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5 apps to help you get a great night's sleep

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | May 29, 2013
Modern technology beats drinking warm milk any day.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 95 percent of people use smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other devices in the hour before they go to sleep. And if you're like most of the modern world, you probably also sleep within reach of your smartphone because you're likely using it as an alarm clock.

You're also likely using your smartphone as a quick way to get caught up with news and emails in the morning (and before bed, and when you get up in the middle of the night). Is it any wonder that the NSF's study also showed that 60 percent of people who use devices before sleeping reported sleep-related problems, such as snoring and feeling tired in the morning?

Maybe it's time to make your phone start working for you. Instead of ditching your bedside companion, why not download some sleep-related apps to help you get a solid night's sleep?

Go to sleep

If you're having trouble getting to sleep, you may want to try out a sleep-aid app. These apps are usually audio-mixing apps with a preset library of soothing sounds, such as flowing water, beachy waves, and crickets.

Sleep Pillow--iOS ($2)

iPhone users looking for sleep-aid apps can check out Sleep Pillow, a cute, well-made white-noise app. The free version of the app offers nine soothing sounds, including waves, birds and frogs, and whale songs, while the paid version offers 70 different sounds.

To play a sound in Sleep Pillow, just tap  its photo. To mix sounds, you can go to the Mixes tab to mix up to three different sounds (and set individual volumes for each). You can then save your mix to the main Sleep Pillow screen, and play that mix at any time. Sleep Pillow offers a shortlist for favorite sounds, a sleep timer that lets you choose when the sounds will stop playing (up to 1 hour 59 minutes in the free version, 12 hours in the paid version), and an alarm clock (paid version only).

Relax and Sleep--Android ($2)
Android users should check out Relax and Sleep, a sound-mixing app with a simple, easy-to-use interface. Relax and Sleep has over 50 unique sounds that play on a loop when selected, ranging from traditionally soothing sounds (ocean waves, birds, summer rain) to slightly less traditional sounds (vacuum cleaners, refrigerator fans, and air conditioning), which hopefully means that it's got something for everyone.

Relax and Sleep has several neat features: Not only can you play multiple sounds at once (although the app warns that playing more than five sounds at a time could cause your phone to slow down), you can also choose individual volume levels for each sound. If you're looking for crashing ocean waves and the soothing sound of a distant refrigerator fan...this is the app for you.


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