At least one out of every three Americans doesn’t get enough sleep. The reasons for this include poor sleep habits, stress, and too much time in front of screens.
According to the Mayo Clinic, insomnia is the sleep disorder behind much of this struggle to sleep. It includes the inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep, and can also include waking up early and not being able to fall back to sleep.
If you have ever suffered from insomnia, then you know how miserable it is to lie in bed wide awake. Using a sound machine is one easy way to help yourself sleep better.
The Science Behind White Noise
White noise is any sound where the amplitude is constant throughout the audible frequency range. This means that the sound has equal volume levels across all of the frequencies that human beings can hear. This is the type of sound most often used to enhance sleep, because it has been scientifically shown to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. White noise may also help improve sleep in those who suffer from PTSD or ADHD.
Pink noise is similar to white noise, except that has more amplitude, or volume, at the lower frequencies. It sounds like white noise with some added bass. Pink noise is common in natural sounds like waves crashing on the sand or the drum of steady rain.
This type of sound can be helpful for sleep, too. Studies have shown that people who listen to it while they sleep spend more time in deep sleep. Since that is the most refreshing stage of sleep, pink noise could help sleepers feel more rested.
White Noise for Babies
White noise doesn’t just work for adults! It also works for babies. In one study, 80% of babies between 2 and 7 days old fell asleep within 5 minutes when caretakers used white noise, as opposed to only 25% of babies who fell asleep in that same time period without the noise.
There is some controversy over the safety of using white noise with babies. Some machines produce sound that is loud enough to damage a baby’s hearing. However, following these simple guidelines can help make the machines safe for even the smallest baby.
- 50 decibels is the maximum volume considered safe for a neonatal nursery in a hospital. Buy a baby sleep machine that advertises volumes at this level or lower.
- Place the white noise machine well away from the baby’s crib. Even if you can’t measure the decibel level it produces, putting it farther away from the child makes it less likely to cause damage.
Sound Machines to Help You Sleep
There are many different types of sound machines that can produce the right kind of noise to help you or your baby sleep better. These are some of the best products on the market today:
- MARPAC Dohm Sound Machine
- This is the original sound machine. It is used not only for sleep, but also to block noise in shared work environments.
- The sound machine produces white noise only, though it does come with two speeds and an adjustable housing so users can adjust the tone and volume of the sound.
- Big Red Rooster Sound Machine
- This machine offers 5 natural sounds, some of which pick up on pink noise frequencies, in addition to white noise.
- It features a timer, so users can set it to shut off after 15, 30, or 60 minutes.
- A compact design, this noise machine is perfect for small spaces or for use while traveling.
- HoMedics SoundSpa Sound Machine
- The SoundSpa machine features white noise, while also offering 5 other natural sounds.
- It is batter operated, making it easier to travel with or move room-to-room.
- The auto-off timer will shut the machine off after 15, 30, or 60 minutes, or you can leave it on all night.
If you suffer from insomnia, a sound machine could be your answer to better sleep. Whether you choose white noise or pink noise, using a sound machine could mean more, deeper, and better sleep as soon as tonight.