Celestial Sounds: Sleep Among the Stars
Celestial Sounds is an app I made to help people sleep or relax by blocking out environmental noises or tinnitus. It’s boasts a space-themed collection of noise sounds. As of writing this it has 10 5-star reviews on Google Play, having been installed by over 1000 people.
Sometimes, I can’t sleep. One thing that may help fellow insomniacs like me is white noise, more specifically brown noise. Haven’t heard about brown noise? No wonder. Not many people have. It’s just like white noise, but focusses on the lower end of the frequency range, resulting in a more soothing sound.
The best way I found for me to get my brown noise was looking it up on YouTube, hoping that I didn’t have to sit through a mid-roll ad while trying to fall asleep. I tried to find apps in the play store for white noise, but they were either over-complicated or very ugly.
So I made my own app with 10+ soothing noise profiles, incorporating the whole frequency spectrum, not just the brown part. I’ve matched every sound to a celestial body in or outside of our solar system to make the whole app feel like your floating in space, which to me is a sleep-inducing mental image.
old promotional screenshot
These are some reviews from active users, posted publicly on the Play Store.
“I now have the perfect deep sleep with these space sounds,easy to set the timer,and plenty of sound options,you can also get achievements”
“nothing soothes more than Mother Nature … and this app offers an excellent and broad range to choose from … depending whether You’re from Venus or Mars, or even that blue-green one between them. :)”
“Very nice collection of sounds. Some are gentle and some are pretty noisy. I have tinnitus so I can’t sleep in silence. I need something to mask the sound and the ones in this app have worked out well so far. I really like the Black Hole sounds. Ominous but relaxing.“
Keeping with the whole ‘soothing’ theme, sounds fade-in and fade-out when you play and stop them. In the last 10 seconds, a slow fade-out starts so the sudden absence of noise doesn’t wake the user.
When you’re playing a sound, a foreground notification appears. You can click this notification to get back to the app and stop or change the sound. The settings menu contains an option to make this notification more or less colorful.
When you set a timer, it will run in the background and can be easily cancelled, reset, or changed at any time. If you use the app to fall asleep, you might want to set a timer for an hour. Or you may set one if you want to read for fifteen minutes, for example.
Background Sound Service
All sounds play effortlessly in the background. The sound service doesn’t use the Android MediaSession infrastructure, which means that sound from other apps can play over the background noise of Celestial Sounds. This way, you can combine your guided meditation or your audiobook with the noise from my app.
Look at that GUI. Isn’t it pretty? You have the option to switch to a light theme, but the default is dark and space-y.
alternative marble theme
The free version of the app has a banner ad at the bottom. I made a premium version without ads and with 10 more sounds. Over 50 people have tried out the premium version. I enjoyed the challenge of monetizing my passion project android app. I’ve made sure that all functionality is included in the free version and so it will always be.
Custom Noise Profiles
To create the noise profiles for my app, I used Audacity and a random noise generator and mixed the different frequencies of noise. The below audio clips are samples of the celestial bodies you can listen to in the app. The app sports 21 sounds in total. Here are three of them.
The base set of icons come from Envato Elements under their commercial license. Further additions to the set were made by me in Paint.NET.
People interested in astrology may also enjoy my app. Each card has its corresponding sign of the zodiac before the planet name. I had to make some zodiac icons from scratch for sounds like the nebula and pulsar.
Each planetary card sports an affirming quote. These are all just little blessings that I’ve matched to the vibe of every planet. These aren’t necessary for the functioning of the app, but why not use this leftover space for some positivity.
all app icons
What did I learn?
I made my app in Android Studio, using Java, XML, and Gradle.
In order to mix the white noise profiles, I used Audacity.
For analytics on the use of my app and logging crashes I implemented Google Analytics and Firebase.
Many of the icons I made in Paint.NET.
Finally, for rollout to the play store and monetization I worked with Google Play Console, Google Admob, and AdColony.