12 NHS apps that help to improve health and wellbeing

These days, there seems to be an app for almost everything. App stores are filled to the brim with health resources, many of which can act as helpful stepping stones towards building a healthier lifestyle. But when faced with so much choice, how can you know which ones are worth the download?

To help you avoid having to sift through hundreds of options, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top-rated NHS health apps out there. From fitness plans, mood trackers, and prescription planners, through to apps specifically designed for conditions such as dementia and diabetes, we hope you find it useful.

1. Pzizz

Free basic version, in-app purchases for premium features

The Pzizz app is perfect for anyone who has trouble falling and staying asleep, or struggles with tiredness during the day. It addresses the common issue of a ‘busy mind’ which can keep a lot of people up at night. The app features voiceover narrations that are based on clinical sleep interventions, as well as calming music to help relax the mind and send you into a deep rest.

Other features include a specialised three-minute morning alarm that gently and gradually wakes you up, as well as the option to continue playing calming music throughout the night in order to prevent you being woken up by external sounds.

You can find more details about the Pzizz app on the NHS website.

2. My Possible Self

Free basic version, in-app purchases for premium features

My Possible Self is a mental health app created by world-leading mental health experts for people experiencing stress and anxiety. The app helps you take control of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours through mood trackers and simple learning modules.

My Possible Self’s resources have been shown to improve mental health over a period of just eight weeks. You’ll learn key coping mechanisms that can not only help to relieve feelings associated with stress and anxiety, but can also help to prevent these feelings from occurring in the first place. New learning modules are added to the app on a regular basis, to make sure that you always have access to the most relevant, helpful, and up to date information.

You can find out more details about the My Possible Self app on the NHS website.

3. Couch to 5k

Free to use

Getting out there as a new runner can be daunting, especially if you feel unfit or are unsure where to start. Couch to 5K is an app built to help people of all abilities gradually build up their endurance for running, with the end goal being to run 5km. The app was created by runner Josh Clark, who wanted to help his mum get active and start running in her 50s.

Couch to 5K is based on a three-runs-per-week plan with a day of rest in between each, over a period of nine weeks. The activity level will change each week as you slowly build your endurance – for example, you’ll run for 90 seconds at a time in week two, building up to three minutes at a time the following week. Plus, the app comes with narrators who will guide you through what to do, and motivate you during each run.

You can find out more details about Couch to 5k on the NHS website, or have a read of our Beginner’s guide to running.

4. NHS App

Free to use

The NHS app allows you to access a range of NHS services safely and securely. You can use the app to order repeat prescriptions, book appointments, get health advice, and view your health records, among other things.

To use the app you must be registered with a GP surgery in England. You can find out more about the NHS app, including its full features, on the NHS website.

5. My House of Memories

Free to use

My House of Memories is designed for people living with dementia and their carers. The app lets you share and explore past memories together. For example, you can browse a range of different items from across the decades, from sports to school life. It also allows you to store your favourite items in your own memory tree, box, or timeline, so that it’s quick and easy to revisit them.

Other features, which are designed to refresh memories and spark conversation include music and videos that bring objects to life, activities to do together, and the option to browse objects from the 1920s to the 1980s from various museums.

You can find more information about My House of Memories on the NHS website.

6. MyCognition Home

Free basic version, in-app purchases for premium features

MyCognition Home is a brain training app that is designed to help you think faster, focus better, and improve your decision-making skills and memory. To begin with, you’ll be given a 15-minute test and your results will be used to create a personalised training programme to help enhance your performance in particular areas.

The app recommends doing the brain training games for 15 minutes a day to get optimum results. Alongside the games there’s also a range of general health resources to help you build a healthier and more active lifestyle.

You can find out more about My Cognition Home on the NHS website.

7. HealthUnlocked

Free to use

HealthUnlocked is a social network designed for anyone with a health condition or who is looking to improve their health. With over 700 online communities focused on health and wellbeing topics such as cancer, leukaemia, running, and weight loss, the app helps to connect people going through the same thing.

You can use HealthUnlocked for advice and support, or simply to talk to people who understand what you’re going through. The communities are moderated by reputed patient organisations and charities to ensure that everyone has access to the best information.

You can find more details about HealthUnlocked on the NHS website.

8. Echo Pharmacy

Free to use

Echo Pharmacy is a free online repeat prescription service by Lloyds Pharmacy. The app works with GP surgeries in England so that you can request your prescriptions and have them delivered to your address of choice.

Postage is free on all prescriptions and all NHS exemptions and prepayment certificates are accepted.

You can find more details about the Echo Pharmacy app on the NHS website.

9. mySugr

Free to use

The mySugr app is a digital logbook that can help make living with diabetes a little easier. You can use it to log data on your meals, track blood sugar levels, estimate your HbA1c, and much more.

Other features include a personalised dashboard, a detailed analysis of your data to help you understand it better, and encouraging feedback to help you reach your goals. mySugr can also connect with AppleHealth and GoogleFit, so you can get even more insights about your health.

For more details on the mySugr app, you can visit the NHS website.

10. WorryTree

Free to use

The WorryTree app is designed to help people take control of their worries. It uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques to help you understand and challenge your worries. For example, you might be asked a series of questions to get to the bottom of what’s causing your worry, or be provided with methods to distract you from them. Over time, this can help you create a plan of action for managing future worries.

Plus, if you just want somewhere to offload your worries, then that’s fine too – you don’t have to use the CBT resources.

You can read more about how WorryTree works on the NHS website.

11. Brush DJ

Free to use

The Brush DJ app is designed to make sure you brush your teeth for the right amount of time. The app will play two minutes of your own music while you brush your teeth – so you can even have a little boogie at the same time. There are also short videos with information on how to brush your teeth properly and clean in between them. You’ll even get a buzz reminder every 30 seconds telling you to change sides, plus a round of applause at the end.

Brush DJ is a pretty simple app, but considering that one-third of British adults don’t brush their teeth for the recommended two minutes, it might be worth the download.

You can find more details about Brush DJ on the NHS website.

12. MoleCare

Free to use

MoleCare is a skin health app designed to help you keep an eye on your moles. It aims to raise awareness about skin health, and you can use it to check and compare moles on your skin over time.

Other resources include information on how to take care of your skin, how to spot changes in moles, and comparative skin tools. It should be noted however, that you should speak to a doctor as well if you’re concerned about a mole.

You can find more details about MoleCare on the NHS website.

Final thoughts…

A healthy lifestyle is so much more than just eating a balanced diet and doing exercise. Getting enough sleep, managing your mental and physical health, and staying on top of appointments and medications, all have an important role to play in staying healthy. In our busy lives, it can sometimes be tricky to prioritise our health, so leaning on specially-designed apps can make a real difference.

So whether you want to become more active, take control of your thoughts and sleeping pattern, or would simply enjoy the convenience of ordering prescriptions online, there’s an app out there to help you do it.

Have you got a favourite NHS health app? What impact has it had on you? We’d love to hear from you. Join the conversation on the health section of the Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below.

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