Don’t you hate it when you go to bed felling very tired but you just can’t get to sleep because of background noises? It might be noisy neighbors holding a party, heavy traffic going past the bedroom window or a family member watching TV downstairs. It can be very frustrating and stressful. That’s why it might be a good idea to find the best sleep machine to help you drift off.
A good sleep therapy machine can make all the difference to getting a good night’s sleep when there’s unwanted noises going on around you. Some are better than others, but generally they don’t cost too much and they are very effective.
We’ve listed 5 of the most popular of these sound masking machines that are popular, each of them is different but does a good job. There are plenty of them available but you should get a good idea of what’s best for you from our list.
|Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine||1||Yes||No|
|LectroFan White Noise Machine||20||Yes||Yes|
|Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine||6||Yes||Yes|
|Sound+Sleep, Sleep Therapy System||30||Yes||Yes|
One of the more popular sound therapy machines is the HoMedics SS-2000G/F-AMZ Sound Spa. It’s great if you aren’t quite sure what you’re looking for and don’t want to spend too much. It certainly isn’t one of the more advanced sleep machines you can buy, but it works well and offers great value.
It’s very lightweight, so is ideal to take with you wherever you go. Use it virtually anywhere, it won’t take up much space in your luggage and if you’re not near a power socket, no problem, because it is battery operated too.
- 6 relaxation sounds
- Volume control
- Auto shut off
- Mains or battery
- Multiple uses
There’s a good choice of sounds to choose from depending on your mood or your preferred way to relax. You can select from white noise, thunder, the ocean, rain, a summer night or a brook. Each of them has been digitally recorded to create a truly authentic and relaxing experience.
Of course, we all have our own thoughts of how we like to relax, but our mood at the time can determine which setting is best. For example, if it’s winter and cold outside, the sounds of a summer’s night might bring a warm comforting feeling to mind. You’ll be relaxing in no time at all!
The volume control on the HoMedics SS-2000G/F-AMZ Sound Spa can come in useful. Most people don’t turn it up to full volume because it isn’t normally necessary. If there’s an annoying sound coming from somewhere that’s preventing you from sleeping, turning up the Sound Spa a little louder might help to balance it out.
You’ll probably not need the unit switched on all night so the auto shut off will come in handy. There’s a timer which can be set to either 15, 30 or 60 minutes. You’ll know which of them is best for you. It’s also useful if it’s used for helping children to get off to sleep.
Having the option of it powered by either batteries or a power socket means it’s great for taking it on your travels or just plugging it in at home. A power adapter is supplied, but the 4 AA batteries required, aren’t supplied. The timer function comes in handy when running on batteries as setting it will help to conserve power.
There plenty of ways to use the HoMedics SS-2000G/F-AMZ Sound Spa, to block out unwanted noises, to help with relaxation, or to send you off to sleep. If you suffer with tinnitus, it can help in those quiet moments when it would otherwise be worse and it’s also suitable to help young children get off to sleep.
HoMedics is an established company which was formed in 1987 and they are a well-respected company in the field of relaxation. The Sound Spa isn’t top of the range but that’s reflected in the price you pay.
It’s small, light and great to take with you anywhere because it’s not only at home that you might want to relax. The different sounds would, perhaps benefit by being a little longer as some might notice the repetition, although some find this hypnotic.
In addition to the natural sounds, the white noise is good to have. At low level it can help to cancel out external noises, even help tinnitus sufferers. The variety of sounds is useful and a good feature for a machine at this level on the market.
Although customer satisfaction is very high, some have mentioned the durability isn’t as good as it could be. One thing is for sure, the HoMedics SS-2000G/F-AMZ Sound Spa works, and it works well, spreading relaxation wherever it goes!
For a different approach to sound therapy, you might want to consider the Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine. It’s the official sound machine of the National Sleep Foundation. This means it must be good with such an endorsement, but is it the best sleep machine?
This isn’t new technology, it’s derived from the original design from over 50 years ago, and is now in its 4th generation design. It’s the original sound machine with its iconic shape which is well-known. They say, turn it on and tune out the rest of the world!
- 2 speeds
- Adjustable volume and tone
- Continuous sound
- Lightweight and compact
- Bottom padding to prevent vibration
- 8’ power chord
The motor has two speeds with a unique asymmetrical fan. The housing which surround it is adjustable so the whole unit is customizable. Even though it only makes one sound, you’re able to adjust it so that you get the results you want.
