Best Sleep Apps of 2019

Though it’s become cliche, the phrase “there’s an app for that” becomes more accurate by the day. As smartphones are increasingly more powerful and feature-packed, app developers continue to innovate to deliver a huge range of offerings.

Sleep apps have undergone dramatic expansion and improvement. These apps can make it easier to fall asleep, wake up, and monitor your sleep trends.

But anyone who’s used an app store can tell you, the sheer number of apps can be burdensome to sort through. You might not have the time to go through them all to find the good and the bad.

Our guide to the best sleep apps does the work for you and introduces you to the most important categories of sleep apps and our top picks in each of those categories.

Sleep Tracking Apps

How Do Sleep Tracking Apps Work?

Sleep tracking apps have several avenues for collecting data.

  • The accelerometer in your phone can be used to track motion.
  • Optical heart rate monitoring analyzes the way light reflects off your skin to determine blood flow and heart rate.
  • Sonar can be used to detect movement, including the rise and fall of your chest from breathing.
  • Noise tracking can give details about movement and activity.

The app analyzes this type of data taken in by the phone to draw conclusions about your sleep. Common metrics relate to the total time you spent sleeping, the quality of your sleep, and time spent in different sleep stages.

Sleep tracking apps make this information available in a visual dashboard and may offer tips for improving your metrics.

It is important to remember that the accuracy of sleep tracking apps is still up for debate. The data collection and analysis methodology is new and has not undergone extensive long-term study. For this reason, it’s best to always consider the big picture and to raise any serious sleep concerns with a doctor.

Why Use a Sleep Tracking App?

A sleep tracking app can be useful for learning about the patterns of your sleep. Though not perfectly accurate, these apps can assist you in understanding how much sleep you’re getting and whether you’re restless during the night.

A sleep tracking app may be able to identify sleeping problems and in some cases offer tips that you can use to address those issues.

Many sleep tracking apps include smart alarms that wake you up according to your progression through different sleep stages. This can reduce the odds of waking up groggy or disoriented.

What Are The Best Sleep Tracking Apps?

Numerous sleep tracking apps are available for both Android and Apple operating systems. For their tracking tools and interface, the following are our top picks for the best sleep tracking apps.

SleepScore

Availability: iOS, Android
Price: Free With In-App Purchases; $50 yearly subscription for Premium

SleepScore uses sound tracking and sonar motion detection to evaluate your sleep without any contact with your body: it works with your phone near the bed, such as on a nightstand. The app’s algorithm creates a simple, easy-to-understand score from 1-100 for each night’s sleep while allowing you to drill down to more detailed metrics of your sleep.

The Premium version, which costs $50 for a year, provides more robust features and access to long-term tracking, goal-setting, and sleep advice. A PDF sleep report can be generated by the app to share with your doctor if you have prolonged sleep issues.

Sleep As Android

Availability: Android
Price: Free With Ads / In-App Purchases; $5.49 for Ad-Free, Premium version

Sleep As Android uses the accelerometer, sonar, sound recording, and optional integration with heart rate monitors to deliver metrics about your sleep. Motion tracking is most effective if your phone is kept on your mattress, but other tools, like sonar, can work on a nightstand.

With this data, Sleep As Android tracks your sleep cycle and has a smart alarm to wake you up at the appropriate point. It records and analyzes snoring to help indicate if you may have an issue with sleep apnea.

The app can be used for free with ads, but to unlock all the features and eliminate ads requires a one-time $5.49 purchase.

Sleep Cycle

Availability: iOS, Android
Price: Free With In-App Purchases; One-Year Subscription for $29.99

Sleep Cycle has two modes. One tracks motion with the accelerometer and requires that the phone be kept on your mattress. The second mode uses sound to monitor your motion and requires having the phone on a nightstand next to the bed.

With either mode, Sleep Cycle evaluates the data to track your time in each sleep stage. Its smart alarm then wakes you up based on indications that you are in the lighter phases of the sleep cycle.

The app provides graphs documenting your sleep, and the Premium version offers long-term sleep tracking, tips to improve sleep, online backup, and expanded features for easing into and out of sleep.

White Noise Apps

How Do White Noise Apps Work?

One important aspect of sleep hygiene is having a sleep environment that makes it easy to doze off. Unfortunately, noise, whether from the street outside, from a neighbor, or even from a creaky old house, can hinder our best efforts to fall asleep.

A white noise app creates a low-level sound that fills the background and minimizes those other noises. While you hear the noise produced by the app, it is consistent and non-intrusive, creating a sleep setting with fewer disruptions.

The sounds from a white noise app can be varied. Most apps offer several types of sounds to select from. These can be fan-like whirring noises, nature sounds, calming music, and many others.

