When it comes to sleep, there is one thing anyone would agree on:
Falling asleep with noise is HELL!
Moreover, nighttime noise can trigger a stress response in your body and affect sleep architecture by making your sleep more shallow (1).
If you are unfortunate enough to be living in a noisy environment, I have good news for you. There is a way to cut off all that noise to get a decent night’s sleep.
Actually, there’s more than just one way. In today’s post, you will learn 10 simple but amazing tips on how to sleep with noise no matter where you find yourself.
#1 White Noise on Replay
This one is going to change your life.
White noise is a combination of sounds playing on different frequencies at the same time (2). What it does is mask other sounds in your environment.
You can either get a white noise machine if you are willing to put your money where your sleep is. Or, you can just rely on your device to play any white noise soundtrack on YouTube throughout the night. Sometimes, YouTube stops playing music if there is no activity from you for a while, which is why getting a white noise machine is ideal for an all-night nonstop play. If you still are a bit hard on cash, you can simply download hours of white noise soundtracks from the Web and create an offline playlist for the entire duration of your sleep.
Other ‘colorful’ noises, such as pink, brown, or blue, might also help you sleep better (3), so consider giving them a try if white noise appears to be not perfect for you.
#2 Soundproof Your Windows
If you are a light sleeper and can get woken up by the slightest noise, you should consider soundproofing your windows. Most times you just need to soundproof your window from wind, not just from human noises.
Here’s how it works:
- Buy some duct tapes or soundproof foam;
- Proceed to identify all the openings or holes that let in noise;
- Seal every hole with the tape or soundproof foam;
- Voila! You can sleep with no noise for as long as you like.
#3 Soundproof Your Bedroom
Unlike soundproofing your windows, this one will take a lot of work and money to finish successfully.
You will have to seal all the gaps beneath your door, as well as soundproof the walls, floors, and ceilings. If you’re handy around the house and don’t mind starting a DIY project, you can actually soundproof your bedroom on your own. Or, you can always hire a professional to help you here.
Anyway, what you can really do by yourself is put a few decorative pillows on the sofa or chair in your bedroom and install a rug. If you opt for natural materials, such as plant fibers or wool, these elements of decor can work as sustainable sound absorbers (4).
#4 Move Your Furniture Around
Moving your furniture around might help you block out some of the outside noise floating into your bedroom. If your bed is placed right next to your noisy neighbors’ bedroom, try to rearrange your bed in such a way that it is farthest from the shared wall.
#5 Turn On Your Fan
Trying to sleep with noise at home is hard enough, but what happens when you find yourself sleeping next to a noisy hostel roommate?
I bet you’d like a refund, right?
But, while your money can be refunded back to you, your sleep cannot.
So, here is a solution:
Get a fan to save your life.
Literally, all you need to do is turn on a fan, and your sleepless nights will be gone. This works just as efficiently as a white noise machine. I’m sure fans were used before white noise machines were invented to neutralize sound and provide a soothing effect.
#6 Use Earplugs or Earmuffs
While some solutions might eliminate most of the noise, allowing you to fall asleep faster, using earplugs for sleeping will ensure complete silence.
They are very cheap and you might be tempted to buy just any earplugs available. However, you should be cautious when shopping for sleeping earplugs, as they come in different forms and materials. The types compatible with sleeping are foam and wax earplugs, or any other soft and moldable material you’ll find. Note that foam earplugs should be replaced frequently due to their porous structure that creates a suitable environment for bacteria growth (5).
As for earmuffs, they are much chunkier alternatives to earplugs. However, they are able to help you sleep just fine. Some users complain of not looking cool in earmuffs, especially when you are using it in public places like on an airplane or on the train.
#7 Try Sleeping Aids
If all else fails, try taking some over-the-counter sleeping aids or herbal supplements that can facilitate drift-off. Here are the ones you can count on:
- Melatonin supplements. These come in many forms and contain a lab-made analog of our sleep hormone. Taking melatonin pills can help you boost the production of this hormone and shorten sleep onset. They also help make your sleep more stable and reduce the number of awakenings (6).