There aren’t any gimmicks with this sleep machine, the sound is produced acoustically, there are no speakers to deliver it. The motor and fan create a whooshing or white noise which acts as a gentle background sound to help cancel out unwanted sounds.
The Dohm-DS has been around for long enough to prove that it’s natural white noise is effective in blocking a broad range of frequencies. It works very well, but for those looking for a range of sounds such as waterfalls etc., the natural single sound from this sound machine won’t be the best choice.
It’s been purposefully designed to be lightweight and compact. It weighs about 1 ½ pounds and measures 3¼ inches high and 5¾ inches diameter. This means you can take it with you when you travel, it uses US 120 volts only but there are UK, EU and AU models also available.
The padding on the bottom is good as it prevents vibrations which would otherwise probably occur because of the spinning of the motor and fan. The power chord is a generous 8 feet in length, which should be ample for most people.
There’s a lot to be said for simplicity and that’s what you get with the Marpac Dohm-DS, it’s very easy to operate and is very effective. The natural sound it produces will mask other noises while it is non-intrusive itself.
It’s good to combat a variety of noises such as noisy neighbors, snoring partners or anything similar. If you’re as light sleeper it will do its job and won’t keep you awake. It can also be effectively used for babies and children.
Some people might prefer the sound of waterfalls or rain, but with this sleep machine and it’s single, natural sound, with its long history of success you know it works well. The single sound is adjustable with the two speed motor and twistable outside housing, so you can get a sound that you want. It might take a while to perfect it, but at least you have the option.
The unit is designed to run continuously to filter out any noise that may occur. The lack of a timer or auto shut off may put some people off, but compared to its effectiveness, perhaps it isn’t such a bad thing.
If you’re looking for a white noise machine, you won’t go wrong with the Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine. It has been around since 1962, being continually improved and helping combatting unwanted noises
Here’s another sleep machine that doesn’t utilize recordings. The LectroFan White Noise Machine, as its name suggests, uses white noise and a fan to create a sound block on unwanted noises.
The LectroFan could be the best portable sound machine because it’s small, light and designed to be handy for those who travel a lot. It’s often when you’re away from home, sleeping in an unfamiliar bed, that it can be difficult to sleep. Well this might be the answer!
- 20 different sounds
- Dynamically generated
- Timer shut off
- Volume control
- Dual power (international version)
- Multi-band parametric equalizer
- Compact and lightweight
The way in which the LectroFan works is that it uses an algorithm to generate the sounds. These are not recordings, they are continuous sounds. The good thing about this is that they aren’t looped sounds, which can be noticeable and put some people off.
Sounds are broken into two types: fan and white noise, there are 10 of each. Both types of sounds have different functions.
The 10 fan sounds are useful to cut out the types of noise that might wake you up, such as noisy neighbors. They’re also good for falling asleep to. For the 10 white noise sounds, they’re better for people who suffer with tinnitus, to block out traffic noise or deep bass.
It’s very easy to operate the LectroFan as there are only three buttons on the front of it. There’s an on/off and timer switch, a volume control and a button to select either fan sounds or white noise.
The sound selection button is pressed to the left for fan sounds and to the right for white noise. By continually pressing either the left or right side of this switch, you can scroll through all of the different sounds.
Fan sounds are: Large, Industrial, Mellow – LO, Mellow – HI, Exhaust, Attic, Circular, Vent, Box and Oscillating. The 10 white noise sounds range from Dark Noise (low pitch) in steps up to White Noise (high pitch). It will remain on the last setting used, so if you switch between the two modes, it will remember which one was set before switching.
Having a volume control is very useful because you’ll be able to set it to suit the loudness of the noise you’re blocking out. The timer is also useful because you can set it to turn off when you’re asleep. Press the timer to set it to 60 minutes and additional presses will add 60 minutes onto it.
The speaker with the parametric equalizer ensures the sound is of good quality, even with the volume turned up high. The LectroFan is powered by plugging into a wall socket and via USB to a laptop or battery pack. This is useful for taking it with you when you travel, as is the fact that it’s 4.4” x 4.4” x 2.2” and weighs only 1.2 pounds.
This is one of those sound therapy machines that isn’t for you if you’d prefer a range of sound recordings. There are plenty of choices for that type of machine, but the LectroFan is specifically for those who want something simple yet effective.
Although there are only two types of sounds available from this machine, there is an excellent range within each of them. In some ways, it will help to block out unwanted noises rather than directly help you to relax.
