Be honest—how many hours of sleep did you get last night? Odds are, not enough. Between midterms, job hunting, and club commitments, it’s hard to find time for a solid eight hours. Whether confined to a closet in the Quad or sharing a wall with "active" neighbors, you deserve better. This week Street rounds up the best free apps with sleep technology so you can snooze in peace.
Stress and anxiety keeping you tossing and turning? Try out Headspace, a guided meditation app. With five, ten, and fifteen minute sessions, tailor your meditation to fit your sleep schedule. The app leads you through a series of breathing and mental exercises to help you focus, quiet your thoughts, and relax. Headspace sends daily push notifications to remind you to meditate, which I found annoying at first. However once I got into a routine, I looked forward to mediating and ending the night calm(er). I also use the app first thing in the morning as a serene way to start the day.
There’s nothing worse than bolting out of bed mid–dream. Sleepy Ti.me takes the guesswork out of sleep cycles so you wake up refreshed instead of groggy. Simply enter your bedtime and the site calculates when to set your morning alarm, giving you a full five to six sleep cycles. Or if you know what time you have to wake up, the app calculates when to go to sleep. For example, if you need to wake up at 7:30 a.m., head to bed at 11:15 or 12:45. The idea is to wake up just as your body is ending a sleep cycle and approaching wakefulness rather than jerking awake mid–deep slumber. Though it’s hard to gauge how quickly you’ll fall asleep, on the days I remember to use it, waking up is marginally easier.
If you don’t want to shell out for a noise machine, download this app on your phone. Alongside a standard collection of nature sounds and white noise, you’ll find oddities such as cat purring, oscillating fan, and rain on a car roof. Pink noise is a personal favorite. The app also gives you the ability to create your own mixes using your own recordings. Select up to five sounds to create a custom mix. Currently on my mix? Light rain pouring and ocean wave.
At the end of the day, if you’re really looking for a good night’s rest, cutting back on the caffeine and Van Pelt all–nighters would be a solid place to start (but if you're reading this then that’s not about to happen). If these apps don't work for you, the only advice I have is to make your room like a cave—cold, dark, comfortable and quiet.