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Many of us don't get the recommended seven hours of nightly sleep we need to stay healthy and alert. For some, it's because they have a hard time falling asleep. Others wake up constantly throughout the night. Some people even suffer from severe insomnia. While you can turn to sleep aids—like supplements or medications—to get you to bed, a more holistic option is using an app.
Created with the help of sleep and meditation experts, sleep music apps feature a mix of background noise, musical compositions, bedtime stories, and nightly meditation exercises to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. We’ve rounded up the best sleep music apps to keep you from staring at the ceiling into the wee hours of the morning.
The Best Sleep Music Apps of 2023
- Best Overall: Slumber
- Best Free Version: Bettersleep
- Best Meditation & Music Hybrid: Headspace
- Best Variety: Pzizz
- Best For Kids: Sleepiest
Best Overall : Slumber
- Price: Free limited access, $9.99 monthly, or $59.99 annually
- Platforms: Android, iOS
- Key Features: Huge sound library and sleep tracker
Slumber helps you sleep better by using a variety of auditory relaxation techniques which include music, nature sounds, guided visualization, breath control, autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), and even hypnosis.
Developed by sleep experts
Offers multiple methods of sleep techniques
Music is customizable
Limited offerings with the free version
With an audio library that includes soundscapes, stories, music, and meditations, Slumber truly has something for everyone. The app's science-based techniques are approved by the National Sleep Foundation and allow you to choose from a story series, guided meditations, or music.
Slumber allows you to customize the settings to control the sounds you hear, and then mix and match them to create a perfect blend of noises. With options like rain showers, crackling flames, binaural beats (two tones played in alternating ears of headphones), and a flowing river, you can find soothing sounds to calm your mind into a slumber. You can also choose soundscapes (pre-made mixes of sounds) that create an auditory experience, like walking through a forest.
Limited access to the app is free, but to unlock the full experience, you’ll need to pay a subscription fee of $9.99 a month or $59.99 annually.
Best Free Version : Bettersleep
- Price: Free limited access or $59.99 annually
- Platforms: Android, iOS
- Key Features: Vast array of sleep sounds, chronotype quiz to help choose optimal bed and rise times, and a sleep tracker
Bettersleep allows you to create custom sleep tracks that pair guided meditations with your perfect sleep mix, even with the free version.
Robust library of sounds
Chronotype quiz allows you set your preferences
Offers more sounds than melodies or music
Free apps usually have a limited catalog of options, but Bettersleep is the exception, offering a wide variety of sounds in an array of categories, from nature and animals to melodies and brain waves.
The app's interface is easy to navigate and lets you visually compose your track by blending sounds together. You can also control the intensity of each sound to your specifications and choose your favorite compositions, too. Lastly, Bettersleep lets you explore its endless selection of user-submitted and staff-created mixes.
Limited meditations, stories, and melodies are available on the free app, but for the full catalog, you'll need to unlock the premium version, which you can access for a fee of $59.99 a year.
Best Meditation & Music Hybrid : Headspace
- Price: Free limited access, $12.99 monthly, or $69.99 annually
- Platforms: Android, iOS
- Key Features: Offline use, "sleep hygiene" techniques, improving sleep quality, extended play options, and targeted content suited to a variety of sleep situations
Headspace is the perfect mix of a mindfulness app and sleep aid, letting you toggle between meditation and relaxation offerings, depending on your needs.
Easy to use
Offers a holistic approach to sleep wellness
Must pay for majority of sleep content
Headspace is known primarily as a meditation app, but it also contains an amazing sleep music offering. The overall focus of the app is centered around “sleep hygiene,” or creating a routine that improves how fast you fall asleep, and also the quality of your sleep.
The sleep function is easy to use and contains a library of content, ranging from music to soundscapes to sleep radio with extended play. The timer function is also handy, allowing you to customize the length of your play. Targeted content focuses on situational aspects, including specific content for when you wake in the middle of the night and need help getting back to sleep.
Headspace's free version contains very little sleep content. In order to unlock the full benefits, you need to upgrade to the paid subscription at $12.99 a month or $69.99 annually. While pricey, the paid app gives you access to a vast content library of sleep and meditation programs that also help with work stress or feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
Best Variety : Pzizz
- Price: Free limited access, $7.99 monthly, or $49.99 annually
- Platforms: Android, iOS
- Key Features: Science-backed sounds, customizable voice and music for each track, and a timer
With its science-backed psychoacoustic approach, Pzizz offers an array of ways to help you fall asleep, plus an algorithm that makes minor adjustments to improve your experience each time you use it.
Offers multiple voices to choose from
Offline use available
Can be confusing to navigate
Extremely limited free version
Pzizz's sleep app is based on the science of psychoacoustics (the branch of psychology dedicated to the perception of sound and its physiological effect). It uses research-backed techniques to build its “dreamscapes”—a combination of music, voiceovers, and sound effects.
