04/04/2016 08:09 BST

Best Apps For Sleep And Sleep Tracking On iPhone Or Android

We're losing an entire night's worth of sleep every week...

Bernhard Lang via Getty Images

Sleeping is life. Without it we cannot live, both literally and figuratively.

Yet so many of us struggle to sleep enough, whether it's through finding the time or other factors like stress and anxiety.

A recent report by the Royal Society for Public Health found that in the UK the average adult is losing an entire night's worth of sleep every week.

Technology has so often been forced into the role of villain when it comes to sleeping, and yet if used properly it can become an invaluable tool for not only sleeping more, but sleeping better.

These apps have been designed with one task in mind, to help clear your mind and get you sleeping better, for longer.

Best Sleep Apps

  • 3 Minute Mindfulness
    3 Minute Mindfulness
    It might sound silly but something as simple as breathing properly can make all the difference when you're trying to get to sleep. When everything gets on top of you it's difficult to shed that baggage when you get into bed. 3 Minute Mindfulness is a simple, smart way of clearing your head. You can use three different short breathing techniques both on your iPhone or through the Apple Watch app with gentle cues telling you when to inhale and exhale. It's not rocket science, but sometimes not-rocket-science is just what you need.
  • Windy
    For some of us, there's nothing more supportive to nodding off than a familiar sound that helps us feel safe. Windy provides that sound in a beautiful and simple way. Gorgeous hand-drawn landscapes provide the backdrop to expertly recorded soundscapes from a quiet field, to a gently running stream in the woods. There's a timer and it'll run in the background as well so you can just hook your phone up to speakers/headphones and feel transported to the countryside.
  • Sleep Cycle Alarm
    Sleep Cycle Alarm
    Sleep Cycle Alarm
    Your alarm goes off, you've had a reasonably good night's sleep and yet you wake up feeling like you've spent all night at a warehouse rave. This is where Sleep Cycle Alarm comes in, it's a sleep tracker/smart alarm that wakes you up at the best time. Set a 30 min window and the app will wake you up during your lightest sleep phase. There's a superb sleep tracking function as well that lets you add things like how much coffee you drank. Insightful, easy to use and potentially a real game-changer.
  • Sleepio
    For those suffering from chronic sleep problems, Sleepio is the all-in-one solution. Developed by sleep experts at Oxford University, it's a comprehensive sleep manager that tracks, analyses and then helps to improve sleep by looking at all the possible root causes for sleep problems. It then uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques to help you fight back. Compatible with Apple Health and Jawbone's range of fitness trackers Sleepio does come with a subscription cost but with an absolute arsenal of tools provided it could be worth every penny.
  • Max Richter - Sleep
    Max Richter - Sleep
    Max Richter Sleep
    OK so this isn't an app, but you'll need an app to use it. It's an album of music but it's one that's very special indeed. Composer Max Richter's album Sleep is 8 hours long, and there's a reason for that - it has been written to help you sleep. Known for his haunting, minimalist soundscapes Richter has a habit of going off the beaten track (he casually re-wrote Vivaldi's Four Seasons) and an 8 hour album is no exception. Don't think this is just a gimmick though. 'Sleep' is an aural triumph that will gently seep into the background, creating a warm blanket of sound that'll eliminate the city around you.
    iTunes/Google Play