Soothing Sounds for the Bedroom

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


Four types of light noises that'll help you fall asleep in no time

Often, a little background noise in the bedroom can help when it comes to falling asleep. But picking the right kind is essential—because what works for your best friend may not work for you. When determining which type of sound is best, try one at a time for a few nights. A few that are worth trying include:

  • White Noise: This is a combination of all noise frequencies, and it helps mask outside sounds. In fact, it's sometimes used to treat insomnia patients. To generate white noise in your bedroom, try downloading a white noise app on your smartphone or tablet or buy a machine (they're usually sold at drugstores, and at retailers such as Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Walmart, and These machines might also be called sound “conditioners.”
  • Nature Sounds: Many people enjoy hearing the calming roll of ocean waves, the trickle of raindrops, the gentle chirping of rainforest animals, or the powerful roar of thunderstorms as they drift off. These sounds often rise and fall in volume and intensity, which you may find relaxing. Download a nature sounds app on your smartphone or tablet or download a music album online. Just make sure that the sounds you choose are constant – a random whale cry or bird song can jolt you out of a light stage of sleep.
  • Calming Music: If you can avoid songs with lyrics that keep your mind active or thumping bass lines that keep your toes tapping (sorry, Metallica fans!), listening to soft, mellow music may help you get to dreamland faster. Some good musical genres include classical, folk, smooth jazz, Gregorian chants, or binaural beats.
  • Voices: When traditional noises like nature sounds, white noise, or music don’t do the trick, try human voices. For instance, one app called Pzizz features a human voice that says nonsensical things—the idea isn't to focus on the words, but to let the tone and rhythm of the voice lull you into sleep.