Staying awake at night and hitting the snooze button in the morning is increasingly common in this modern era. From Netflix to Candy Crush, there are countless distractions just waiting to steal your time and attention away from your sleep.
Thankfully, there are plenty of free iOS apps and services that can relieve insomnia, so you don’t need to resort to pills or watch YouTube tutorials. The main apps and gadgets that I focus on are Pillow, Pillow, Alarmy, Math, and iOS widgets, Night mode.
Over the past week, I’ve tried 5 different iOS apps and gadgets on 5 different nights and rated my sleep on a scale of 1 to 10. Here’s what happened. This obviously doesn’t take much time to properly evaluate each app, but hopefully, it will give you a good idea of what to expect.
I’ve realized that a very important part of getting enough rest is waking up the right way. Most alarms hit you in a way that scares you when you wake up or play your favorite songs to the point of contention, but waking up can be exponentially less annoying with Mathe Alarm Clock.
Using Math, I was forced to solve a math problem before the alarm went off. While it was a little uncomfortable at first, it proved to be an effective technique for waking, and when I eventually turned off the alarm, my mind felt pleasantly awake.
I am ready to solve any puzzle that comes my way. This is definitely something to consider if you like puzzle games and have trouble waking up in the morning.
Advantages: Wake you up in the morning with a more active mind, adjustable math problems, and easy-to-use interface
Defect: Setting the difficulty on Very Easy allows the user to snooze through alarms, no sleep brain games and a slight variation of the alarm sound.
In my opinion, Pillow for iOS is definitely one of the coolest apps on the list. The software of this app uses the microphone for sleep analysis. One of the cool features this app offers is compatibility with Apple Watch and Apple Health.
Apple Watch compatibility means that all users have to do is get the app on their smartphone, put on the watch to bed, and Pillow will automatically detect and analyze sleep patterns.
One of the other cool features is a smart alarm clock that tracks sleep cycles and wakes you up automatically during your lightest sleep cycles. Even though I woke up before the alarm went off, I felt more rested than if I’d slept an extra twenty minutes.
One big problem I have with Pillow is that the app records audio events as you sleep. Snoring, sleep apnea, and sleep talking will all be recorded and added to the database for you to review or delete.
Personally, I don’t want any recordings of myself in any database, especially if I’m snoring or talking in my sleep! Without that aspect, this app would definitely be in my top 3.
Advantages: Sleep cycle tracking, different nap modes, white noise sounds, and Apple Watch/Apple Health compatibility.
Defect: Record voice during night sleep.
3. Night Shift
For 3rd location, I found Night shift mode is significantly more useful than other apps I’m using.
The Night Shift widget allows users to set a bedtime on their smartphone, and after that specified time, the phone screen will reduce the blue light emitted by the screen to create a warmer light effect. .
Blue light turns off the signals in your brain that tell your body to go to sleep, so a bright phone screen at 11:30 p.m. essentially tells your brain, “The sun is still up and it’s not time to sleep! “. This gadget goes against that principle, and the warmer colors help ensure you fall asleep faster.
My favorite part about Night Shift is its ease of use. To activate it, you just need to navigate to Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift, where you can set your sleep schedule and color temperature. Out of all the apps on the list, this one takes the least time to set up, so give it a try!
Advantages: Warmer colors on your phone make it easier to fall asleep.
Defect: Users are using their phones before going to bed, which always distracts you from sleeping.
2. Sleeping pillow [No longer available]
When it comes to sleep mode, you want something consistent and easy to use. Sleep Pillow is a white noise app that doesn’t have as many features as the others but gets the job done perfectly.
I found that the sound quality around Sleep Pillow far surpassed the competition. Some of my favorite features on Sleep Pillow include a fading alarm clock, a variety of white noises (crickets, oscillating fans, waves), and the ability to set favorite sleep playlists.
Most of the apps on the list offer a variation of white noise but I found when using this app I fell asleep much faster and slept well through the night. This app guarantees some of the best Z of my life after just one night of use, so I’d say it’s definitely worth a look.
Advantages: The highest quality white noise machine and lots of options for the free version of the app, Fade and Favourites.
Defect: Offers only white noise audio, more feature changes are needed instead of audio variations.
Alarmy is definitely my personal favorite. I had a hard time picking a winner in first place but Alarmy won. Although this app was rated by CNET, Gizmodo, and The Huffington Post as the world’s most annoying alarm app, it’s still the best.
Whether it’s shaking your phone, solving a math problem or guessing the order of a memory puzzle, Alarmy includes and perfects a lot of features from the other apps on this list.
The most notable feature of this app is location registration. All you need to do is set a location where your alarm will stop working and it will only go off when you take a picture of that location. I used the most common one, the bathroom sink.
Frustratingly, after I finished the bathroom sink, I didn’t need to hit the snooze button. I definitely got up. Alarmy also has a sleep sound (featured in Sleep Pillow) that creates a relaxing white noise to induce sleep. Alarmy is my favorite because it combines the best parts of each into one easy-to-use interface.
Advantages: Get all the major sleep aids from other apps in one complete package.
Defect: The location detection is still malfunctioning, the error will cause the alarm to continue to ring after the photo has been taken.
After a single night with any of these apps, there should be noticeable improvements in sleep quality. Finding a service to improve your sleep is a very personal and dynamic experience, and there is no “one size fits all” solution to getting a good night’s sleep.
Each app is geared toward a different type of person, so try them all out and see which best suits your lifestyle.
Sleep well. You deserved it.