Why Use a White Noise App?

The point of a white noise app is to create a stable background sound that drowns out other noises that might bother you.

White noise machines perform the same function, but these devices take up space and can be expensive. White noise machines can be harder to travel with as well. For these reasons, many people benefit from a white noise app on their smartphone.

What Are the Best White Noise Apps?

myNoise

Availability: iOS, Android
Price: Free With In-App Purchases; $8.99 for expanded sound options

The myNoise app offers an impressive array of sounds to create a relaxing environment for sleep, work, or relaxation.

The free version comes with eight sound options: White Noise, Rain Noise, Ocean Noise, Binaural Beats, Spring Walk, Temple Bells, Tibetan Choir and Warp Speed. Dozens of other sounds can be unlocked by purchasing the Premium version.

Each sound comes with custom generators, which are a series of sliders that allow you to adjust the characteristics of the sound to best fit your needs and preferences.

 

Sleep Pillow White Noise by Fitness22

Availability: iOS, Android
Price: $2.99 to $19.99

The Sleep Pillow White Noise app for iOS and Android offers over 70 different soothing, natural sounds along with the ability to mix sounds to create thousands of possible combinations.

Alarm clock and sleep timer features let you easily use this program to coincide with when you want to wake up in the morning or fall asleep at night.

The cost of the app depends on the number of sounds that you want at your disposal.

Blue Light Filtering Apps

How Do Blue Light Filtering Apps Work?

Blue light is a spectrum of light produced at higher levels by devices such as mobile phones and laptops. Unfortunately, exposure to blue light in the evening can interrupt our circadian rhythm that helps regulate our sleep.

Specifically, blue light can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that the body produces to help ease us comfortably into sleep.

A blue light filtering app reduces the amount of blue light that is produced by your phone. It is designed to be used in the evening and closer to bedtime.

The iOS used on Apple products now comes with a standard “Night Shift” mode that works as a blue light filter. Some Android devices may have this as a built-in feature.

Why Use a Blue Light Filtering App?

Many experts recommend reducing our exposure to blue light before bed. Often, they advise not using your phone for an hour or more before bedtime.

For many people, though, it may not be feasible or convenient to fully stop using their phone in the evening. For that reason, a blue light filter can permit use of a phone without as much harmful exposure to blue light.

If you don’t have iOS with Night Shift mode or an Android phone with a pre-installed blue light filter, a blue light filtering app is generally the easiest and most cost-effective means of decreasing your blue light before bed.

What is the Best Blue Light Filtering App?

Blue Light Filter by Leap Fitness Group

Availability: Android
Price: Free With Ads; Ad-free version costs up to $2.99

The Blue Light Filter app lets you use your phone in Night Mode with dramatically decreased blue light levels.

The app allows you to adjust your own settings so that light can be configured based on your preferences. This can reduce eye strain and improve your phone’s battery.

Dream Journal Apps

How Do Dream Journal Apps Work?

Dream journal apps are focused predominantly on lucid dreaming. A lucid dream is one in which you are actively aware that you are dreaming. Some people intentionally try to engage in lucid dreaming.

Dream journal apps provide a place to store information about your dreams and to keep that information saved and protected. Apps may provide prompts for lucid dreaming or tools to help analyze your dreams.

Why Use a Dream Journal App?

Many people put serious effort into lucid dreaming and trying to ascertain what insights can be derived from those dreams. A dream journal app can add efficiency to that process and make it easier to record, save, and review your dreams.

While these apps are ideal for people focused on lucid dreaming, many of the features are useful for people who only want to record regular dreams in a simple and easy way.

What Are the Best Dream Journal Apps?

Awoken

Availability: Android
Price: Free With Ads/In-App Purchases; Premium version for up to $1.99

The Awoken app has numerous features that can enhance the experience of lucid dreaming. It can give “reality checks” with built-in sounds and uses speech-to-text to take down details of your dreams without you having to be awake enough to type.

The app provides a prompt to record your dreams each morning, backs up your descriptions of your dreams, and offers the ability to analyze your dream records for patterns.

Capture

Availability: iOS
Price: Free With In-App Purchases; Full version for $3.99

Capture works with iOS and offers space to record, store, and analyze dreams. For people focused on lucid dreaming, it offers reality checks and music designed to help induce dreaming.

Meditation Apps

How Do Meditation Apps Work?

Meditation apps provide tools to help you make meditation a regular practice. This can include specific guided meditations for different situations, including going to bed, and meditation tracking and reminders.

Many meditation apps allow you to download guided meditations to use offline and to choose among meditations of different lengths.

Why Use a Meditation App?

Meditation has a range of potential health benefits. It can improve breathing, enhance mindfulness, reduce stress, and for many people, help in falling asleep.

