The Best Apps to Help You Fall Asleep

Don't sleep on these.

Unsplash / Alexander Possingham

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]

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