Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control says. Not getting enough shuteye can lead to trouble concentrating, remembering and even operating a vehicle. Adults need 8 hours of sleep each night, but most Americans report an average of 6 hours. Luckily, technology can help. Check out this collection of apps, including sleep trackers, sleep therapy apps and lucid dreaming tools that aim to help you get a restful night's sleep.
Sleep Cycle takes the scientific approach to waking you up after a good night's rest. Using the iPhone's accelerometer to record your sleeping habits, the app uses sleep cycle theory and aims to wake you at just the right time to ensure optimal rest. Users set a window of time (say a 30 minute stretch) instead of a traditional pinpoint alarm time, and when the app judges that your sleep movement is just right, it will ring the alarm to wake you. In addition to the smart alarm, Sleep Cycle records your sleeping habits for tracking sleep quality over time.
Pillow takes a similar approach with sleep tracking, using your phone or Apple Watch sensors to track your sleep duration and quality. It then offers breakdowns as to different sleep stages such as REM and deep sleep, along with heart rate recording and sleep quality assessment, in combination with Apple's built-in Health app. A smart alarm feature lets the app gently ease you to wakefulness at the best time based on your sleep activity and the time you've set. The app comes with a wealth of tracking features, and a $4.99 in-app purchase unlocks more, such as the option to export your sleep sound recordings, detailed sleep statistics tracking over time, and a power nap mode for shorter bursts of sleep.
Sleep Better (Android, iOS) is Runtastic's take on a sleep tracking app, offering a good spread of free and premium features. The free tier includes a sleep monitor that uses your phone or tablet's accelerometer to record your sleep quality, allowing you to track light and deep sleep phases. In addition, the sleep monitor comes with extras like a caffeine log, moon phase tracker and dream diary. The premium upgrade adds a smart alarm clock to the mix, giving you the ability to choose an optimum wake-up window based on your desired wake time and your logged sleep activity so that the alarm will sound when you can wake refreshed and at your best.
Sleep As Android is another excellent sleep cycle tracker and alarm that uses your on-board sensors to track your sleep and help you wake up at just the right time. In addition to the usual smart alarm and sleep logging features, Sleep As Android offers such extras as a library of natural sound wake up noises and CAPTCHA style wake-up tests that make sure you've properly woken up, instead of clumsily fumbling for the alarm button.
PrimeNap's Sleep Tracker (Android) might not have the most creative name or sharpest interface, but it does come with some well-thought-out features, and an optional smart alarm clock as an in-app purchase. Sleep Tracker does the usual sensor-assisted sleep logging, but it also includes a customizable activity log so that users can record how their daily activities might affect their sleep. The app also includes a dream journal, cinema mode, and red filter. An in-app purchase unlocks a highly customizable sleep cycle alarm clock with more than 40 different parameters.
Don't let the name fool you, Apalon's Good Morning Alarm Clock (Android, iOS) will do more than just buzz you to wakefulness at the start of your day. GMAC's core is a sensor-assisted sleep tracker that intelligently wakes you based on your sleep activity and targeted wake-up time, with customizable alarm tunes and helpful statistics tracking to get an idea of your sleep habits over time. In addition, the app comes with a white noise generator to provide you some relaxing sounds to help you fall asleep. The app is premium on iOS, with the Android version available as an ad-supported download. (An in-app purchase removes the ads.)
AutoSleep is another sleep tracking app for iOS that takes advantage of your Apple Watch sensors to both track sleep and assess the quality of your slumber. If you wear your watch to bed, then the app tracks your sleep activity and quality with the onboard sensors. The app then sends you a notification in the morning when you unlock your iPhone with a report of your night's sleep quality and activity. Even if you don't wear the Apple Watch to bed, the app can still at least record your sleep duration, starting when you plug in your watch to charge.