Sleepy Science: Sound Machines
POSTED ON April 18, 2017
To add noise to your sleep routine seems counter-intuitive. The whole ideology of sleep is formed around restful quiet. Why then do babies fall asleep best when riding in a car or being sung to? Evidence suggests that the best sleep is accompanied by soothing sounds. This is what commercial sound machines aim to provide by creating a little noise studio in the bedroom.
Also known as white noise machines, sleep machines, or sound conditioners, sound machines create a small amount of indecipherable noise at bedtime and throughout the night. Some sound machines generate noise themselves creating constant sounds mimicking television static, rushing water or rain. Others use air, much like a fan, to create a constant low whirring sound. No matter the technology, the purpose is always the same, to create a constant noise.
This constant noise is designed to both help block out external sounds and distract your brain. Many people use sound machines to drown out bedtime noises like snoring from a partner or housemate. Sound machines act as a buffer between your rest and noises that may startle you awake. This makes it so that your sleep has a better chance of continuing despite someone turning on the television or the dishwasher changing phases. The white noise from sound machines also keeps your brain distracted so you stop thinking about things like your shopping list as you fall asleep. Apartment Therapy points out that brains need constant stimulus in order to stay on task and avoid wandering. In fact, sensory deprivation tanks cause people to hallucinate for this reason. A little bit of white noise essentially gives your brain something to play with while you drift off into dreamland.
Whether a country dweller or a city sleeper, it’s important to give your body the best opportunity to rest easy. A sound machine helps coax the body toward sleep and keep it there. Sound machines give many people get a sleep they didn’t even think was possible and great sleep is a luxury everyone deserves.