Mobile wellness apps are taking the world by storm with their innovative solutions to the health and wellness challenges many of us face in our daily lives.
Whether you’re looking for an app to help you choose healthy foods when eating out, guide you through home workout routines, help you drift off to sleep, learn to meditate, or improve your overall health, there is a wellness app for seemingly everyone and every need.
Wellness app statistics
There is no doubt that digital health is tremendously popular worldwide, and that we are likely to see this increase in coming years. Research shows, for example, that worldwide spending in the top ten mobile meditation apps grew 52% from 2018 to 2019, reaching $195 million.1
Furthermore, the wellness app sector was valued at $2.7 billion in 2022 and is estimated to grow at an annual rate of 17.7% until 2030.2
Do wellness apps really work?
There is a growing body of evidence supporting the usefulness and effectiveness of health and wellness apps. In fact, there are currently more than 570 published studies on the topic.3 For example, studies have found that using meditation apps for just ten minutes a day for two months can significantly reduce stress.4 5
Wellness apps have the potential to improve the health of large populations and take strain off of the healthcare system. For example, estimates suggest that the US healthcare system could save $7 billion per year with the use of digital health apps in just 5 common patient populations (diabetes, diabetes management, asthma, cardiac rehabilitation, and pulmonary rehabilitation).6
Not all apps are as effective as others, but many use strategies and tools backed by scientific research and are proven to provide positive results.
Below, we’ve highlighted the best apps in each health and wellness category based on our research.
Best app for meditation
Headspace is an easy-to-use app that teaches you the basics of meditation and mindfulness in an accessible and enjoyable way. With guided exercises, videos, articles, soundscapes, animations, and more, this app makes it simple to learn to meditate and reap the benefits of this practice. Studies on the app suggest that 10 days of Headspace can increase happiness by 14%.7 The app can also help you become kinder to others and yourself, improve focus, and reduce job stress.
Meditopia is another app worth mentioning as a solid runner-up in this category as well. This all-in-one mental health app includes meditations, sleep stories, articles, relaxing sounds, and more. According to a Meditopia survery, app users had a 42% decrease in stress along with a 60% increase in sleep.8 The app can not only teach you how to meditate, but can also match you with a psychologist for online therapy.
Best app for mental health
Speaking of online therapy, BetterHelp is a wellness app that matches you to a licensed online therapist based on your preferences. Just answer a few questions and the app will connect you with a therapist who is best suited for you. Once you choose your therapist, you have the option to communicate with them through messaging, chat, phone, or video.
If you’re looking for a mental health app that doesn’t involve sessions with a therapist, My Possible Self is a good alternative. This app uses a clinically proven approach to mental health that helps you to reduce stress, curb anxiety, and boost mood. You can track your mood and follow modules to learn to understand yourself better, start to think differently, and cope better with life’s many challenges.
Best app for breaking habits
Streaks is like a digital to-do list that helps you start and keep new habits. You can choose up to 12 habits to track, which could be anything from flossing your teeth to avoiding junk food to taking 10,000 steps each day. Every time you complete a task, you extend your streak. Tracking your results and monitoring your statistics with this wellness app can help you stay motivated and inspired to keep up with healthy new habits.
If you’re looking to kick your smoking habit specifically, Smoke Free is a good choice. The Smoke Free app gives you 24/7 access to program advisors, daily missions, and several ways to boost your motivation and feel rewarded. This app has helped more than 1 million people quit smoking for good according to surveys.9
Best app for sleep
According to a global sleep survey, 62% of people say they aren’t sleeping as well as they’d like to.10 Calm is one app that’s combatting this epidemic. Considered the #1 app for sleep, their mission to make the world happier and healthier. It provides mediations, soothing music, and even bedtime stories to help you relax and get a better night’s rest.
While Calm is our top choice, you may want to give SleepScore a try if you’re looking for another option for improving your sleep. This app helps you determine your unique sleep needs and gives you advice and solutions for improvement.
Best app for menstrual health
Clue is an app that helps women track their menstrual cycle so that they can better understand their body and get to know their patterns. Whether you want to better predict your period, are looking to get pregnant, or want to get educated about various symptoms, this app can help you out.
