The optimist in me has made it her singular mission to find silver linings every single day, even during this period of social distancing. And my newest one is this: I finally have time—and I mean hours upon hours—to figure out this whole “sleeping” thing. Normally, this would mean investing in a number of subscriptions to make myself the guinea pig of somnolent meditations, white noise apps, and hypnosis, but given that some of the best sleep apps available are waiving their subscription fee to give me (and you! and you! and you!) a better night’s rest for the grand total of $0, it seems criminal not to explore that avenue.
There’s even scientific evidence to support why now more than ever, you’re going to want to focus on getting that good REM: Studies have shown that getting quality sleep can help you improve muscle recovery and mental health, alike. And thus, with your nightly eight hours of sleep on your side, you stand a better much better chance of feeling as well and healthy as you can, amid this new and strange (and, worth mentioning, temporary) reality.
When you’re taking a deep dive into your circadian rhythm, there’s a lot—and I mean a lot—of information to parse through. Below, you’ll find the best sleep apps to help you do just that (without putting a dent at all in your wallet, no less).
The 4 best sleep apps that are 100 percent free right now
Headspace always offers a free two-week trial that allows you to access all of its sleep content before you decide whether to opt for the $70 annual or $13 monthly membership. But if you feel hesitant to hit subscribe on anything that may charge you later (it me), you can head to the company’s designated COVID-19 page and meditate right on there, or navigate to the new “Weathering the Storm” section of the free app for new offerings, including sleep exercises and meditations. You’ll also get access to a ton of sleep research that the company itself has conducted surrounding what’s keeping all of us up at night.
This app is always free, but right now it’s curating special content designed specifically to help process this global pandemic. On the app, you can create your own music playlists, access sleep hypnotherapy, or simply meditate your way to a better night’s rest.
3. Sleep Cycle
For an indefinite period of time, Sleep Cycle—one of the OG REM-tracking apps—is offering its premium content for not even a penny rather than the normal annual rate of $30. That means you’ll have access to detailed sleep statistics, in-app sleep notes, snore detection, and a customizable wake-up window designed to go off during your lightest stage of sleep (which may help you wake up feeling more rested).
Insight Timer is rolling out free COVID-19-specific content to help you restore calm whenever things start to feel difficult. The app is also offering courses and sounds to fill your whole bedtime hour—not just the minutes before you put your head on the pillow. To boot, the app will also get you in on the “slow lit” trend, which is basically adult storytelling that will—temporarily, at least, give you a respite from reality.
How about a stretch before you sleep, too? Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions: