If one makes a list of how the pandemic has butchered the daily routines, the disoriented sleep cycle is sure to make it to the top five. But this is not solely a pandemic-induced problem. Getting a good night’s sleep to relieve the stress and pressure has become comparatively difficult for many. We are seeing an alarming increase in insomniac patients who need medications just to sleep the night out.
Though smartphones and other devices are among the prime reasons that sometimes cause sleeplessness feeding the inner ‘scroll monster’ in our minds increasing the screen times, they can also be used to make it right. This turn-table usage of smartphones to mend our messed up sleep cycle has become quite popular. This can be done through some carefully designed sleeping apps that are available to download for android or iOS devices.
Sleep-inducing stimulation apps or sleep tracker apps can analyse the sounds, movements, and behaviours as one sleeps to give a clear view of the duration and quality of one’s sleep.
These apps can help monitor and determine the time spent on Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. The best sleep tracker apps use inputs such as heart rate, sound, bedtime, or wake time to provide the user with good services.
Sleeping apps use sound stimulators and render a suitable vibe to create a sleep-provoking atmosphere. Some apps use methods like colours and images, calming music, and nature sounds to soothe. Others use white noise, hypnotic techniques, and guided meditation imagery.
If one is looking for an app that is focused on a guided meditation, Calm can be a good choice. On top of the guided meditation, it offers nature sounds, music, etc. to lull someone into sleep. This app has gained popularity among users as an app to help with mindfulness as well as sleep. It has a roster of sleep stories and narrations that are crafted specifically for adults.
Orin Haque, a third-year student of international relations at Dhaka University, would call herself an early sleeper. But then came the lockdown and everything changed with the sleep cycle being heavily disrupted. Her friend suggested her this app and it worked well for her.
“This app’s sleep meditation method has worked for me. I have succeeded in getting back to my regular sleep schedule,” she said.
Sometimes it can take quite some time to get to a specific kind of relaxing beat if it’s some default tune or just-not-your-jam. In that case, Relax Melodies can be a good solution as it allows users to customise individual sounds and melodies.
Another feature of this app is one can set sounds and meditations to play all night long or programme them to turn off after a set amount of time so that drifting in sleep becomes easier without too much sound.
Like many others, Sashoto Seeam, a computer science and technology graduate from North South University, was in search of something that could assist him in a sound sleep during this pandemic and took shelter in YouTube for soothing music.
Drawing a contrast, he said, “But YouTube didn’t support background play; Relax Melodies did. Also, the same sound every day wasn’t working for me. This app has enabled me to remix rain sounds with other Zen sounds.”
Sleep Cycle: Sleep analysis & Smart alarm clock
Attending all her classes via online classroom at the University of Virginia from here in Bangladesh, Tasneem Oishi became too worn out, which she put down to the long time difference between Bangladesh and the United States. “I am a sleepy person, but my sleep cycle first took the hit due to the online classes,” she said.
Then she found Sleep Cycle app which helps her sleep properly and wake up timely. It is an app that analyses the user’s sleep patterns and detects snoring, sleep talking, coughing and other sounds. It also shows records of how one’s sleep was.
Another popular sleeping app is Headspace that works more than just any other ‘lull one to sleep’ app. Headspace guides users through daily mindfulness practices and offers meditations for sleep, stress, sadness, focus and resilience. It offers users ‘move made’ workouts to help keep them active during the day.
Rafi Bin Dastagir, a mechanical engineering student at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, is a user of this app. According to him, sleep cycle distortion really wears the thinking capacity down and his work has to take the hit the next day.
“I used this app to bring my derailed sleep cycle back on track, and it has actually helped me,” remarked Rafi while appreciating the app’s unique features like SOS meditation sessions and meditation tracks.
This app is like any other that provides a collection of ambient sounds that can be picked and mixed accordingly to the user’s choice. These ambient sounds can help relieve anxiety and stress inducing the user to fall asleep faster. The app also features a timer that comes with a fadeout function, so the music fades out and becomes quieter with the time and then stops playing.
All the apps discussed here are available on iOS and Google Play Store. There are free features of each app and a premium subscription with some charge will unlock all the features for one’s best experience.
Tahseen Nower is a mass communication and journalism student at Dhaka University. E-mail: [email protected]