Better sleep: Apps and gadgets for 2017

Parinaz Samimi lists a few great sleep apps and gadgets for better work. 

Once thought of as an individual problem, insufficient sleep has become a public health dilemma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sleep disorders like insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea contribute to insufficient sleep in individuals, but across societal lines, many factors cause sleep insufficiency, including work schedules that go against the natural body clock and 24/7 access to technology.

Dangers resulting from insufficient sleep include motor vehicle crashes, occupational errors, and more. Additionally, insufficient sleep can be a symptom of chronic diseases like diabetes, depression, and high blood pressure.

While the temptation of technology may be one of the factors causing people to sleep less, many sleep apps and gadgets on the market can in fact help you get better-quality slumber. Here are ten great smart sleeping apps and gadgets.

  1. Analyse your sleep. The Sleep Cycle app, available for iPhone and Android, uses sound analysis to identify your sleep states by tracking your movements in bed. The app uses this information to wake you up gradually over a thirty-minute time period so that you are awakened in the lightest possible sleep state. Waking up in the right part of your sleep cycle means less grogginess and better function throughout the day.
  2. Get insight into your sleep patterns. When you place your phone next to your pillow, the Sleep Time+ app from Azumio tracks your level of movement throughout the night. Like the Sleep Cycle app, wakes you in your lightest sleep phase. The app provides customised data to help you learn how and when you sleep at night.
  3. Relax with sound. Sleep Sounds and SPA Music for Insomnia Relief uses meditation and relaxation music to put your mind—and body—at ease throughout the night.
  4. Block out sleep disturbances. If sounds encroach on your ability to sleep, the Noisli app for iPhone, Android, and Google Chrome may be for you. Noisli has a large library of white noise and soothing sounds that not only mask distracting sounds but also help you relax before and during sleep.
  5. Take power naps. “Sleep at the push of a button” is the promise of the Pzizz app, which features an array of sounds, including algorithmically remixed music and voiceovers. It’s designed to get you to sleep quickly and soundly and to wake you up refreshed.
  6. Block out sounds. Here One wireless smart earbuds are comfortable enough to wear while sleeping and technologically sound enough to block out unwanted noise. Customise a playlist to tune into sounds you want to hear and reduce the sounds you don’t with these advanced earbuds.
  7. Say goodbye to snoring. The first non-invasive, smart anti-snoring device, the Nora consists of a pillow insert and a small snoring-detecting device you put on your nightstand. The nightstand device detects when snoring begins and the pillow insert moves gently to stimulate the sleeper’s throat muscles, allowing for natural breathing to prevent further snoring.
  8. Wake up to natural light. Mimicking the light of the rising sun, the Philips Wake-up Light wakes you up gradually, easing you into the day, unlike the abrupt sound of a typical alarm clock.
  9. Meditate easily. Meditation before bed is the kind of relaxation that can lead to better sleep. The Muse, a brain-sensing headband, is designed to elevate your meditation experience by tracking your brain’s activity and guiding your meditation with weather sounds that complement said activity.  
  10. Track your breathing and movement. S+ from ResMed is a bedside sleep monitor that tracks your sleep patterns. It measures your breathing and body movements throughout the night, creating personalized feedback along with suggestions to help you improve your sleep.

In addition to using sleep gadgets and apps, it is important to practice good sleep hygiene—that is, behaviours that lead to better sleep and a healthier life. These include going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, avoiding alcohol and nicotine, cutting out snacking two hours before sleep, among many others.


About the author

Parinaz Samimi is a certified yoga instructor, wellness expert and sleep researcher from


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