Whether itâs fear of getting sick, worry for a loved oneâs health, job anxiety, the stress of juggling parenting and career in a pandemic, or all of the above, sky-high stress seems to be the new normal.
While free sleep apps wonât solve your big-picture problems, they could help you fall asleep faster, so you can tackle lifeâs stressors feeling refreshed. Here are the best ones weâve found.
1. White Noise
White noise free sleep apps are must-haves for travel, when you need a consistent noise to block out the sounds of other hotel guests, city noises, etc. The âliteâ version does the trick with free sleep sounds and nature sounds. For $4.99, you get 50 sounds plus the ability to create your own track that includes binaural beats, aka different frequencies that cue your brain to relax.
Find White Noise in the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon.
2. Relax and Sleep Well Hypnosis
Hypnosis usually costs several hundred dollars, but youâll pay $0 for this hypnotherapy sleep app with four recordings of meditation and hypnosis. Additional hypnosis tracks are available as app purchases for $2.99 apiece. This one made Healthlineâs 2019 list of the best sleep apps, so if youâre skeptical of hypnosis, their stamp of approval may persuade you to download hypnotherapy sleep apps.
Find Relax and Sleep Well Hypnosis in the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Headspaceâs guided meditation app is the perfect way to wind down for bed: Andyâs soothing British accent will lull you into a state of total relaxation where it seems like nothing could ever go wrong. While itâs $60 a year, Headspace often makes the best sleep apps lists. Students can pay $9.99 for annual access, and Netflix subscribers can watch the Headspace series for no extra cost. Each episode focuses on one style of meditation, so by the time you finish the season youâll have a whole arsenal of relaxation techniques to try before bed.
Sign up for a free trial of Headspace or watch on Netflix.
4. Deep Sleep With AJ
Deep Sleep With AJ is a cheaper alternative to Headspace, with a one-time cost of $2.99 and similarly dreamy Scottish accent. Developed by a mindfulness expert and therapist, the sleep app includes mindfulness and inspirational talks, bedtime relaxation techniques to help you wake up feeling refreshed, meditations for anxiety and panic attacks and more. You can cue up meditations to repeat a set number of times, so it ideally plays through until youâve caught those Zs.
Find Deep Sleep With AJ on the Apple App Store or Google Play.
5. Relax Melodies
Combining relaxing sounds, free sleep stories and guided meditation for sleep, lucid dreaming, or relief from medical conditions like tinnitus (ringing in the ears that often gets worse before bed), free sleep app Relax Melodies has thousands of fans. It comes with 52 sounds including white noise, nature sounds, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response, or that warm tingle associated with sounds like whispers) and binaural beats. Premium sounds are available as app purchases for $4.99.
Find Relax Melodies on the Apple App Store or Google Play.
6. Nothing Much Happens
Think of free podcast Nothing Much Happens as adult sleep stories designed to help you relax into a peaceful slumber. As the title suggests, the stories are fairly low-stakes. Podcast host Kathryn is a meditation and yoga teacher, so think of this as an extended savasana where itâs actually awesome if you end up snoring after five minutes.
Find Nothing Much Happens on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.
Perfect for the multitasker, Endel offers âpersonalized soundscapesâ for relaxation, better sleep and better focus. The app pulls data from your environment (like weather, location or time of day), then moderates sounds to match your mood: focus music for daytime work and chill sounds to help you sleep. The app comes with a 7-day free trial, after which point youâll need to buy a subscription ($5.99 per month or $49.99 per year, at present) or use the free, browser-based version.
Find Endel in the Apple App Store, Google Play, or on Twitch.
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8. Rise: Sleep & Energy Tracker
For those wanting a scientific approach to a good nightâs sleep, the Rise sleep tracker app is worth checking out. Itâs free to download with membership upgrades as app purchases beginning at $6.99 per month. Unlike sleep-tracking apps which just gauge your sleep cycle, Rise looks at âsleep debtââ aka how much sleep you should get but donât. The sleep app works backward from your sleep debt numbers, drawing from sleep data and health information to help you improve sleep quality and quantity. Rise fans include pro sports teams and Fortune 500 leaders who find the price worth it to sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed.
Find Rise in the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Most people experience sleep problems for a range of underlying causes, thus it can be helpful to have multiple free sleep apps on your phone. Armed with nature sounds, bedtime stories, guided meditation, science-backed sleep habits and hypnosis for lifeâs most pressing worries, you can stop counting sheep and cue up whatâs mostly likely to help you get a good nightâs sleep.
Lindsey Danis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.