No. I try to take a natural and low-tech approach to sleep, food, exercise, and other human basics. This keeps life simple, saves money, and makes me more resilient because I don’t depend on technology for the essentials.
Not anymore. I used to use Natural Cycles, a period tracking app, and Gero, a timekeeping Pomadoro app, but now I’d rather not have any reasons to pick up my phone. Sometimes, as I’m being grateful, things pop into my head and I add them to my to-do list in Trello, which I run everything with!
I find listening to audiobooks on Kindle or Audible is the only way I can read for longer than ten minutes! Otherwise my eyes start to lul as they pendulum back and forth on a paper page. Or worse, my thoughts dart between multiple tangents and distract me from the narrative, and I put down the book to daydream a little while. I never get past a page!
And yet, when I listen to an audiobook my hands are free to move and I can focus superbly. I tend to do the washing up, household chores, or sand and finish wood in the workshop. I have fallen in love with all things mystic recently in the pursuit of the unknown. I’m currently listening to Circe by Madeline Miller. It’s the story of the mythological witch, inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, told from the point of view of a woman. It’s excellent.
I don’t track the quality of my sleep or have anything special for my morning routine. In fact, I just use the alarm app on iOS.
I listen to the radio every morning—WFMU’s Wake and Bake with Clay Pigeon. I love that show.
We have a sound machine that plays ambient noise to drown out whatever unpredictable sounds might interrupt our slumber. We take that thing everywhere we might sleep. On the few occasions we forget it, I download a white noise app, but they’re never as good.
In the morning I use Headspace for meditation and Affirmation Reminder for my affirmations. When I can’t sleep in the middle of the night, I listen to rain playlists on Spotify to relax and try to get back to sleep!
We have an Amazon Echo at home, and I mostly use it to check the weather for the day.
I use Productive—it’s a great checklist app where you can set the frequency for various activities, assign the time of day, and track your progress against them every day. I find it super helpful.
In the mornings I use the Muse Brain Sensing Headband. I love how you can track your brain’s progress and get that external support to help calm down. It makes meditation even more appealing to a type A personality such as myself.
I’ve been practicing yoga since high school. I was introduced to Muse by a friend about a year ago and I’ve found that it really helps to keep me on track with my practice. I definitely think it’s valuable to learn how to meditate without technology, but the Muse Headband has been a great tool to help deepen my self awareness.
To help my sleep, I use a diffuser with lavender and take a spoonful of our B.Chill Hemp Honey before bed. A lot of people associate hemp with calming and sleep, but honey is actually incredible at relaxing the body, too. A small spoonful of honey before bed has been shown to support melatonin production in the brain, which is the hormone that helps you sleep!
Aside from the ashwagandha and aromatherapy oil, I often fall asleep listening to music on my iPad.
I love using Apple’s Bedtime feature to track my sleep and make sure I get enough of it. I’m completely useless if I don’t sleep enough. I use Simple Habit in the morning to meditate, and I use an Apple Watch to track my movement and exercise throughout the day.
I track all of my to do’s in Todoist, and I carry a Moleskin notebook and Muji pen with me everywhere.
Nah, I keep it simple over here. A killer mattress, a quiet room, and a good book (with Night Shift, if I’m on my iPad). Recently, I’ve been reading Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller, Dare to Lead by Brené Brown, and The Ultimate Introduction to NLP by Richard Bandler.
I have a noise machine because my youngest child still sleeps with me (yes, he’s too old to still do that) and I want to mask the noise I make as much as possible.
Not when going to sleep at night. But I listen to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts and find that when I’m trying to nap, which I’m not particularly good at, I have an easier time falling asleep if there’s a book playing in my ears.
There are tons of breathing apps. Try some. They’re what got me started. I had just lost my chocolate Labrador and I wasn’t sleeping well at all. Focusing on my breath with an app helped me calm my mind enough to fall asleep. I’ve since adapted it to my awake life, and I love it. Even thirty seconds is a long time when you intensely focus on nothing but quality breaths. It’s all I need (a few times a day, of course). I’m in love with life and progress.
No, other than avoiding Instagram before bed and first thing in the morning.
I love Insight Timer. I typically listen to the meditations by my good friend Manoj Dias in the morning, and at night I love to get to sleep with rain and nature noises. Escaping the concrete jungle for a few minutes mentally is what helps me doze off easily.
