13 February 2014 0 comments

Sleep isn't a luxury; it's a necessity. Half of all Americans believe that they don't get enough sleep, and most accept it as a way of life. How much shut-eye we get every night has enormous impact on our short-term and long-term health. With less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night, people are susceptible to weight gain, heart disease, greater risk of stroke, and delayed reaction time to name just a few outcomes. (See also: Effective Sleep Tips You Haven't Tried Yet)

Awareness is the first step toward making healthy lifestyle changes. A plethora of sleep apps are on the market right now to help us become aware of our patterns and habits, and then they help us chart our progress on our quest for a good night's sleep. They use this data to give us insight into the optimal time to wake up so that we feel refreshed and well-rested. Additionally, some of them help us fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, offer pleasant alarm sounds, link to our music playlists, and provide beautiful graphs and charts that we can use for our own sleep analysis or share with our health care professionals. Here are five of the best options.

1. Sleep As Android

Sleep As Android, on the Android platform, tracks your sleep cycles and then using a smart alarm clock it wakes you at the most optimal moment with pleasant morning sounds from nature or your music playlist. It graphs your sleep cycles, tells you when you're running at a sleep deficit, and even tracks your snoring. If you like it you can keep it after two weeks for $2.99.

2. Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle for iOS is similar to Sleep As Android. It uses the same movement tracking information to chart your sleep cycles, has a gentle alarm clock that uses your playlists or soothing nature sounds to wake you during the lightest sleep cycle closest to the wake time you set, and delivers all of your sleep information in aesthetically pleasing charts and graphs. At only $0.99, it's a wonderful option.

3. Sleepbot

Sleepbot is a free app on the Android and iOS platforms that packs a powerful punch. It tracks movement as well as sound (and it records your sounds so that you can play them back when you're awake and analyzes your sleep cycles), reminds you when it's time to hit the hay, and when you're having trouble sleeping, it delivers advice to help you fall asleep. It also has a gorgeous interface and will back-up all of your sleep data on mysleepbot.com. (See also: Foods That Can Help You Sleep)

4. Blue Sleep Therapy

Blue Sleep Therapy costs $0.99 and is an app that uses a soft blue light to help us fall asleep and stay asleep by taking advantage of our bodies' natural reaction to blue light. This blue light is especially helpful for people who are challenged with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a common problem that plagues many people in the winter when daylight is limited. The lack of natural light throws off our sleep rhythms. This app projects a soft blue light onto the wall or ceiling. The slight pulsing and gradual fading of the light lulls us to sleep. It is only available on Android, though iOS offers a very similar app named Sleep Blue, and it's free. (See also: 13 Ways to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder)

5. Sleep Time

A lot of sleep experts advise that we go to bed at the same time every night to develop a routine for our bodies. This routine helps to cement a predictable rhythm. Sleep Time, a free app on the Android platform, takes its lead from the idea that it takes the average person 14 minutes to fall asleep and that sleep cycles last 90 minutes on average. Given those measurements, it tells you what time to wake up based on when you go to bed so that you wake up in-between sleep cycles when you're likely to feel more rested. (See also: How to Naturally Reset Your Sleep Cycle)

If you have an iPhone, there is a nearly identical app also called Sleep Time created by a different developer that is also free.

Because sleep rejuvenates the body, mind, and spirit, it's critical to our health and the wellbeing in every part of our lives to get the optimal amount of rest every night. These sleep-tracking apps arm us with information and tools to help us make that happen. Sweet dreams. Sweet life.

Do you use a sleep app to help you optimize your sleep? Which one?

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