You brush your teeth, get into your PJs, and crawl into bed, and just as you're about to fall asleep you hear a car alarm, or your neighbor's late-night Zumba session. If this sounds familiar, you're in need of noise reducing ideas for a better night's sleep.
After college, I moved straight into a five-person house on a noisy avenue in Brooklyn. My street-facing bedroom was privy to everything from honking, to traffic, to fender benders — not to mention the extremely passionate upstairs neighbors who had zero regard for the fact that our walls were woefully thin.
And the effects on my day-to-day were palpable. I'd go home to my parents' house in the suburbs for holidays and sleep for literally 11 hours straight the first couple nights. I was totally sleep deprived and didn't even fully realize it until I had the benefit of a quiet bedroom. I'd return to NYC totally refreshed, only to have the nights of terrible sleep start all over again.
If you, like myself, struggle with getting a good night's sleep because of a noisy life situation, here are 11 hacks that will definitely help reduce random sounds and let you get some rest.
First things first, invest in a solid pair of earplugs. In a podcast on his site about getting a good night's sleep, life coach and efficiency expert Tim Ferris specifically recommended 3M E-A-Rsoft FX. They're a cost efficient, industrial-strength brand that you can buy in bulk online. Plus, they're disposable so it's totally okay if you loose a pair.
2. Hang A Curtain Above Your Door
This was a tip that came from an Apartment Therapy reader; install a curtain rod above your bedroom door and hang a thick, sound absorbent curtain. This is helpful because the majority of sound that comes through walls is actually coming through the cracks surrounding the door.
A white noise machine is a super simple solution to drowning out ambient noise in your life. It's especially awesome when you live in an apartment and can't really control the habits or hours of your neighbors and roommates.
4. Use Your Fan
If you don't want to spend on a white noise machine, but already have a fan, then you already have a (free!) solution to your problem. Turn on your fan at night — even in winter — to help block out random noise.
If white noise doesn't cut it, think about investing in a natural-sound machine that generates soothing nature sounds. And while you technically can find a lot of these sounds online, an actual machine simplifies the whole process and means you won't have to be fumbling for your phone or laptop while trying to fall asleep.
6. Install A Door Sweep
Another Apartment Therapy reader in the same article highly recommended installing a simple door sweep, since so much sound gets in through that little crack under your door. And you can usually find them at your local hardware store.
A Houzz.com piece also featured on Forbes highly recommended rugs and carpets in your home. "If your floors are sporting hardwood, tiles or linoleum on subfloor concrete, you may want to try rugs or carpet coupled with a sound-absorbing padding. Cut-pile carpeting, with its fuzzy top, tested better at absorbing sound than loop pile," the piece noted.
Hometips.com recommended weather strips to further soundproof those cracks around your door. "Usually the easiest and best material to use is adhesive-backed high-density foam tape, [and] rubber bulb weatherstripping gaskets and a weatherstripped threshold should seal the gaps around the perimeter," they noted. And if this sounds at all confusing, don't be afraid to ask questions at your local hardware store!
10. Reposition Your Bed
Another piece for Apartment Therapy on soundproofing your sleep recommended repositioning your bed if at all possible. If your bed is currently up against a wall with a lot of noise on the other side, an extra 10 feet or so could be just enough to make a difference.
11. Invest In Drapes
That same piece for Forbes suggested also investing in thick drapes around windows too, as this will go a long way in blocking out sound from the outdoors. This is especially helpful if your bedroom faces a noisy street or avenue.
A quiet, serene sleeping space shouldn't live in the realm of fantasy or pipe dreams. There are a ton of ways to reduce the ambient sound in your life that will take less than a weekend. So go forth, and get some sleep!