I use the Inscape app’s sleep section at night—it even helps put my daughters to sleep. In the morning I use Sadghuru’s app of Isha chants, The New York Times and CNN apps, and Audible when I’m on the elliptical.
To make sure I get a good night’s sleep, I wear a sleep mask (ignore the three-star reviews—this is the best one) and ear plugs, and I blast a loud fan to drown out any noises. If I’m traveling, I’ll play fan noise YouTube videos on my laptop. If it’s especially noisy (like on a trip with friends), I’ll play a second fan noise YouTube video on my phone.
No, I don’t use apps.
Alongside the Oak meditation app for meditation and breathing exercises, I use the Bedtime function on my iPhone for my bedtime reminder and alarm.
I don’t use any apps, but as I noted earlier I listen to a podcast called The Productivity Show, and that has some really great tips for doing things more efficiently and effectively. The email method I mention in the previous answer was recommended by them.
To help me sleep I take melatonin and magnesium, and when I meditate I’ve been using an app called Insight Timer; I set the time I want to meditate for, and off I go. I don’t use any other apps though. I’m kind of a low-tech guy.
I use the meditation and gratitude journaling apps mentioned above—Five Minute Journal, Simple Habit, and Headspace. Usually I have no trouble falling asleep and often crash before I intend to.
Occasionally, if work or life are stressful, I’ll have a hard time falling asleep or will wake up in the middle of the night and won’t be able to go back to sleep. When this happens, I turn on an app called Ananda. It uses binaural beats and tones to help induce my sleep, and it works for me. I also use an essential oil diffuser to help me de-stress at night. Clary sage and lavender are my go-to oils.
I took all the apps (Instagram, Twitter, email, etc.) off my phone, and it’s enhanced not just my morning routine but my life by a long ways. The early morning compulsion to check status updates, notifications, followers, and so on becomes the crack habit of the soul if not kept in check.
Humanity at its lowest ebb is finding yourself sat doing a poo before 6:00am while checking Facebook.
I like to use the website sleepyti.me to help plan my sleep times.
Sleep is super important to me, so I love using apps to help me fall and stay asleep. When I’m having trouble falling asleep or shutting my mind off, I either use Headspace or Calm. Both of these are meditation apps that have targeted meditations for sleep. I don’t use them every night, but when I’ve had a big day or I’m a bit anxious, they are incredibly useful and help me relax and wind down.
An app that I use every night is White Noise. I love listening to “Stream Water Flowing” to drown out any noises (neighbors, dogs, my boyfriend’s snoring) to help me fall and stay asleep.
No. I love technology, but I am not an expert in it.
I do not. While I understand there are some great meditation apps, I haven’t felt the need to use them.
On film days or days when I style my hair (which isn’t every day—vulnerable truth, right here!), I listen to uplifting YouTube messages. I have also done sleep meditations through YouTube with Jason Stephenson.
No apps, I’m trying to use less technology in the evening. As for “products,” I started using a nightguard (oh my god, that is so not sexy to share with the world), and it has really improved my sleep. Apparently, I was grinding…
Headspace is fantastic, especially if I have an extra challenging day ahead.
I’ve used Deepak Chopra’s Ananda meditation app off and on.
I use an app called Freedom to turn off the internet on my Mac in the evening (usually at 9:00pm) and keep it off until noon the next day. This helps me resist email and other black holes. In the morning, I use an app called One Big Thing to set my “highlight” for the day. And, as I said, I use Headspace.
Other than that, I use the Weather app in the morning. You know, as Paul Simon said, “I can gather all the news I need on the weather report.”
I have a Sleep Number bed and I love it! (This is not an ad.) My bed tracks my sleep and gives me a score every morning. I have an app on my phone that is connected to my bed, and it tells me how well I slept the night before.
I’ve been intrigued by apps that track your sleep but haven’t found one that works great for me. I rarely get anxious, but I recently experienced my first panic attack and now I empathize with people who experience panic attacks way more than I ever did. Luckily, they haven’t come back to haunt me, but during that time, I really enjoyed playing the soothing sound of rain, and I thought the Calm app had the best rain sound!
My current MVP (Most Valuable Player) app is definitely Marco Polo—I use it to talk easily to my team and my video message is saved as a video voicemail that they can look at when they’re ready to. They can even fast forward it to get the info more quickly! My team has definitely gotten quite a few “I woke up like this” video voicemails where I just had a great idea and couldn’t wait to share it with them, bedhead and all. Oprah and Deepak’s 21 Day Meditation app and the Stop, Breathe & Think app are my favorites for meditation. A feature that has been a lifesaver for me is the Do Not Disturb function on my iPhone. I have it set all through the night and most of the morning, so if people on my favorites list call or if someone calls twice in a row, I will hear the ringtone, but otherwise, I am not disturbed during those hours.
