What is a Sound Machine?
A sound machine creates background noise so that other noises are not so audible or perceivable, allowing you to ignore noises that keep you awake or wake you up during the night. Your sleep quality can have a dramatic impact on your quality of life, and being kept awake or being awakened during the night by a snoring partner, street noise, or noisy neighbors is not conducive to good sleep. A white noise machine or sound machine can help you to sleep by giving you a constant low noise to cover up other noise so that you can go to sleep and stay asleep.
A white noise machine and a sound machine are slightly different in that a white noise machine only makes one constant sound whereas a sound machine make several sounds. Most of the machines on the market make both white noise and other sounds. Noise frequencies are given their names, pink, blue, etc., due to their similarity with their equivalent spectrum in light wave frequency. White noise is analogous to white light, due to its flat frequency spectrum which has equal power at all frequency ranges.
Can Sound Machine Help You Fall Asleep
There are several different machines on the market which work differently to help you go to sleep or stay asleep. Some are designed for an unquiet mind caused by stress or anxiety, while others are designed to cover up noise so that you can get to sleep and so that you do not hear noises in the night to awaken you. The most expensive units actually lessen the amount of noise by using advanced technology to cancel out unwanted noise.
The Benefits of Using Sound Machine
If your goal is to drown out noise so that you do not notice it while you are trying to sleep, a sound machine can be a solution. If you live in a noisy place where your children or infants are awakened by surrounding noises, a sound machine is an economical way to let them take a nap in peace, and allow you to get the rest that you need. Studying or sleeping in a dormitory or other noisy locations can be a challenge, but having a way to cover up the din lets you ignore the noise easily. You can bring peace and sleep-full nights back into your relationship by covering up your snoring partner. If you are shift worker or have trouble falling asleep when you have jet lag, other people’s activities during the day can interfere with your sleep quality, but a white noise machine can make sudden noises seem like they are in the background allowing you to sleep. Tinnitus sufferers benefit from the use of a white noise machine to make the ringing in their ears seem less noticeable.
Prices of Sound Machines
There are several good and inexpensive models on the market, depending on your needs. The most complex and expensive machines use advanced technology to cancel out sound. The simplest type of white noise machine is an enclosed fan which drives air through vents in the casing. This produces a constant level of desired sound without cooling the air or producing a breeze. Power-napping devices are a type of sleeping aid that are usually used at a volume slightly louder than normal music listening, but still comfortable. Some sound machines create nature sounds to make sleeping easier by masking unwanted noise.
What Are the Best Sound Machines?
What is the best sound machine for you depends mostly on your situation and the problems that you are experiencing sleeping or getting to sleep. The NightWave Sleep Assistant helps overcome insomnia with a simple routine to help you calm your mind. The quietest night comes from canceling out sounds, such as how the Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 works. Some units have night lights while others operate in the dark. Some units can be set to go off after a given amount of time, leaving you to sleep in the quiet for the rest of the night while others stay on all night, and some have settings to allow you to choose. Most units are effective at drowning out neighborhood noises, loud neighbors, and a snoring partner, and most will be most effective if you have trouble sleeping when it is too quiet. The NightWave Sleep Assistant is silent, so will not help if your sleeping difficulties are with being awakened by noise after falling asleep.
The Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 offers 10 realistic, quality natural sounds to create the best sleep environment possible. This unit is unlike the others because it has an adaptive sound technology which listens to and reacts to the environment. This noise canceling feature, described visually, is similar to when two waves of water traveling opposite directions meet each other, causing each other to cancel out. This unit has three richness settings which control a range of additional sounds. You can use the unit in either the adaptive or manual operating modes, including an optional sleep timer. The Ecotones Sound Sleep Machine costs about $99.
If you have trouble falling asleep because of stress or an unquiet mind, the NightWave Sleep Assistant
is recommended by doctors to help you fall asleep naturally. It guides you through a routine for pre-sleep relaxation, calming common insomnia causes, including agitation and pain, and difficult sleep situations such as shift work or jet lag. Children can benefit by developing a simple routine to fall asleep and stay asleep. The unit is silent and requires no peripheral equipment such as headphones or wires, and it is safer, less expensive, and more supportive of healthy sleep habits than are prescription medications. The NightWave Sleep Assistant costs about $51.
