Creating the right sleep environment to ensure quality Z’s can be a real challenge. Sure, you can adjust the heat or AC in your room to set a temperature you’re comfortable with, and you can get the perfect mattress, an effective cooling pillow, and blackout curtains to block out the bright light peeking in. However, there’s really no way for you to control the things happening outside your walls — whether that be blaring sirens throughout the night, noisy neighbors, or even the chirping of birds outside your window as soon as the sun starts to come up.
Thanks to modern technology, it’s now possible to drown out the sounds of the outside world. Some people can fall asleep with Netflix or audiobooks playing in the background, but not everyone can ignore the sounds of talking. For many people, sound machines are the solution to getting a restful night’s sleep.
Sound machines used to create just basic white noise, and while the advantages of sleeping with white noise can’t be overstated, some prefer nature sounds such as ocean waves or insects chirping in a forest. With a sound machine, you can transport to whatever relaxing environment you want. We’ve done our research and put together a list of the best options on the market to help you out. You may also check our Black Friday and Cyber Monday mattress sales compilation while you’re at it.
The best sound machines for better sleep
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Snooz White Noise Sound Machine
In our 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 nightstand, 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 — 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 of the guest bedroom sound machine from the kitchen, for example. It’s an especially handy device for parents who want sound machines in their child’s room, too.
Yogasleep Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine
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 Yogasleep Dohm can be considered a well-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 Yogasleep Dohm features much higher-quality tech than its ancestor. With a built-in fan, this is a non-looping white noise machine, but if you’re looking for the natural sounds of the rainforest or a soothing storm, you should choose a different model, as Yogasleep Dohm sticks with classic white noise.
Pure Enrichment Wave Premium Sleep Sound Machine
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 shut-off timers, and it’s nice and small, perfect for traveling.
Yogasleep Rohm Portable White Noise Sound Machine for Travel
Take this along when you travel and let it drown out the unfamiliar noises that would otherwise keep you awake all night. The Rohm Portable White Noise Sound Machine for Travel offers three sound options: Gentle surf, bright white noise, or deep white noise, with adjustable volume control at your fingertips. At a lightweight 3.8 ounces and 3.5 inches in diameter, this white noise machine will slide into the pocket of any standard size luggage or backpack, and a handy lanyard holds it in place once you arrive at your destination. It comes with a one-year warranty and is rechargeable with a USB cable included.
Honeywell Dreamweaver Sleep Fan
The Dreamweaver Sleep Fan from Honeywell allows you to adjust its calming pink noise to your preference of three different speeds, while the dimmable light works on four customizable levels, each selected with a simple tap on the control panel of the device. Use the same panel for easily turning the device on and off, and utilize the built-in USB charger to juice up your phone or other devices while you sleep. There’s also a handy timer with automatic shut-off that you can set at four different intervals for your convenience. What’s more, the Dreamweaver has a pivoting base you can adjust as well, with controls for airflow to circulate when the room is warm or turn off when it’s too cool.
Brookstone Sleep Sound Mixer
Fill the room with calming sound. The Brookstone Sleep Sound Mixer combines eight relaxing sounds and seven gentle lights to allow users to fine-tune their own best sleep-inducing integration. The mixer comes with a built-in timer with automatic shut-off, which can be set to four different intervals, as well as a modern cordless look and simple four-hour recharging time. The device works for up to four hours on a single charge.
HoMedics SoundSpa White Noise Sound Machine
With six natural white noise options, the HoMedics SoundSpa offers you the choice of various soothing sounds like white noise, rain, thunder, summer night, brook, and ocean. You can set the built-in timer for 15, 30, or 60 minutes, allowing for automatic shut-off once you or your baby is peacefully sleeping. The device is lightweight for superior portability and requires four AA batteries to run.
Sleep machines for babies
You don’t have to be a parent to know that babies need tons of sleep — but it can be a struggle to come by. Of course, parents know that better than anyone, and countless sleepless nights are evidence of that. Create a calming environment for your little one and lessen the chances of experiencing yet another sleepless night. 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 that can imitate the look of a mobile above the crib.
Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine
This may be the most expensive of our three choices for child-oriented sound machines, but it’s a sound machine that your little one can grow up with. Not only does it come with a smartphone app so you can lower/raise the volume and turn the machine on/off without entering the room, but it also features an attractive built-in night-light. That means that 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 when you want the sound machine to turn on and off with your family’s schedule.
MyBaby Soundspa On-The-Go
MyBaby has mastered the craft of sound machines for the little one. This is a small and non-intrusive sound machine that is both conveniently portable and can go wireless — 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 four sounds: Heartbeat, white noise, ocean, or lullaby. 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 15-, 30-, 45- or 60-minute timer so it automatically turns off once the baby is asleep — and so you’re not wasting that precious battery power.
MyBaby SoundSpa Lullaby
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 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. 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 do 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. 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 that so many sound machines feature these natural sounds in addition to the regular white noise sound.
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