When it comes to falling asleep, each person is unique. Some people prefer absolute silence while others like to hear sounds from nature or the city when it’s time to drift off to dreamland. If that sounds like you, you’ll be pleased to know that the sound options are endless!
If you use a phone playlist each night, the repetition of sounds in the same sequence will actually end up keeping you awake. Eventually, you’ll memorize and begin to anticipate certain sounds in the playlist, preventing you from falling asleep. Using a white noise sound machine or a nature sound machine is the best solution because it generates a constant stream of noise that never loops or repeats the same sound twice in a row. This way, you won’t memorize the pattern, and it will continue to be effective!
Here are our picks for the best sound machines:
Editor’s Pick: Sound + Sleep High Fidelity Sound Machine
- Choose From Ten Different Sounds Paired With Three Variations per Sound
- Play All Night or Set a Timer for Up to 120 Minutes
- No Repetition of the Same Sound Sequence
Take control of your sleep environment—the Sound + Sleep High Fidelity Sound Machine is a long-standing fan favorite. With the High Fidelity Sound Machine, you can choose from ten different sounds including ocean, city, brook, and train sounds. Each sound has varying complexity levels for hours of non-looping custom sound. It also automatically adjusts to louder ambient noise, helping to minimize disturbances while falling asleep.
- Budget-Friendly Shoppers
- Anyone Interested in Relaxing Nature Sounds Versus White Noise
Easiest to Use: LectroFan White Noise Sound Machine
- Listen to Twenty Different Fan or White Noise Sounds
- Non-Looping Sounds to Fall Asleep With Ease
- Choose From White, Pink, or Brown Noise
Do you like to listen to the sound of a fan while you fall asleep? Or do you enjoy listening to white, pink, or brown noise? If so, the LectroFan White Noise Sound Machine is for you! The LectroFan generates non-looping white noise or plain fan sounds, giving you the ability to fall asleep comfortably. While somewhat limited in capability, the LectroFan is simple to operate, making it a great choice for people who prefer a straightforward, minimalist design.
- Budget-Friendly Shoppers
- Anyone Who Likes the Sound of a Fan or White Noise
Best Value: LectroFan Micro2 Travel Sound Machine
- Smaller Than a Can of Soup
- Bluetooth Compatible
- 11 Non-Looping Sounds
Designed for the avid traveler, the LectroFan Micro2 fits in virtually any carry-on bag, is TSA-approved, and is affordably priced. While the onboard options are somewhat limited, Bluetooth capability extends the capabilities of this mini sound machine. Whether you prefer to play your own sounds, listen to music, or even a podcast to fall asleep, the Micro2 is an affordable way to get a better night’s sleep on the go or at home! The Micro2 features four white noise options, five fan sounds, and two randomly generated ocean surf sounds. The speaker can also be rotated between facing straight up to fill the room, and sitting upright facing a particular direction.
- Frequent Travelers
- Noise Machine Beginners
- Those With Limited Nightstand Space
Most Advanced: Hatch Rest Plus (Rest+) Baby Sound Machine and Night Light
- Control With Your Phone or With Your Voice Through Alexa
- Baby-Friendly: Two-Way Talking Capabilities to Talk to Your Baby From Another Room
- Is a Night Light, Alarm Clock, Baby Monitor, and Sound Machine in One
- Time-to-Rise Feature for Child Sleep Training
The Hatch Rest Plus Baby Sound Machine and Night Light builds on the Hatch Rest Baby Sound Machine by adding the capability of Alexa, clock, backup battery, wifi, and an audio baby monitor in one smart device. You can adjust the colors, lighting, and volume all from your SmartPhone or from Alexa. If you’re trying to get your child on a schedule, you can set the colors at certain times to let your child know when it’s time to wake up and get out of bed. If your baby is fussy and needs to hear your voice, you can hear and talk to them all from the Hatch Rest Plus! This sound machine has a variety of sounds from nature sounds to white noise to music and lullabies.
- Those With Infants or Young Children
- Tech-Savvy People Who Like Mobile App Integration
- Waking Up More Naturally
How to Shop for a White Noise Machine
First things first—in order to choose your perfect sound machine, let’s figure out your dreamiest setup. You’ll want to know how you like to sleep in order to choose the perfect sound machine.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when finding your ideal sound machine:
- Do you prefer nature sounds or white noise?
- Do you like to sleep with fan sounds?
White Noise Machines
When it comes to your sound machine, the choice between white, pink, or brown noise is yours. Everyone has their own preference and some people respond better to certain sounds than others.
Here’s how these noises differ:
- White Noise: White noise can be best described as the “snow” from an off-air channel on an old black-and-white TV, the sound of a waterfall, or pouring rain. It’s the noise that’s spread across the sound spectrum, producing low-frequency, mid-range, and high-frequency sounds.
- Pink Noise: Pink noise is a white noise variant with louder low-frequency sounds and softer high-frequency sounds. It is a more gentle sound and isn’t as intense as white noise.
- Brown Noise: Brown noise sounds are like the ocean’s rolling surf and completely eliminate the high-frequency noise while amplifying low-frequency sounds.
As you can see, each type of noise is unique and covers different ends of the sound spectrum.
Nature Sound Machines
Nature sound machines provide a mix of noises like a babbling brook, meadow, or ocean while also including a mix of man-made sounds like city or train sounds if that’s what you prefer.
Like white noise sound machines, nature sound machines produce non-repeating, non-looping sounds that help you fall asleep faster. Both types of sound machines can be programmed to shut off after a period of time or can run all night long, making them a great addition to your nightly routine.
Finding the right kind of noise to fall asleep to can be a critical part of creating the perfect environment for sleep. We recommend the Sound + Sleep High Fidelity Sound Machine due to its wide range of customizability, ease of use, and automatic adjustment to ambient noise.
If you’re unsure of what your personal preference is between white, pink, and brown noise, find a machine that does it all well. If you’re extra uncertain, find a Bluetooth-compatible model to further expand the possibilities.
Restful sleep is incredibly important to your health, and ambient sound from a white noise machine is one of the best ways to consistently create a peaceful sleeping environment, especially while traveling. Whether you choose a machine from this list or not, we hope this buying guide serves you in making an informed decision to benefit your sleep health!
David Repasky has been using CPAP treatment since 2017 and has first-hand experience with what it’s like to live with Sleep Apnea. He brings the patient’s perspective to the CPAP.com blog and has received formal training in CPAP machines, masks, and equipment.