White Noise for Sleep

woman sleep well in bed

If you have trouble falling asleep, you know firsthand the frustration and despair that comes along with it. Insomnia can lead to anxiety and poor performance in everything in life the following day. There’s a reason why sleep deprivation is a form of torture!

People will do anything to help them fall asleep — while some techniques are pretty serious (sleep medication, for example), others are less so. Besides high-quality mattresses, one option is to try out “white noise.” It’s simple, affordable and non-invasive. So let’s take a closer look at it.

What is White Noise?

White Noise: “Also called white sound, is a steady, unvarying, unobtrusive sound, as an electronically produced drone or the sound of rain, used to mask or obliterate unwanted sounds.”

People often think of the sound between radio stations or that old snowy tv channel of the past when they think of white noise. It is a nondescript, steady sound that the brain can focus on so that things like stress and tomorrow’s to-do list don’t keep you awake.

White noise can be particularly helpful if you live on a busy street, beside or below noisy neighbours, or in an active city with alarms and sirens. White noise masks it all so that sharp sounds or sudden noises don’t keep a person awake or wake them from their slumber.

So, how do you get it? Thankfully there are plenty of options that are easy and affordable, or often free.

Four common white noise carriers

  • Apps: If you sleep with your phone near your bed, you can download an app that will play white noise straight from your mobile. There is a big range of options from free to ones that cost some money. Some have timers or sounds to choose from (ocean sounds, rainforest sounds or more ambiguous static) but they are a great option.
  • YouTube channels: No shortage here! Simply search for white noise and dozens of channels will appear. You can stream them from your phone or computer, use headphones, connect to a speaker or just play from the device. The only difficult thing will be choosing one!
  • White noise machine: These portable, standalone machines are great if you don’t like keeping your phone beside your pillow. They are small and simple machines, often called “sound machines” (there’s a reason why but it gets into things like “brown noise” and “pink noise” and let’s just not go there). Sound/white noise machines also come in options that attach to a crib to help the little ones fall and stay asleep.
  • A fan: That’s right — the old trusty fan is as simple as it comes. Some people find that putting on a fan creates just enough steady, boring noise that it is perfect for falling asleep. Of course, this might be a seasonal option and not the greatest for the winter months but other common household machines like a humidifier might also do the trick.

If you are skeptical, it’s worth just giving it a try for a few nights. It’s certainly not going to hurt and it might take a couple of nights to get used to. If you are having trouble falling and staying asleep, a white noise machine might just be the life-changing thing you’ve been looking for.