According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, adults should get at least 7 hours of quality sleep1 each night to maintain optimum health. Children2 have their own special sleep needs, which vary with age. Research3 indicates that one in three Americans report subpar sleep, representing almost 110 million of the country’s total population4. On a global scale, Americans are among the top five nationalities5 that experience sleep issues.
Problems sleeping can be due to various factors, including excessive light or noise, stress or anxiety6, an uncomfortable sleeping environment or one of more than 80 sleep disorders7. Indeed, estimates suggest that between 50 and 70 million Americans8 have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, insomnia and narcolepsy9.
Aside from medical treatment, there are several tactics you can try to help improve your sleep, including improving your sleep setting and routine, limiting stimulants, and using aromatherapy. Additionally, several apps can help improve your sleep quality, including those that help you fall asleep, those that help you remain sleep and those that monitor your sleep and vital signs. The most popular and top-rated sleep apps include:
The Calm10 app is compatible with most Apple and Android phones and tablets. The app features a wide choice of relaxing stories to lull listeners to sleep. All tales feature a peaceful story line and soothing narration. They promote a sense of comfort and security11, allowing listeners to switch off from other thoughts and focus on the story before drifting off into a peaceful sleep.
Similar to bedtime reading12, specially designed bedtime audio stories can provide a distraction from daily stresses and strains, improve sleep quality, help people stay asleep for longer and ease insomnia. Audio books have the added benefit of being more widely accessible. People can also snuggle in bed with the lights off, getting comfortable for sleep, rather than needing to keep a light on, hold a book and focus on actually reading. Bedtime stories also help to create beneficial sleep routines for people of all ages.
The Calm app also has restful guided meditation programs, which can help to lower stress, relieve anxiety and promote overall well-being13, all of which are essential for good sleep14.Noisli
The easy-to-use Noisli15 app is available for Apple and Android devices. It provides access to an array of sounds that help listeners block out other noise or simply focus on sounds they find pleasant and soothing. While some sounds are designed to boost productivity and help listeners focus on work, others are geared toward relaxation. Sounds include the gentle whooshing of a train, the chatter of a coffee shop, the lull of the ocean and tinkling rain. Known as pink noise16, studies have found that such noise can promote deep sleep17.
The app also features white noise18, which combines sounds at different audible frequencies for a uniform sound, like the static buzz-hiss of a TV or radio. This type of noise can mask other distracting sounds, such as traffic or pets, and may help listeners feel more in control of their sleep environment. Research suggests that listening to white noise can enhance the quality of sleep. 19RISE
Developed by a team of sleep experts at Rise Science, the RISE app20 focuses on creating healthier daytime habits for better quality sleep. Using circadian rhythms21 and the concept of sleep debt22 as a starting point, the app monitors sleep patterns to calculate an individual’s sleep debt and inform on sleep needs. The app makes tailored recommendations throughout the day to encourage healthier decisions for sleep. For example, it will advise when users should last consume caffeine during the day so as not to be too alert come bedtime23. It tells people when they should start winding down their day and preparing for bed, promoting a healthy sleep schedule24. Recommendations are based on a user’s biology, and the app aims to improve lifestyle choice for better sleep to ultimately improve daily energy levels and wellness.