Living life well has a lot of moving parts. Even keeping your health in check can be complicated, confusing, and downright overwhelming. Where does one begin when it comes to sleeping better, eating better, and finding time to take a breath? When time isn’t on your side to figure it out on your own, you’re not out of luck. One method of reclaiming your time is to take advantage of technology to help you out. There are some incredible health apps out there to help you take charge of getting a good night’s sleep, get your veggies in, and so much more. Plus, many of these health apps can be found on both Android and iOS devices. Best of all, I wrangled up a bunch that are free. Good and free? Sign me up!
From sleep apps to fitness apps and everything in between, here are some of my go-to picks to get the upper hand on your health.
If you aren’t sleeping well or you just want to sleep better these options will help you do just that.
For many people, insomnia wrecks with getting to sleep and for some it’s staying asleep. A sleep tracker can help you see patterns in your sleep cycle and possibly discover underlying issues that make you lose out on those precious ZZZs. The Calm app lulls you to sleep with a huge selection of soothing sounds to choose from. It also features sleep stories that are beautifully boring to lull you into a deep restful slumber.
Once you’re asleep, you can use the Sleep Monitor app to track and record your sleep cycles. The app can record your snoring, teeth grinding, and sleep talking. It may seem like a novel feature on the surface, but the data you receive can help you (and your health care provider) determine if there’s more going on while you’re in the Land of Nod than just sweet dreaming. The app also features a smart alarm so you wake peacefully. There’s a paid upgrade version that allows you to save more of your data and download the sleep noise files.
Dream Journal Ultimate
Do you go on wild adventures in your dreams each night? Having nightmares or dreams that are just plain confusing? Why is the kid that sat behind you in your primary school math class popping up all these years later? Keeping a dream diary can give you a window into your subconscious mind. They also tell you a bit about how you are processing your daily experiences.
The Dream Journal Ultimate app allows you to store your dream notes and automatically analyzes them. The notes can be compared with dreams from around the world in their database. You can share your dreams with other users of the app or keep them all to yourself. The app is completely free with no paid version with more features to upgrade to.
If you have a uterus and are still menstruating, keeping an eye on your cycle is always recommended. Especially so, if you want to plan or avoid pregnancy. Changes in frequency, severity, and other symptoms you experience can help you see potential problems before they get bad. I searched hard to find apps that are trans-friendly, but there’s a dearth of period trackers that aren’t hyper-cisgender women-centric. That being said, these options are some of the best. They get right to the point: cycle tracking, notifications if your cycle is running late, and tracking your sexual activity among other helpful features.
- Apple Health App – Cycle Tracker
Apple is unique in that your cycle can be tracked in the Health app for iPhones running iOS 13 or later and Apple Watches running watchOS 6 or later.
- Clue Period Tracker
Bonus: They make it a point to use gender-neutral inclusive language.
Download: Android | iOS
We obviously have to eat to live, but we don’t always eat well. If you aren’t getting good nutrition your health, both mental and physical, can decline and quickly. Even when we’re getting lots of nutritious foods each day, making sure your diet is balanced can be a challenge. As they say, “variety is the spice of life,” and so is making sure you’re getting enough of everything good for you. Nutrition trackers help you see which foods have more or less of things you need and what to avoid.
Cronometer is one of the best health apps you can use to see if foods you eat have what you need. If you’re on a specialized diet due to illness or weight management the app can help you. It integrates with many fitness trackers, like FitBit, and syncs to an online version so you can check in wherever you are. The paid version offers more features, but the free version is so full that it might be enough.
Rainbow Diet Food Journal
Rainbow Diet Food Journal uses a plant-based approach to nutritious eating. It encourages users to play with their food by using color goals to help them match their food choices to the rainbow. The rainbow updates automatically based on what foods you’re eating. It’s perfect for visual learners and completely free with no paid version with more features to upgrade to.
Poor nutrition can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. So do some illnesses, medicines, and in the case of Vitamin D, lack of sun exposure. If you think you may have a deficiency, the Vitamin Check app can help pinpoint where you may be deficient. It also offers recommendations for foods to help you replenish what you lack.
Download: Android (no iOS app)
No matter your body every single body functions better when we get moving. The elevated mood from regular physical activity is also a great bonus.
You may already have your exercise routine on lock, but it’s understandable if you find yourself getting bored. If you’re tired of the same old routines or need help getting into a rhythm, the Street Workout app can help you out. It offers an offline solution for beginners and advanced users by supplying more than 60 routines to choose from. There’s also has an interval timer and a special section for quick seven-minute workouts!
Stretching App by Fitify
Just as getting active helps keep your body in good condition staying limber does too. Adding flexibility training to your routine helps to improve and maintain good range of motion, which can increase quality of life. The Stretching App by Fitify has four workouts to target different areas of the body. You can customize your workouts to create the perfect routine for your needs.
Note: The stretching program is part of the complete iOS app’s offerings, and is its own separate app for Android.
Sworkit offers dynamic stretching routines with videos demonstrations by professional trainers to help you do the movements safely. Its free mini app has limitations, but if you like it, they offer a robust premium exercise app for download.
Mental Health Apps
While no app can replace guidance from a professional trained to help you manage your mental health, they can help support you. Tracking your mood can help you see where there may be a problem that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.
Formerly Moodpath, the MindDoc app asks you questions each day to help provide an assessment of your current mental state. Every two weeks, it generates a report that you can use with your therapist or other mental health care provider as a potential guide for treatment. It also includes a series of cognitive exercises and mindfulness practice to help you manage your mood.
Meditation is known to benefit health in a multitude of ways. Incorporating it into your daily routine can help you maximize all the other good things you’re doing for yourself. Insight Timer has over 40,000 guided meditations to help you work on your focus. It has a wide variety of meditation styles to choose from, so you can find methods that work best for you. An upgraded premium version allows you to utilize even more of the resources, but the free version is robust and may be all you need.
It bears repeating that no app can do everything for you. Additionally, you should never replace consulting with a trained healthcare professional for guidance on managing your physical and mental well-being. Health apps are a great place to start to gain familiarity with options available to you; however, their main purpose is to support you and help you manage your care. So, talk to a professional who has evaluated your specific needs before starting any new dietary or fitness regimen.
What are your favorite apps that help you keep your health in check?
Header: Ketut Subiyanto