- Chamomile. This herb is widely known as a mild sedative and relaxant, so you can try drinking chamomile tea before falling asleep (7).
- Passionflower. This is another herbal sedative with potent anxiolytic properties. Add a cup of passiflora tea to your evening routine if you’re prone to insomnia, and it will help you fall asleep more quickly and not pay too much attention to the noise (8).
- Valerian root. This herb has a long history and is even referred to as ‘nature’s Valium” for its sedative effects. The active components in the valerian root slow down the breakdown of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is one of our inhibitory neurotransmitters (9). This can make you more sleepy and calm and results in less interrupted sleep.
Keep in mind that while these herbal remedies may not have serious side effects on their own, taking them while pregnant or with other medications may not always be the right move. So, make sure to consult with your health specialist first.
#8 Talk About the Noise
Going to sleep with noise is not pleasant for any light sleeper, which is why it might be time to meet the noise head-on.
If you happen to share a room with a noisy person, telling them about how it deprives you of proper sleep can be the right solution. You can always decide to go to sleep at the same time with them, but this might not work too well, as you may each have various daily routines and level of tiredness.
Note that if your roommate or partner snores, you should talk about him/her getting professional help. The thing is, snoring can be a symptom of several unpleasant health conditions and it affects the snorer in the first place.
#9 Take Up Meditation
Meditation for sleep will work as a more permanent solution (10). Being able to isolate your thoughts and remain unbothered by what is going on around you will come in handy when earmuffs or earplugs are out of reach.
No! You do not necessarily have to be in that typical yoga meditating pose to see results.
Simply practicing slowly breathing in and breathing out will do the trick. Inhale air through your nose, hold and count up to five, and then exhale through your mouth on the sixth count. Doing this repeatedly will get your body to isolate and relax (hence, able to fall asleep rapidly).
#10 Acknowledge the Noise
Another thing you can do to sleep with noise is by simply acknowledging the fact that it is there.
Once you accept that noise is eminent in your environment, go ahead and ignore it. Realistically, this is hard to achieve first hand, but then you gradually realize that it does not bug you as much. Your mind will start to wander off to other things and eventually, you will fall asleep unbothered by the noise.
In conclusion, always access the noise level before deciding which of these methods will be most effective for you. If you can control the noise, then go ahead and do so. However, if it is absolutely out of your control, you may have to confront the people responsible for it. In cases that require an authority figure contacted, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to them.
After all, getting proper sleep is a basic human right and you should do what you can to have it.
- Demian Halperin (2014, November 15). Environmental Noise and Sleep Disturbances: A Threat to Health? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4608916/
- What Is White Noise? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://science.howstuffworks.com/what-is-white-noise.htm
- Amanda Capritto (2019, July 9). The Secret to Better Sleep: Pink, Blue, and Brown Noise. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/health/white-noise-pink-noise-blue-noise-brown-noise/
- Science for Environment Policy: Green Construction (2013, April). Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/38si_en.pdf
- Ana Gotter (medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., RN, CRNA) (2019, September 4). Is It Safe to Sleep with Earplugs? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/sleeping-with-earplugs
- National Sleep Foundation (n.d.). Melatonin and Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/melatonin-and-sleep
- Janmejai K Srivastava, Eswar Shankar, and Sanjay Gupta (2010, November 1). Chamomile: A Herbal Medicine of the Past With a Bright Future. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
- A. Ngan, R. Conduit (2011, February 3). A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Investigation of the Effects of Passiflora Incarnata (Passionflower) Herbal Tea on Subjective Sleep Quality. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.3400
- P. J. Houghton (2010, February 18). The Scientific Basis for the Reputed Activity of Valerian. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10411208/
- Meditation In Action: A 10-Step Mindfulness Practice For Better Sleep (2017, December 6). Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/meditation-in-action-mindfulness-sleep_n_3586716
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