Skip to content

Sleep by Max Richter – free relaxation app from pro composer

A simple but rewarding app to help you sleep

Price: Free
Version: 1.7.8
Size: 1o2.2 MB
Developer: Universal International Music
Platform: iPhone / iPad (iOS 12.4 or later) / Mac


Sleep by Max Richter is an ambitious project – an entirely free sleep, meditation, and focus app from a well-known composer and pianist. It’s richly animated and constructed, and it stems from an earlier project of Richter’s.

If you want to be guided to sleep, set your wake-up time

Back in 2015, the British musician released an 8-hour ‘lullaby’ titled Sleep. It’s been performed in its entirety at various festivals and concert halls over the past half-decade, some providing the audiences with their own beds for the concert.

The compositions themselves are calming, delicate, and a fascinating experience. It’s no surprise really. Richter’s an incredibly prolific film and TV score composer having created the rich soundscapes of various titles from the full series of The Leftovers, to an episode of Black Mirror, to massive Hollywood titles like Arrival and Ad Astra.

Space-themed animations play while you use the app

The app is, naturally, based on his Sleep composition which was constructed in collaboration with Sleep scientists and really does represent some of the best music you’ll find in the genre. It’s available free, sort of – you’ll need an Apple Music or premium Spotify subscription for it to work, but there are zero fees in the app itself.

To get started, you choose from 3 options: focus, meditate, or sleep. The first two allow you to then set a timer for either of these activities. During that time the app will play back some slightly more engaging sounds.

Select the sleep option and it’ll ask when you want to wake up. You’ll then want to put your device on charge while the app plays select segments from the Sleep compositions designed to guide you into sleep.

Report how you feel after you finish a session

It does this by steadily reducing the volume of the music until it disappears completely. In real-time, you won’t really notice the gradual quietening and we found that we were generally asleep before we’d notice it disappear entirely. The app would then gently start playing again shortly before your wake-up time, easing you awake gently rather than with an abrupt start.

This is one of our favorite elements of the app. We found we were roused more pleasantly than other alarm clocks, even those that use light to bring you back to the land of the living – and the fact that it doubles as a sleep aid and a wake-up alarm is great.

The app allows you to customize each session

For those that don’t really have much issue falling asleep, you can switch things up with several customizations possible.

In a nutshell, that’s the app. Its level of customization, lack of price tag, and the sheer quality of Richter’s professional compositions make this a no-brainer for anybody looking to improve their quality of sleep or concentration.