iPhone and iPad

9 iPhone Apps To Help Soothe You To Sleep

Jackson Chung 26-10-2009

9 iPhone Apps To Help Soothe You To Sleep iphone sleepI’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 Sounds To Help You Sleep, Relax, Concentrate Or Wake Up! Read More 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.

iphone apps sleep


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

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!

9 iPhone Apps To Help Soothe You To Sleep irelax

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

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.

9 iPhone Apps To Help Soothe You To Sleep esleep

eSleep Lite comes with built-in alarm and timer that starts to fade out in the final minute.

Ambiance Lite

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!


iphone apps relaxation

9 iPhone Apps To Help Soothe You To Sleep ambiance2

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.


9 iPhone Apps To Help Soothe You To Sleep naturespace

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.

9 iPhone Apps To Help Soothe You To Sleep sleepmaker

However, the sounds that they offer are pretty realistic. Take a look at their descriptive titles.

In Storm;

  • Gentle long rolls with lite rain
  • Medium thunder with heavy splatter
  • Heavy constant wind storm

In Stream;

  • Gentle mouth of brook
  • Medium fast flowing stream
  • Heavy bottom of waterfall

In Rain;

  • 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!

9 iPhone Apps To Help Soothe You To Sleep whitenoise

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?

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  1. Jaelle Eby
    December 26, 2016 at 4:37 am

    Thank you for an excellent article from a HUGE insomniac ?? I chose to download White Noise Lite and it looks awesome ? Hope it does the trick but, if not, I'll try another on your list. Ocean sounds have always been my favorite, but the train one sounds intriguing ?

  2. Andy
    January 11, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Train Ride 2 for iPhone is very soothing. You get to virtually ride in front of the train.

  3. TheInfamousJ
    December 26, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Another one to add to your list is MagicSleep. There is a free version that limits the amount of time you get to enjoy the MagicSleep track and a pay version with no limits. I've honestly never needed more than the 15 minutes on the free version, though enjoyed the app so much that I purchased the pay version to support the developers.

    I normally keep my self uncaffinated which means that each soda or coffee that I have (perhaps once or twice a month) hits me very hard and keeps me wired and makes me unable to sleep. MagicSleep counteracts the stimulants and I'm in dreamland quickly.

    It is important with binaural beats to listen with headphones because the music is purposefully in stereo. Now my latest quest is to find headphones that I can fall asleep in. So far sleepphones are at the top of my list, but aren't perfect.

  4. JD
    October 27, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Nice article, I'm a long time Sleepmaker user, just downloaded iRelax and I'm loving the mixing and matching.

  5. Hamlesh
    October 27, 2009 at 4:38 am

    Following on from watching the TED talk by Julian Treasure a couple of weeks ago on how sound affects us (http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/julian_treasure_the_4_ways_sound_affects_us.html), I've been putting on sounds of the ocean in my office, especially as there are servers running near by all the time. Its made a noticeable difference in my concentration, and I'm less irritable during the day now (unless clients start being stupid of course!).

    Thanks a lot for this, I found tracking own mp3s of these types of sounds quite hard, this is very helpful :)

    • Jackson Chung
      October 27, 2009 at 10:03 am

      You're welcome

  6. Kathleen
    October 27, 2009 at 2:07 am

    Sleep Machine I think is better than all of these. I can't believe you didn't even mention it. Thundergod is cool too. White Noise has to be the most over rated sleep app in the bunch. Listen to it with headphones. The sounds are in mono! YUK. Anyway, incomplete article.

  7. Chris
    October 26, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Also, eReader application (Kindle app or Barnes and Noble eReader), reading a book also makes one go to sleep. :)

  8. PienaZupa
    October 26, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I'd add Thundergod too :)

    • Jackson Chung
      October 27, 2009 at 9:56 am

      Thanks for the suggestion!