Most people can’t sleep with construction going on right outside or through their neighbors having a loud argument or blasting their television late at night.
Some people, however, find it just as difficult to sleep when it is completely silent in their bedroom. They find themselves attending to small sounds they wouldn’t normally pay any mind to, like the sound of their own heartbeat or breathing and the sounds of the house settling.
Some people even begin to believe they hear a high-pitched whine, just to fill the silence. Others, actually do hear such a sound, due to an auditory condition known as tinnitus. In either case, this is not conducive to sleeping well.
An alternative to combat the issue of trying to sleep when it’s too quiet is ambient sound generation. Ambient sounds are those that are consistent, quiet, and do not distract would-be sleepers from going to sleep. People often use ceiling or portable fans, wave sound machines, and white noise generators to accomplish this. Some use recorded nature sounds or music, although this can be less than ideal in shared sleeping arrangements.
Most fans produce a low and constant hum that can drown out stray sounds or provide a comforting background noise. For many people, the sound is sufficient to help induce sleep.
Ceiling fans are often quieter than portable fans; however, this may not be ideal since the noise made by the fan is valuable to the sleeper.
The air cooling effects can also be helpful, as most people sleep somewhat better in a cool room.
Adjusting the speed of the fan is a good way to adjust the sound it makes as well. A faster speed can create a louder and steadier noise. Many fan users are comfortable at lower speeds. In general, it is a matter of individual choice and preference.
Wave Sound Machines
A perennial favorite of those who suffer from mild to moderate insomnia, wave sound machines produce the soothing sound of ocean waves. These help lull users into a relaxed and comfortable sleep.
Wave sound machines are available in a wide variety of models, price ranges, and functionality. The volume can be easily adjusted to individual specifications. Other adjustments vary according to the individual device.
Some machines include other types of soothing noises, including rain, wind, or other pleasing natural sounds. Rain is among the most popular. For many, this sound takes them back to childhoods spent in homes with tin roofs or open windows. This can be especially appealing for those who have moved from rural to urban environments.
White Noise Machines
The terms white noise refers to a type of sound that is random, but has a consistence density. The simplest way to think of it is to think of static, like that found between radio stations, but more consistent and stable. Unlike ocean or rain sounds, the variability is minimal.
White noise machines are designed to produce this calming sound for long periods of time with high levels of consistency. Like other sound devices, the volume or even pitch may be adjusted to suit individual needs. Many also come with timers for those who only need the sound to fall asleep, not to remain asleep.
These devices are also used to treat an auditory condition known as tinnitus. The condition causes sufferers to hear a high-pitched whining sound. White noise machines can reduce the degree to which tinnitus causes sleep and quality of life issues. This can reduce the need for sleep aids or other medical interventions.
Some people enjoy falling asleep to the sound of music. For many, soft strains of classical music works best. In fact, numerous compilations of classical or instrumental music designed for relaxation and sleep are on the market. Music without vocal accompaniment tends to be preferred, although chants, such as those performed by Gregorian monks, can be useful too.
Most people find that modern or up-tempo music are not good for this, because they are not soothing and may increase the heart rate. Some easy-listening music may be suitable to those who do not enjoy classical or any of the other devices or methods described above.
Why is Noise so Important?
In literature, one might hear expressions dealing with silence weighing heavily. For many, the sense of silence seeming oppressive is more than metaphor; it feels quite real to them. This is one reason why having some form of consistent sound in the bedroom is important to them.
Another reason is that in the stillness of the night, almost any significant sound can awaken a light sleeper or prevent them from falling asleep. These nightly noises can include anything from car doors slamming to the sound of the heater turning on to police sirens miles away. A fan or white noise machine can act as an auditory buffer between a sleeper and these unwanted sounds.
A less common reason, as noted above, is to manage the hearing disorder tinnitus. During the day, the high-pitched sound associated with the condition may not be very noticeable. At night, however, the condition can have a serious and negative effect on sleep quality. Ambient sound devices can help reduce this effect, making it easier to get a good night’s sleep.
Using ceiling or portable fan, wave sound machine, white noise generator, or music can help provide a better night’s sleep for those who cannot sleep when it is too quiet or who awaken easily due to extraneous noises. These devises are readily available and in the case of the wave or white noise machines, can come with numerous helpful features for customization.
Getting proper rest is important. Soothing sounds can definitely make it easier to get to sleep and stay asleep through the night.