Medical researchers and experts say it is very important to get enough sleep during the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors at the University of Chicago Medical have even stated that a lack of sleep might hurt our immune system making us more susceptible to catching and or fighting off a virus.
But who can sleep with all the worries that a pandemic and isolation bring with them? I’ve tried dozens of smartphone apps to help ease a racing mind and fall asleep quickly and some have worked with varying success.
A couple of weeks ago I downloaded the sleep app Restly. The app claims it uses sleep and relaxation methods that are based on science and that the app uses military secrets and has been field-tested by pilots to fall asleep in as little as 2 minutes, and get a restful nights sleep in less than 3 and a half hours.
Here’s how it works. When you’re ready to turn off the lights, you choose whether you want to fall asleep in 7 minutes, 5 or 3. It’s best to start with 7. Like other sleep apps, you have options where you can listen to a stream, light rain, the ocean, this one is of pages turning in a book. You can mix the sounds together along with a calming voice trying to lull you to sleep.
There are meditation lessons, music and even videos. One is called “Cozy weekend at home”, with a purring cat and a fireplace. You can increase the volume of the cat purring, or the flames in the fireplace and add other sounds.
There’s a sleep calculator to help you get enough sleep and wake up at the end of a sleep cycle, making you feel more rested. If you need to wake up at 7 a.m., the app says the perfect time to go to sleep is 9:46 p.m., 11:16 p.m., 12:46 a.m., even 3:46 a.m. to feel rested after a 3 hour and 14 minute snooze.
Does it work? It gets great reviews from users and sleep specialists. I personally have been using it for the past two weeks and I’ve yet to hear the end of the 7-minutes of rain and wind chimes. Restly is a free app for a few courses and sleep sounds, a full version is $30 a year. Currently it is iOS only.