Just how well do you sleep? Thanks to an ever-growing array of apps, wearables, and other cutting-edge tech tools, we have more insight than ever into our sleep habits. Most are designed to help you fall asleep more easily, wake up feeling less groggy, and provide a window into just what’s going on when you shut your eyes and finally get some rest.
You can spend nothing, or you can shell out hundreds of dollars, but at the end of the day, sleep experts say perhaps the best lesson you can learn from sleep-tracking devices and apps is how to get a better understanding of your sleep routine. “These tools vary greatly in terms of effectiveness, but almost all of them can help increase your awareness about your sleep so you make it more of a priority,” says Neomi Shah, M.D., associate professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary care and sleep at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
Here’s a look at a few of our favorite apps and trackers that can help you get a better night’s sleep and wake up ready to take on the day:
App: Sleep Cycle (free for iOS; $.99 for Android)
Using your phone’s built-in microphone as well as its accelerometer, this app picks up movements and patterns in your sleep cycle to help determine which phase you’re in—then tries to gently wake you up in the a.m. within your lightest stage in a certain window of time. It also graphs your sleep cycles so you get a better picture of just how well you’re sleeping each night.
App: SleepBot (iOS and Android; free)
Use this app to pick soothing ambient sounds to help you nod off (or just record ones you like the best), then wake up in your lightest sleep phase. When you’re ready, use the app’s intelligence to track your length, sleep/wake times and other patterns, review statistics including your debt log and averages, and even play back recordings of your own sleep soundtrack—snores and speech included.
App: White Noise (iOS; Android; Mac, Windows; free)
White noise devices are an effective way to help you fall asleep, especially if you’re sensitive to noise or exposed to loud street sounds. The free White Noise app loops a variety of soothing sounds, from crashing beach waves to crickets. You can even mix and match or record your own noises and share with others in the network.
Tracker: Jawbone Up3 ($47 on amazon.com)
This popular tracking device keeps working hard even if after you’ve gone to bed. Like other wearables the Up3 does a good job of monitoring how much you move during the day, but this device also goes one better with its multiple biosensors, helping to monitor heart rate, respiration rate, body temperature, and more while you sleep.
Tech Tool: S-Plus ($65, resmed.com)
This sensor is part bedside monitor and part smartphone app, tracking sleeping patterns and creating personalized feedback so you can sleep better. Place it next to your bed on a nightstand and ultrasonic pulses move through your body to follow your actions, such as your chest movements and various breathing patterns. Then use the corresponding readouts to get a handle on your sleep habits.