It’s no secret: College and sleep don’t mix. According to a study at Brown University, 73 percent of students reported having regular sleep problems. Between juggling classes, activities, jobs and a social life, it’s no wonder the average 20-year-old clocks in about six hours of shut-eye a night—that’s three hours fewer than what the National Sleep Foundation recommends. But there’s help. These smartphone apps won’t let you sleep longer, but they can make sure you get the most out of your prized few hours in bed.
One of the most-downloaded sleep apps, Sleep Genius helps you fall asleep faster, which adds up to more Z’s. The app helps you set your ideal bedtime, based on when you wake up and the number of sleep cycles your body goes through each night. Once you’re snuggled under the covers, turn on the app’s Relaxation Program for soothing white noises designed to calm the cardiac and respiratory systems. The app is so relaxing that NASA astronauts use it as a sleep aid in space.
Nasty headaches and grogginess follow closely behind a blaring alarm clock that shakes a deep, hard sleep. Sleep Cycle prevents that. Placed on the corner of your bed next to your pillow, this app uses the accelerometer in your iPhone to monitor your movement and sleep patterns overnight. The app will then create a 30-minute alarm window to wake you up when you’re in the lightest phase of sleep. You’ll never get out of bed feeling like a zombie again.
We spend almost one-third of our life dreaming, only to forget almost all of it. Harvard University dream researcher J. Allan Hobson estimates we lose 95 percent of what goes on in our minds during the night. Shadow is trying to change that. The app starts by waking you with an escalating alarm so that you gradually transition into consciousness. Once you’re up, you can dictate your dreams to the app via voice recorder or type them into a text box. And if you’re already grasping to remember, Shadow will ask you a series of questions to help jog your memory. When you’re finished recording, you can either keep your dreams private or share them on the cloud where other Shadow community members can help you interpret them. Request an invite at discovershadow.com
Admit it: You’ve always secretly wondered whether you babble throughout the night or snore as loud as a freight train. Sleep As Android lets you find out. This app also uses your smartphone’s accelerometer to tracks your movement throughout the night. In the morning, it provides an easy-to-read graph with details about the length of your REM and non-REM cycles. Using this data, Sleep As Android helps you set the best times to go to bed and wake up, based on your unique sleep patterns. The app also has a recorder, which automatically begins taping when it detects snoring or sleep talking.
Data geeks rejoice: Now, you can store years’ worth of your sleep stats on one app. SleepBot works by asking you about events in your day that can influence your sleep quality. (Did you drink caffeine? Did you work out?) Before falling asleep, you can “punch in” the time you go to bed. The app then tracks your sleep quality by monitoring how much you move throughout the night. In the morning, simply “punch out,” jot down how you feel, and upload your data to mysleepbot.com. There, you can archive and store each night’s stats. Within a few weeks, you’ll be able to notice patterns and trends in your sleep quality over time.