Sleeping Tips: Is White Noise the Secret?

Some people can fall asleep anywhere—on a plane, on a noisy subway, or with a dog barking in the background. Others aren't so lucky and end up staring at the ceiling for hours on end, making their nightly snooze session anything but restful. In fact, a recent Consumer Reports survey found that 27 percent of people have trouble falling or staying asleep most nights, and 68 percent have difficulty sleeping at least once a week. When typical sleeping tips fail you, use white noise to lull you to sleep. Think along the lines of a vacuum, radio static, or even falling rain. Here's a bit on the benefits of white noise and how to take advantage of it.

What's the Deal?

If you've ever dozed off while your hairdresser was blow drying your hair, then you've experienced the magic of soothing sound. And while it may seem counterintuitive to actually turn up the racket to try to sleep better, white noise drowns out any background noise that might keep you up at night. The consistent noise also masks other abrupt changes in sound, such as screeching sirens or snoring. Research has shown that white noise could help improve sleep for patients in coronary care, and another study found that patients in the intensive care unit who were exposed to white noise were aroused from sleep less.

5 White Noise Solutions to Consider

Luckily, there are many ways to create soothing background sound when it's time for bed. Here are five simple options.

1. White Noise Machines

These machines, also known as sleep sound machines, are designed to produce sounds that soothe you to sleep. All you have to do is press a button. Choose a no-frills model or one that's tricked out, and prepare to wake up feeling well rested and ready for the day.

2. Radio

There's a good chance you already own a good white noise maker: your radio. Just set the dial between two stations to find some static and voila—white noise.

3. Fan

A spinning fan is the original white noise machine. Why spend extra money on a dedicated sound machine when there's a device already hanging from your ceiling or planted in the corner of your room?

4. Recording

Another low-cost option? Download or stream white noise online. There are a number of options available to download and many are free. Just play it on a loop and relax.

5. White Noise Apps

Of course there's an app for white noise, too. Actually, there are quite a few apps. While experts usually discourage leaving your phone by your bedside, this is one reason to do so.

Next time you're struggling to fall asleep, give white noise a try. Like all sleeping tips, you may have to experiment to find the best sound for you—and it may not even work at all. If you do decide to give it a shot, opt for white noise that keeps going all night long, and pair it with a soothing bedtime routine and other healthy sleep habits.

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