The voiceover feature allows you to tune the voice volume separately from the music volume. Narrations automatically change each time you use the app, and you can omit them entirely if you prefer. You can set a timer to any length and the dreamscape will adapt to fit that timeframe. The app also has a built-in alarm.
Pzizz's free version only comes with two dreamscapes and two narrations. To unlock the full library, as well as other premium features, you’ll need to pay $9.99 a month or $69.99 a year for a subscription.
Best For Kids : Sleepiest
- Price: Free trial, and then $9.99 monthly or $49.99 annually
- Platform: iOS
- Key Features: Kid-targeted stories, lullabies for babies, and parental controls
Sleepiest is geared towards making bedtime easier for children by providing healthy sleep-habit training, bedtime stories, white noise, and calming music.
Gives kids the tools to cultivate good sleep hygiene
Easy for kids to navigate by themselves
Provides parental controls
An Apple device needs to be in the kid's room
Not available on Android
While not specifically geared toward children, Sleepiest is kid-friendly and loaded with bedtime stories, soothing noises, and music to help lull kids to sleep. The app includes parental controls to ensure kids can’t navigate out of the app when they are trying to sleep.
There are four categories to choose from: Sounds, Composer, Meditate, and Stories. Sounds features soothing music and background noises, like rain and birds, while Composer lets kids create their own melodies for a custom track. Meditate has guided meditations and relaxation techniques, while Stories is a collection of narrated kid-specific tales.
Using the app requires allowing a device into your child’s room at night. And while parental controls allow you to manage restrictions, some parents may not want the added distraction. That said, you must subscribe to this app in order to use it. Rates are $9.99 monthly or $49.99 for a yearly one.
Best for Celebrity Voices - Calm
- Price: Free, $14.99 monthly or $69.99 annually
- Platform: Android, iOS
- Key Features: Stories narrated by A-List celebrities, exclusive remixes by A-List musicians, and content guided by scientific research
Calm is a comprehensive mindfulness app with a fully developed sleep vertical that includes the voices of well-loved pop stars, actors, and influencers.
Fall asleep to the voices of your favorite celebs
Vast library of updated content
Good for meditation and relaxation, too
Amount of information can be overwhelming
Not as personalized as other apps
Majority of content is only accessible via subscription
With over 100 million users worldwide, Calm is an extremely popular mindfulness app dedicated to relaxation, meditation, and sleep. Its extensive library of sounds includes "sleep stories," exclusive music, nature sounds, soundscapes, and guided meditations.
Sleep stories are narrated by celebrities like Harry Styles and Regé-Jean Page. Music includes exclusive-to-the-app remixes by pop musicians, like Ariana Grande and Katie Perry. Calm’s numerous celeb appearances definitely make it a welcomed standout in the sleep app crowd.
Calm also conducts extensive research on their sounds so that your mindfulness experience is fully backed by scientific findings. But it’ll cost you, as the free version only offers a fraction of the content. A subscription fee of $14.99 monthly, $69.99 annually, or a one-time $399.99-lifetime pass will grant you full access.
Slumber won our pick for the best sleep music app because it was developed by sleep experts and is backed by scientific research. The app allows you to access to music, sleep meditations, sleep-inducing stories for adults and kids, ASMR soundscapes, binaural beats, and white noise. The free version boasts an above-average number of samplings (unlike other apps), and the pro version takes you on a journey into sleep wellness with corrective techniques. With its selection of highly customizable sounds, you're guaranteed a satisfying, highly personalized experience with Slumber.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Ok to Sleep With Music on All Night?
Yes. Sleeping with music is encouraged by many health professionals. Music can improve sleep hygiene by putting you in a relaxed state before falling asleep. It can also release feel-good chemicals in the brain, like serotonin, which can help enhance the quality of your sleep.
What Is the Best Audio for Sleep?
What puts one person to sleep may be bothersome to another, making sleep sounds very personal. White noise (like television static) comforts some, while pink noise (like falling rain or crashing waves) may be preferable to others. Some people need the comfort of a soothing voice to put them to sleep, while others can only drift off to the sound of music. Try an app that has a variety of sounds and see which one suits you.
Can Pink Noise Help You Sleep?
Studies have found that the effects of pink noise (sounds in which lower frequencies are more amplified than higher ones) help adults maintain a deeper sleep and can even improve memory. Heightened lower frequencies are found to have a calming effect on the mind and body.
What Is the Secret To Getting Sound Sleep at Night?
Experts agree that the main contributor to a sound night's sleep is your level of relaxation. To achieve a state of tranquility, use calming sleep sounds, eliminate distracting noises, stick to a sleep schedule, and avoid caffeine and alcohol right before bed.
We reviewed several apps before coming up with our picks of the best sleep music apps. We chose apps that offer a combination of music, narration, and background effects, allowing the user to customize it to their specifications. We considered apps that were easy to use and offered functionality options like timers. We also looked at pricing and subscription models to ensure a variety of budgets were represented, and that free content was available, either in the form of a trial period or with a limited selection of tracks and sounds.