It’s harder than ever to get a good night’s sleep, thanks to a culture of overworking and the fact there are just too many damn shows to catch up on. Even our phones, the cute little helper robots Steve Jobs promised us would make our lives easier have some blame to shoulder. 77 percent of people say they sleep with their phone right next to them at night or in their hand, which can’t be good for you.

Well, it’s time to make your phone start working for you again, specifically in getting you a good night’s rest. If you’re not ready to turn your phone off at night and get a good ol’ fashioned alarm clock, there are still compromises to be had. Here are seven apps to help you relax and sleep well at night.

A note: while all of these options are affordable, and most “free”, we do, of course, live in the age of the “freemium” app. Most, if not all of these bad boys offer extra services and upgrades at varying prices. However, we’ve made sure their basic options are at least recommendable on their own merit also.

7. Stop, Breathe & Think

The only bad thing I can say about Stop, Breathe & Think is its horrifying abandonment of the Oxford Comma. In all other arenas, this is a well-made, well-maintained meditation app that really does work, and really will get you in a better mood before hitting the hay. Its guided meditations come as short as 5 minutes, and there are all kinds of moods and meditations to explore. [iOS App Store, Free]

6. Rain Rain Sleep Sounds

A great feature of Rain Rain is the ability it gives you to mix your own sounds for a perfectly personal, cultivated atmosphere. I’m partial to “laundry day”, which combines their “city rain”, “ticking clock”, and “tumble dryer” sounds. [iOS App Store, Free]

5. Pillow

Pillow is a sleep tracker specifically designed to help you improve your snooze. It works with your Apple Watch, if you have one of those, but does just as well without. By placing it under your pillow, it can use the phone’s gyroscope and clock to assess your sleep patterns, and wake you up at the optimal time within a designated alarm window. Smart! [iOS App Store, Free]

4. White Noise

Another white noise app, with a whole host of various customizable sounds. A sleeper hit (ha.) is the “airplane cabin” sound, which you would think wouldn’t work, but there’s something comforting about hearing the soft whoosh of a plane without being crammed into a terrible, tiny seat. [iOS App Store, $0.99]

3. Calm

It delivers what it promises! Calm combines the features of a meditation/mindfulness app with its own curated selection of nature sounds. [iOS App Store, Free]

2. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

Another app that analyzes your sleep patterns and wakes you up at just the right time. People swear by Sleep Cycle, and its five-star rating on the app store proves as much (It’s really hard to please people on the app store). Its steep markup for its premium features might be a turnoff for some, but just as many would (and do) argue it’s definitely worth it. [iOS App Store, Free]

1. Noisli

A beautifully-designed, minimalist app with one goal in mind: Nice noises. It works and its UI is a joy. What more do you need to know? [iOS App Store, $1.99]


Each day, it seems more and more unlikely that we’ll hit the World Health Organization’s goals for physical activity and reducing the “obesity epidemic.” While we won’t know for sure if we’ll miss the mark until 2025, thanks to research published in Nature Communications, we can start assigning blame now. If all else fails, we’ll just pin it on dad’s genes.

Two papers released Wednesday in Neuron delve deep into the way we perceive the world, revealing that we don’t actually register much of it. Our attention systems, the authors show, are extremely ill-equipped for modern society. Rather than take in the world in a constant stream of information, consciousness oscillates in and out of focus, meaning that what we think we know about the world has actually just been pieced together from limited information. Their estimates of how often we are actually focused suggest we don’t know much about the world at all.

From the U20 shot put world record holder to world class marathoners, there have been elite athletes over the years who have failed drug tests, despite not having doped a day in their lives.

These failed tests tarnish reputations, keep some from Olympic competition, and set back years of training, all because these athletes unknowingly ingested a banned substance that’s included in some pre-workout concoctions.

The yoga class adage of being fully in the moment while you contort your body on a mat may seem like a big ask for the less-flexible among us. However, a recent study spearheaded by a team at Wake Forest Medical School has compelling evidence that if you surrender to what may seem like a clichéd advice, you could reap some wonderful benefits, including the ability to feel less pain.

It’s safe to say that porn watching is widespread these days, but what we can’t say with certainty is how all that porn is changing the way we behave. Scientists still aren’t sure: Some suspect that porn seeds ideas into our heads about how sexual relationships are supposed to be, but few have been able to show this through research. Now, however, a study on a very niche type of porn in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture shows this phenomenon at work.