Sleep therapy has a bad rap. We assume we have to break the bank in order to get a good night’s sleep. On the other hand, the waking business of living is pricey too. With so many expenses already, do we really have to spend on one more thing?
Apparently, not necessarily. Not when another expensive piece of equipment you already own–your iPhone–can solve the problem for you for under ten bucks.
As New York Times Gadgetwise writer Jenna Wortham discovered, developers have come out with a spate of new apps intended to deliver you successfully to the shores of sleep.
White Noise offers the usual selection of sleep machine sounds–crickets, rain storms, animal sounds, ocean waves–which you can mix together to create a personalized bedtime soundtrack. Pzizz is a little more sophisticated, offering guided meditations (led by a male or female, your choice) to ease you into sleep, step by step, accompanied by ambient sound.
A little poking around on Apple’s App Store revealed a world of sleep-related apps. White Noise Baby is essentially the same was White Noise Lite, but features sounds specifically intended to put babies to sleep, including heartbeats, an air conditioner, conch shell, vacuum cleaner, and a Doppler ultrasound. Another app, aSleep HD, boasts a snore monitor. Whether or not the snore monitor does an accurate job of recording breath patterns is debatable.
Obviously, some sleep disorders call for more than the soothing sounds of ocean waves. But even if your sleep disorder calls for the big guns, these apps might not be a bad place to start. For example, if you suffer from some chronic pain and have trouble falling asleep because of it, a little auditory distraction can help take the edge off, encouraging the body to slip more easily into slumber. With complete silence and nothing else to focus on, pain can loom larger than life.
And besides, at the end of the day, literally and figuratively, listening to white noise is healthier than the drone of a TV.