Even if you're one of those lucky night owls who feels inspired to write poetry and music when your home is pitch black and silent, feeling like you can't fall asleep can be dreadful. On those nights, having some tricks up your sleeve for how to fall asleep faster can make all the difference during those unavoidable morning meetings that require at least five hours of sleep. There are tips for getting a deeper sleep and even helpful tutorials on how couples can help each other sleep better, but there's one sleep aid that deserves a standing ovation and far more credit than it gets: the white noise machine.
Whether you live above a restaurant in the noisiest neighborhood in the city or seem to jump nine feet from your bed whenever a truck rolls by your otherwise serene suburban home, a white noise machine can help by reducing the difference between background noises and "peak" noises, according to the National Sleep Foundation. While only 5 percent of Americans report sleeping with sound machines, 74 percent say a quiet bedroom is important to getting a good night's sleep. And the constant static of white noise or ambient sounds like crackling fire and soft rain can actually make your bedroom feel more quiet and tranquil.
A white noise machine is the missing link — it really can help relax and lull you to sleep. These seven white noise machines are considered some of the most effective on the market.
1. HemingWeigh White Noise Machine
It looks a bit like your own personal robot and this white noise machine delivers the goods when it comes to tailoring sound that suits your personal preferences. A small dial allows you to control the volume of white noise delivered via its vents and the unit, which reviewers describe as "good and solid," "sleek," and "attractive," and it also boasts two USB ports and a built-in LED night light that you can turn off and on.
The HemingWeigh White Noise Machine has a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and is considered one of the best no nonsense, no-frills white noise machines on the market. It may not boast a variety of features, but if you're looking for a simple device that will get the job done, look no further.
2. Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine
The Dohm-DS White Noise Machine has a 4.4 out of 5 star rating, more than 10,000 mostly positive reviews on Amazon, and is the Official Sound Conditioner of the National Sleep Foundation. It features two speeds: a dual-speed motor, asymmetrical fan, and acoustic housing create the sound of rushing air — a sound so unique they've dubbed it the "Marpac Signature Sound." You can adjust both the tone and volume of the white noise sound to suit your personal taste. And, it's available in black, tan, and white.
So what do customers think about this device? One fan who admits he has tried a variety of white noise machines calls this sound "kind of hypnotic" and explains: "...I sense a difference in digitally produced sounds and those produced by analog devices such as fans or the Dohm, and I find that the analog-produced sounds work better for me and feel more 'natural.'"
3. HoMedics SS2000G/F-AMZ Sound Spa Relaxation Machine
Let's say you're the type of sleeper who wants white noise options and one generic sound isn't going to cut it — say "hello" to your new favorite sleep device! This four-star rated machine, with over 5,500 Amazon reviews, delivers not one, not two, but six digitally recorded sounds: white noise, thunder, ocean, rain, summer night, and brook. It's also the device to own if you would rather not wake up hearing the same sound that accompanied you to dreamland: you can set the auto timer to shut off at 15, 30, or 60 minutes — and it is battery or adapter operated (because insomnia can strike anywhere, even on camping trips).
One reviewer says she purchased this machine for her mother, who suffered from insomnia for years, and now she "dozes off and wakes up more rested — without medication for sleep." Another user who travels often says it's super simple to pack the HoMedics Sound Spa Relaxation Machine in a suitcase and keep it by his hotel bedside, and that it has proven to help him sleep much better while traveling.
4. HoMedics HDS-1000 Deep Sleep Sound Spa
Another winner from HoMedics, the Deep Sleep Sound Spa's sweet design offers four tones (soothe, mask, relax, and calm) and a manual dial that lets you adjust the volume. It can run on batteries or an adapter and has a built-in timer that can automatically turn off after 30, 60, or 90 minutes.
After trying out several competing white noise machines, one reviewer says the white noise setting sounds like a shower running in the distance, while another calls this product a "miracle" that blocks out her husband's snoring and has helped her sleep "deeper" without waking up in the middle of the night.
5. Palermo White Noise Machine
Holy, options! The Palermo White Noise Machine earned a 4.3 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, in part because it offers 10 soothing ambient sounds: white noise, rain, birds, brook, lullaby 1, lullaby 2, ocean, typhoon, thunder, and brown noise. You can plug it in or pop in four AA batteries and take this baby on the road. If trying to figure out time settings gives you a headache, this device simplifies it with a two-button timer that turns off after either one or two hours (you can also opt to keep the machine on all night).
One Amazon customer says the Palermo White Noise Machine helped her block out interstate traffic noise, the sound quality is great, and that it's simple to use. Another reviewer pointed out that Palermo actually sent a personal enquiry to ask if they had a satisfied customer — and, needless to say, they did.
6. HoMedics SS-1200 Portable Mini Sound Spa White Noise Machine
Frequent travelers know it can be difficult to fall asleep in strange hotel rooms. This compact HoMedics portable sound machine takes up minimal luggage space and requires three AAA batteries (not included). What's super nice about it, though, is that it may be small, but it doesn't skimp when it comes to sound. This machine features four ambient sounds: gentle rain, white noise, ocean, and everglades, and can turn off automatically after 15, 30, or 45 minutes.
The device has a solid 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and more than 140 reviews. One reviewer says it's the perfect white noise travel companion — one that has everything required to promote sleep, without extra unnecessary functions.
7. Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine
This 4.4-star rated machine has six high-fidelity sound settings: white noise, fan, ocean, rain, stream, and summer night. You can adjust the volume, set it to turn off automatically after 15, 30, or 60 minutes, and even use its built-in USB port to charge your smartphone overnight.
One of more than 400 Amazon reviewers pointed out a common problem with many white noise machines: you can sometimes hear the distracting various audio clips looping as you try to fall asleep. After using the Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine for a week and trying out various sound effects, the reviewer said it was impossible to find the loop point in any of the audio samples. Even better: this machine helped the reviewer drift off to sleep before further analysis of the sound loop could take place.
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