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Reclaiming your Rest: 7 Apps to Help you Sleep Better in 2021

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

by Candace Boahene, Editor In Chief

Fight off anxiety and insomnia with these tools to boost your sleep patterns.

Happy December, Milkscopers! We finally made it to the end of the year despite all the challenges and conundrums we faced individually and collectively. 2020 truly shocked us and left us with bated breath, yet we persevered from January through December 2020. In a time where things are uncertain and unprecedented, it leaves us with this question: Can we fall asleep peacefully and wake up ready to face the world again?

The year 2020 will forever be etched in history as a year that woke up our nation from its slumber and highlighted critical matters that needed our full attention. Perhaps, one word to describe 2020 is unforgettable. Cautiously, this year, was too risky to sleep off the alarming fears of COVID-19, the ongoing genocide against Black and Brown people in the hands of systemic racism, fighting against climate change, our nation's economic turmoil, the anticipation of the 2020 Presidential election results, and various moments that halted us from leaving our homes.

However, even through the difficulties, finding ways to sleep remains essential to our overall health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) experts recommended adults should receive at least 7 to more hours of sleep within a 24-hour period regularly to ensure optimal health. Their study can be found in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, which further states “Sleeping less than 7 hours per night on a regular basis is associated with adverse health outcomes, including weight gain and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, depression, and increased risk of death. Sleeping less than 7 hours per night is also associated with impaired immune function, increased pain, impaired performance, increased errors, and greater risk of accidents.” However, 2020 made it nearly impossible to get an adequate amount of rest.

We’re a few days away from officially exiting 2020 and entering 2021, so take the time to rest and thwart those anxious thoughts away.

Here’s 7 Apps to ensure your rest is uninterrupted:

1) Calm: Meditate, Sleep, Relax

“The World’s Happiest App”

Deemed as the “#1 leading app for sleep, meditation, and relaxation” and named by Apple as both the BEST of 2018 award winner and 2017 iPhone App of the year by Google Play’s Editor’s Choice in 2018. This relaxation tool promises to lull you into a peaceful rest with their “sleep stories.” These bedtime stories are narrated by celebrities such as Idris Elba, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Matthew McConaughey, Mandy Moore, Harry Styles and more. Calm is a versatile mindfulness app that incorporates nature sounds, relaxing music, meditative programs with adult bedtime stories to reduce anxiety and stress levels, and enhance your sleep patterns with ease.

Some of the features Calm offers:

  • Guided meditation sessions available between 3-25 minutes, depending on your preference including topics such as Deep Sleep Calming Anxiety, Managing Stress, Focus and Concentration, Breaking Habits, Happiness, Self-Esteem, Forgiveness, etc. For instance, Lebron James leads the Train Your Mind meditation to build your inner champion mindset.

  • Masterclasses for beginners, intermediate, and advanced users

  • Unguided timed meditation and open-ended meditation

  • Breathing exercises to relax you throughout the day and night

  • Soothing music playlists to dissolve your insomnia and waking up recharged for the day.

  • Both kids and adults can enjoy the benefits of Calm.

According to their website, it’s a mental fitness app designed to help you build the strength you need to face life's ups and downs. This company makes cultivating a healthier sleep lifestyle so cool and essential for your mental health. You can download this app for free on your iPhone or Android and sign up for a 7-day free trial.

2) Headspace: Meditation & Sleep

“Stress less. Sleep soundly. Get happy.”

Meditation made simple is the perfect approach for anyone desiring to try Headspace. You deserve to apply a bit of calm and zen to any situation your life requires without any resistance. Headspace is one of the leading meditation and sound sleep apps co-founded by former Buddhist Monk Andy Puddicombe.This app is your personal guide in creating balance, focus, and tranquil practices in your life.

Headspace offers:

  • Move Mode Workouts: a series of mood-lifting at-home workouts with Olympic trainers Kim Glass and Leon Taylor.

  • Over 40 meditation courses covering topics on sleep and stress reduction.

  • Access to the Headspace library: the library consists of hundreds of meditations customized to your specific needs, breathing exercises, and mindfulness regimen.

  • Sleep casts: original stories synchronized with calming sounds to help you unwind before you head to bed and settle your thoughts.

  • Guided meditation for Kids and Adults: Headspace Guided Meditation for kids and adults

  • The Wake Up: start your morning right with a Happy wake up. A daily video series with inspiring stories structured to brighten your day and put a smile on your face.Good news! If you’re a Headspacer, this app will be a Netflix series in January 2021. You can download Headspace for free and register for a two-week free trial before the yearly $69.99 fee is applied.

3) Pzizz: Sleep, Nap, Focus

“Sleep at the push of a button”

What happens when you merge beauty sleep, science, and sound together? You get PZIZZ.

This app combines science and psychosis to usher you into your realm of beauty sleep. Pzizz uses a one of a kind science breakthrough called “psychoacoustics”, a branch of science that utilizes psychological responses in relation to noise, speech, and sound. Psychoacoustics creates dreamscapes to make you fall asleep faster, remain asleep, and wake up re-energized the next day. With over a million people in their community, you can be assured that your sleep is first priority. Just ask J.K. Rowling who recommended Pzizz to her Twitter followers, back in 2016.

