Nice Apps! Top 5 for a good night’s sleep

We always have an excuse – or list of life’s absurdities – explaining why we are so utterly sleep deprived.

In high school, it was because class started at 7:15 a.m., and between sports and homework (AP classes, anyone?!), bedtime was rarely before 11 p.m. In college, the day was for class (and daytime drinking), and the night was for endless reading, all-night cramming, and of course partying. Post-college, we’re working so much that we simply don’t have time for a social life until the clock strikes the wee hours.

This packed schedule, albeit fun, educational and productive, inevitably lends itself to continuous sleep deprivation. By 15 years old, we learned what it meant to be tired; by 20 we familiarized ourselves with “perma-tired;” and in our 20s, we’re mastering how to excel in our career, relationships and goals …with far fewer hours of sleep.

And looking forward to children AND working shines a grim light on our future sleep schedules.

Needless to say, sleep is precious. Sweet, sweet sleep. These apps will help you savor and internalize every moment your head rests on that plush, down pillow.

Yoga in Bed (iPhone)
Woosah. Do a few poses when you hit the sack – and no, we’re not talking Kamu Sutra. A balanced mind and body will reduce stress and tension, but also relax you into a slumber state. Johnna, your bedtime yogi, will give you a guided yoga tour with a relaxing cool-down or wake-up to open your joints, improve your overall flexibility, circulation, digestion and coordination. The best part is that you can literally do this in bed. There’s also an Android version, equally beneficial, albeit a touch different and a bit weird.

Sleep Pillow (iPhone and Android)
Next to relaxing your mind and body, as you prepare it for sleep, you’ll also want to doze off to a serene and nature-induced background. This app provides a set of ambient sounds, from rain storms to bonfires to quiet city traffic to horses running in a field. And, you won’t have to worry about the logistics; it runs while your phone is locked, and has a sleep timer with a slow fadeout, so battery woes aren’t an issue.

Bed Time Calculator (iPhone and Android)
Sleeping through an entire REM cycle is crucial. Have you ever slept a ridiculous amount (we’re talking 10+ hours), yet wake up groggy, tired and … somehow feeling sleep deprived? It’s likely you woke up mid-REM cycle. To prevent this from happening, this app will help you to calculate exactly when the most optimal time is to awake from your slumber. Taking into consideration that it’ll be a few minutes before you fall asleep, it’ll provide a number of times at which you’ll be at the end of a sleep cycle, and thus, provide you windows to wake up and feel well-rested.

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock (iPhone and Android)
Beyond calculating what time you should wake up to ensure the best night’s sleep, why not know for certain when your body is ready to arise? This app is an alarm clock, yet so much more. As your body moves through the different phases of the REM cycle, you physically move differently, too. Resting your phone on your bed while you sleep, the app analyzes your movement, sleep patterns and REM cycle to determine the best time to wake you, while you’re in the lightest sleep phase. It also saves your data and provides a detailed sleep graph and set of statistics to track your sleep performance.

Control4 MyHome (iPhone and Android)
For a great night’s sleep, it’s best to have the lights as dim as possible, with a slightly cooler temperature. But, it’s easy to let those things slip if you’re too sleepy to make the adjustments. Rather than physically checking the thermostat and hitting the lights, this app will cover that for you.  You can control your lights, thermostats, television channels and volumes, security systems, and more. But, before you get too jazzed, please note that your house will need to upfit with a Control4 system.

Ashleigh Rainko I’m not a drama queen; life's more exciting with exaggeration. I’m not high maintenance; I just know what I want. Mobile apps, innovation, reinvention – and generally all technology – never cease to amaze me. I’m a PR pro, iPhone addict, UMich grad, Jackie O-aspiring metro-Detroit native, who has the gritty, true perspective on our millennial culture. And while you’ll likely find me wearing seersucker, you can feel free to take me seriously.

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