Windows Phone Central App Roundup: Sleep Apps
One major element of fitness is sleep. During the Mobile Nations Fitness Month we've touched on Windows Phone apps to help you with your workouts and diet but all that work goes to pot if you can't get a good night's sleep.
Sleep, in many respects, is mechanism we use to recharge our batteries, allow the body to rejuvenate and relax our minds. The apps in this week's fitness app roundup are some of the top rated Windows Phone sleep apps designed to help with our sleep habits. They offer soothing, calming sounds to help get us to sleep as well as tools to monitor our sleep habits.
Sleep is one of the three sound mixers in this week's roundup designed to create soothing sounds to help you relax and sleep sounder. The free version of Sleep includes twelve base sounds that include:
- Silence (yes, the absence of sound)
- Rainy Driving
- White Noise (Television Static)
- City Noises
Each sound has a corresponding wallpaper to offer a visual aid to help get you on the road to relaxation. You can upgrade to the premium version of the app ($1.99) and add an additional six more base sounds that includes Airplane noises, Hot Tub, Light Rain, Snowfall, Rain on the Roof and Train Sounds.
In addition to the base sounds, you can add accent sounds to spice things up. There are ten available but you can only tag five to be in the set that is available with the base sounds. The ten accent sounds include Thunder, Wind, Frogs, Crickets, Wind Chimes, Fog Horn, Crickets2, Frogs2, Chimes2, Seagulls and Loons.
The main display for Sleep has a volume control bar at the top of the screen. A timer option, along with the current time and a link to the About page sits just below the volume control. Your base sound options line the bottom of the screen in tile fashion and a side pullout menu will reveal your accent sounds. Individual base sounds can be pinned to your Start Screen (tap/hold the base sound tile) for easy access.
The layout works but isn't as clean as other sleep sound apps that are available. The free version does have an attractive set of sound options (still don't get the Silence sound) and you can always upgrade if you need a few more choices.
- Sleep – Windows Phone 8 and 7.x – Free – Store Link
Ever wonder if you talked in your sleep? Need help proving your significant other snores? There is an app for that.
Sleep Recorder is a recording app that will capture those sleep sounds to help better analyze how sound your sleep really is. The sound activated recording has a delay timer to allow you to get to sleep before the recording begins. You can password protect the recordings and map out where you recorded the night's sleep.
Sleep Recorder's interface is simple with main pages that you record from, review/playback previous recordings, view a map of your recordings and access the app's settings. The free version of Sleep Recorder is ad-supported and does have some feature limitations. The Pro Version is currently running $1.99, removes the ads and allows you to back up recordings to the cloud.
Sleep Recorder will run under your Windows Phone lockscreen but will consume a good bit of power. It is best to plug your phone into a power source before calling it a night.
Sleep Recorder is a simple to use Windows Phone app that may shed a little light on your sleep patterns or help prove that it is indeed your wife is snoring that is keeping you awake at night.
- Sleep Recorder – Windows Phone 8 and 7.x – Free – Store Link
- Sleep Recorder Pro – Windows Phone 8 and 7.x - $1.49 – Store Link
Relax Melodies is a sound generator that has one of the more interesting user interfaces of the bunch. Sounds are displayed in wind chime fashion, dangling from strings on your Windows Phone screen. To create a relaxing melody of sounds, just tap on the desired sounds to create your own mix.
This sleep app includes forty-one ambient sounds that include frogs, humming, waves, rain, a medieval flute, wind, birds and more. You also have two binaural beat frequencies for brainwave entertainment. The Beta 20Hz beat is designed for concentration and the Mid-Alpha 10Hz is designed more for relaxation.
Relax Melodies does have a timer function and the ability to tag mixes of sounds as favorites for easy access. There is also access to the Relax Melodies Blog that includes posts on sleep related matters, such as the Top 10 Movie Lullabies to Help Soothe Baby to Sleep.
If the 41 sounds included in the free version of Relax Melodies isn't enough, you can upgrade to the Premium Version ($2.99), which bumps the number of sounds to 71 and adds four more binaural frequencies.
Relax Melodies has a simple user interface, a boat load of sound options and is another fine option to consider if you need a little help dozing off at night.
- Relax Melodies – Windows Phone 8 and 7.x – Free – Store Link
- Relax Melodies Premium – Windows Phone 8 and 7.x – Trial/$2.99 – Store Link
Sleep Tracker is a Windows Phone app designed to not only help you fall asleep but also track your sleep cycles and wake you up gently.
