Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
I’m a bit of an insomniac and I often have some difficulty falling asleep. Most of the time, it would take me close to an hour to drift off after hitting the bed. That’s a lot of time spent rolling around, not doing anything. I always have half a mind to get up and get some work done but that would cause me to lose even more sleep, affecting the next day’s performance.
I used to resort to a couple of Mac apps to help put me to sleep. Recently, I found something another tool to help me achieve blissful slumber — my iPhone.
I was looking for an iPhone app that would play soothing sounds (something akin to a Sound Machine) like pouring rain or blowing wind (yeah, I’m kinda digging that) to help put my mind at ease. Coincidently, I found that listening to these sounds while falling asleep, I dream less and tend to get a better night’s rest. Although, your personal results may differ.
In my quest to find these apps (the App Store is so cluttered these days), I tested several and found that most of them have slightly different sounds to offer. Each one has its own distinctive motif. So, instead of choosing the best one for me (which may not be the one for you), I decided to list them all down so that you can try for yourselves. So here they are, 9 iPhone apps to help soothe you to sleep.
Custom Sounds of Nature Lite
CSON Lite provides 2 very realistic sounds of nature — Calm Ocean and Mountain Stream. Within Calm Ocean, there is a selection of sounds and the option to configure their presence and volume: Ocean, Seagulls, Wind Chimes and Foghorn. Mountain Stream has a several sounds to choose from as well: Stream, Bull Frogs, Birds and Day Crickets.
Each of the selected sounds loop so they can be played endlessly. CSON Lite also has a built-in timer so that you can listen to the sounds for as long as you wish before the sounds slowly fade away.
iRelax Melodies is free for a limited time and has a collection of 16 very relaxing (indeed!) sounds to put you to sleep –River, Ocean, Flute, Rain, Winds, Music Box, Lounge, Birds, Piano, Orchestral, Waterfall, Thunder, Zen, Fire Camp, Melody and Night — all arranged as post-it notes spanning two pages. The sounds are selected by tapping on their corresponding notes and here’s the cool thing: you can select as many sounds as you want and mix your own customized track!
iRelax also offers a built-in timer albeit only as predefined time intervals of 5, 10, 15, 30, 45 minutes; 1 hour and 2 hours.
eSleep Lite is slightly different from your regular sound machine in the sense that it allows you to select 1 background “music” track and up to 3 “noise” tracks. Besides that, it also has a little party piece: it will let you record your own soothing sound to be played as a “noise” track.
eSleep Lite comes with built-in alarm and timer that starts to fade out in the final minute.
Ambiance Lite is not your ordinary sound machine. It is a full-fledge jukebox of awesome sounds. The free app comes pre-installed with three: Large Wind Chimes, Loons and Rain and Thunder II. However, you can download as many sounds as you want for free from their online repository!
To imagine how Ambiance Lite works, think of it as an iPod. You can rate, favourite, loop and shuffle different sounds from the main playlist. It also features the usual timer and alarm functions so that you can set the app to play and drift off to sleep without a worry in your mind! Not bad for a free app!
Boasting holographic audio, Naturespace features five stock environments with 3D sound that are accurately recorded in high definition and seamlessly reproduced to provide you with a realistic experience.
If you’re not the kind to fiddle with settings or customize sounds to perfection but rather, just want a simple app that can help calm you down instantly (and effectively), this is the one you need.
Sleepmaker Storm, Stream and Rain
Sleepmaker’s series of apps are for the serious insomniacs who know what they need to put them to sleep. These 3 apps dish out specific collections of sounds, all targeted at tranquility. Unfortunately, this is also the apps’ weakness. Because they are separated into three distinct applications, there’s no mixing and matching. You are able to only play one sound at a time.
However, the sounds that they offer are pretty realistic. Take a look at their descriptive titles.
- Gentle long rolls with lite rain
- Medium thunder with heavy splatter
- Heavy constant wind storm
- Gentle mouth of brook
- Medium fast flowing stream
- Heavy bottom of waterfall
- Gentle onto forest foliage
- Medium and steady with puddles
- Medium rain against windows
- Heavy torrential downpour
Sleepmaker also produces Wildlife and Waves sound packs but I have yet to review them. Personally, I think it would be easier for end-users if they made one free app with all the sounds packaged together.
White Noise Lite
Don’t be fooled by the name, White Noise Lite has a larger selection of sounds than just pure white noise. Actually, it has several sounds that are pretty odd like Grandfather Clock, Oscillating Fan, Train Ride and Airplane Travel. Although, I must admit, they’re surprisingly relaxing and I grew to like them, especially Train Ride — it is hypnotic!
It also has the usual calming ocean and rain sounds. My suggestion is to try out the other sounds because they may seem weird but they’re actually quite good.
So which is my favourite? I can’t really say. They all have something different to offer. But I don’t see why we have to choose — they all free! Try them out and let me know how they work for you. Are you an insomniac? Do you find it hard to fall asleep? What do you usually do to get yourself some kip?