A few features Pzizz offers:

  • Dreamscapes-fall and stay asleep with a blended mix of music, voiceover, and sound effects through psychoacoustics.

  • Personalized sleeping experience when it comes to adjusting your sleep duration in the app.

  • Offline use permitted: you can use Pzizz at anytime when if you’re offline

For a 7-day free trial, download this app for free on your iPhone or Android.

4) Slumber: Fall Asleep, Insomnia

Perhaps, you prefer a more traditional approach when it comes to sleep. If that’s the case, try out the Slumber App.

Slumber offers a structured platform for anyone transitioning into their REM sleep and powering down from all the distractions of the day from social media notifications, emails, and worrisome thoughts.

Slumber’s mantra is “A great day starts with a good night’s sleep”.

Benefits of using the Slumber App:

  • ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response): a euphoric tingling sensation that occurs in the brain, shoulders, or spine and gradually spreads to other areas of the body, ultimately creating a blissful sensation in your entire body.

  • Guided imagery and visualizations

  • Gratitude habituation

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  • Breath Control

  • Ericksonian hypnosis: an indirect hypnosis method that utilizes body language, stories and metaphors to improve behavioral changes in a person in a subtle and less coercive way. This technique was named after Dr. Milton H. Erickson, the “father of hypnotherapy”.

Download this app for free on your iPhone or Android and sign up for a 7-day free trial.

5) Sleep Cycle:Sleep analysis & Smart alarm clock.

“Waking up easy is all about timing.”

Have you ever wondered how to track your sleeping patterns without the hassle of tracking them on your own?

Sleep Cycle might be the answer you’ve been searching for. This global smart app analyzes your sleep each night, identifies your sleeping patterns and wakes you up during your lighter sleep stages, so you can feel refreshed and rested each day.

Benefits of the Sleep Cycle app:

  • Generates nightly sleep reports for users.

  • Records long-term sleep trends and uses sound analysis to identify sleep states.

  • Logs how daily activities impact sleep quality.

  • Track your movements in bed, while you sleep.

  • Wakes you up naturally without a conventional alarm clock buzzing in your ears.

  • Monitor your body signals to wake you up softly when you are in your lightest sleep stage.

Download Sleep Cycle for free on your iPhone or Android device.

6) Pillow

Your rest should feel like a pillow, soft and lovable.

Pillow is a sleep tracking device that uses your iPhone or Apple Watch sensors to monitor your sleep duration. It works in tandem with Apple’s built-in Health app to record your heart rate and develop your sleep quality assessment through your REM sleep.

The Benefits of Pillow:

  • Sleep & Heart Rate Analysis

  • Snooze Lab: detect your sleep cycles and sends you recommended times to sleep better

  • Compares your sleep quality with Apple health

  • View your nightly sleep reports

  • Sleep melodies that are geared to your sleep history

  • 3 nap modes: Power nap, recovery and full cycle nap

  • Smart Alarm feature-based on your sleep activities that eases you to rest at your best time.

Pillow can be downloaded exclusively through your iPhone device. Additionally, an added cost of $4.99 for special features on logging your sleep statistics over a period of time.

7) Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds, Meditation & Stories

"Sleep to your own Beat"

Nowadays, sleep has become a luxury instead of a necessity. To tap into your personal sleep oasis, Relax Melodies might do the trick.

Relax Melodies is a guided meditative, relaxation, and sleep app that encourages you to sleep to your own beat. With a variety of soundscapes to choose from, you will drift into a deep sleep and eliminate any tension in your body, mind, and spirit. This app incorporates nature and environmental sounds to entice you into the best rest of your life.

The benefits of using the Relax Melodies App:

  1. SleepMove: your customized evening routine companion to aid you in winding down after a long day of work or destress from the day’s activities.

  2. Bedtime Stories: these nighttime stories whether written by the Relax Melodies staff or pulled from popular pre-existing literature, are the lullabies to your beauty sleep.

  3. Sleep Hypnosis: a guided technique to transport you into a deeper realm of sleep with the guidance of verbal cues and soothing melodies.

  4. Lucid Dream Meditation: this meditation tool induces you to dream while you’re awake. It stimulates the brainwaves to go into a dreamlike state while you’re conscious and as a result, loosens the body, mind, and soul.

  5. Relaxation techniques: calming techniques that clear your mind from the pressures of life or your day.

  6. Binaural beats for sleep: an innovative form of sound wave therapy that alleviates anxiety and stress. Binaural beats are an auditory illusion where two slightly different sound frequencies are played in each ear yet perceived as one sound.

Download Relax Melodies for free on your iPhone or Android for a 7-day free trial.

If none of these apps work for you, then try YouTube’s Tibetan Bowls and Nature Sounds for the desired sleep you rightfully deserve. Sleep tight and wake up to a new version of you in 2021.

Learn Even More

Starting a Healthier Lifestyle in the New Year

Are You Sluggish? These 5 Reasons Why Could Shock You

Why Coffee Should Be Your Best Friend


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