White Noise or Sound Machines

Updated on January 22, 2019
M.G. asks from Portland, ME
8 answers

Hi everyone

Do any of you or your kids use white noise or sound machines to go to sleep? Are they helpful for those who find it hard to just drift off?


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So What Happened?

Mynewnickname - thank you! That's exactly the kind of info I was hoping for :)

Wild Woman - Good point about keeping up until actually tired. Actually tried that last night (just relaxing together) until I saw yawns, and that helped - went to sleep much more easily.

ETA: Thanks everyone for your answers. All very helpful!

Will try your suggestions! Another good night with her being up later (being Friday).

Suz - Good point. I was the same. My kids had an aquarium thing in their cribs but napped anywhere so thankfully were not dependent on it now that I think back.

So far, her being tired has really worked - went right to sleep again (Sat night). I also said feel free to read longer.

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answers from Phoenix on

I have been using a good old fashion box fan for much of my adult life and it really works...take it from the worst sleeper ever...me! I'm so sorry I didn't know about this when I was a kid. I was constantly sleep deprived, cranky and tired. I face it toward the wall in the corner of the room and put it on the 2nd setting. I am an extremely light sleeper (when I finally fall asleep) and this has really helped.
The other thing, contrary to everything you hear about technology, is I bring my phone to bed and watch a really boring YouTube video (like interviews or people just talking). It works every time to lull me to sleep and back to sleep if I wake up (this is in addition to the fan) - I put the face of the phone down so the light doesn't bother me.
Sometimes if I'm traveling without access to a fan is I use a phone app for white noise. I use ear plugs. This works okay, but the earplugs can get uncomfortable.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

We had something when our son was a baby - one of those heartbeat sound things inside a stuffed bear. When he got older, we used a low-end allergy filter type thing. My husband and I still use one and it helps block out early morning traffic, the conversations between early morning joggers, and so on. We didn't use a fan for our son because of the dust flying around, and because it would move some of the things hanging from the ceiling or bulletin board (papers, artwork, etc.) and create more sound and movement to distract him.

We also had a bedtime routine that included relaxation - calm books, no screen time, and some quiet songs/lullabies that helped him slow down his thoughts and breathing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My son uses a fan. That works.

Is your son suffering from insomnia? If so - what has helped my son is that he is actually TIRED when he goes to bed. Takes a shower - nice and warm - before bed - and NO electronics for at least 30 minutes BEFORE bed.

If he is stressing over something, he writes it down or talks to me or his dad about it - in a low - light environment - non-stress.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I do. It doesn't help me fall asleep if I have insomnia. If my mind is racing, white noise (or lack thereof) is irrelevant. But I am easily wakened, and it helps to mask the little noises in the night - the cat roaming around, the house creaking, traffic outside. And when I travel (business or pleasure), that's when it really comes in handy. Since I'm used to sleeping with a fan noise, I turn on an app on my phone that makes a fan noise to drown out hotel noises.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

absolutely not.

i have two brothers who CANNOT sleep without their white noise machines. i don't ever want to be dependent on something outside myself to get something as basic and necessary as sleep.

i made sure my kids got put down for naps under all manner of circumstances. they napped while i vacuumed, in the car, on a blanket outside a riding ring, in a backpack while hiking through the woods.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I use an app called Rain Rain.
It has a number of soothing sounds to choose.
I'm so use to it at this point that I get sleepy when ever I hear rain and I wake up as soon as it stops.There are a number of free apps that will play white noise sounds.
Just search for 'white noise' or 'rain sounds' and you will find a pretty good selection to choose from.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

White noise is best since it provides a consistent signal of certain frequencies at the same volume. At the right volume it will likely drown out certain sounds that may cause disruption while dozing off.



answers from Boston on

I am a horrible sleeper. Wake up at everything. Insomnia etc. So I also use a box fan and sometimes ear plugs and still can’t sleep sometimes. My parents were very big on being quiet when someone was sleeping. So I have that thought in my head too yet think it’s a shame if kids don’t learn to just sleep through anything. So I try not to get my kids into this habit like me. However, people are who they are. My oldest can sleep like a rock. My youngest not so much. And both sometimes just can’t get to sleep. My sister and I were raised the same but she’s a great sleeper. But I would be very wary of starting a habit of white noise. At least I didn’t have this dependency as a kid. How would my college roommates have felt if I HAD to have a fan or machine? It’s bad enough as an adult to need it. Horrible as a teenager or young adult sleeping in shared spaces.

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