Creating the perfect sleep environment for yourself can be tough. We can lower or crank the AC in our homes to get a comfortable temperature, we can get the perfect mattress to be cozy and fall asleep fast, and we can find the heaviest blackout curtains to block out the bright outdoors. But we can’t really influence the things happening outside our walls, whether that means loud neighbors, blaring sirens throughout the night, or even the twittering of birds outside your window as soon as the sun starts to come up.
But with modern technology, we can do our best to drown out the outside world, leaving us with our thoughts while we fall asleep. Some prefer to fall asleep to Netflix or audiobooks, but not all of us can ignore the sounds of talking. For those among us with a hyper-focusing brain, sound machines can be the answer to getting a quiet and restful night’s sleep.
Sound machines back in the day used to create basic white noise, and while the benefits of sleeping with white noise can’t be overstated, some prefer the sound of the ocean, or the sounds of insects chirping in a forest. Thanks to modern technology, we can transport ourselves to whatever relaxing environment we want through sound machines.
Let’s talk about some of the coolest, and most effective, sound machines on the market.
The best sound machines for better sleep
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HoMedics has created a sound machine that looks good and sounds good, too. With four adjustable white noise tones; great sound quality from powerful speakers; a timer for 30, 60, or 90 minutes; and travel-ready, this is a great catch-all sound machine if you want something robust that checks all the boxes. Plus, this sound machine is on sale; it’s just $37, down from the regular list price of $60, so this is the perfect time to pick it up.
In our humble opinion, this is the best-looking sound machine on the market. If you’re concerned with ruining your room’s aesthetic with an unattractive little piece of tech on your night stand, this is the perfect choice. But don’t worry, SNOOZ’s white noise machine isn’t just looks. A white noise machine with looping sound can drive the more attentive among us a little crazy, especially if we can expect when the loop is coming, but this machine features non-looping white noise, because the sound comes from a real fan inside the machine. It features 10 tones for people of all ages, and it’ll soothe your pets if they have separation anxiety, too. Perhaps the coolest feature of this machine is that it’s fully integrated with a smartphone app, so you can control every feature of the white noise machine from your phone. Connect multiple SNOOZ machines to your phone and turn down the volume to the guest bedroom sound machine from the kitchen; it’s an especially handy device for parents who want sound machines in the kids’ rooms, too.
Here’s a sound machine that doesn’t win any beauty contests, but it’s all about the wine, not the label, right? When it comes to sound machines, the Marpac Dohm can be considered a historic and truly established machine. The first edition of this machine, the Sleep-Mate, showed up on shelves in 1962, helping lull our parents and grandparents to sleep. Naturally, the contemporary edition of the Marpac Dohm features much higher quality tech than its ancestor. With a real built-in fan, this is a non-looping white noise machine, but if you’re looking for the natural sounds of the rain forest or a soothing storm, you should choose a different model, as Marpac Dohm sticks with classic white noise. Simple yet effective.
Pure Enrichment knows the game of relaxation. With humidifiers, heating pads, scent diffusers and Himalayan salt lamps, Pure Enrichment wants you to create a spa experience in your own bedroom. And you can start to do that by choosing a sound machine that helps you get the perfect amount of sleep. This machine features six sounds; white noise, fan, ocean, rain, stream and summer night; so if you prefer to feel like you’ve been transported to the beach or your favorite nature preserve, the Pure Enrichment machine is the way to go. It features 15-, 30- and 60-minute automatic off timers, and it’s nice and small, perfect for traveling.
Sleep machines for babies
You don’t have to be a parent to know that babies are really bad at sleeping. Of course, parents know better than anyone, and the countless sleepless nights are evidence of that. But, parents, you can do your best to create a calming environment for your little one and lessen the chances of experiencing yet another sleepless night listening to the ambient noises of a screaming toddler. While all of the above machines work just fine for children, sound machines that were made specifically for kids pack unique features like built-in night lights, sounds that mimic the womb and even projectors, which can imitate the look of a mobile above the crib.
This may be the most expensive of our three choices for kid-oriented sound machines, but it’s a sound machine that your child can grow up with. Not only does it come with a smartphone app so you can lower or raise the volume, or turn on or off the sound machine without even entering your kid’s room and waking them up, but it also features an attractive built-in night light. That means, as your child enters the age of being afraid of monsters under the bed, you won’t have to find another product to help ward off being scared of the dark. Set a timer to wake your child peacefully, turn on a sound that mimics the heartbeat in the womb, and set hours for the sound machine to turn on and off with your family’s schedule.
MyBaby has mastered the craft of sound machines for the little one. This is a small and non-intrusive sound machine that takes both a cord and can go wireless, so just charge it up and take it with you when you’re on vacation. After all, you and the baby need your sleep while you’re out and about, too. It features six sounds: heartbeat, soothe, mask, calm, ocean and twinkle. Unlike a few other sound machines on this list, you can even adjust the volume on this machine so you’re not creating a too-loud environment with your sound machine, creating an entirely new problem. Just turn on the 14-, 30-, 45- or 60-minute timer so it automatically turns off once the baby is asleep so you’re not wasting that precious battery power.
Yes, two MyBaby sound machines have made this list, and for good reason. If you want more robust features, you can consider the SoundSpa Lullaby the 2.0 version; the new and improved Deep Sleep model. With a new and improved design and extra functionality, you’re getting an interesting and unique sound machine. See those three bulbs at the top of the sound machine? Those actually project different images, like a cartoon fish, to distract your baby from the stresses of the day, like “I wasn’t fed fast enough,” or, “I was forced to wear shoes.” With new sounds, like the sound of rainfall and the rhythmic sounds of the ocean, plus lullabies like Rock-a-bye Baby and Brahms’ Cradle Song, you’ll be impressed with the number of options packed into this surprisingly small machine.
How sound machines help you sleep
It isn’t just pure sound that wakes us up, per se. It’s actually the sudden starting or stopping of sound, or a sudden and major increase or decrease in volume. If you’ve ever lived above a bar or had neighbors that enjoyed blasting music throughout the night, you know that heavy bass is enough to keep up even the most tired among us. Our brains automatically zero in on sounds, so in order to get to sleep and relax our minds, we have to drown out those sounds.
Sleep machines are designed to create a constant yet neutral sound that our brain has a hard time focusing on. Typically, it’s quiet and rhythmic, but not too looping, as our brains can focus on sounds that loop too obviously. Nature is fantastic at creating soothing sounds that make us comfortable; rainfall, the crashing of ocean waves, the chirping of insects in the distance; and that’s why you find so many sound machines feature these natural sounds in addition to the regular white noise sound.
Obsessed with getting a good night’s sleep? So are we. Why don’t you try out some of the best cooling pillows to keep you from overheating at night, pillows for side sleepers that are lofty and supportive, or mattress toppers to completely transform your old mattress into a new and ultra-cozy one. Don’t forget to follow our Deals page on Digital Trends, so you’re always in the know about great sales for products to improve your life.
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