My MVP products are my Matteo sheets—no more scratchy sheets, yay! I’m a very light and bright person, but for some reason I was drawn to these sheets that come in deep red, forest green, and brown, and they feel amazing. I also have a MoMA gift shop tissue box case that not only holds tissues but also has little niches to store things on top. It’s perfect for keeping floss out on the bathroom counter and reminding me to take care of my gums! It’s also such a delight to put the floss back in its perfect cubby hole space in that tissue box. I had so much trouble flossing on the daily before I had this product.
Yes. I use Streaks, which I touched upon earlier, which is an iPhone and Apple Watch app that records how many days in a row you’ve been doing certain habits. I also use the aforementioned Sleep Cycle, and I also use a Mac app called OmmWriter, which lets you write in a beautiful environment, so I write a thousand words a day in that.
I use the default Apple Bedtime feature on my iPhone, nothing else.
I like listening to music when I’m going to sleep or doing something that doesn’t require a lot of focus. When I’m writing or doing really deep thinking I still like to listen to music, but I don’t like it to have lyrics. At those times I listen to more jazz or new-agey type of stuff.
I listen to a podcast or audiobook on my phone upon waking. Sometimes I use Sleep Cycle to track my sleep. I use Things to digitally manage my projects and to-dos. Most important to me, though, are my planner, which is a Hobonichi Techo Cousin, and my journal, which is a large Monocle notebook. I use PenGems pens and Stabilo highlighters with them.
Headspace helps me wind down after work. Living in a city definitely has its pros, but one of the biggest cons is the constant hustle and bustle. I’ve always been the type of person who absorbs the energy of those around me, so by the time I get home I’m just a frenetic hot mess. It’s either meditation or six glasses of wine to wind me down after work, so my liver (and bank account) is forever grateful that Headspace was invented.
I like white noise when I sleep, so I keep a fan on.
I bought myself a weighted blanket and really love it. I used to find myself waking up frequently and not falling back asleep easily. Now I can sleep soundly all night and wake up feeling almost refreshed. Added bonus: it’s so heavy that it never falls off and I’m always warm and cozy.
I go to sleep every night wearing a sleep tracker called the Oura ring. It is one of the most accurate sleep trackers in the game, and can actually read the difference between light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep, as well as measuring all the usual biomarkers like resting heart rate, etc. It puts all the factors together into a total score in the morning and I know that if I can get close to 80%, I’m golden for the day.
I sleep with a pillow between my knees (I sleep terribly without it).
I typically avoid caffeine after 3:00pm. An air purifier, fan, or humidifier for white noise has been helpful in the past. We now live in an area with less city noise, which has made a big difference in lessening sleep interruption. When I travel I always bring earplugs and an eye mask. I also keep a glass of water next to the bed for when I get thirsty during the night.
I use a Withings smartwatch to track my sleep duration and quality, as well as my exercise. This makes it easy to see if I am hitting my daily sleep and exercise goals, and make adjustments if necessary.
I journal in the evening using the Day One app on the iPhone. I have a Google Home that I can use to turn off all the lights in the apartment by voice, and I also use it most nights to play very quiet piano or jazz music while I’m in bed.
Not much. I try to keep it natural. I sometimes use white noise apps to help me sleep when I travel.
Every morning I check Asana and Trello for tasks and projects, and I turn music on through Sonos.
I listen to podcasts in bed to go to sleep, or if I wake up in the middle of the night.
I’ve gotten into the habit of putting my phone in “Do Not Disturb” mode when I get ready for bed, and sooner if I’m trying to be more present that evening; not having any alert noises and not seeing the screen light up helps me maintain my focus. I also use voice controls to ask Siri what the weather is when I’m getting ready, just to ensure that I don’t need to grab an umbrella or anything else.
Now that it’s cold out, we’ve been using this blanket that I crocheted myself. When I was first learning to crochet I, understandably, wasn’t great at it; because of an unintentional adjustment to a just-learned stitch, there are no holes in the blanket at all. While this means it’s really warm, it’s also extremely heavy. Like, I can’t carry the thing. But the weight seems to help with falling and staying asleep. (I’m sure there’s some science to this, but it also just makes the bed really cozy and inviting!)
