Next time you find yourself tossing and turning on a Sunday night, struggling to get to sleep, know that you're not alone. In fact, Mintel reports that half of all Brits say they typically have trouble drifting off. But how do you actually go about achieving those elusive seven hours of undisturbed rest?
It sounds counter-intuitive, but technology can actually give you a little help here. While it's wise to steer clear of any Instagram browsing just before you go to bed, tapping into the very best sleep apps can help you keep track of the habits that are detrimental to you catching Z's, and even send you into a drowsy state on restless nights.
The question is, which app is right for you? To save you precious time (better spent sleeping), we've put in the research to reveal the best sleep apps out there.
1. Sleep Better
It's a bit Big Brother, but Sleep Better tracks every moment in your day-to-day life. By day, you use it to keep a record of your daily habits, such as alcohol and caffeine consumption, and by night, the app monitors your sleep duration, efficiency, and cycle. Pretty quickly, it's easy to draw links between the kinds of food you eat (or the Sunday afternoon naps you have) and your struggles with switching off.
This clever, popular app works through your Apple Watch. It automatically tracks your sleep, wherever and whenever you drift off, so you can see how much rest you're really getting. It's especially handy for figuring out how long it takes you to fully fall asleep, so you know how early you need to go to bed in order to get proper rest.
3. Relax & Sleep Well by Glenn Harrold
Like a bedtime story for grown-ups, this app draws on the expertise of hypnotherapist, Glenn Harrold, to soothe you to sleep with free hypnotherapy and meditation recordings. You might think that a stranger chatting away through your earphones could be distracting, but that's because you haven't tried it yet. You'd be surprised at how quickly Relax & Sleep Well brings on that (more than welcome) drowsy feeling.
If you don't identify as a morning person, you honestly need theВ Sleeptime+ app. While it won't help you sleep, it will ensure that getting out of bed every day is just that little bit less painful. Place your phone by your bed, and SleepTime+ will analyze your individual sleeping pattern, then a smart alarm will wake you up when your sleep is at its lightest. Genius.
If you're in the habit of Googling ways to get a better night's sleep, you'll have probably heard about the link between using your phone before bed and struggling to drift off. Research suggests that exposure to blue light can heighten feelings of restlessness, and Apple has the problem covered with Night Shift; a built-in iPhone setting that shifts the colors on your screen to the warmer end of the spectrum. Android phones don't yet have this function, but Twilight does the trick. It adapts the light on your phone according to the time of day, filtering out blue light after sunset.