Just like every person has their own idea of the perfect mattress and the ideal pillow, we all have a preference for sound while we sleep. You might like the noise of a city or the serenity of the country, or you might prefer to listen to an audiobook or music as you fall asleep. But we can all agree on what we don’t like to listen to at night: Our neighbors.
Even if you’re able to fall asleep through noise from across the street or down the hall, our brains continue to process sound as we sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. That means, if your brain is focused on sounds while you’re sleeping rather than just the sleep itself, you’re getting suboptimal sleep, and setting yourself up to be exhausted when you wake up in the morning. If you’re not getting the right amount of sleep at night, it might not be your mattress, sheets or pillow; it might actually be the sound level. So, before dropping the big bucks on a new mattress, why not try a white noise machine?
The best thing about white noise machines is that you can choose your own noise; whether you prefer static noise, the sounds of nature or calming music, there are noise machines on the market for you.
The best sound machines for better sleep
With four digitally recorded and adjustable white noise tones, an automatic-off timer, and sleek design, the HoMedics Deep Sleep therapy machine is perfect for misophonics who need complete control over their white noise machine. The four tones include soft rain sounds and deep tones. The machine has speakers powerful enough to drown out any noisy neighbors or high-traffic road, too.
Adaptive Sound Technologies’ LectroFan is small, customizable and well-designed. It features ten fan sounds and ten ambient noise tones and, unlike some other white noise machines, you can adjust its volume. The LectroFan also has an auto-off timer, so whether you’re the type of person that falls asleep within 15 minutes or who lays awake for an hour, you won’t waste energy running the LectroFan all night.
While not the most attractive white noise machine on the market, it’s one of the originals. The Marpac Dohm has been lulling consumers to sleep since 1962, when it was called the Sleep-Mate. It’s been successful for so long for good reason: You can tune the fan sounds to your preferences by choosing the speed, tone and volume of the fan. Plus, as the official sound machine choice of the National Sleep Foundation, you can trust this device to help you get the high quality sleep you need. The only feature this device is missing is a built-in sleep timer, however.
Sleep machines for babies
New parents know the expression “sleeping like a baby” is a bad one; babies are known to wake up all hours of the night and, once they get to the age when they’re MacGyvering their way out of their crib, it’s nearly impossible to keep them in bed. However, with a white noise machine, parents can encourage the kids to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Whether you live near a busy road, keeping your child awake during nap time, or whether your baby needs a little extra encouragement to fall asleep, sound machines are effective for the little ones. The next three devices were designed specifically for children and infants, so if your kid is keeping you awake, these are great products to try.
Hatch Baby’s sound machine may come at a higher price than other sound machines for the little ones, but that’s for a good reason. The Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine isn’t just a sound machine, it’s also a night light and alarm clock. Plus, it connects directly to your smartphone, so you can set a wake-up time without needing to go into your toddler’s room and disrupt their schedule. Hatch Baby is multi-age, so when your baby graduates to toddler age and needs a night light, the Hatch Baby sound machine is there.
Small, discreet and affordable, the MyBaby Deep Sleep SoundSpa machine plays six different sounds specifically chosen for babies. Try a lullaby or choose the Heartbeat sound, which mimics the sound your baby heard in the womb. Put it on a table next to your child’s crib and switch the machine to battery mode. Then, you can use the auto-off timer for 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes to conserve energy. Its small size and battery function make this the perfect choice for families on the go, as it fits in the luggage and works in the car.
Based on the original Deep Sleep SoundSpa, the SoundSpa Lullaby perfects the classic with additional sounds like gentle rain and ocean waves, plus more lullabies including Rock-a-bye Baby and Brahms’ Cradle Song. Plus, the SoundSpa Lullaby has a projector, so you can create a cozy environment for your baby by playing soothing sounds and projecting comforting images onto the ceiling or wall as accompaniment. The SoundSpa Lullaby is affordable but has some great luxury features for the discerning baby.
How sound machines help you sleep
The sounds that keep us awake do so by keeping the brain active; music with heavy bass or with lots of changes keep us focused and alert; the opposite of how we want to be when asleep. Think of the rhythmic dripping of a leaky faucet or ticking of a clock: for some of us, these sounds are almost maddening to listen to, especially while falling asleep. However, white noise machines create a constant sound that mimics a familiar noise or masks background noise, allowing you to drift off to sleep peacefully.
Noise with highs and lows can wake us up throughout the night or startle us as we’re in more active stages of rapid eye movement (REM), which is why it’s important to fall asleep to sounds that are constant and calming, like the sounds white noise machines provide. If you’re trying to get your bedroom perfect for sleep, whether that’s by buying the best mattress for you or setting the thermostat to the right temperature, a sound machine is just another great tool to add to your arsenal.
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