I also leverage a number of travel-related apps to help with my mornings when I’m on the road. I have the apps for my favorite airlines, so I make sure I get any flight alerts I need as soon as possible, and I leverage TripIt to track all my itineraries. Whenever I wake up in a foreign city, I use Foursquare to find the best nearby café for morning coffee. And I’ve usually pre-programmed my Uber, Google Maps walking route, or whatever else I need to get to my gig venue the night before so I know when exactly I need to leave.
I recently started using Headspace, which is an app that helps me fit in bite-sized moments of meditation throughout the day. I find that practicing some form of mindfulness throughout the day, not just at the beginning or end, helps me stay centered.
I’m all about the music to get my head right. When I work out I use a Spotify or YouTube playlist and have it mapped to my car so I can get in the right spirit during the commute.
When I have a hard time sleeping, I usually take a hot shower and rub some lavender oil on my wrists and temples. I’m not sure if that actually does anything, but I like the ritual of it.
I use Fitbit to track my sleep. My Fitbit sleep readings haven’t given me any spectacular new insights on my sleep—I generally know when I’ve slept well or not and for enough hours or not without consulting a device—but it’s interesting to see the patterns and cross-check how I feel with the device readings.
Not really. My main apps are Google Calendar for scheduling, and sometimes a guided meditation app.
Not currently. I used to wear a Fitbit (I only stopped wearing it because it recently broke) that would track my sleeping patterns. I found that to be pretty insightful.
No. And the thought of it feels unnatural, like putting Miracle Whip in guacamole, which I saw someone do once. Yuck!
I view my routines like I view brushing my teeth or wearing a seatbelt. Do you need an app to remind you to brush your teeth? I can’t imagine going to sleep with my teeth unbrushed or driving without a seatbelt on. It’s the same with the burpees and my other sidchas.
I had an app that told me how restful my sleep was, but I stopped using it. I didn’t find it added any real value. So, no apps.
No, but I am pro-technology, and if an app comes out that I truly believe can enhance my sleep, improve my deep sleep, or help me wake up easier, I would be the first to use it. I cannot reiterate enough how important sleep is to a healthy body and mind - as humans, we cannot function in the long term without quality sleep!
Not really, but I do have Alexa. Alexa puts music on for me every morning for whatever mood I’m in. I love it!
I have used the app Round to remind me to take my vitamin D in the morning. It’s helpful.
The Simply Being app, as mentioned above. I’m also on the board of advisors for an app called Lose It!, which allows you to snap pictures and will instantly tell you the nutritional value and calorie intake of a certain item. Lose It! encourages me to eat healthily throughout the day, especially in the morning.
I don’t even turn on the lights in my home until the sun has come up. I don’t like the forced nature of it. I like to find my “core” of my feeling and focus of the day before I become over stimulated.
No particular apps, but there is a product we purchased about five years ago that changed my life (at least my life while I’m asleep). After talking with a friend at work who had recently purchased a very expensive bed, we did the same thing. I think our new mattress cost more than my first car, but it is worth every single penny. I won’t advertise the brand here, but I will say that never again will I underestimate the difference a good bed/mattress can make for the quality of my sleep. Next to my family and dog, it’s up there as one of my favorite things.
I’m really app-free when it comes to sleep and my morning routine.
Due to the different time zones I work in, I occasionally take a melatonin to help me go to sleep.
No. In fact, I do what I can to reduce the intrusion of technology into my morning. The last thing I want is to add more technology, even as I live with the benefits of technology elsewhere in my life.
The best apps I use and love are Flipboard and Evernote. Flipboard finds things I’m interested in and might not see, and Evernote (coupled with the tag/ID system I use, which helps me to always find what I am looking for quickly) is my second brain. Few apps other than banking and music (Spotify, Amazon Music, and Pandora) get used regularly - with one exception. I installed Sonos wireless speakers in my house and I love them. I love the fact that each room can play its own music. I also spend a lot of time on Skype for chat and video calls.
Yes! I use the S+ ResMed to track my sleep.
I don’t use any apps or products to sleep, but I do enjoy my meditations in the morning, and of course my playlist full of inspirational songs that I always listen to.
Sometimes I track my sleep with Sleep Cycle, especially if I’m going through a phase where I am having trouble sleeping through the night (New York City can be loud, with lots of light pollution!), but now I prefer not to have my phone anywhere near my bed.
