I don’t know about you, but if I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I’m a mess the next day. Not only do I feel like I’m dragging my feet all day and nodding off at the computer, I also feel like I can’t remember simple things that happened the day before or even hold a decent conversation with someone.
I need my sleep, and a lot of it. Five or six hours a night isn’t going to cut it for me. I need a solid eight hours of good, quality sleep, and everyone else does too. In fact, there’s a lot of science to back up the importance of sleep, as a lack of adequate sleep can even be detrimental to your health!
As we all know, good health is important and staying healthy can help you save on expensive medical costs. But aside from popping sleeping pills, there’s an easier and drug-free way to help you get a restful sleep at night: with sleep apps.
Yes, it seems as though there’s an app for just about anything in life, and now there are a bunch of them that can actually help you catch those highly-coveted Z’s we’re all striving for. The best part is that many of them are completely free.
But before we dive into all these freebie apps we have available at our fingertips, let’s take a look at what can happen to us if we continue to lose valuable sleep at night.
Reasons Why Sleep is So Important
Here are just a handful of reasons why a good night’s sleep is crucial to our health.
1) Maintain a healthy weight. Millions of Americans struggle with their weight, and in some cases, it may be a lack of quality sleep that could be the culprit. Studies have actually shown a link between inadequate sleep and weight gain. Get this – short sleep duration is among the biggest risk factors for weight gain!
Why is that? Well, let’s start with the obvious: if you don’t get enough sleep, you likely won’t have as much energy. And without energy, you’ll have little motivation to exercise. Not only that, but researchers also say that a lack of sleep can negatively influence hormones, which can cause an increase in appetite and lead to eating more than the body needs to sustain itself.
2) Improve concentration and memory. If you don’t get enough sleep, your ability to focus and remember simple things can be compromised. That’s because sleep is essential for different aspects of brain health, and without it, your cognitive functions could suffer.
3) Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Believe it or not, you could actually have a higher chance of having a heart attack or stroke if you regularly skimp on your sleep every night. There are studies that have shown an association between lack of adequate, quality sleep and the risk of chronic health conditions, including heart disease and stroke. In order to minimize these risks, it’s recommended to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
4) Reduce the risk of diabetes. Not only can a lack of sleep put you at risk of compromised heart health, it could even make you more susceptible to developing diabetes. Research has shown that limited sleep can negatively impact blood sugar levels and reduce insulin sensitivity. In fact, healthy individuals can start showing signs of pre-diabetes in as little as one week of limited sleep.
The good news is that the effects of a lack of sleep when it comes to pre-diabetes symptoms can be alleviated after about a week of increased sleep duration.
5) Reduce the incidence of depression. There is a strong link between a lack of quality sleep and mental health disorders like depression. In fact, people who suffer from insomnia are about five times more likely to suffer from depression too. Further, inadequate sleep is even linked to a higher risk of suicidal thoughts.
6) Improve immunity. Immune function is crucial for obvious reasons, but you could be more vulnerable to poor immunity if you’re not getting the amount of sleep your body needs to stay healthy. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick from viruses that cause the common cold after an exposure to the virus, whereas those who get at least 8 hours of sleep at night are better able to fight off these harmful viruses.
Best Free Sleep Apps to Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep
So now that you know why your body desperately needs adequate sleep, you’ll probably want to know how to improve your sleep patterns. While you might want to check with your doctor, you can also incorporate some of these free sleep apps to help make things easier for you.
1. Sleep Cycle
This free sleep app tracks your sleep patterns and assesses them to see if you are in a deep sleep, light sleep, or REM sleep. From this information, the app will then determine the ideal wake time within a time frame that you set. When it’s time to get up, the free sleep app will gently wake you during your lightest phase of sleep so that you can get your day started feeling completely refreshed.
You can use the Statistics dashboard that shows graphs and an analysis of your sleep patterns and phases, and the Trends dashboard will give you more details of your sleep quality percentage. It will also show you your and sleep and wake-up times, and will even track and measure any snoring you might be doing at night.
2. Sleep Time
One of the more popular free sleep tracker apps is Sleep Time. This app makes use of an innovative algorithm that analyzes your sleep and gives you a lot of insights into your sleep cycle. Any time you move throughout the night, the app will detect such movements and come up with personalized data of your sleep phases in graph and chart form.
Once Sleep Time has the data it needs to come up with a pattern of your sleep cycles, it will establish an alarm to wake you during your lightest sleep phase and help you get up feeling refreshed. This is extremely helpful because when you wake up during a deep sleep phase, it can take your body over an hour to fully wake up, which will only leave you feeling tired for a longer period of time. When it’s time to get up, the app will set off gentle sounds to wake you.
Just the name of the app sounds so peaceful and appealing. Pillow is one of the best free sleep apps and serves as a sleep tracking and analysis tool and alarm clock that is based on studies on sleep. The state-of-the-art algorithm uses your movements and sounds throughout the night to get a clear indication of your entire sleep session. You’ll be given a diagram that plots each phase of your sleep, including times of deep sleep, light sleep, REM, and wakefulness.
From this information, you’ll then be given stats on your sleep sessions. The app even takes into consideration your weight, blood pressure, heart rate, caffeine or alcohol consumption, and the number of calories consumed that day (which you plug in yourself) in order to get an accurate measure of your sleep sessions.
Short for “digital pill,” this app is designed to help you gain more control over your sleep in order to feel more well-rested and rejuvenated the next day. This highly innovative app uses easy-to-understand language and sound to help modify your thinking and improve your overall well-being and state of mind.
Every “pill” offers a 30-minute treatment window, which you can choose based on your requirements. Once you make your selection, simply relax with your headphones on and your eyes closed, and the “pill” you’ve activated will start working its magic. Your first pill is free, with more pills available for purchase. You can also choose to subscribe in order to get unlimited access to all the pills in the pharmacy.
If you are dealing with insomnia, this app could be a great addition to whatever else you may be already doing to counter this sleep disorder. Relax Melody is an app that is designed to specifically target insomnia by inducing full relaxation in order to help you fall into a deep, restful sleep for the better part of the night.
This app comes with a library of relaxing sounds for you to choose from. You can even mix sounds together to create a fully customized melody to listen to when you’re ready to fall asleep and stay asleep all night long. There are also meditations that you can incorporate for an enhanced relaxing experience.
Free sleep tracker apps can make improving sleep that much easier. If you’ve got a smartphone or tablet, a good night’s sleep might only be a couple of clicks away thanks to these free sleep apps. Losing sleep is no joke, and it can be more than just an inconvenience. If you can make improvements that allow you to enjoy more sleep or a better quality of sleep every night, you can experience more energy, a clearer mind, and a healthier body. Download away!