Sleep experts have often told us to put our phones away, but our handheld gadgets may just have the answer for a restful night

How often does someone tell you that you look tired? We're guessing a lot, and you're not alone. The deep impact of sleep on mental and physical health has been a hot topic in recent years. We all know that sleep is important—but why can't we go to sleep? Well, it seems that we simply can't catch a break and tune out.

In a 2019 global survey by Philips, the study found that a majority of adults (62 per cent) sleep somewhat/not at all well, with just ten per cent saying they sleep extremely well. The survey also indicated that Canada (63 per cent) and Singapore (61 per cent) are the two countries with the highest reports of worry/stress impacting their sleep.

So what does it take to catch some Zs? A relaxed mind, a quiet environment, and a healthy sleep cycle—experts recommend eight hours of undisturbed sleep.

In recognition of World Sleep Day today, here are five apps that promote mental wellbeing, and put you in the ideal state of mind for a good night's rest.

1 / 5


Whether you are looking for quality sleep, a power nap, or to stay focused, Pzizz’s repertoire of soundscapes will get you in the right state of mind, pronto. The app’s tagline is “sleep at the push of a button”. Applying the science of psychoacoustics, Pzizz creates unique soundtracks via an algorithm that mixes sound effects, music and voiceovers to lull you into sleep and keep you asleep, so you’ll wake up feeling refreshed. The sleep and power nap system already counts J.K Rowling and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, amongst its fans.

2 / 5


Ranking at number one for health and fitness in the App Store, Calm is a subscription-based meditation app to soothe your mind. Whether it is stress, anxiety or a hyperactive brain keeping you up, the app does what it says—it calms you down with guided meditations and soothing music. Calm recommends programmes based on your personal goals—improving focus, building self-esteem, better sleep, and more—as well as your experience with meditation. If a bedtime story is all you need, the app’s sleep stories, read by narrators, promise beautiful dreams in far-away land or an adventurous escapade. Famous narrators include Black Panther actress Danai Jekesai Gurira, comedian Stephen Fry, and Bindi Irwin.

3 / 5

Sleep by Headspace

Headspace is another highly rated app for guided meditation. The subscription-based app launched Sleep by Headspace last year, catering to restless sleepers and insomniacs. This additional feature within the app creates the perfect environment for restful sleep—the screen is darker, the buttons are easier to find, and it offers ample resources for sleep sounds and guided meditations. There’s also sleepcasts—a spin-off on podcasts—which guides you through a special wind-down exercise, and a visualisation of a relaxing environment that is subtly different every time you tune in. These sleepcasts vary between 45 to 55 minutes, putting you in the perfect condition to drift off.

4 / 5

Sleep Genius

Touting itself as the “most scientifically designed sound program for sleep in the world”, Sleep Genius is created by experts in neuroscience, sleep, sound, and music, developed following a NASA-funded research to get astronauts to sleep.  The app uses sounds to guide your brain through a complete sleep cycle, and wake you up at the optimal time with a gentle, refreshing alarm. The program also helps to “train your brain into its natural sleep rhythms”, allowing the app to trigger it into sleeping faster, longer, and deeper than before—if it’s good enough for an astronaut, it’s good enough for us.

5 / 5


Fully integrated with Apple’s Health app and compatible with the Apple Watch and iPhone, Pillow is a smart sleep assistant that records and analyses your sleep cycle. The app generates a detailed sleep stage diagram, such as time spent awake, in REM, light sleep, and deep sleep, and also monitors your heart rate during sleep. You can also record audio events such as snoring, sleep apnea and sleep talking, and listen to them the next day. Pillow uses these information to suggest your optimal bedtime, and wakes you up at the lighting possible sleep stage so you wake up refreshed. The app also features sleep aid melodies and ambient soundscapes to help you fall asleep.