In our always-connected society, it can be a constant challenge to get enough sleep each night. In just the last two decades since the rise of the Internet, the amount the average person in the United States sleep has dropped by nearly 20%. This means many of us are now chronically sleep deprived and this can have a dramatic impact on our mood, our productivity and our performance in the gym.
Sleep is absolutely crucial for recovery, which means if you don’t get proper sleep after your workouts then you’re not going to be able to achieve your optimum level of performance. Getting enough high-quality sleep is crucial to a becoming a high-performance athlete.
If you find that you’re struggling to get optimal sleep each night then the first thing I recommend doing is installing the free Fl.ux app on your Mac or PC to reduce your exposure to the blue light of your computer screen, which interferes with your circadian rhythms and lowers the general quality of your sleep. You can also follow these sleep hacks to improve your sleep.
Your iPhone can also play a crucial role in improving your sleep and speeding up your recovery time. These iPhone apps for improving your sleep quality could be just the thing you need to take your athletic performance to the next level.
1. Sleep Cycle Alarm ($1.99)
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock is an intelligence alarm clock that analyzes your sleep and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase within a 30-minute window that ends at your set alarm time. This will improve your sleep by ensuring you don’t wake up mid-cycle, which means you will end up feeling less groggy and more rested each morning.
It also monitors and tracks how much time you spend in each of your sleep cycles (light sleep, deep sleep, REM) using the extremely sensitive accelerometer in your iPhone. You also get detailed sleep statistics and graphs to visualize your sleep quality over time.
2. SleepBot (Free)
SleepBot is an intuitive smart alarm and a free sleep cycle tracker that records your movements and sounds you make throughout the night. It has similar features to Sleep Cycle Alarm for tracking your sleep patterns and waking up in your light sleep phase but you can also listen to soothing ambient soundtracks that are designed to relax you so you can drift off to sleep faster.
3. Sleepio (Free)
Sleepio is an interactive sleep doctor that asks you questions about your sleep, lifestyle, stress, and habits. It then uses this data to create a personalized sleep program that is designed to improve your sleep based on science-based cognitive behavioural therapy.
The app was created by sleep expert Colin Espie, who is a professor at Oxford University. In clinical trials, Sleepio was shown to help long-term poor sleepers. On average, they fell asleep up to 50% faster, reduced their time awake by up to 60% and boosted their daytime energy by up to 50%. In the program, you learn a range of cognitive and behavioral techniques, designed to get your sleep schedule, thoughts and lifestyle into shape.
4. Relax Melodies (Free)
Listen to gentle tunes and relaxing sounds that will help lull you to sleep. The Relaxed Melodies app even provides relaxing images of scenery and nature to help calm your brain and drift off into slumber if that’s what you need.
The free version has 36 high-quality ambient sounds, including 3 binaural beats frequencies for brainwave entrainment. A great app for relaxing and quieting your mind so you can drift off to sleep.
5. Sleep Pillow Sounds ($1.99)
Sleep Pillow allows you to create and remix high-quality ambient sounds that will help you induce sleep faster. It also includes an evening sleep timer with a slow fade-out as well as an alarm clock with a slow fade-in for the mornings. It is similar to Relax Melodies but this app is also very popular and highly rated among iPhone users.
6. Deep Sleep With Andrew Johnson ($2.99)
An excellent series of guided sleep meditations by Andrew Johnson, a relaxation coach, clinical hypnotherapist, EFT therapist, and Reiki teacher from Scotland. His best-selling range of self-help programs have helped thousands of people around over the world regain control over stress symptoms, addictions, and bad habitual behavior.
7. Dreameo ($1.99)
This dream dictionary app provides a journal for your dreams analysis and interpretation so you can try to understand the meaning of your dreams. If you want to gain more self-awareness into your emotions, studying your dreams can be really powerful.
Dream journaling is the best way to consistently improve your dream recall and it can help you with lucid dreaming (where you “wake up” inside your dreams and can control them). Another sleep app called Dreamboard is also excellent for dream journaling.
8. Pillow (Free)
Pillow is an advanced sleep tracker with an intuitive design that tracks your sleep quality and has an innovative sleep analysis algorithm, based on the latest scientific findings in sleep research. It will also record the sounds you make during your sleep and wake you up at the optimal time in your light sleep phase.
The premium version of the app offers more in-depth sleep statistics, Apple Health integration, personalized recommendations and trackable sleep experiments you can conduct to optimize your sleep cycles.
This is the most advanced sleep tracking system I have discovered that syncs together with your iPhone. Beddit tracks your sleep using a digital strip that goes along your mattress (so you don’t have to wear anything). The strip accurately tracks your heart rate, respiration, sleep cycles, total sleep time and will provide the most accurate readings if you sleep nightly with your partner.
You can buy the Beddit sleep tracking system for $149.
If you’re having serious problems with your sleep or you’ve suffered from insomnia for a long time then SleepRate may be your best bet for solving your sleep issues. It unique selling feature is that it tracks noises from your environment or a snoring problem and it correlates these noises with your sleep patterns to identify if they are disrupting your sleep.
SleepRate works with a wearable heart rate monitoring system that integrates with a program of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTI) created by the world’s leading sleep researchers at Stanford University. You can buy their kit that comes with a Polar H7 heart rate sensor on the SleepRate website for $99, or you can use your own Bluetooth-compatible heart rate monitoring device.
If you’re really struggling with insomnia, you may want to try renowned clinical hypnotherapist Max Kirsten’s hypnosis app Insomnia Cure.
That’s a wrap! After trying out some of these sleep apps for iPhone, let me know which one you find the most helpful.