Technology has made monitoring, reporting and improving our sleep cycles easier than ever. You can do what once required doctors yourself now at home with your smartphone. It is nothing less than a sleep revolution.
The best sleep better apps monitor sounds, heart rate and movement to accurately pinpoint when you fall asleep, when you enter deep sleep and when you wake. This will help you determine how much time you are actually spending asleep and how many times you are disturbed in the night.
Top sleep apps also help you to export and interpret the results and, where required, make changes so you can enjoy healthy and well-balanced rest. We have also included apps that help you relax and calm you. Whether it is through sound, meditation or other tools, every little helps.
We have reviewed the latest smart sleep apps so you don’t have to. So, what’s the best sleep tracker app? The best app for insomniacs? Let’s find out.
SleepScore is heavy on science and data. It is available for iOS and Android and will please detail obsessives and chart junkies.
It’s not overly complicated though. Your night is assigned a sleepscore - making tracking improvements a cinch.
What We Liked About the SleepScore App
SleepScore seems backed by credible science. It uses a range of sensors, including sonar, to track how and when you sleep. The free version includes tracking and alarms, target setting, reminders and a seven-night sleep history. If you want to track yourself for longer, you need to pay but £49 a year seems good value especially as this includes doctors' reports.
What We Didn’t Like About the SleepScore App
Tracking needs to be switched on consciously every night. Forgetting will mess up your data. The ‘sonar’ tracking needs your phone to be positioned carefully and plugged in which might not suit every bedroom. It’s clearly been designed for the IoS operating system, with Android versions performing less well than you’d hope. Despite these niggles, it still is our favourite.
To state the obvious, SleepWatch by BodyMatter requires you to own an Apple Watch and wear it during the night. It is as simple as that.
The app collects everything you need automatically. You don’t have to input any data at all, just wear your watch to bed. The app does the rest.
What We Liked About The SleepWatch App
We liked SleepWatch’s analysis of length of sleep, type of sleep and variations in heart rate throughout the night. You can also track behaviour that might disrupt sleep like late-night snacking or consuming alcohol. If you have the right technology, SleepWatch is the easiest of our sleep quality apps to fit into your lifestyle and routine.
What We Didn’t Like About The SleepWatch App
While you can, apparently, use SleepWatch on other Apple Devices, it heavily relies on Apple Watch’s inbuilt motion recording and health monitoring functions to work fully. There are various membership levels, but no free option beyond a 7-day trial. Still, you might well consider the ease of use and detailed monitoring good value for money.
Another app that is best twinned with an Apple Watch, Sleep++ is a free app that is a great option if your goal is simply recording your sleep length and quality.
Lacking some of the analysis of other apps, Sleep++ nevertheless does a great job with the basics.
What We Liked About The Sleep++ App
The app records daily and average sleep times including how many hours were restful sleep compared to waking hours. It also gives you a sleep duration score so you can track changes over time. It may not be sophisticated, especially if not connected to an Apple Watch but it gets the job done.
What We Didn’t Like About The App
Sleep++ lacks key features. There are no smart alarms or light and sound monitoring. If you are trying to use this app without an Apple Watch, you’ll have to manually enter data which is no doubt a drag that will lead to inaccuracies. It’s basic, but it does everything you need it to.
Rejoice Android users. You haven’t been forgotten. PrimeNap is a free sleep tracker for Android phones. It provides all the sleep tracking data and charts you need that analyse your sleep length and quality. Like other sleep apps, it records your sleep based on movement but this can be tuned to mid-day naps as well as night-time sleeps.
What We Liked About The PrimeNap App
PrimeNap services android users well. It shares many features of expensive paid-for ads while remaining free. This includes the ability to export your data to share with others. It includes some unique features too. You can enjoy keeping a dream journal or playing ‘sleep sounds’ while you rest.
What We Didn’t Like About The PrimeNap Add
Reviews online state that PrimeNap’s smart alarms aren’t always accurate. There’s no automation either. It’s down to you, as the user, to turn it on and off. However, PrimeNap remains a great free Android app that can help if you are worried about healthy sleep patterns.
Noisili isn’t a sleep tracking app, but could have a major impact on how well you sleep. Noisili is an audio app that lulls users to sleep by playing comforting natural sounds at bedtime. Ocean waves, waterfalls, chirping birds or countless other options have a proven track record of helping those with insomnia to relax and drift off.
What We Liked About The Noisili App
Noisili is a library of 16 individual sounds represented, in a clever bit of design, by illustrations. Browse through rain clouds, a lightning bolt, birds, wind, trees, leaves and water then just tap and play. You can make and save your own combinations too.
What We Didn’t Like About Noisili App
Natural sounds are only one way to drift off to sleep. Noisili won’t help you if you like an urban soundscape, music or meditation. The design is basic and the shifting colours that take over the screen while your sound plays might distract rather than calm. If you find your thing, though, you’ll be hooked.
Headspace has a well-earned reputation as one of the best overall relaxation and calmness apps.
Famous for its mindfulness and guided meditation, the app also includes a range of sleeping aids such as guided meditation, wind-down exercises designed and relaxing music.
What We Liked About The HeadSpace App
Free Headspace users get a library of guided meditations and ‘Sleepcasts’ but the real magic is reserved for premium subscribers. Pay $12.99 a month and get access to a bulging library of different courses and shorter meditations - all aimed at helping you sleep.
What We Didn’t Like About The Headspace App
Headspace is not dedicated to sleep. It’s a much more general mental well-being package so you’re not getting the specialist support you might need. It won’t help you track or monitor your sleep, but it will, fans claim, calm you and put you in a restful frame of mind. All ready to nod off when the time comes.
Loona is another app that promises to relieve anxiety by providing calming activities. It promises to quiet racing thoughts by letting you create visual and audio immersive sleepscapes.
As such, Loona is promoted as one of the best sleep apps for insomnia.
What We Liked About The App
Loona is undoubtedly beautiful to look at. The immersive aspect of their output is impressive. It asks you about your tastes too. Which colours do you find relaxing? Which sounds? What are you looking to achieve? It’s not a passive experience either - you can interact with your chosen environment as you drift off to the land of nod.
What We Didn’t Like About The App
Choice can be stressful. There seems a contradiction between being asked questions as part of any relaxation process, but if you can get past that the cleverly designed sleepscapes do a great job of focusing the mind. You might have to focus your mind on the bill. At $13 a month, there’s a price for being chilled out.
Which is the Best Free Sleep App?
As always, it depends on what you are looking for. The best free sleep tracking app, in our minds, is Sleep++ or SleepWatch depending on your hardware. A free package with Headspace will work wonders for your mind. The simple answer is to try before you buy. Sleep is very personal. We are all different. It’s important to find the right tools for you and your routine.