The Best Sound Machines for a Great Night’s Sleep

The Best Sound Machines for a Great Night’s Sleep

Sick of sleepless, restless nights? Try these gadgets for a dose of sound therapy.

By Angela Law

No sleep is no fun. That is a universal truth.

After suffering through my last bout of stress-related insomnia, I started looking into the world of white noise and sound therapy.

At first, anything and everything worked. In the summertime, I would keep a fan on. During the winter, when that was obviously not an option, I had a humidifier that almost sounded like a sweet kitten purring. It was all enough to distract me from the noise of living at the entrance of a major highway ... for a while. But then I needed more!

I researched videos and playlists. But they were never quite seamless or long enough and the transitions were more disruptive than anything I was trying to muffle. I tried apps but that flew in the face of my no-phone-in-the-bedroom policy so that had to go. Then, I started looking into sound machines.

Let me tell you this: If what you want is to drown out street noise, snoring partners, or life’s stresses, you need a real sound machine. Fans, humidifiers, the TV ... all those things kind of work but pale in comparison to a legitimate apparatus that is designed to neutralize noise in a room.

When you start shopping around, you’ll notice that sound machines vary in features. Some try to be more calming and meditative. Some help you transition back into awake mode. Some are designed specifically to be travel-friendly.

You’ll also notice that they range in price. I can’t really tell you what is worth the splurge since desired capabilities vary by person. What I can say is, think long and hard about the price you would pay for a good night’s sleep.


Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine

This is a good, basic machine that has everything you need at a very affordable price. There are six digitally-recorded sounds to choose from, which is nice if you swing between wanting a little white noise to needing something super zen to soothe nerves.


Travel Sleep Sound Machine

Oh, are six sounds not enough? For a little extra dough, you can have 20 sounds! This machine also comes with an alarm that you can set to play another soothing sound or voice memo when it’s time to get up.


Sound+Sleep High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine

The speaker on top really makes a difference in terms of sound quality. But the coolest things about this machine is that it’s adaptive and reacts to noise levels in the room. Meaning, when your neighbor’s dog decides to freak out in the middle of the night, the sound machine will turn up its volume to mask it.


Big Red Rooster

Affordable and easy to use, this is the perfect entry-level sleep machine. It’s also light in weight which makes it convenient for travel.


Marcparc Classic White Noise Machine

While other machines play digitally-recorded loops, this one actually creates white noise using a motor and fan — LIVE, inside the machine! It apparently makes a difference. This R2D2-looking gadget has been the standard for decades and is still consistently ranked among the best with users.


Adaptive Sound Technologies Lectrofan Noise Machine

If you know you only need white noise and fan sounds (like me), this is the sound machine for you. Understanding that not all fan sounds are made the same, they give you 10 variations to choose from.


Marsona White Noise Sleep Machine

OK, we know this one looks like an '80s answering machine. But it’s strangely kind of comforting? Nothing fancy or extra here — just quality, realistic sounds to help you sleep better.


Sharper Image Light, Sound and Non-Medicinal Therapies

Completely focused on helping to ease your mind and relieve stress, this machine offers sounds like relax, peace, tranquil, calm, and ambience. This is definitely the most zen option out there.


HoMedics, Deep Sleep II Relaxation Sound and White Noise Machine

The coolest thing about this machine is that you can combine sounds — like add white noise to the rain loop — for a super-relaxing sound therapy sesh. It also comes with a remote control so you can adjust sounds and volume from across a room. HoMedics is the company that makes all sorts of home massage and spa equipment so you know they know a thing or two about relaxing.

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