The power of sleep can’t be overstated. Not getting enough of it can increase stress levels, risk of illness and depressed mood, weight gain and forgetfulness. We know sleep is good for us, but if you’re used to lying awake in bed, you’ll know how frustrating getting to sleep can be.
While technology often gets a bad rap as far as sleep is concerned, it can actually help us drift off. Research has shown that meditation can improve sleep quality, which is why downloading a meditation app can be beneficial.
Here are five meditation apps we recommend for a restful night.
Read through the many glowing reviews of Headspace and you’ll see mentions of how the app has helped its users with insomnia and night-time restlessness. Sleep by Headspace is an offshoot of the popular app, specifically focused on snoozing.
From its dark colour palette, which is designed to be kinder to tired eyes, the app has been carefully crafted to include sleep meditations, sleep music and ‘sleepcasts’ (soothing guided tours of places such as a desert at night or a serene lake).
Glo offers online yoga, Pilates and meditation classes via their app. There are over 500 meditation classes you can do, led by different teachers from across the world.
With audio and video meditations available, you can also choose classes based on your experience level, the amount of time you have and what you’re looking to gain from them. Audio meditations are preferable when it comes to drifting off, with numerous sleep-focused meditations to listen to such as ‘Guide Yourself to Sleep’ and ‘Reclined Relaxation for Sound Sleep’.
To tailor the Calm app to meet your needs, choose ‘Better Sleep’ from the dropdown list when you sign up. A basic membership is free, while a paid premium membership gives you access to Sleep Stories as well as a wider range of guided meditations.
Calm’s Sleep Stories is what really sets the app apart. With a wide range of big names (including actors Matthew McConaughey, Stephen Fry and Lucy Liu) reading out bedtime stories, these have proved so popular that Sleep Stories already have had over 150 million listens.
There are more guided meditations on Insight Timer than anywhere else and they’re conveniently categorised so you can easily find what you’re after. They have over 1400 free guided meditations in the Improve Your Sleep category, all of which have been rated by users so you can see which are the most popular.
The Insight Timer app contains sleep music, such as delta waves and ocean sounds, and sleep talks. It also offers ten-day online courses designed to help you improve your sleeping patterns.
This homegrown app launched in 2012 after being developed by psychologists and educators. It’s free to use, with Smiling Mind being a 100% not-for-profit organisation.
When you log in, you’ll be asked to check in with yourself. Choosing from a sliding scale of how happy, content and alert you feel, you’ll be given meditation options to suit, such as a body scan practice. A body scan meditation can prepare your body for sleep, making you aware of your head resting on your pillow and your body well supported by your mattress.