iSing’s Editorial Director LINE HILTON is a self-confessed tech geek. Here are her five favourite iPhone apps.
1. Headspace (subscription)
This app is a life saver for me. With so much to plan and do for iSing and other projects I’m involved in I find it increasingly important to take mental “time out”. I’m currently working through Headspace’s 30-day Focus programme to help my brain stay on track. And it works. It has, for example, helped me stay focused while writing this article; I haven’t stopped once to look at social media or check my emails.
The app has hundreds of themed sessions, from one-off SOS specials to 30-day courses for dealing with sleep issues, stress, anxiety and anger. It also offers themes to boost happiness, creativity or motivation. Try it for free. If you then purchase a subscription Headspace will donate, via a charity partner, a free subscription to a person with mental health or addiction issues.
Say hello to Headspace
2. Duolingo (Free)
I’m considering moving to Barcelona in the future so I’m using Duolingo to learn Spanish. It’s designed to feel like a game but, according to the app’s makers, is scientifically proven to be effective. The app currently lists 25 languages (more are in the pipeline) ranging from French and Italian, to Vietnamese and Welsh. It caters for all levels, and teaches in small increments using themed topics. It’s fun and varied; you can learn through listening, speaking, answering multiple choice questions, matching pairs or translating. There is an accompanying flash cards app called Tinycards.
3. Evernote (Freemium)
I started iSing by planning it with Evernote. This cross-platform app is designed for note taking, organising and archiving. You can type, record, add images, add attachments, create check lists (I can’t survive without checklists), search and share.
4. Citymapper (Free)
Save time when travelling in different cities around the world by using Citymapper to find the quickest and simplest way to get around. I love the fact it gives you a bunch of different transport options, and prices. I also love how it tells you which carriage is the best for exits at stations. The app covers 39 major cities so far, and you can vote for the next city you think should be added. The Citymapper folks have also just launched a free bus service in London.
Sleepcycle is an alarm clock with a difference; the app tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you during a light part of the cycle, using a sound of your choice. Since using this app as my alarm waking up has been so much more enjoyable. It records and collates data on: time to bed, time in bed, heart rate, wake-up mood, weather, daily steps and snore time (mine is usually zero I’ll have you know). You can also add notes, like how much booze or cheese you have consumed, so you can see if external factors are impacting your sleep quality – I’ve learnt alcohol decreases my sleep quality by 33%.
I regularly use the Sleep Aid setting. Due to my active mind (see Headspace) I often find it racing when I go to bed.
The Sleep Aid can be set to play a relaxing sound to lull you to sleep. I tend to use either the ocean waves or brown noise, turned down to just audible. You can set it to time out after 10 to 90 minutes.
The same company also has a Power Nap app which is useful for dealing with jetlag. You can set the app to wake you after 20, 45 or 120 minutes. Once again it will wake you at a light part of your sleep cycle.