2 Health Apps That Legitimately Make Life Lovelier

I am a Problem Sleeper. I frequently have trouble falling asleep until hours after I should, and then inevitably I sleep way past the time I’m supposed to get up. It’s a quality of mine that’s annoyed parents, teachers, and sleepover hosts, but mostly, it annoys me.

I’ve sought all sorts of help for it – most notably, getting a special lamp for sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (which I also have) and using it for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning when I need some bright light to smack me awake. (It really does help!)

However, there’s another technological marvel that’s been helping with my sleep issues lately, and it – like most of my life – relies on my phone. Oh, iPhone, what would I do without you?!

The wonder of wonders I’m speaking of is the Sleep Cycle app. This post isn’t sponsored in any way; as any IRL friend of mine will tell you, I rave about this app because I really do love it.

Here’s the dealio: at night, when you plug in your phone to charge, you set the alarm in Sleep Cycle and then put the phone face-down on the bed. (I usually put mine above my head and slightly to the left of where I sleep, so I won’t knock it onto the floor if I toss and turn.) The app uses your phone’s built-in motion sensor to track your movements through the night, and – using some kind of high-tech magic I don’t understand – tracks where you are in your sleep cycle at any given time.

It then uses this information to wake you up only at the lightest point of your cycle, so that you’ll feel alert and rested when you wake, instead of groggy and disoriented. Whatever time you set on your alarm, the app will wake you up at your lightest moment of sleep in the half-hour before that time – so you’ll be extra-awake but still on time for whatever you’ve got scheduled that morning.

The wake-up sounds are gentle and gradual, so you never feel blasted awake. You can also set some soothing sounds to play while you fall asleep; I like to listen to rain. Or sometimes I open up the Spotify app and play the Jazz For Sleep playlist. Ah, bliss!

Sleep Cycle also appeals to my inner geek by collecting and displaying statistics (fuck yes!) on how long you sleep and how well you sleep. You can see all the hills and valleys of your restfulness through the night, and the app even keeps track of how many steps you took each day so you can check if there’s any correlation between physical activity and sound sleep. There’s also a place to keep notes, if, say, you want to keep track of how a certain medication, caffeine drink, or exercise regime is affecting your sleep.

This app has genuinely revolutionized my life in that I almost never feel groggy when I get up anymore, even if I went to bed later than I should’ve. Sure, I’ll get sleepy later in the day if I didn’t get enough Z’s, but it’s no longer a struggle to get going in the morning. And that is a damn blessing.

The same company also makes an app called Power Nap which uses the same basic mechanic but is made for naps rather than night-long sleeps. You have the option of three different nap lengths, depending on how much time you have or how deeply you want to nap. You tuck the phone in your pocket (or, if you’re me, in your bra) and it tracks your movements and wakes you up gently when you’re sleeping lightly. This app has saved my ass so many times when I needed a mid-day power-up but didn’t want to risk the grogginess that happens when you nap for too long.

While not strictly related to sex, I think we can all agree that your level of restedness affects not only your sex life but also how you feel about yourself and your life. This blog has basically expanded to cover not only “sex” but “anything and everything that impacts sex,” and lemme tell ya: when I haven’t slept well, any sex I have (even with myself) is gonna suck. So, thank heavens for Sleep Cycle!

Do you use any health apps that rock your world? Do you have sleep struggles comme moi?