Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

Read 81 answers below or select another question.

Todd Henry · Bestselling Author

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.

Merrill Stubbs · Co-Founder and President of Food52

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.

Terri Schneider · Endurance Athlete, Author

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.

Erika Serow · President and US CEO, Sweaty Betty

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!

Guy Tal · Landscape and Nature Photographer

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.

Nick Onken · Photographer, Podcast Host

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.

Liesl Gibson · Pattern Designer

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.

Lisa Nicole Bell · Writer, Producer, Podcast Host

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.

Sol Orwell · Co-Founder of Examine.com

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.

Shane Parrish · Founder of Farnam Street

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.

Victoria Durnak · Artist, Sculptor

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.

Isabel De Los Rios · Certified Nutritionist

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!

Arianna Huffington · Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post

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!

Kate Krasileva · Psychology Researcher

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.

Catherine Connors · Writer, Parent

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.).

Katelin Jabbari · Googler, Parent

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.

Rachel Binx · Data Visualizer, Artist

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!

Taylor Davidson · Entrepreneur, Photographer

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.

Ann Handley · Author, CCO of MarketingProfs

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!

Craig Ballantyne · Author, Fitness Expert

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.

Manoush Zomorodi · Host, Managing Editor of Note to Self

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.

David Moore · Designer

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.

Steve Kamb · Founder of Nerd Fitness

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.

Cara Stawicki · Rower

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!

Rand Fishkin · Founder of Moz

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, heartrate, steps, etc.

Gregg Carey · Entrepreneur, Survivor Contestant

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.

Crystal Paine · Author, Speaker

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.

Jessica Dang · Minimalist, Self-Declared Vagabond

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.

Sara Rosso · Director of Marketing at Automattic

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.

Tammy Strobel · Writer, Photographer

Sometimes I’ll listen to an Oprah and Deepak meditation prior to falling asleep. It always seems to calm my mind. I love the meditation app.

Also, I’m huge fan of Instagram. I check Instagram in the morning and share my daily photos via the app. Right now, Instagram is my favorite place online because it’s such a supportive community.

Nathan Kontny · CEO of Highrise, Parent

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.

M.G. Siegler · General Partner at Google Ventures

Just the aforementioned Pocket (disclosure: Pocket is a Google Ventures 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.

Darya Rose · Neuroscience Ph.D, Author of Foodist

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.

Mike Vardy · Founder of Productivityist

Full 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.

Fanny Moizant · Co-Founder of Vestiaire Collective

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.

Jenny Blake · Author, Yoga Fanatic

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.

Belle Beth Cooper · Writer and Co-Founder of Exist

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.

Grace Bonney · Founder of Design*Sponge

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.

Ben Brooks · Tech Writer, iOS Project Manager

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.

Brian Wong · Founder, CEO Kiip

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.

Shannon Whitehead · Founder of Factory45

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).