Many people struggle to fall asleep because they feel that their mind is racing. This can create anxiety around sleep and contribute to serious sleep issues.

Meditation can help calm the mind, but knowing where to start with meditation can be a challenge. A meditation app offers an easy introduction and makes it simpler to incorporate meditation into daily routines.

What Are the Best Meditation Apps?

Headspace

Availability: iOS, Android
Price: Free Trial With Subscription Options

Headspace is one of the most popular meditation apps and for good reason. It boasts a broad collection of guided meditations for different lengths and settings.

The interface of the app is easy to use, and meditations can be downloaded for listening offline. A Basics course is available for free and is ideal for people who are new to mediation.

Access to all of Headspace’s meditation content costs $95.88 for a year or $12.99/month if you would rather have a month-to-month subscription.

Calm

Availability: iOS, Android
Price: Free Trial With Subscription Options

Calm provides a wide range of features to enhance tranquility throughout the day, and a number of the apps resources are designed for achieving relaxation before going to bed. Sleep stories, guided meditations, stretching programs, and tailored music tracks are just some of the features offered by this app.

Calm has a low-key, intuitive interface and expands its content regularly. A free trial lets you explore the app, which includes introductory programs for people just starting to meditate.

A monthly subscription costs $12.99, an annual subscription is $69.99, and a lifetime subscription can be purchased for $299.99.

The Breathing App

Availability: iOS, Android
Price: Free

The Breathing App is a basic, no-frills tool to help regulate your breathing. It does not provide guided meditations or track metrics. Instead, it helps direct breathing based on the amount of time and breath ratio that you choose.

The app was developed in conjunction with Deepak Chopra, M.D. and is intended to promote the kind of breathing commonly associated with yoga practice.

Snoring Tracking Apps

How Do Snoring Tracking Apps Work?

Snoring tracking apps record you during the night to detect the severity of your snoring. They often can allow you to listen to a recording of your snoring.

Most of these apps utilize algorithms to help you understand how often you snore, the degree of that snoring, and what that illustrates with regard to broader trends in your sleep.

Why Use a Snoring Tracking App?

Because it happens while you’re asleep, it can be hard to know how much you snore or if you’re even snoring at all. A snoring tracking app fills in this information gap.

Chronic snoring can be a sign of other problems, including obstructive sleep apnea, and a snoring tracking app may be able to help identify if you need to talk with your doctor about snoring.

What is the Best Snoring Tracking App?

SnoreLab

Availability: iOS, Android
Price: Free With In-App Purchases; Premium version for up to $9.99

To use the SnoreLab app, you can simply place your phone next to your bed and let it record. The app analyzes your recordings to produce a nightly Snore Score.

Metrics can identify trends in your nightly snoring, and the app lets you hear the snoring for yourself.

The app has a free version, but the Premium version, which costs up to $9.99, is better suited for extended use and for eliminating advertisements.

Pediatric Sleep Apps

How Do Pediatric Sleep Apps Work?

Pediatric sleep apps are meant for babies and toddlers and often have a range of features. These features can include soothing sounds or stories to help a child fall asleep as well as noise and sleep tracking functions.

Why Use a Pediatric Sleep App?

It’s no secret that one of the biggest preoccupations of parents the world-over is their children’s sleep. Getting sound, quality sleep is important for the well-being of kids and their parents.

A sleep app can help infants, babies, and toddlers to develop quality bedtime routines. It can give parents data about how well their kids are sleeping and provide tools to promote a night with fewer sleep disruptions.

What Are the Best Pediatric Sleep Apps?

Sound Sleeper

Availability: iOS, Android
Price: Free Trial With Subscriptions of $1.99 to $14.99

The Sound Sleeper app employs several features to help your child sleep. Comforting sounds provide background noise to help them relax and ease into bedtime. A “Listen Mode” detects if your child starts to cry and plays these soothing sounds to help prevent a full-fledged wake-up.

The app collects the data from your child’s sleep to form graphs that can let you track how your child’s sleep has changed over time including in relation to their age and important growth milestones.

You can test the app out for free, but to use the full version with all the features, you’ll need a subscription that ranges in length from one month to a lifetime at prices from $1.99 to $14.99.

Nighty Night

Availability: iOS, Android
Price: $0.99 to $2.99 depending on content

Nighty Night is an app for iOS and Android that centers around an animated bedtime story about animals going to sleep. It is meant for toddlers, ages 2 and up, and reinforces the importance of sleep through warm and engaging drawings.

The app is available in multiple languages, has an autoplay feature, can be used in a summer and winter mode, and includes 13 stories with interactive animals. The price varies based on which content you purchase.