Sleeping somewhere noisy really sucks.
If you aren’t being woken up by huge trucks rumbling past the house, then someone in your building is having a raging party at 3am. Even if you get away with those things, having your partner rumbling like a chainsaw beside you can prevent any sleep from happening.
How can you possibly go on?
Enter the white noise machine.
A white noise machine creates gentle ‘background’ noise that covers up all the sounds you don’t want to disturb you while you sleep, without being distracting enough to wake you itself.
I’ve gathered all the information you could ever need about white noise machines in this guide and I’ve included a list of the best five white noise machines on the market. You can get all of these online, to ensure you get your sound sleep ASAP!
Let’s show those loud breathers, yapping pets and paper thin walls who’s boss!
|Name||Sound Type||Volume Control||Best For||Price|
|LectroFan White & Pink Noise Machine||Fan or Digital White Noise||Yes||All Round Use||££|
|Dohm DS Dual Sound Conditioner||Fan||No||All Round Use||££|
|Good Ideas Naturecare||Recorded Nature Sounds||Yes||Natural Sounds||£|
|Ewan The Dream Sheep||heartbeat and womb sounds||No||Babies||£|
|HoMedics Deep Sleep||Digital White Noise||Yes||Budget||£|
How does a white noise machine actually work?
Noises wake us up in the night because our body and brain react to the sudden change around us. It’s a leftover reaction to when we would be relying on waking up to those noises to keep us alive.
So when that lorry trundles past, you pick up on the noise that wasn’t there before and you wake up to check that everything’s still okay.
A white noise machine helps to prevent this reaction from happening.
It produces sound at every frequency that can be picked up by the human ear. It basically plays a little bit of every sound imaginable. That’s how it’s able to mask other noises that would usually wake us up.
So when that lorry trundles past and you’re using your white noise machine, your body doesn’t react in the same way. The lorry noise isn’t anything new. Your white noise machine was already producing that same sound.
There are two types of white noise machine that you can go for, that produce white noise in different ways:
These white noise machines use fans to push air through a really small gap, creating a rushing sound. This is what covers up other noise that might wake you.
I’ve had a little experience with this when I was staying in Australia. Obviously, it’s very hot there and I had a ceiling fan in my room. The guy I lived with left for work at 4.30am but because I had the fan on – with the rushing air noise that came with it – he didn’t wake me up once.
These white noise machines either play recordings of just white noise or have other more natural sounds, like running water, which can be really soothing. White noise is always going to be the best thing for masking other sounds but hearing noises from nature definitely has a more calming effect.
Who would benefit from a white noise machine?
However, there are five groups of people in particular that I think would benefit most from having a white noise:
1. Tinnitus sufferers
Tinnitus is, in very basic terms, a constant ringing sound in your ears. It’s most noticeable when everything is silent, so a white noise machine is fantastic. The noise it gives off is enough to give you some relief.
2. Shift workers
There are lots of essential jobs that happen during the night, which can put your body clock all wrong. Trying to sleep during the day when everyone else is up and about can be impossible.
The combination of a white noise machine and some blackout blinds can keep the outside world at bay so you can get some well-deserved rest.
3. Babies/ young children
All parents know that sometimes all it takes is the slightest noise and your bundle of joy is up all night. Then they aren’t a bundle of joy any more…
A white noise machine can lull them off to sleep without catching their attention too much.
Another bonus to a white noise machine is that they are portable, so you could even use them when your child is in their pram and you’re trying to get them off to sleep on the go.
4. Partners/Family/Roommates of snorers
You love them to bits. I know you do. But sometimes the noise can just be too much. And there’s only so many times you can ‘accidentally’ wake them up to make them stop.
A white noise machine can mask the worst of the noise and ensure that everyone is happy and well-rested!
5. Office workers
This might seem a bit odd and no, I’m not advocating that you sleep at your desk.
Office environments can make it difficult to concentrate, since there’s lots of coming and going. Having a white noise machine in your office will block out other chatter and disturbances, giving you a chance to really get into your work.
Or Solitaire. It’s okay, I won’t tell.
What is pink noise?
The only difference between white and pink noise is that pink noise is generally more high-pitched.
The difference between them is really minimal, since they both blend into the background anyway.
Some people find pink noise more pleasing to hear and it’s supposedly good for relieving the symptoms of tinnitus.
The Five Best White Noise Machines
Now that you know why white noise machines are so amazing, here are the five best white noise machines. With each one I’ve written a short review and a link to where you can buy it online.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment box at the bottom of this post. Being kept up at night can be really aggravating, so if I can help at all, I’d love to help you get a better sleep!
1. ‘Lectrofan White and Pink Noise Machine
- Large Range Of Volumes
- 60 Minute Timer or On and Off Settings
- Can Plug into USB or Mains
- Perfect For Travelling
- No Sound Repetition
It was a tough call but this white noise machine is the one that came out on top.
