How do they work and what are the best applications for Android and iPhone to sleep better and wake up rested?
Insomnia is a serious health problem of mental and emotional origins that afflicts many people and, in particular, one in 5 young people in Italy. The blame for a bad sleep is also attributed to modern technologies, in particular computers and smartphones, but also online games and social networks: these literally take away the sleep of young people, and many people by spending whole nights in front of the screens. Technology alone can offer help to sleep better and wake up refreshed using some apps designed to sleep well.
Let’s see the best ones together with an app for iPhone and Android to sleep better so you can fall asleep earlier, get a regular sleep of at least 8 hours and get an effective deep sleep phase to be able to wake up well.
Stages of sleep
Sleeping isn’t that simple, it’s not just about closing your eyes and turning off your mind. Sleep is made up of about 4 phases:
- Phase N1: a transition period between wakefulness and sleep, which lasts about 5-10 minutes. Anything can wake us up at this stage, even body contractions and sudden involuntary movements.
- Phase N2: rhythmic brain activity that lasts for 50% of the entire sleep cycle, also called light sleep. The body temperature begins to drop and the heart rate slows down.
- Phase N3: deep sleep with strong delta waves.
- REM phase: a strange state in which the body is paralyzed, but the brain and body functions are active and where one also dreams intensely.
These phases do not occur in sequence so the N3 can be followed by other N2 and it is also possible to have only light sleep (N2) for the duration of sleep, without ever passing into a dream or deep sleep phase.
However, for most people, a sleep cycle is completed in 90 minutes after falling asleep. If you wake up in full sleep, in REM sleep, or during deep sleep, fatigue will dominate: we will be stunned and not very rested, even if we have already been sleeping for 6 hours. The period of light sleep, on the other hand, is the perfect time to wake up.
How to sleep monitoring apps work
Now let’s see how the apps that monitor sleep and help you fall asleep work. Before going to sleep we need to open the application and place the device on one side of the bed; it must also be connected to the power supply, to avoid draining the whole battery.
For the first few nights, the app wakes up at the set time and calibrates its sensors, which will detect our phases of light sleep and deep sleep. After a few days the apps will be able to wake us up at the best time (during the last light sleep cycle) so that we feel refreshed and fit.
These apps don’t work well if you share a bed with another person. Since her movements will also be recorded there may be false readings of the waking periods and therefore wake us up at the wrong time. This depends on how and how much our partner moves during sleep. Finally, these applications need the flexibility of at least 30 minutes which is a time window for the alarm and will not suit those who have to get up at a specified and fixed time.
Sleep Tracking App
In this chapter, we have collected applications for iPhone and Android that can manage sleep and alarm clock. The apps can be used by configuring the phone for sleep tracking and setting an alarm; other driving apps offer sounds for falling asleep or waking up at the right time without jolts due to annoying alarm sounds.
1) Sleepbotfor iPhone and Android is a free sleep tracking app, described as one of the best apps for monitoring sleep at night and syncing data even with wearable devices.
2) Sleep Tracker: Sleep Cycle Recorder for Android And iPhone, is a free app that allows you to develop regular sleep habits so you can sleep better. Recommended for those who often stay up late, for those suffering from insomnia, anxiety and for those who lead an irregular life, they can use this innovative tool (awarded among the best apps of 2020), with sleep monitoring, with sounds for falling asleep and for relaxation and smart wake up to wake up softly.
3) Pzizz is an app for Android And iPhone which plays a different soundtrack each time it is used indicated to help fall asleep. Pzizz states that he can “solve the insomnia problem by using his random algorithm by using over 100 billion combinations that it is impossible to hear the same song twice.
4) Pillow, only for iPhone and iPad is a free app that integrates with the Health and iCloud app and offers many functions. The app is perfect for comparing sleep with other data on our health, to get an overview of our state. It also allows you to wake up at the optimal time with a sweet sound (it is also possible to set the “nap” mode for short rests of 20 minutes). When awake, you can view sleep statistics and hear recorded noises you make during the night.
5) Sleep as Android is an application only for Android phones that you can try for free to check your sleep. This is the most successful app on the Google Play store of this type and was originally just a smart alarm clock. Now it has become an app that manages sleep during the night, cradling the person until he gently awakens. It is possible to record how well you sleep during the night, determine the amount of hours of sleep that was considered “deep”, use alarm clocks with gradual volume, and generate sounds to relax and fall asleep. With many statistics and graphics, the app is able to establish the ideal time to go to bed and to wake up rested.
6) Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock is an app only for iPhone and iPad and for Android, free. With this application, you have to put your mobile phone under your pillow because the app tracks your sleep cycle and wakes you up at the right time when you leave the REM cycle. Sleep Cycle isn’t as feature-rich as Sleep As Android, but it also has lots of instructions on how to place the device on the bed and takes advantage of the iPhone’s sensors flat.
7) Snore Control is a free app only for android that records snoring and words spoken during sleep. The beauty of this application is that, compared to a normal voice recorder, it is activated only when you say something and does not necessarily record the whole night.
8) Sleep Tracker: Sleep Cycle Recorder is a sleep monitoring app awarded in 2021 among the best of the year. Thanks to this application you can fall asleep easier and faster with relaxing music, track your sleep cycle, and set an intelligent alarm that helps you wake up without worries.
9) BetterSleep for Android and for iPhone. This is not a sleep aid app but a music app specializing in relaxing music and nature sounds. Thanks to the natural and calm sound effects it relaxes your mind until you fall asleep. The app has a sleep timer and can automatically turn off your mobile after a set amount of time so you don’t have to keep the music on all night.
10) Sleepo for Android is an app for listening to relaxing sounds that promote sleep. There are rain sounds, nature sounds, city sounds, and meditation sounds.
11) Smart Sleep Manager (Android only) monitors our sleep during the night, records activities, and sets the alarm to sound around the indicated time, only when a phase of deep sleep is not interrupted.
13) Sounds for sleep only for Android, is an application with soothing sounds that make you fall asleep.
Use a smart band to monitor sleep
If we sleep with a spouse or partner, it is never convenient to use these apps in the “bedside” configuration, since the readings will be very inaccurate. In this case, we can use an inexpensive smartband like the Xiaomi Mi Band to detect sleep phases and wake up at the right time, rested and ready to face the day.
The app dedicated to this smartband called Fit me (available for Android And iPhone) monitors the sleep of a single person in real-time by obtaining heart rate and saturation data, in order to obtain a precise graph of the phases of light sleep and heavy sleep.
Before installing the sleep apps, let’s get a smartband and its monitoring app, then we enable continuous sleep monitoring: we will thus obtain very precise data to share with the actual sleep apps.
After using the specific sleep monitoring app on the smartband we can retrieve the time to set the alarm always choosing the last phase of light sleep (shown in the sleep apps clearly).
Using the sleep analysis apps we can always wake up at the most congenial time and get the maximum rest. Waking up in the final phase of light sleep we will be able to face the day in a different way, more rested and with more energy. For monitoring, we can use both the direct sleep monitoring apps (which work via microphone or gyroscopic sensor) and the sensors of a smartband like the Mi Band which automatically retrieve sleep data while we sleep without having to leave the phone always on.
On the same topic, we can read our guide on how to find out when to go to bed to wake up refreshed and what are the best apps to relax, meditate and feel good.