If you’re having trouble falling to sleep at night, you may have been told that listening to white noise can help. It may seem a little counterintuitive to use noise to relax, but when you understand what is meant by “white noise” and what purpose it serves, it makes sense. There are many options to choose from if you want to try using this technique, depending on your preference, your tech savvy, and items you may already own.

The term “white noise” refers to a combination of different frequencies of sound. It’s called “white” because just as different wavelengths of colored light combine to produce white light, different frequencies of sound combine to produce a background sound in which individual sounds are difficult to pick out. Think of the static from an old TV not tuned to a particular channel, or a radio picking up static between stations.

At low volumes, white noise can help to block out distracting exterior sounds, or even help to mask tinnitus or ringing in the ears. It can also give you something relaxing to focus on so you can let go of the day and drift off to sleep. Many of the options available will give you the choice between classic white noise or a range of different familiar, calming sounds such as a crackling fire, rainfall, ocean waves, or nighttime nature sounds. Some choices to help you get started:

Something simple: The Marpac Dohm, first introduced in 1962 as the Sleep-Mate, creates fan-based natural white noise. Nothing complicated to figure out here—just turn it on and it goes all night long. If all you want is a time-tested choice without a lot of confusing extra features, this one is for you.

Standalone with more features: If you’re not sure of the exact type of white noise that would best suit you, but still want a dedicated white noise machine, the LectroFan gives a range of twenty different sounds (ten fan and ten ambient noise) to choose from. It also includes precise volume control and a timer to shut down the noise if you prefer not to have it running all night.

Smart home speakers/virtual assistants: If you already have an Amazon Echo, Google Home, or Apple HomePod, you can access different types of white noise with a voice command. You can also specify how long you’d like your chosen sound to play.

Your smartphone + a white noise app + a Bluetooth speaker: The App Store and Google Play are full of low- or no-cost white noise apps that can let you experiment with what type of white noise appeals to you. If you travel frequently, this setup with a compact speaker will be your best bet for taking your relaxation with you without having to pack a lot of extra gear.

Of course, all the slumber-enhancing tricks in the world won’t work if you don’t start off with a comfortable place to sleep. IDLE Sleep mattresses use the highest quality construction and latest in foam technology for the ultimate in support and comfort. We offer a range of options to suit every kind of sleeper. To find out which IDLE Sleep mattress is right for you, click here.

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