Four Apps That Will Improve Your Life
1. Sleep Cycle:
Sleep Cycle is a smart alarm clock that analyses your sleep and wakes you up in the lightest sleep phase. This allows you to wake up more naturally, feeling relaxed and well rested.
The science behind this app is simple; while sleeping, you go through cycles of sleep states. The first state in the cycle is light sleep, which is then followed by deep sleep, and finally a dream state - referred to as REM sleep. The total sleep cycle lasts approximately 90 minutes and is repeated several times each night.
Your movements will vary with each sleep phase. The Sleep Cycle app uses sound analysis to identify your sleep states by tracking body movements in bed. Sleep Cycle uses a wake-up phase that ends within the period (30mins by default) of your desired alarm time. For example, if you needed to wake up at 7am, you’d set the alarm to 7am, Sleep Cycle would then monitor signals to wake you up at the lightest possible stage in a period between 6.30-7am.
I’ve used Sleep Cycle for over a year and can happily say that it’s made waking up a hell of a lot easier in the morning.
Sleep Cycle is available on both Android and iOS.
Headspace is an app that provides users guided meditation. Users can access the free ‘take ten’ guided meditations without purchasing a subscription, in which Andy (the founder and owner of Headspace) guides you through the beginnings of meditation.
The techniques taught through the programme combine elements of both calming and insight meditation. The app is set up in seven different areas, referred to as “Packs”. These are Foundation, Health, Brave, Happiness, Work & Performance, Headspace Pro, and Sport.
Additionally, the app offers one-off shorter meditation sessions - known as “Singles” - which is designed for users who are on-the-go and thus don’t have time to complete a full course. “Single” sessions include SOS, Fear of Flying, Sleeping, Stressed, etc.
Headspace also offers a subsection of meditation, designed specifically for kids. These are shorter meditations, applicable to toddlers through to preteens. The sessions range from one to five minutes.
Headspace is available on both Android and iOS.
MyFitnessPal is an app that tracks a user’s diet and exercise, to determine the optimal caloric intake and nutrients for their specific goals (i.e. weight loss, weight gain, or maintenance).
There are over 5 million foods stored in the MyFitnessPal database, making it quick and easy to add your meals in to calculate daily calorie and nutrient intake. The nutrition aspect of the app is an online diary of each member’s intake. The app automatically stores food and meals that the user often eats, which makes it easy to find when they eat these foods again and need to log them.
Regarding exercise, there are more than 350 exercises stored in the app's database. Each stored exercise shows how much each person burns during the physical activity, based on their particular weight, height, and gender.
MyFitnessPal also has a community aspect that consists of a forum, allowing users of the app to interact with one another to share tips and advice, as well as build relationships by sharing their personal experiences or struggles.
MyFitnessPal makes it easy for people to become healthier, without needing the knowledge of nutrition to do it. It is available on both Android and iOS.
Coach.me is a world-class goal and habit tracking app.
It has lists of thousands of different habits or things you want to do (or stop doing) on a regular basis. For example, you may want to start meditating every day or practice the guitar, or maybe you want to quit smoking or stop eating sugar-dense foods.
Once you’ve picked a habit, you can set up the frequency for attaining your goal (i.e. how often you want to do this on a weekly basis). You’ll then get a notification, based on how often you set your reminder, to do (or not do) the habit you’ve selected.
Coach.me also has a community where people can share their thoughts and struggles with attaining their desired habits. The community is convenient as it allows people to be surrounded by like-minded individuals trying to achieve the same thing, building further motivation and inspiration for the user. You can also go one step further and get setup with a coach for further dedication. However, this feature is at an additional cost that is outside the free offering aspect of the app.
Coach.me is available on both Android and iOS.