Attainable Health

Finding a healthy lifestyle in today's hectic world

Top Apps to Sleep to March 11, 2010

Make no mistake, I love my iPhone!  I finally got on the bandwagon last December — I got it as a Christmas present for myself.  I probably spent the entire first weekend learning how to use it and searching through/trying out all the different apps!  I was amazed at all the things that this little computer could do and sometimes it still surprises me.  There are so many useful apps that I use regularly, however, my most-used apps have to be the ones that help me sleep!

A born insomniac, I have always had trouble falling asleep at night.  My favorite show at 2 yrs old was “D. D. Ya-min” (David Letterman), in case you didn’t believe me.  I have tried many tricks of the trade — from food/drink, meditating, reading, music, T.V., audio books and even sleep aids.  Even though it is not the most recommended method, any of the tech options work best for me (T.V., audio books, music, etc).

I was so happy to find that there were apps for that too (I know, a little cliche)!  It was much more convenient to use my phone which cut down on the light in my bedroom (versus the T.V. or my laptop) and made my boyfriend especially happy because I could wear headphones!  Although there are many, many apps for this subject out there and I haven’t tried them all, these are my top 4:

4) iheartradio: A free app that offers nationwide radio stations with only a few taps and slides of your finger.  I’ve been able to find most of my local faves (mostly ClearChannel stations) and it even has a cool “Shake It!” feature, where you simply shake your phone and it randomly picks a station for you.  There are some stations that are nationwide “personality” stations and are free of commercials (like At40 with Ryan Seacrest), you can save your favorite stations in a tab and there are featured videos, stations and bonus material (interviews and such) each month.  It is good to fall asleep to if you know a good “soft” station, but commercials on some stations will still be a nuisance from time to time and there isn’t a “sleep” feature.

3) AmbiScience – Pure Yoga: Mainly pitched as an app to provide music to practice yoga by (as per the name), the music on this app is very relaxing to fall asleep to as well!  From thunderstorms to chimes, sunrise to sunset, this app packs a relaxing punch!  There are also “blanking” choices like brown noise, pink noise and white noise.  All the tracks are very good for yoga practice or meditation, but I’ve found them to also be very good to fall asleep to.

2) Pandora: I love, love, love this app!  I use it at work, in the shower (yes, in the shower — gotta love the Otter Box!), while cooking, at the gym, in the car when my boyfriend puts on something I don’t like, and when I go to bed!  I like how you simply enter in an artist or song name and a station is automatically set for you with similar music.  You can create multiple stations to go back and use at any time.  It is pretty much fully-customizable — you can even give each song played a thumbs up or down (which will affect future songs played).  Definitely an amazing app, but for the free version you are only limited a certain number of “skips” for songs each day (somewhere around 6 or 7).  After that, you can’t skip past any more songs (although you can always create a new station).  If they added a “sleep” feature, this app would almost be perfect!

1) health mate – De-stress: Pretty much my favorite relax app on my phone, I really think everyone should have this one.  The tracks are divided into categories: Sleep, Power Nap, De-Stress, Relax, and Pregnant.  There is also an option to take a Stress Test.  Each track also helps you guide your breathing (by an arrow showing when to breathe in/out and a bpm, breaths per minute, counter in the corner).  I’ve found that when I actually focus on breathing, it stops my mind from thinking about a million things that keep me awake!  It is simple and quick to use, and the tracks are fairly short (10-30 minutes), so it automatically shuts off when they are done so you don’t have music in your ear all night!

I will admit there are some nights when I choose to watch a movie (or Grey’s Anatomy), but the majority of my nights I try to use something more calming — like these music apps.  It may not be recommended as a good sleep method, but the way I see sleep is this: the main thing is to get enough of it (especially during the night because that sleep is the most restful and beneficial)!  I would much rather my method be as minimal as possible, like some tea, music or T.V.  If there are any others out there with trouble shutting their minds “off” at night and falling asleep, I hope these apps can help you find some peace and sleep!  Sweet Dreams!

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