I also have a water bottle called Hidrate that has a corresponding app that tracks my water consumption; if I’m behind on the day, the bottle blinks to remind me. I always thought I drank enough water; turns out I need about twice as much as I was consuming! Drinking more water reduces mindless snacking (from boredom or stress) and my whole body feels better when hydrated.
Not a thing. I just don’t feel the need.
I use Enzo for meditation. You can set it to ring at specific intervals to keep you present, and you can set a different ring at the end so you know when you’re done.
(Editor’s note: Enzo has been removed from the Apple App Store. We have collected alternative meditation apps, and more, in our collection of the best apps to help your morning routine.)
Below are apps that I love:
- Sometimes I’ll listen to an Oprah and Deepak meditation before falling asleep. It always seems to calm my mind.
- I’m a huge fan of Instagram. I check Instagram in the morning and share my daily photos via the app.
- Evernote and Grammarly support my writing and work in a myriad of ways. My writing would suffer without these apps.
I listen to books and podcasts to help me take my mind off my day and fall asleep.
I do not. However, for meditation I’ve experimented with the Headspace app. It is a really great experience for meditation.
I don’t use any apps, but I do swear by my Jawbone Jambox speaker for streaming music/radio while showering. I also keep a quip in the shower (which is a great hack for brushing your teeth while on a fast morning schedule).
This is kind of funny, but I collect vintage 1980s Transformers. When our son was born and we needed to focus more urgently on our sleep, my wife found the light from the cable box clock in our bedroom blinding. She grabbed one of my toys (Blaster, if you’re into that sort of thing), and he now covers up the clock in our otherwise fancy and uber-classy bedroom.
I use the Eight app. I love that when the Eight alarm goes off, my bedroom lights turn on.
Productive for iOS is the app I use to help me keep my morning routine active. I also have an alarm set to remind me when it is time to start my evening routine so I can get a more restful sleep.
Sleep Cycle is my alarm clock of choice when needed, and Day One is where I journal as part of my evening routine.
I’m a pretty good sleeper, but I sometimes use the Bach Flower Remedies’ Rescue Sleep in the evenings to help settle my nerves.
During the winter I use a humidifier.
Nope. It’s all a matter of discipline and structuring my day for success. After a while, it mostly becomes muscle memory.
My Apple Watch is critical as an alarm, and I recently started using an iPhone app called Productive to track my dailies (in addition to my paper tracking on my “day sheet”). It allows you to set different recurring daily tasks for each day of the week and track how often you do them.
When I get ready for bed, I dab Naturopathica’s Chill Aromatic Alchemy essential oils on my neck. I’m the last person to buy into aromatherapy and yet, the older I get, the more I value a great scented candle (which I sometimes light after work), perfume (I’m a Jo Malone junkie), and, yes, even essential oils.
Lying in bed nestled among a blanket of natural scents helps me feel relaxed.
I sometimes use Insight Timer at night (it has a whole section of meditation sessions specifically meant for falling asleep). If I’m having trouble winding down before bed, I occasionally take a hot bath and light a nice-smelling candle.
I look at Flipboard and The New York Times app for news in the morning, and I listen to podcasts on Stitcher (Someone Knows Something, How I Built This, and Radiolab’s More Perfect are my current favorites) during my commutes to and from work.
I use the bedtime program on my iPhone. Sometimes I use an app called Brain Wave Mind Tuner to help me sleep better.
I’m not even sure what an app of this sort would look like. I tend to be able to sleep anywhere and have had to do so within all the traveling and adventuring I’ve done.
Now, as a woman in my mid-fifties, I have had some bouts of sleepless nights, which until now was highly uncommon for me. When this happens I sometimes take a melatonin, which helps me fall asleep.
I do not. I’ve played around with them but, ultimately, I don’t really need to know anything beyond that I’m getting nine hours of sleep a night.
No, I sleep like a rock. No need for any help there!
I use the Sleep Cycle app to track my sleep. It gives me a quality score, and I like to track the progress. While I have no idea what it’s based on, I really love to get scores over 90 percent. There’s nothing like waking up and feeling like you’ve already won!
No. In general I strive to minimize my use of, and reliance on, apps and gadgets. I do keep an online calendar that I can access remotely in order to remind myself of important dates and commitments.
I have a Sleep Number bed that monitors sleep, but I’m not sure how accurate it is. I tried the Sense for a bit but ended up falling off the bandwagon.
