Between wearables, sleep trackers, and other accessories, today's sleep technology can help you fall asleep and stay asleep better than ever. Here is a roundup of our favorite sleep technology devices currently on the market.
If you search for sleep apps on your smartphone, the number of apps that appear can be overwhelming. To make the decision a little bit easier, we have listed out some of the most popular sleep apps that help you get to sleep and track how well you’re sleeping.
Sound apps offer music and nature sounds, bedtime stories, breathing exercises, ASMR sounds, as well as guided meditation to help you de-stress and fall asleep. Some of them even have alarm clocks to gently wake you. Here are some of the most popular sound apps for sleep:
Headspace is a medication-focused sleep app that helps you become mindful and less stressed; in turn, helping you relax before bed. If you’re new at meditation and mindfulness, don’t worry because it will walk you through the steps. It also offers music and sounds, and lets you track your mindfulness each night. It’s initially free and offers in-app purchases.
Pzizz uses a combination of music and other sounds to help you relax and is known to help people to fall asleep fast. The sounds change each night so you won’t get bored. It also allows you to wake up gently to music. This sleep app does have a free version, but offers in-app purchases.
Slumber offers guided meditations, ASMR sounds, stories, and other relaxing sounds to guide you into sleep. It also has bedtime stories for kids and meditation that guides you through mindfulness and gratitude practices to calm you. This sleep app is also free with in-app purchases.
Calm, like many of the sound apps, has sleep stories and different relaxing sounds to choose from. It also offers guided breathing exercises to help you relax, as well as guided meditation for people of all skill levels. It does have a free version, but lets you upgrade for even more features.
Sleep Tracking Apps
These sleep apps claim they can help you track how well you’re sleeping. Unlike wearable sleep technology devices, these sleep apps cannot track your heart rate and respiration. They mostly track noise and movement in the room and work best if you sleep alone because there are no other distractions. If you want to track your sleep to see if there are issues that need to be researched in further detail, this sleep app is the one for you. For best results, place your smartphone right next to your bed.
Sleep Cycleis a sleep app that offers stories to help you fall asleep and track your sleep quality. It also has an alarm feature that will wake you up while you’re in light sleep to help you feel rested during your waking hours. To use the Sleep Cycle app, turn it on before bedtime and place it on your nightstand.
Sleep Score is a sleep app that can help you fall asleep. It offers an alarm and also lets you input personalized sleep goals. Sleep Score can give you advice on how to sleep better based on how you’re sleeping and offers you a detailed report you can share with your doctor.
If you think you may snore or want to figure out the severity of your snoring, there are several sleep apps for that. These apps also let you document other factors that may contribute to snoring like: alcohol intake, medications, diet, stress, physical activity, and more. However, just like the other sleep tracking apps, they may pick up noise from a partner if you aren’t sleeping alone. Here are a few snore apps you can try.
SnoreLab is a sleep app used by millions of people that have fallen in love with one of its greatest features: ease of use. You just set your smartphone next to your bed while you sleep and in the morning you’ll get a “snore score.” It can even record sound samples of your snoring and measure snoring intensity. Another bonus of this sleep app is that it’s free to use.
Prime Sleep Recorder records and tracks your snoring and sleep talking. From the data, the sleep app creates a graph based on noise in the room during the night. You can also add your own notes, such as your mood or other lifestyle factors (stress levels, alcohol intake, etc.). It is free to use.
Snore Control is another sleep app that can record and track your snoring. It also makes a graph of the data collected and you can add your own notes as well. This sleep app is free.
DreamMapper is a sleep app designed by Philips for those that wear a CPAP device for sleep apnea. It’s compatible with a number of Philips PAP devices. It’s a great sleep app for those who are new to CPAP or for those who want to improve their sleep while using their CPAP devices. It can give you feedback on how your therapy is progressing, allows you to set goals for yourself, and can give you tips on getting used to your machine. Additionally, this sleep app can provide tips and reminders on how and when to care for and clean your equipment.
Wearable Sleep Trackers
Sleep trackers that you can wear on your body may actually be more effective than a phone that sits on your nightstand. These sleep trackers are worn on your wrist, fingers, and head and can track things like movement and heart rate. Here are some of the best sleep trackers on the market.
Smart Watches, including the Apple Watch, Withings, and FitBit, can track your heart rate, sound, and body movement while wearing the device. You’ll be able to use your smartphone to see the data your watch has gathered about your sleep.
The Oura Ring is just what it sounds like, a ring worn on your finger. It can track your total sleep, sleep stages, heart rate, body temperature, as well as respiratory rate. The Oura ring, just like Smart Watches, isn’t only used during sleep. They can also track activity, steps, distance, and calories burned.
Philips SmartSleep is a soft headband made of foam. It has sensors that attach to your forehead and ears to measure your brain activity. It not only monitors your total sleep, but also the stages of sleep you’re in throughout the night. Along with tracking deep sleep, this headband can help give you a better quality of deep sleep by adding quiet tones, set just for you. These tones are designed to help you in your deep sleep without waking you up. Philips has also developed a sleep app to use along with the SmartSleep headband, called SleepMapper. With the app, you can see your sleep improvements over time and read advice on how to sleep even better.
If a wearable sleep technology device doesn’t sound like something you want, there are now devices you can put under your mattress that track your sleep. Check out these trackers to learn what may work best for you.
Luna tracks your heart rate, respiration, and can even change the temperature of your bed by cooling it throughout the night for optimal sleep.
Withings Aura Smart Sleep System is a system that fits under your mattress and comes with a light and sound device that sits at your bed, helping you to fall asleep. It offers an alarm to help you wake up while you’re in a light sleep so you feel rested. It can also track the noise in the room.
Sleep Space RestOn is a sleep technology device that fits on top of your mattress, just beneath your fitted sheet. It tracks body movement, heart rate, respiratory rate, and also claims to track your sleep cycles.
All of these sleep technology devices and sleep apps are a good place to begin if you want to sleep better or track your sleep. It’s important to know that while many of these devices are able to track heart rate and respirations, they cannot be used for medical purposes and cannot diagnose sleep apnea or any other sleep conditions. 1
However, the information you obtain from these sleep apps and sleep technology devices can be shared with your doctor for further review. If you are having trouble sleeping or think you may have a sleep disorder, share your information with your doctor. He or she can determine if you need further testing such as a sleep study in a sleep lab.
Ong, A. A., & Gillespie, M. B. (2016). Overview of smartphone applications for sleep analysis. World journal of otorhinolaryngology - head and neck surgery, 2(1), 45–49. doi:10.1016/j.wjorl.2016.02.001