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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.

The app also has a timer (to get the sounds to stop after a certain period), an alarm clock, and the ability to shake for a random melody or sound. You can favorite individual sounds by tapping a star, which moves the sound up to the top of the list so you can quickly choose it in the future, and you can create up to four preset sound mixes with the volume settings intact. The paid version of Relax and Sleep offers additional presets and custom alarms.

Sleep Bug--iOS, Windows Phone 8 (Free, $2 in-app purchase)
Windows Phone 8 users have no need to feel left out--Sleep Bug is a free sleep-aid app with a twist: Instead of a long list of mixable sounds, Sleep Bug features different "scenes," each of which has its own pretty background and themed sound components.

Let me elaborate: Sleep Bug offers 10 free scenes, including "beach," "music box," "zen garden," "river," and "jungle." Each scene has a pretty background, a base melody, and three to five additional sounds that can be mixed in to create a more unique experience. For example, in the jungle scene, there's a photo of a jungle, a background melody of birds and monkeys, and five additional sounds: parrots, frogs, jaguars, more monkeys, and drums. You can tap any of the additional sounds to toggle them on or off.

Like other sleep-aid apps, Sleep Bug has a timer feature so you don't have to leave the sound running all night. The only minor drawback of Sleep Bug is that you can only mix scene sounds--you can't create an incongruent mix, such as jaguars in a lightning storm at the beach. However, Sleep Bug does offer 12 additional scenes for $1.99, including "horror," "city," "sci-fi," and "airport."

Wake up rested
Getting to sleep is only one part of the equation. Sleeping restfully--that is, without tossing and turning all night--and waking up well-rested is the other part. These apps will not only track your sleep at night (to determine whether you're getting a good night's sleep), they'll also use this information to set an "intelligent alarm," which wakes you up when you're most ready to greet the day.

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock--iOS ($1)

One of the best sleep-tracking apps out there, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock turns your phone into an intelligent, motion-sensing sleep-tracking device. To use Sleep Tracker Alarm Clock, just turn the app on when you go to bed and lay your iPhone on your mattress (preferably while it's plugged in--this app does tend to suck battery life).

Throughout the night, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock will record your movements as you sleep and it will use this data to determine how "good" your sleep is. In the morning, you'll be able to see a chart that shows you how much time you spent in "deep sleep" (little movement), as opposed to being almost awake.


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