Beauty, Mind & Body

Podcasts, apps and tech tools for better sleep

A solid sleep is so important to make sure the next day is as productive and positive as it can be. We reveal the best tech to help you drift off to la-la-land. 

Take a moment to celebrate the beauty of glorious slumber and how it keeps us from becoming the cranky sleep-deprived humans we know we can be without a proper night’s shut eye.

However, it’s also a moment to realise that many of us do not get the proper beauty sleep we need to function properly and remain healthy. If you often find yourself lying awake in the middle of the night, frantically Googling ‘tips to get to sleep’ at 1AM – we’ve got you covered.

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Forget warm milk, we now have sweet, sweet technology to help us sleep (with night mode on – of course). There’s a huge demand for sleep companions in the land down under. In fact, Australia is one of the most engaged countries in the world with sleep playlists on Apple music. So, if you’re on the hunt for the next best sleep tool, look no further.

Queue the rain sounds.

Sleep apps

Available for download from your phone’s app store, sleeping apps are becoming increasingly sought-after. The most popular ones on the Apple App Store include Loóna, the activity-based app that takes your mind off the business of the day and places it safely in sleep-inducing mundane-ness. Moshi app is also a great choice for those who find their mind fixating on the events of the day, its melodic sleep stories are designed to transport you elsewhere and help you drift off.

Apps to help you doze off include:

  • Loóna: A mood-altering app that prepares you emotionally for going to sleep. Each night you’ll get a new sleepscape. A sleepscape is a guided session that combines activity-based relaxation, storytelling, and sounds in a unique way.
  • Sleep Cycle: Sleep better and wake up rested with Sleep Cycle’s smart alarm clock. It analyzes your sleep patterns and detects snoring, sleep talking, coughing and other sounds.
  • Moshi: Sleep and Mindfulness: An ultra-relaxing, melodic story created to help you drift off to sleep quickly. Each story is completely original.
  • Sleepiest: With calming bedtime stories, soothing sleep sounds, sleepy guided meditations and smart sleep cycle tracking; you’re sure to get into the perfect natural headspace to settle down at night.
  • Autosleep: Automatically track your sleep from your Apple Watch. No buttons to press. Even the Watch app is optional! Just sleep!
  • Sleepzy: Sleepzy is a smart alarm clock that tracks your sleep patterns, wakes you up during the lightest sleep phase in a way that feels natural to get up, analyzes your sleep quality, and notifies you if you have a sleep debt.

Sleep podcasts

Wherever you find your awesome pods, you will also be able to source sleep podcasts, especially designed to bring you closer towards snooze-town.

Whether they’re sleepy bedtime stories, ASMR-style sound triggers, or guided meditations, you’ll be able to find something you fancy within the list.

Apple Podcasts is launching a new collection titled “For Your Nighttime Routine” in honour of World Sleep Day, which will feature the most popular sleep-inducing podcasts.

These include:

  • Sleep With Me with Drew Ackerman by Night Vale Presents: A one-of-a-kind bedtime story podcast combining humour and storytelling to help grown ups fall asleep.
  • Get Sleepy: Sleep meditation and stories: By combining sleep meditation with a relaxing bedtime story, each episode will guide you gently towards sleep.
  • Nothing much happens; bedtime stories to help you sleep by Curiouscast: Cosy and calming stories to help you calm your mind and help you sleep.
  • Sleep Whispers by ASMR & Insomnia Network: Whispered readings and ramblings for relaxation and sleeping. Enjoy a calming moment with soothing meditations, interesting stories, tranquil poems.
  • Meditative Story with Rohan Gunatillake by WaitWhat: Combines human stories with meditation prompts embedded into the storylines — all surrounded by relaxing music.
  • Phoebe Reads a Mystery with Phoebe Judge by Criminal: A mystery story read in soothing tones to take your mind off the day.
  • Guided Sleep Meditations by Tracks To Relax: Guided sleep meditations to relax your mind and body so you can fall asleep fast.
  • Snoozecast: Quietly read excerpts from public domain literature and occasionally original stories.

Sleep Apple Watch features

If you’re getting the full eight hours, but still not feeling refreshed it might be worth considering sleep tracking. There’s a range of smart watches (including Apple, Samsung, Garmin and more) that offer this feature, and it’s a really great way to figure out how much REM sleep you’re getting.

Once you know how much REM you are/aren’t getting it’s all about trying to fix your routine.

“You can’t really coach yourself to have more or less REM stages. We felt like that wasn’t the best way Apple could add value here on sleep,” explains Kevin Lynch, Apple’s Vice President of Software. “We focused on the transition to the bed, which we think is way more actionable, and will result in people getting a better night’s sleep, which then has secondary effects of perhaps your REM stages sorting themselves.”

“It’s really about getting enough sleep and the main thing about that is the difficulty of going to bed. There are so many things in the world to distract us and occupy our attention. Supporting people in managing that transition is where the magic is.”

On the Apple watch you’re able to create a sleep schedule and bedtime routine to meet your sleep goals, this includes sleep reminders and the wind down feature (where your sleep-inducing apps appear on the device’s the lock screen close to bedtime). You can also set sleep goals and your phone will monitor your slumber to see if you meet them.

Of course, if you don’t have a smartwatch you can still record your sleep times manually in a log and set bedtime alarms on your phone to remind you to start the wind down process, which will have a similar effect.

Sleep music

Our favourite – here is where you’ll find all of the relaxing sounds you could ever want. Rain sounds, whale call, birds twittering in a tropical forest, the list goes on.

Apple Music has a dedicated space on the service devoted to helping users unwind and relax to their go-to music mood. It’s popular too, sleep associated content on the app is up 160% worldwide, since the lockdown began in March 2020. Australia is among the top 5 countries listening in (amongst the US, Canada, Japan and the UK).

The playlists showing the largest growth include Bedtime Beats (+343%), White Noise (+313%), Ocean Sounds (+263%), Pure Spa (+254%), and Sleep Sounds (+209%).

The Sleep Sounds editorial playlist is the top sleep editorial playlist on Apple Music globally, and has broken the top 5 on the Apple Music overall playlist chart in the US for the first time this year.

Top playlists on Apple Music for relaxation and sleep include: