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Self-Care: Apps to Help You Relax, Sleep

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Self-care is defined as “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.” Today, there’s an abundance of apps that focus on meditation, breathing exercises and other self-care practices, each offering a variety of programs, sessions, and audio tracks to help guide individuals to a place of mental reprieve with such options as white noise, storytelling, guided visualizations and music. They also allow users to personalize their experiences, whether it’s selecting a length of time, the background music or a narrator’s gender. 

To avoid getting overwhelmed by choices, we’ve pulled together a starter kit of free apps to help you improve your sleep and find moments to relax in your self-care routine. For us, their main appeal is that they’re generally “hassle free” — no fussing with settings or customization, which can be nice if you’re new to the space. They offer at least one free basic session/program and don’t require signing up or providing personal information, so you can explore until you find something that works for you. Use the iOS or Android links for app details and the other links for more information about the provider/developer. Skip any sign-up, in-app purchase or “store” icons or prompts within the app. They can be bypassed without submitting your information, subscribing or making any purchase.

 

Insight Timer: Large collection of free guided meditations available on its site and app (on the site, skip the account setup and go directly to the “free library” at the top of the page, and be sure to check out one of our favorites)
iOS  Android

Joseph Clough: Hundreds of free podcasts, including hypnosis sessions for day or night; use the search function to narrow down your choices.
iOS  Android

Oak: A selection of eight free sessions, three in the category of meditation, three in breathing and two in sleep
iOS  Android

Mindifi: The Deep Sleep and Relax Hypnosis app in this collection offers 11 free sessions
iOS  

Pzizz: Sleep, Nap, Focus app (skip the free trial subscription and use the basic free option)
iOS  Android

Glenn Harrold: Relax & Sleep Well Hypnosis and Meditation app offers four free sessions
iOS  Android

Hypnosis ~ Sleep Soundly: Free “Sleep Soundly” session
iOS  Android

Hypno Cloud: Free “Deep Sleep” session (skip the login/signup)
iOS  Android

Shazzie: Free “Sleep Soundly” session (go to “Library” in the bottom navigation)
iOS  Android

 

Offerings, including any free basic sessions/programs, were current at the time of publication.