The Marsona TSCI-330 Travel Sound Conditioner by Marpac can create acoustic privacy by masking unwanted noise. This compact, lightweight unit has the noise masking capability of many full-sized units, but is small enough to fit in your suitcase and includes a nylon travel pouch. It creates white noise and the sounds of rain, surf, or a waterfall. Marpac is also the maker of the full-sized Original Sound Conditioner. The unit can be used with the included electrical cord, or you can purchase the optional Marpac BP-9006 Battery Pack which provides 9V DC for about 40 hours with alkaline or rechargeable batteries, and costs about $10. The Marsona TSCI-330 costs about $75.
TheMarpac SleepMate 980A is an Electro-Mechanical Sound Conditioner which creates white noise that is constant and sounds like a well constructed fan. You can adjust the volume and pitch on each of the two speed settings so that it suits your needs in your surroundings. Professional offices such as doctors offices use the SleepMate 980A to mask private conversation. It operates on a normal household current using a US plug without batteries. Weighing 1.6 pounds, it is 5.8 around and 3.8 inches tall, so it is easy to take along on trips. The SleepMate 980A costs about $52.
The HoMedics SS-2000 Sound Spa Relaxation Sound Machine has six nature sounds to choose from: ocean, rain, rain forest, waterfall, and summer night, plus heart beat. You can set it to turn off automatically after 15, 30, or 60 minutes, or you can let it run all night. It nicely fills up the room with quality sound, and is small enough to pack to take on trips. It can also run on four AA on batteries, so you can take it on camping trips or other places where electricity or the correct plugin type is unavailable. At about $20, it is a bargain to help you sleep better.
Having your peaceful night’s sleep suddenly ended by the blaring sounds of a typical alarm clock is a rude awakening in the morning. The Sony ICFC717PJ Nature Sounds Clock Radio lulls you to sleep with your choice of five nature sounds to help you peacefully drift off to the sounds of birds, rainfall, a babbling brook, the ocean, or under the sea. Then you can be awakened to the same sound in the morning, when it gently ramps up the volume to the nature sounds at first, or with the radio or buzzer. It features a dual alarm clock which can be set for different times for each partner for the weekends and weekdays. It has an indoor temperature display and an AM./FM radio with 10 presets, and the current time can be projected onto the wall for easier reading, or turned off. It also has an extendable snooze, and a blue, easy to read, back-lit display, and a 100 year calendar. Costing about $54, it can make your nights and mornings more peaceful.
The Sound Oasis S-550-05 (white) or S-550-04 (gray) Sound Therapy System helps you to create an environment that is better for sleeping and relaxing with six high quality, authentic nature sounds, including rain, white noise, ocean surf, stream, wind, and summer night. The Sound Oasis helps you to sleep better and enhances your concentration so that you can be more awake during the day. It has been shown to help cope with tinnitus. You can increase the number of sounds available by inserting optional memory cards which each contain six additional sounds. The oversized digital alarm clock makes it easy to read the time. After it lulls you into a peaceful slumber, it can be set to run all night, or it can be set to turn itself off after 30, 60, or 90 minutes. After it has run for the set time, it gently turns down the volume before shutting it off. You can awaken to your choice of the buzzer or a nature sound. The rotary on/off volume control allows for precise settings and you can use the headphone jack to either play your selections once and turn off, or to repeat the sequence. The speaker is omnidirectional, so you can project the sound off the back of the unit for richer, deeper sound. It can be powered by the included AC adapter or with (not included) four AA batteries for traveling. The Sound Oasis is easy to use and costs about $56.00.
The Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine has 12 soothing sounds, including lullabies and womb sounds, white noise, and nature sounds, or you can play MP3s through the plug-in port. When baby rests well, it is easier for you to rest well, too. The Sweet Slumber has a soft blue, glowing nightlight so you can see your baby and adjust the well designed, easy to use controls, even in a dark room. The compact unit is easy to pack with baby’s things to send to the babysitter or to travel, so baby will always feel at home. The automatic timer can be set to turn off after your baby falls asleep, or can be left on to create ambient sound to help baby stay asleep if the phone rings or siblings are playing. Use it plugged in or with batteries. At about $40, it will help you and baby get your needed rest.