All too often we’re told that our smartphones are a barrier to healthy sleep. Sitting in bed, illuminated by the pale glow of your screen, can keep your mind active just as you’re trying to shut down. However, Android offers a plethora of apps to help you get more and better shut eye, here we take a look at some of the top contenders.
Sleep as Android
This app was one of the first sleep trackers to attain big success in the Google Play store and has been adding new features and analysis for years. Sleep as Android began as a simple accelerometer monitoring device – you place it on your bed and by your night time movement get a graph of how you passed through various stages of sleep. You can set it to play soothing noises as you first fall asleep or when the app detects you are passing through a brief wakeful phase. Now the app can even be set to wake you up at an optimal time, help diagnose disorders like sleep apnea and automatically record your night time snoring or talking! Initial download is free with a 2 week trial, but you’ll have to fork out $2.99 for an activation code.
Some are sceptical of the benefits of self hypnosis – this app’s review on the Play Store reflect that. However this app can be really helpful for those that have trouble unwinding before bed. Sleep Hypnosis offers simple sleep advice in an incredibly relaxing voice, over white noise, which is supposed to clear the mind and help sleep come easier. If you find yourself worrying about work or other concerns as you attempt to sleep, this free app could be for you.
The environment you sleep is vitally important to the quality of your sleep. A comfortable sofa bed in a dark, quiet room can be just as restful as a plush 4 poster. Thicker curtains, less harsh lighting and even soundproofing can all help you find more peace at night. Although Android can’t make your mattress more comfortable, you can control a Philips Hue lighting system from your phone to create the perfect ambience in your pad. Speedy Hue ($1.10) is much more intuitive than the packaged Hue app and can help you quickly master your new lighting controls. You can simply group lights together and control them with the push of a button, or set up routines like gently dimming and raising ambient light as you sleep and wake.
Timely Alarm Clock
There are so many useful alarm apps on the Play Store its difficult to pick a clear favourite. However the beautiful interface and community popularity of Timely Alarm Clock led to the company being bought out by Google – a ringing endorsement. Timely Alarm Clock offers all the “standard” features but also cool extras – like cranking up the volume the longer you leave it, or a timer which makes you wake up and think before hitting the snooze button. What’s more, its completely free!
Do not Disturb
Your phone can become a 24 hour distraction, bringing you email pings and message alerts unceasingly. Do not Disturb allows you to cut out the noise at bedtime or other important events to keep your mind focused where it should be. Many phones already have a manual “no alerts” function but with DnD you can go much further, selecting time ranges and types of alerts to be blocked. You can maintain separate profiles for day, night and weekends; or as many as you choose and have them activate manually or at your command.