There’s so much freedom with the volume settings, which makes this one ideal for dealing with any kind of noise issue you might be having.
There are two sound settings: fan and white noise.
The white noise setting dynamically generates sounds. This means that it doesn’t run on a loop, which is something you pick up on eventually. Spotting the moment the loop goes back to the start will keep you up at night.
Trust me, I’ve been there.
It has a USB cable but comes with a UK plug adapter. This makes it great for offices, since you can plug it in anywhere and its small size makes it easy to carry around. This would be particularly useful for going away on holiday – avoid ever putting up with a noisy hotel again!
I think it’s better to leave it running overnight but you can make use of the 60-minute timer on this white noise machine, if you only want it playing while you drift off.
2. Dohm DS Dual Sound Conditioner
- Fan powered white noise
- Can adjust the sound made by the fan
- National Sleep Foundation Recommended
- Loved for Over 50 Years
This is a fan white noise machine, pushing air through the holes that create the rushing noise. With this one though, you can adjust the sound by twisting the machine, which covers up more or fewer holes.
This is the one for you if you’re struggling with ‘average’ noise – traffic noise, people moving around. Anything louder than that, this might not be enough, since there’s no option to turn the volume up.
The National Sleep Foundation gave this white noise machine their seal of approval and it will give you a good night’s sleep. However, it does have a hefty price tag.
3. Good Ideas Naturecare Sounds Machine
- Provides gentle sounds of nature
- Battery Operated
- 7 Sounds Choices
- 30 Minute Timer
- Volume Control
The Good Ideas machine is different from the others on this list since it has a nature sounds setting as well as white noise. Nature sounds are much more relaxing and will definitely help you sleep.
There are seven types of nature sounds you can choose from: heartbeat; sea waves; rushing stream; birds; woodland; white noise; and rain.
Hearing rain hitting the windows of my bedroom is one of my favourite sounds in the world. The sound of the sea is a close second, so I find this white noise machine super appealing.
However, this one doesn’t come with a mains cable, it uses batteries. It recommends that you use it for 30 minutes before falling asleep and if you do this, the batteries should last a good while.
Although you can pick up a mains cable on Amazon fairly easily – it even pops up in the ‘Frequently Bought Together’ section when you look at the white noise machine.
4. Ewan the Dream Sheep
- Plays a mix of heartbeat and womb sounds
- Doubles as a nightlight
- Can be attached to a car seat or buggy
- 3 Pink Noise Settings
- Plays for 20 Minutes
Yep, you did read that right.
This one’s a sheep!
He’s cute, he’s cuddly and perfect for getting your baby or toddler off to sleep.
The basic setting on this white noise machine is a combination of heartbeats and other womb sounds, which puts your child at ease. You can also add in pink noise, which can mask any noises from outside that might keep them up.
There’s a light on Ewan the Dream Sheep’s tummy that shows when sound is playing and he also has a handy strap so you can attach him to the side of a cot, or pram or car seat. He’s a fully portable sheep.
The only downside is that the battery life isn’t the best but that’s a small price to pay for the peace you’ll get!
5. Homedics Deep Sleep Bedside Sound Machine
- Tone Control
- Volume Control
- 4 Sound Styles: Soothe, Mask, Relax, Calm
- Optional Timer of 30,60, or 90 MInutes
This is a cheaper alternative to the other white noise machines on this list but that doesn’t mean that you won’t get a good sleep.
The reason this one is cheaper is because it only has digitally recorded sounds – no fan sound option. There are four sounds you can choose from:
- ‘Soothe’ – the lightest pitch of sound, reminds you of gentle rain.
- ‘Mask’ – covers up outside noise.
- ‘Relax’ – covers up inside noise, like snoring.
- ‘Calm’ – the deepest tones of all the settings, calming your mind and body.
You can adjust all of these settings to get them perfect for you and while this might take a couple of nights to get right, it’s well worth it.
The Homedics machine also comes with volume control, so you can use it to deal with lots of different types of noise.
However, the sounds are recorded which means they run on a loop. You might notice these loops after a while of using the machine, which might make it more difficult to fall asleep.
Will I keep up the neighbours with my white noise machine?
White noise machines give out ‘background’ noise, so even if the volume did carry through the walls, they probably wouldn’t notice it.
Will this make my room completely quiet?
A white noise machine will mask most noises but not everything.
For example, you’ll still be able to hear a fire alarm going off if you have a white noise machine playing.
Can I use my white noise machine every night?
A white noise machine won’t harm you in any way. You’ll just wake up more rested and less disturbed by your noisy surroundings.
Are they expensive to run? I’d be using it all night long.
Not at all.
White noise machines are small and need very little power, so it’s not going to have a big impact on your power bills.
I’m still confused, I don’t know what I need. What do I do now?
If you don’t know what to go for, there’s no rush. Leave me your questions in the comment box below and I’ll be able to give you some advice before you jump into buying your own white noise machine.