Best app for fitness
MyFitnessPal combines various approaches like education, diet tracking, healthy recipes, community inspiration, and more to support you with your health and weight-loss goals. It also connects to over 50 different apps so you can consolidate your information and stats into one place.
Another option in the fitness category is MindBody. This app allows you to discover and book your fitness, wellness, and beauty appointments all in one place. And to help keep you in shape in 2023 and beyond, this app can connect you to virtual workout experiences of any sort. You can find classes for yoga, interval training, barre, Pilates, and more at your fingertips.
Best app for weight loss
The Noom app helps people achieve long-lasting weight loss through behavior change rather than restrictive dieting. In fact, a study found that 78% of app users lost weight over a 6-month period.11 After answering several questions, Noom will create the best plan for you and help you achieve your goals.
The Able app is a solid runner-up to Noom in this category. Able is a holistic weight-management solution that helps you shed pounds and keep them from coming back. It includes one-on-one coaching as well as self-monitoring of food, fitness, and sleep data to support you in reaching your goals.
Best app to improve your diet choices
Looking for an app to help you make better food choices? Fooducate helps you track your eating patterns and quickly evaluate foods for their nutritional quality when you’re out shopping. You can browse a large database of various foods and products and instantly get an easy-to-read rating to help you make healthier choices.
And when it comes to restaurants, Healthyout is another option that helps you find and order healthy food when dining out. Want low carb meals? Or paleo dishes? Prefer a certain type of cuisine? This app can help you find the right restaurant dishes for you (including takeout and delivery options).
Best app for hydration
It’s estimated that as many as 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration.12 Waterllama is a popular app that aims to decrease this percentage by tracking your water intake. With Waterllama, you can track a variety of beverages. Plus, it also has challenges to help you avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Best app for overall wellness
The ZYTO Link app offers an innovative approach to wellness screening. By analyzing facial blood flow using your camera phone, this app can accurately measure key vitals such as heart rate variability, breathing rate, and mental stress. Not only that, but Link then uses this data to measure responses to Virtual Items in the ZYTO library such as body systems and organs, as well as displaying your top wellness products and services to support you in reaching your wellness goals.
Choosing the best wellness apps for yourself
It is always important to choose health and wellness products (apps included) that are reliable, effective, and backed by research. So take some time reviewing the various options out there to make sure you are using an app that will really work and best guide you through healthy change.
If you’re looking for health apps to support your mental health care, you can browse this list of mobile apps reviewed by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
About Seth Morris
Seth Morris is an experienced article writer with a background in marketing, Web content creation, and health research. In addition to writing and editing content for the ZYTO website and blog, he has written hundreds of articles for various websites on topics such as holistic wellness, health technology, and Internet marketing. Seth has earned Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Management as well as Literary Studies.
1. “Mobile Users Spent $195 Million in Meditation Apps Last Year, Up 52% Over 2018.” Sensor Tower. Sensortower.com.
2. Wylie, Louise. “Wellness App Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023).” Business of Apps. Businessofapps.com.
3. Higgins, J. “Smartphone Applications for Patients’ Health and Fitness.” The American Journal of Medicine 129 (2016):11-19.
4. “Useful Wellness and Mental Health Apps.” UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Psychiatry.ucsf.edu.
5. Bostock, S., A.D. Crosswell, et al. “Mindfulness on-the-go: Effects of a mindfulness meditation app on work stress and well-being.” Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 24, no. 1 (2019): 127–138.
6. “Report: The Growing Value of Digital Health.” The IQVIA Institute of Human Data Science. Iqvia.com.
7. “Research shows Headspace works.” Headspace. Headspace.com.
8. “Meditopia – Real results in just 12 weeks.” Meditopia. Meditopia.com.
9. “Smoke Free – Let’s get you Smoke Free.” 23 Ltd. Smokefreeapp.com.
10. “Sleep statistics 2023.” SingleCare Administrators. Singlecare.com.
11. “Noom Survey Info.” Noom, Inc. Noom.com.
12. Furnari, Chris. “Are Americans Dehydrated? These Brands Think So.” Forbes Media LLC. Forbes.com.