The sleep cycle tracking feature includes a timer to record how long you have slept, a collection of six relaxing sounds (waves, forest, ocean, rain, snow and storms) to fall asleep by and a wake-up alarm that gradually wakes you up with the same collection of relaxing sounds. The theory is that if you are awoken gently you are more refreshed.
Sleep Tracker will also use your Windows Phone sensors to record any movement you may have during sleep. The developer recommends you place your Windows Phone next to your pillow and it appears that the Windows Phone tilt sensors detects any movement you make during the night.
Once you record your sleep periods, you can view a chart of your sleep habits and possibly see where you need more or less sleep. The chart allows you to add variables for the sleep pattern that might have influenced your night's rest that include how you were feeling, any physical symptoms (headaches, cramps, back ache, etc), any food/drink consumed, medications and events (exercise, television viewing, etc.).
Sleep Tracker also has a sleep log where you can jot down notes on how you slept and any other factors that may have influenced your sleep (mood, weather, pre-bedtime activity, etc.). Sleep Tracker has support to back-up/restore your data locally or to OneDrive and share sleep data with friends, doctors, etc. over email or text messaging.
If you need to chart your sleep habits to identify potential problems or just to reassure yourself that you are getting enough sleep, Sleep Tracker is a feature rich and user friendly option to consider.
- Sleep Tracker – Windows Phone 8 – Free – Store Link
Sleep Bug is one of the more visually appealing sound generators available for our Windows Phone. From the wallpapers that adorn the sound screens to the sound choice menus, this is a very eye appealing app. It is also not too shabby of a sound mixer to help you relax and fall asleep.
The free version of Sleep Bug has twelve sound themes that includes beach, music box, Zen, Zen garden, river, forest, jungle, classical, fire, waterfall, weather and lullaby themes. Each theme has a base sound with four accent sounds. For example, the beach theme's base sound is the ocean waves slapping against the beach. You can add chimes, a boat horn, seagulls and wind accent sounds to give the base sound a little more flavor.
If you need more sound themes, you can upgrade to the Pro Version ($1.99), which adds an additional twelve themes into the mix. The additional themes include train, clock, Sci-fi, winter, airport, underwater and six other themes.
The main screen for Sleep Bug has an independent volume control, your accent sound choices, a pause/play button and your theme menu button lining the sides of the screen. At the bottom of the screen is a sleep timer button, your time/date and access to the About screen. The main page for Sleep Bug is filled with a high quality image that reflects the sound theme. If you prefer to remove the on-screen controls and enjoy the image alone, there is a button at the top center of the screen that will hide the controls.
I really have to commend Sleep Bug for the images they have chosen. It would be a nice if you could save the wallpaper images locally and use them as lockscreen or Start Screen wallpapers (hint, hint).
All totaled, Sleep Bug is a visually attractive sound generator well worth considering.
- Sleep Bug – Windows Phone 8 and 7.x – Free – Store Link
- Sleep Bug Pro – Windows Phone 8 and 7.x - $1.99 – Store Link
Best of the bunch?
As with the previous fitness roundups, we'll be letting you choose the best Windows Phone sleep app. Just cast your vote in the Reader's Poll below and offer any supporting arguments below in the comments. At the end of the week, we'll tally up all the votes and present you with the best sleep apps from across the Mobile Nations community.
But first, a few observations on each of these apps.
- Relax Melodies has the largest selection of individual sounds that can be combined to offer an even wider selection of sounds. The effectiveness of the binaural frequencies is a nice feature and helps Relax Melodies stand out just a little. I'm just not sure if it really makes a difference.
- Sleep has the most cumbersome user interface but it is not to the point of rendering the app useless. I did like the ability to pick/choose your accent sounds but with only ten, why not make them all available?
- Sleep Bug is the best looking option and has a pretty decent sound collection. Then again, if you are asleep, should the fantastic wallpapers make a difference?
- Sleep Tracker is a neat app that comes in handy to chart your sleep habits. The movement tracker feature is nice addition but I'm a little concerned that it may pick up on your partners (if applicable) movement.
- Sleep Recorder has an easy to use interface and can be used to monitor your sleep habits or your partners. However, you are on your own if you end up proving that your significant other is wrong and does in fact snore.
Keep in mind that each of these apps will run under a lockscreen and will consume a healthy amount of battery life. It is recommended that you connect your Windows Phone to a power source before falling asleep.