As an airline pilot, I have a responsibility to always arrive at the plane well rested. That means being able to sleep well in almost any hotel room. Few are quiet. My secret to sleeping well in noisy places (which can be yours also)- I never go on a trip without my white noise machine. I spent $80 for mine about 12 years ago and have slept better thousands of nights because of it. That's made it a pretty good investment.
"What Is A White Noise Machine?" It is a small electronic device that makes background "white noise". It masks and covers other sounds that could potentially disturb your sleep. The concept of having one noise mask another so you can sleep might be difficult to imagine. I'm actually a very light sleeper and noises easily awaken me. The white noise is a constant background noise that your brain gets used to so it doesn't noticeably register. Your mind blocks it out, so you can sleep without noticing it.
The constant white noise in the background covers or blocks other noises. It's an interesting phenomenon that if someone is sleeping while using a white noise machine and it is suddenly turned off, the absence of the white noise can actually awaken them. White noise machines are most effective when placed between you and the noise source. If there is traffic or an airport out the window, then put it between the window and you. I always use mine when traveling, even if it seems like the hotel is nice and quiet. You never can predict when other guests will be loud in the hallways of adjacent rooms.
If there is no outside noise, I put mine between the door and my bed. You might be worried that using a white noise machine will make you miss your alarm of worse yet, a fire alarm. I've been in many hotels when the fire alarms went off at night while I was using my white noise machine at full volume. Don't worry; you can still hear a fire alarm.
As an airline pilot, I often have to get up very early. I can't afford to be late for work. My white noise machine has never prevented me from hearing my alarm or wake up call. Your mind still detects these. White noise machines are also great for your home or for creating privacy in your office.
My wife used to work as a Family Therapist. Their offices were not soundproof, but privacy and confidentiality were extremely important. They used white noise machines to create this privacy. I have a friend who could not sleep through her husband's snoring. It was becoming a stressful issue for them. They learned about white noise machines and got one.
It did the trick. Now she can sleep and their marriage is much better because of it. We have an additional white noise sound machine at home. My travel one is so important to me that I never unpack it or use it at home. I would hate to leave it home and lose the sleep protection it provides during my trips. When you first get a white noise machine, you have to train yourself to use it.
That basically entails gradually increasing its volume each night. It takes about a week to get used to sleeping at the maximum volume. You'll be surprised how you won't even notice it then.
Some white noise machines make "nature sounds" like frogs, birds, or whales. You can even buy recordings of nature sounds to play to help you fall asleep. While listening to Shamu, the killer whale, may be relaxing for some people, I don't think they make very effective white noise. The problem is that nature sounds are irregular.
To be most effective, white noise should be steady and constant. Tatt's what your brain is best at adjusting to and tuning out. Irregular sounds, although nice to listen to just don't work as well. The other weakness of this type is that they often can't be turned up loud enough to mask sleep disturbing sounds. I guess that's because at greater volume Shamu, the killer whale, sounds frightening rather than relaxing.
I'm familiar with several white noise machines. There is one that I think is superior to the rest. To learn which one it is and why, please visit: http://www.pilot-pauls-travel-accessories.com/white-noise-machine .
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By: Pilot Paul