I’m dialing in the variables that help me get the best night’s sleep, and so far it’s blackout curtains, a soft mattress, and a 68°F (20°C) room temperature. I also love when I can crack the window for some fresh air.
Nope. I hate all sleeping aids. I try to be as natural as possible in that department.
On the contrary, apps tend to interfere. Though I do write ideas in Evernote.
One of the primary reasons I wear a Fitbit is to remind myself to get more sleep. I need at least seven hours, and I seem to average seven and a half. It’s better than it used to be when I first started our company and found myself working around the clock, since I was also a full-time mother of a toddler at the time.
I LOVE tea and often drink it to wind down for bed. I like Yogi Bedtime tea, and I also enjoy dandelion tea before bed.
I have a humidifier that I’ll turn on with some lavender essential oils in the water to set the mood in the room. I’m also a fan of lighting the bedroom with soy lavender candles before bed.
Focus and 10% Happier.
Other than f.lux on my computers, nope. I hate having any apps on my phone, and I try to not interact with electronics before I go to sleep. The one exception is TV—I don’t mind watching TV before I go to bed.
I do like writing my Five Minute Journal at the end of the day and then sharing with my girlfriend. It’s always an interesting exercise to see what she was looking forward to and what she actually enjoyed over the course of the day.
No. I’m not really a fan of trying to solve common life problems with apps and software programs. Some basic, old-school planning and discipline do the job fine. And if you don’t have discipline, an app won’t help.
That’s just my take. I’m sure some people find value in the apps and stuff. There’s a certain amount of technology fetish-ism that creeps in. How the heck did Isaac Asimov write five hundred books without an app? He created a routine and stuck to it. Your habits become comfortable and customary.
I sometimes use Sleep Cycle.
In August I used the positive psychology app Happify for five minutes during breakfast to see if it would affect my mood and, eventually, the sculptures.
Muesli, as popularized by the Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner, was originally used therapeutically, and I am wondering if morning routines are small, self-regulated therapy sessions that enable us to interact with each other each day.
No, I don’t use any apps to go to sleep or in my morning routine. This is probably because I have been doing this routine before there were even iPhones or apps… haha.
If I happen to wake up in the middle of the night, I will play a CD already set up in a CD player next to my bed called Wholetones. This was sent to me by the author and musician Michael S. Tyrrell, and I absolutely love the entire music compilation. The music is designed to relieve stress, promote healing, and restore sound sleep. It works every time!
I’m a big fan of Andrew Johnson’s apps, such as Relax. Sometimes I’ll mix it up with his Positivity app. I may do these at night before sleeping or in the morning as a substitute for meditation.
No, unless airplane mode counts.
I usually drink green tea at night. I also have a mattress from Casper, which has helped me to truly enhance my sleep in the past year.
One of my favorite apps is Headspace. Former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe created it as a way to make mindfulness meditation easily available. We’ve also made the app available free to all HuffPost employees. But I personally don’t use anything to enhance my sleep that requires having my smartphone by my bed. I love listening to soothing guided meditations, for example, but I have them on an iPod. I have my favorites in an appendix to The Sleep Revolution. My best endorsement for them is that I have no idea how they end - because I always fall asleep before they finish!
Airplane mode is the best ‘app’ for productivity! Evernote is a great tool I use to catalog everything. I also use Pocket and its Chrome extension to file away reading for later.
When I travel I use a white noise app on my iPhone. It’s a must for hotels.
I currently use the Meditation Studio meditation app and listen to some sleep-specific guided meditations as I fall asleep. I’ve tried close to ten meditation/breathing apps, and this is the only one that’s stuck.
I definitely think that this helps me to fall asleep and to have a more restful slumber.
I use the Night Shift function on my iPhone to reduce light interference when I read on my phone in the evening (which, yes, I do - no email, never email - but I do read articles and catch up on news on the Atlantic, Slate, et al.).
I love Focus at Will for getting in the writing zone and blocking out any distractions around me.
No. I work hard all day. I often get a second swim workout during lunch, and stop having any caffeine after 4:00pm. I usually drink a few glasses of unsweetened tea throughout the day.
I have The New York Times alerts set up on my phone so I can see if there’s any breaking news when I first wake up, and I love reading The Daily Skimm in the morning to get a quick, entertaining summary of the daily news right in my inbox.
I use a bandana for a sleep mask because I’m very sensitive to light while sleeping. It’s a holdover from the days when I was traveling full-time because no sleep mask meant one less thing to carry, and back then I always had an emergency bandana on me.
