The smartphone that has already taken up so much of your waking hours is now threatening to invade your sleep - but in a good way.
Designed to help you get a better night's rest, sleep apps can analyse the efficiency of your snooze time, help lull you into shut-eye mode and even control your dreams.
But before you take your phone to bed, first make sure that you have a power source nearby. Most sleep apps need to run through the night and require you to put your phone on or near your bed. So keeping it charged is essential.
Once you are all set and ready for some serious snuggle time with your smartphone, check out these five sleep apps.
Sleep Meister - Sleep Cycle Alarm Lite
If you have problems getting restful sleep, this app may be able to help you find out why. Sleep Meister can track your sleeping patterns to see how efficiently you rest.
For this app to work as intended, you first need to set your desired wake-up time range. Then, hit the Start button to begin tracking and put your Apple iPhone screen side down at the corner of your bed.
The easy-to-understand graph The app runs all night, detecting your sleep patterns. In the morning, it finds a suitable light sleep phase within your desired wake-up time range to rouse you.
Once you are up, the app starts crunching the sleep-pattern data it has gathered into an informative graph, showing how well you slept the night before.
Extra information, such as total slumber time and how long you took to fall asleep, are also recorded. The app even rates your sleep efficiency, based on the data gathered.The easy-to-understand graph shows you how much time you have spent awake, or in different stages of light or deep sleep.
The "lite" version, which is free, contains a few unobtrusive ads. To go ad-free, check out the paid version, Sleep Meister - Sleep Cycle Alarm, which goes for $1.28.
White Noise Lite
Free (Android and iOS)
When insomnia gets the better of you, fire up White Noise Lite. It is an ambient sound player, complete with ready-made recordings of relaxing environmental sounds that promise to quickly send you off to dreamland.
Among the 10 recordings available in this app are realistic sounds of a thunderstorm, waves lapping gently on a beach and wind chimes swaying lazily in the breeze.
Relaxing environmental sounds There are also some strange ones, such as the drone of an airplane in mid-flight and the continuous tick-tock of a grandfather clock, which I found more annoying than relaxing.
You can record your own custom sounds.
The brilliant thing about this app is its ability to mix different sound recordings. While you can always play a sound on its own, a mix can produce some pretty amazing effects. Combining the chatter of crickets with the wind chime and beach recordings created a track that sounded very much like my last beach vacation.
The app even comes with several sound-mixing features for further customising soundtracks. You can alter the balance, volume and pitch of each ambient sound in the mix.
For a larger selection of more than 40 recordings, check out the full version of the White Noise app ($2.53 on Android, $2.58 on iOS).