Relax With Your iPhone: Reduce Stress & Sleep Better!

Whether you’re looking to reduce anxiety, balance emotions, or get better sleep, there’s an app that can help. I’ve hand-tested apps featuring stress-busting games, artsy digital crafts, interactive ASMR animations, meditation, breathwork, and yoga; so if you’re looking to unwind, read on to find one that works for you.

Favorite Find

Chromatic (Free or $1.99)

This surprisingly satisfying color-based puzzle game has been one of my favorite finds! The concept is simple: tap the colored squares to swap them and organize the different hues into beautiful gradients. The charming colors and soothing ambient music create an engaging and rewarding experience. As you place each colored block in the correct position, a checkmark appears in the top corner of the square. There are no wrong answers, though; because Chromatic focuses on puzzles as a way to destress, there’s no time limit, scoring, or third-party ads (even on the free version). Just select a color scheme and start swapping the colored squares to create those aesthetic arrangements. While the free version offers a nice range of puzzles, you can also pay $1.99 to unlock unlimited puzzles and create custom color schemes.

Chill in Under Five Minutes

Breethe ($12.99/month)

With 12 million downloads, this sleep and meditation app has been featured in Forbes and The New York Times and is arguably one of the most comprehensive meditation apps on the market. It has just over 1,700 tracks with different short meditations, sleep stories, breathwork and mindful movement exercises, as well as alternative therapies, such as hypnotherapy sessions. Breethe prides itself on being an app that fits into your day rather than becoming another item on your to-do list, and because of this, many of the breathwork and meditation exercises are less than five minutes. This app earned bonus points for its aesthetic design, beautiful imagery, and incredibly organized layout: it was remarkably easy to browse the many different categories of meditations and exercises to find an option that suited my preferences.

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Best for Sleep

Calm ($14.99/month)

Let’s talk Calm, one of the most well-known relaxation apps on the market. Similar to Breethe, this app has many guided meditations, sleep stories, calming music, breathwork, and stretching exercises. The content offered is high quality, and Calm focuses on becoming part of your day-to-day routine, with Daily Streaks and Mindful minutes to help track your progress. This app doesn’t offer the alternative therapies that Breethe does (like hypnotherapy), but it does offer an amazing For Kids section, with short meditations, guided movement exercises, calming music, and naptime stories. Calm stands out for its carefully curated sleep stories from famous actors, travel writers, and more. A word of caution: I didn’t find the meditations section of this app to be as well organized as Breethe, and often had to rely on the search function to find specific topics. That said, if you’re looking for a relaxation and sleep app that’s suitable for you and your kids, this is definitely the app for you!

Thisissand (Free or $1.99)

If you often unwind through creative projects, this relaxing sandscape app might become your new artistic obsession. Initially created as a website by a handful of art students, the project attracted a surprising number of visitors, leading to the app’s development, which the original founder still runs. Creating these sandscapes is simple: select a color, then tap or drag your finger across the screen of your iPhone or iPad to drop the sand into beautiful layers. While you can use the app for free, you can also pay $1.99 to unlock advanced features, like Photo Sand, which allows you to choose one of your photos and turn it into an abstract photographic landscape. It’s got all the fun of sand art bottles, sans the mess!

Customize Your Vibe

Rain Rain Sleep Sounds (Free)

Do you find it calming to listen to nature sounds, bustling city background hums, or cute animal noises (like cats purring or Shih Tzu’s snoring)? While mainly marketed as a sleep sound app, the Rain Rain’s soothing sounds are great white noise options whether you’re trying to sleep, work, study, meditate, or create a more calming atmosphere. This app stands out with its wide range of customization settings: you can mix and combine your favorite sounds, set a fade-out timer, or use the soften feature to muffle higher frequencies. While you can pay a monthly or yearly subscription, I recommend the free version, which offers plenty of free sounds and features without audio or video ads.

Headspace ($12.99/month)

This mindful meditation app might not be cheap, but it does offer quality content. I was impressed by Headspace, which doesn’t just focus on feeling better in the moment, but instead works to help you establish stronger habits and learn techniques to avoid stress in the first place. I loved the holistic nature of this app, which includes everything from short course videos, guided meditations, mindfulness and breathwork exercises, and simple fitness programs focused on relieving stress and tension. When you first sign in, you fill in a simple questionnaire, and the app offers personalized recommendations based on your goals and struggles. I found the app’s recommendations to be on-point, but if you want to freestyle and choose your own exercise, the app makes it easy to browse and find your perfect meditation.

Feelsy ($7.99/week)

Soothing slime? It’s not as weird as you might think! We all destress in different ways, so I simply had to include Feelsy, a popular ASMR stress relief app. While this app offers soothing sleep sounds and breathwork exercises, it focuses on creating calm by interacting with different realistic animations (like food, particles, or slime) through tactile feedback. Just choose a texture or effect you like, then start interacting with the animation on the screen. I was pleasantly surprised by how calming it was to interact with the different textures and patterns, and the soothing background music paired with the ASMR sounds of different textures added an extra layer of fun.

Aura ($59.99/year)

While this meditation and sleep app contains a wide variety of sleep music and stories, breathwork exercises, and meditations, it focuses on personal connection. Each day, Aura offers live sessions with life coaches, incorporating visualizations, live group meditations, and movement exercises, like Qigong. If you want to make progress on a specific topic, you can sign up for one-on-one coaching sessions for personalized help with sleep, anxiety, relationships, motivation, work, and more. These life coaches are psychologists, mindfulness teachers, holistic hypnotherapists, and yoga teachers who offer their services through the app. However, these individual sessions are not included with the annual app subscription fee, so you have to pay extra for the life coaching (price varies by coach). That said, I was impressed with the variety of professionals and the affordable price of the one-on-one sessions.

 Top image credit: GoodStudio /

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Author Details

Ashleigh Page's picture

Author Details

Ashleigh Page

Ashleigh Page is an Associate Editor for iPhone Life. A longtime Apple enthusiast with a Bachelor's in English and Computer Science and three years of experience writing about tech, Ashleigh has written and tested hundreds of articles about devices and features within Apple's ecosystem. She specializes in iPhone, iPad, AirPods, and Mac content and has authored a 60-page in-depth guide about the Apple Maps app. Based in North Carolina, Ashleigh is often crafting whimsical (and sometimes nonsensical) short stories and hiking when she's not working.