It makes it easier to fall asleep too, since I’ve developed a Pavlovian response to wearing it!
I use f.lux on my computer (and the new Night Shift feature on iOS) to manage the color of my digital screens, to try and help both my evenings and early mornings on my devices. I use Post-it Notes and an app called One Big Thing to record my to-dos. I don’t record or track my sleep or my routine, and I don’t use wearables.
I tried a few in the past but never stuck with one for long.
I recently downloaded a sleep app called Sleep Cycle. I’m using it to see if I can find a way to improve the quality of my sleep, which might in turn make me embrace mornings more.
Crazy logic? Maybe. But I’m never gonna quit you, AM!
No. I have never used an app in my life. My phone is a 2010 Blackberry Bold. That’s right, my phone is six years old (in human years) this year. I believe that makes it seventy-two years old in phone years.
I’ve never downloaded an app, and I’m not even sure if my phone can do that! My phone is only for texting and talking, and there are only a handful of very close friends, coaching clients, and family members who have my number.
I’ve been testing out some hypnosis apps before bed. I’m not sure they are actually hypnotizing me but I have woken up in the morning with my earbuds still in and feeling pretty well rested.
In the morning, I usually read the New York Times app (it just keeps getting better) and email. I used to go straight for Twitter but I noticed it started me off on an anxious note, already feeling like I was missing something.
I do! Headspace has been one of my favorite apps this past year and a half that helps me to fall quickly into a clear state of thought or to help my mind slow down before turning in.
During my commute, I use Paper to gather inspiration from around town which is also synced to Google Drive. I’ll also use this new app, Tster, to create quick UI (User Interface) wireframes from my phone, and Pocket and Medium to save various articles.
When I need to be really productive on my computer and write articles (which involves searching the internet for research or studies), I use a program called Freedom (mentioned above) to block all time wasting websites (YouTube, Gmail, Imgur, Facebook, BuzzFeed, etc).
I wrote my book using a program called Scrivener, which has a daily word count progress bar that I needed to fill up every day. After being afraid to start my book for months, it was this method, breaking the goal down into a minuscule word count every day, that allowed me to tackle the project and finish on time.
I also have a plugin installed on all my computer browsers that disables my Facebook newsfeed. I can still use Facebook for work purposes (checking in on the various groups we have for our company), but I’m no longer distracted by links to BuzzFeed or pictures of babies or YouTube videos of cute animals. This has been a game changer for my productivity.
Not really. I started using the calendar feature of the Day One app a few months ago to keep track of my daily schedule. Sometimes I’ll check in with that in the morning, but usually I’m just focused on getting out the door with my coffee!
I was using the Sense Sleep Tracker for a few months and thought it was an awesome product. When I moved to Los Angeles, I lost the sensors and fell out of the habit. I gotta start doing that again soon.
Besides my alarm clock on my iPhone, no. Nothing else!
I use Rainy Mood when I need to focus and it’s loud around me.
Thanks to Brad Feld, who bought me the Fitbit, I’ve been wearing it to sleep and am really liking the tracking of sleep quality/quantity. I also use it to track my exercise, heart rate, steps, etc.
I use the timer on my phone for quiet meditation, and for guided meditation I really like Buddhify.
As a quantified selfer, my favorite sleeping app was the now-retired Zeo. The Zeo was a headband, and it was leaps and bounds better than any other sleeping product on the market. The secret sauce was that Zeo mapped sleep behavior and habits to your mood, productivity, and clarity. So, for example, you could easily track how coffee after 3:00pm would impact your sleep and the impact it would have on your productivity the next day. I don’t know of any other product that has the appropriate UX to deliver this reporting.
Regarding other apps, I’ve used them, but quickly retire them because the learnings are simple and now engrained. Going to bed at a reasonable hour and prioritizing eight hours of sleep is important. I know how to do it effectively now and the tracking becomes unnecessary for me.
I sleep with a fan on for white noise. I have ridiculous tinnitus, so sleeping with a fan helps me deal with that.
As I mentioned above, I use the Sleep Cycle app each night. In addition to using it as my alarm clock, it also tracks my sleep. It helps me know how long it takes me to fall asleep and how restless I am throughout the night. I love this feature, because it has helped me track trends in my before-bed routine or behavior each night that are preventing me from getting the best night’s sleep possible.
