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closeup of the speaker mesh of a white noise machine

White Noise Machines for Sleep

White noise & white noise machines may offer a beneficial aid when it comes to sleep health. These frequencies can help the brain signal that it is time for sleep, drift off quicker, and keep you asleep for a full, uninterrupted night. 

What is White Noise?

White noise is a type of sound that transmits between 20 and 20,000 Hz. This is the range of sounds that you can hear as a human. Examples of white noise are the static of a TV signal, a fan, or even shushing sounds. There are many theories as to why white noise works for sleep, and one is that it masks the background sounds that keep you awake, such as traffic, noisy neighbors, and your snoring partner. 

With unexpected sounds, your sleep patterns are interrupted, and you wake up. White noise helps your brain filter out these disturbances for a better quality of sleep and, therefore, a better overall quality of life throughout your day. There are various white noise machines that can help you drift off quicker and maintain a more peaceful night’s sleep. 

white noise static from a television screen

How Can White Noise Help Sleep?

White noise is helpful for creating something of a buffer between sounds that can wake you up and your ears. In short, you don’t perceive these sounds as much as you usually would, kind of like wearing earplugs. This helps you drift off quicker for longer.

How Can I Use White Noise

White noise has many benefits and can be a relatively easy component to make a part of your bedtime routine. There are also various ways you can do this, from using specialist devices to free apps. It all depends on what is easiest for you, so here are some of the best ways of using noise:

  • Purchase a white noise machine dedicated to providing noise for sleeping.
  • Use apps that offer white noise through speakers or on your smartphone.
  • Buy sleep visors with built-in slim headphones for comfortable sleep.

White noise machines offer dedicated settings and functionality, such as their speakers, that are designed specifically to produce their audio. While other devices such as an Alexa speaker or Google Home can playback repeating white noise as well, they are not specifically designed to do so. 

Top 10 White Noise Machines

Hatch Sound Machine

This is a well-designed globe machine that offers a soft glow reading light, meditation settings, and the ability to set a morning and nighttime routine with an optional subscription available.

Letsfit Sound Machine

As one of the less expensive options available, the functions of the Letsfit Sound Machine are limited. However, it does provide a night light, memory function, and automatic off-timers. 

Yogasleep Sound Machine & Night Light

This device comes with a dimmable night light, automatic off-timer settings, and a 1-year warranty. As a basic device, there is no battery backup, and the USB plug isn’t provided.

SNOOZ Travel White Noise Sound Machine

As one of the few portable white noise machines for sleep, the SNOOZ offers 20 hours of life, a night light, and can be used as a speaker. 

Magicteam White Noise Machine

A benefit of the Magicteam White Noise Machine is that it provides loop-free sounds. There are also five timer settings that offer AC and USB power. Yet, there is no light or battery backup.

Reacher White Noise Machine

The Reacher machine doubles as an alarm clock and offers wake-up and sleep sounds, USB charging, and battery backup. It is one of the least stylish options of the group, however.

Jack & Rose White Noise Machine

This machine doubles as a powerful night light with 7 color settings that function separately from the sound. However, there is no battery backup, and the bright night lights cannot be dimmed.

Loftie Clock

One of the more stylish machines, Loftie Clock, has a two-phase alarm, meditations, and sound baths and works as a Bluetooth speaker. However, it needs Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to work.

Yogasleep Rohm Travel Sound Machine

Another portable device, Yogasleep Rohm, offers an impressive volume range and is rechargeable. However, the sound options are limited, and it is lacking in extra features.

Dreamegg D1 Sound Machine

Dreamegg is a popular brand that offers style and features at an affordable price. It has loop-free sounds, a built-in night light, and a headphone jack for personal white noise.

Deciding which white noise device to use comes down to personal preference and needs. Some are portable for a good night’s sleep when traveling, and others also offer Bluetooth and headphone functions so you don’t disturb your partner. 

Is White Noise Harmful?

There are many proven benefits of using white noise. However, there is some debate about whether white noise can be harmful. One of the most apparent harmful effects of white noise is that it can affect your hearing. Like any sound, listening to white noise at a high volume could lead to inner ear damage. It is advised that you listen to white noise at a comfortable level, especially if you use earphones. Some research also suggests that white noise is not suitable for babies and developing children. The brain can adapt to the noise, which can lead to child auditory processing issues.

Other Types of Noise

In addition to white noise, there are also other types of noise that may offer comforting effects. Some machines offer alternatives to white noise, and there are many apps that do the same. 

  • Pink noise is similar to white noise and isn’t as harsh as white noise. It is believed that pink noise helps improve the quality of your sleep. 
  • Blue noise is a hissing sound and is better for masking sounds. 
  • Brown noise is helpful for masking high-pitched sounds, and gray noise offers benefits for insomnia and tinnitus. 

There are also other sounds that people find helpful for sleep and relaxation. These include the sounds of nature or ocean waves, binaural beats for brainwave entrainment, and autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR.

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