How a Calming Machine Can Ease You into A Restful Sleep

From the type of sounds to the amount of space the device really takes up—here’s what you need to know about this proven sleep hack.

Young woman in bed
Get great ZZZ’s with the right noise machine.Getty Images

No matter how tired you are when your head hits the pillow, your brain keeps working as you sleep. That’s why staying asleep can be just as big a problem as getting there in the first place. It’s not necessarily the loudness of your partner’s snores or a neighbor’s car alarm that’s disruptive—it’s the sudden change in sound that kicks your brain into gear. Thankfully, you can combat unexpected noise by using a sound machine that emits calming, muffling noise at night.

A Variety of Volumes

White Noise Sound Machine
This machine provides 20 different non-looping sound effects.Amazon

White noise is a well-known way to lull a baby or toddler into a deep sleep. For babies, it’s especially important to look for a machine like this one that has a wide volume range so you can find the safest and most effective one. Important note: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents place sound machines no closer than 78 inches away from a baby’s bed or crib, and keep sound volume to no higher than 50 decibels. (Use a free app like the Centers for Disease Control’s Sound Level Meter App to check decibel levels.)

Soothing Sounds of Nature

White Noise Sound Machine
Comes in three colors—blue, gold or silver—to match your decor.Amazon

While white noise is the most well-known calming noise, pink and brown noise, both of which have less high-frequency sound than classic white, can be helpful too. The patter of steady rainfall and howling of wind are considered “pink” noise. Brown noise is similar, but deeper and more rumbling. A machine like this one that includes natural sounds such as thunder, ocean waves and rain is a great option because you can experiment with the frequency that works best for you.

Good to Go

Ultimate Sleep White Noise Sound Machine
This machine can also be used with headphones.Amazon

Once you—or your child—has found the right frequency to lull you to sleep and keep you there, you’re going to want to tote the machine wherever you go. That’s why we love this portable, cordless pick. It’s powered by a USB cable or 4 AA batteries, making it easy to take along when traveling.