I use Google Calendar as my virtual calendar, to brain dump everything in my mind, organize my days, and make sure I don’t forget anything important each night when I make my handwritten to-do list for the following day. I’m also a huge fan of Boomerang for Gmail. It’s a big help in keeping my email inbox empty and organized.
Alice, my stuffed bunny rabbit, is neither app nor product, but she’s a great comfort and friend.
The only app I try to allow myself to use is the Spirit Junkie app for when I’m in need of a little spiritual inspiration.
No! I use as few apps as possible, and I do my best to keep not just my bedroom, but my whole morning space technology free. I use Basecamp to manage my projects with my team and sharable calendars to make sure my schedule is available to everyone.
I’m a big fan of an app called Sleep Cycle which tracks my sleep and wakes me up with a pleasant alarm in the morning. The worst thing is having to get up to an annoying ringing sound!
The app wakes me up when I naturally stir within a twenty minute window around 7:00am, so there’s no need to hit snooze. At night, if I’m finding it particularly hard to sleep, I use an app called Pzizz, which provides a meditative voice and relaxing music that matches some sort of brain wave pattern that calms your mind and makes you feel sleepy.
No, I’m lucky to sleep pretty soundly and through the night. I checked my sleep log on Fitbit at the beginning when I got it but it pretty much confirmed what I suspected: that I sleep through the night. Because I travel so heavily, I definitely want to acclimate to the local time as soon as possible so I always sleep with the curtains open so the sun wakes me in the morning.
I’ve started using the Balanced app to help me make sure I’m making time for myself and the things I want to do, like write on my sites or take walks, on a rolling basis.
Mostly just Highrise. When I wake up I’ll browse Highrise on my phone with the new iPhone app we built. I’ll look through the latest activity to see what customers are talking to us about, or if my support team needs any help with a customer, etc.
Just the aforementioned Pocket (disclosure: Pocket is a GV investment). It allows me to get to any news I missed from the day before. And I read The New York Times on my iPad.
I also really like the new “While you were away” feature on Twitter.
I would love f.lux on my iPhone, but jail-breaking it to do so scares me. I thought I had found a $3.00 Russian work-around, but all it was an app that only gave me Russian Google in yellow (#boo).
And then the blue-blocking glasses, and the various potions in my evening routine.
Headspace and Buddhify for meditation. Apple Watch for tracking exercise, and Apple Reminders for my to-do list.
No, I like to keep my morning old fashioned.
As anyone who reads my work knows, I carefully construct the habits and routines in my life. One reason for this is that the strength of habits is that they let you do important things automatically, without much thought or willpower. To this end, the less you are dependent on extraneous products and apps, the more likely you are to succeed in creating a strong habit.
As it’s quite difficult for me to disconnect, it’s also hard to fall asleep at night when things are crazy at work.
I try to do some relaxation exercises to help me wind down. I’ve found that stretching helps, but you also have to train your mind to wind down, by removing stimulations such as music, television or bright lights.
I use SleepPhones headphones to listen to my iPod while I’m falling asleep. They’re not super reliable, mine have stopped working twice, or a great fit, but I haven’t found anything as comfortable for wearing in bed.
I use Momentum on my iPhone for tracking whether I get up early and do my vocal warm-up each day.
I swear by Boomerang, mainly because it allows me to clear out my inbox and start my morning fresh. I don’t mind when emails pile in around noon, but waking up to 200 “URGENT” emails is never a great way to start the day.
I like white noise while I’m working. Lately, I’ve been running a fan in my office, but I’ve also used SimplyNoise a lot over the years.
While not technically a sleep enhancement app, I heavily rely on OmniFocus to be my brain, and knowing that it houses everything I need to do helps put me at ease when I get into bed at night. I don’t have those freak outs right before I drift off of something I forgot to do, but cannot address at that moment.
The only thing I use is the sleepyti.me bedtime calculator – it calculates when you should wake up (or go to bed) based on the number and length of your sleep cycles. It’s a really useful website.
Nope. I don’t suffer from any sleeping disorders and I usually crash easily. However on redeyes (the frequent SFO to JFK flights I do) I’ve been trying a product called reBloom.
Podcasts were pretty game-changing for me (sorry, most overused expression). But really, it’s a much better alternative to hitting snooze every eight minutes for an hour.
Like I said, I set up the episode I want to listen to the night before, press play as soon as my alarm goes off, and place it on my bedside table. My favorites are Startup, Reply All, Invisibilia, and Serial (when it comes back).