There’s a lot of satisfaction from customers with this sound machine, because it works so well. It isn’t bulky or heavy and can be used virtually anywhere, although it isn’t battery operated. Having said that, it can be used with a battery pack via the USB connection.
Having 20 different sounds and a decent volume control, together with a good speaker and an adjustable timer shut off, gives it an edge. The LectroFan White Noise Machine is one of the better sleep noise machines without being too expensive.
Here’s a sound machine that goes for looks as well as effect. The Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine has a modern sleek look about it which will make it look at home wherever you place it.
As well as the modern compact style, the results it produces are very good. It’s ideal for both adults and infants who might have trouble sleeping or are distracted by outside noise that might keep them awake.
- Quality natural sounds
- Integrated speakers
- Volume control
- USB charger
For these machines to work well they need to have good quality sounds. There are 6 of them with the Wave, they’re both good quality and soothing. The choices are, white noise, fan, ocean, rain, stream and summer night.
Very often with recorded sounds, the clip is very short and on an infinite loop. It’s common to be able to detect where the edit is on the loop because of the digital high quality of the recording. This isn’t the case with the Wave as the edit is very difficult to detect.
The digital audio will only sound good if the speakers are high quality too, as is the case with this sleep machine. The volume control means you’re able to set a level which best suits your requirement. Mostly, you probably won’t want it too loud, but there may be occasions when you need more volume to counter particularly loud outside noises.
Not all sleep therapy machines have an in-built timer, but the Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine does. There’s the option of setting to 15, 30 or 60 minutes. Once the timer is set, it will switch itself off when it reaches the selected time.
The timer is useful if you just have trouble falling asleep and don’t need any assistance once you are asleep. This is the case for many people, so having a timer and shut off will help to save power. You don’t have to set the timer if you want the sound to play all night.
The USB charger that’s included is to allow you to charge your smartphone or another device while the Wave is on. Most of us charge our phone while we sleep, so having this feature means you only need your sleep machine plugged into the mains and you won’t need another USB charger.
If you’re looking for something compact and stylish that works very well, then the Wave might be for you. There’s very little negative feedback from customers who have bought one. One or two said they could hear the edit in the loops, but most people can’t hear them.
The sounds are high quality digital effects that are very relaxing. It’s good there’s a choice of 6 of them because what works for one person might not work for another. Once you’ve found which you prefer, you can set a volume to suit. Most of the time you shouldn’t need it very high, but it’s great to have the option.
One other negative is that there isn’t an option to run it off batteries. It is very portable because it’s compact and lightweight, but you do need to be near a power supply to use it. An AC adapter lead is supplied. If there’s only one plug near your bed and you also want to charge your phone, no problem, it’ll plug straight into the unit via the USB port.
The auto shut off timer is very useful to conserve energy if you don’t need the sounds running all night. It can be bypassed if you want it running continuously to make sure you’re not disturbed.
In keeping with the attractive design, the Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine has a removable chrome stand so you can position it as you want. This could be the best sleep machine you’re looking for if great looks and a good performance are what you want.
The Sound+Sleep, Sleep Therapy System from Adaptive Sound Technologies is a little different in that it uses sound profiles that constantly evolve rather than loop. The company is the leading supplier of advanced sound machines and adaptive audio products.
There are a few in the Sound+Sleep range but this model is the original and remains very popular. The sounds it produces are natural and accurate with a sound richness that alters to adapt to any new background noise.
- Up to 30 sound profiles
- Adaptive Sound technology
- Sound richness control
- Volume control
- Headphones socket
The way in which the Sound+Sleep works is very clever. There are 10 sound profiles to choose from: meadow, brook, train, fireplace, city, meditation, rainfall, waterfall, ocean and white noise. It’s Adaptive Sound technology can monitor and analyze background noise. Once analyzed, it will remix the sound profiles and adjust the volume so the background noise gets blocked out.
Each of the high quality recorded sounds last up to 30 minute to prevent repetition. When you select one of the 10 main sounds you’re then able to add a richness to them. For example, with the ocean setting, you can add background birds and seal and bells and foghorns.
With the 10 profiles and their richness settings you have 30 different sound profiles. You can adjust each profile to the way you want it. It’s clever technology because it gives you an amount of control. By mixing the profiles how you want them helps to avoid a repetitive sound.
You can set it to the volume you like but it will also adjust the level when it responds to changes in the background noise. The speaker is on top of the unit and faces upwards. This helps the sound fill the room, rather than being aimed straight at you. There’s also the option to plug in headphones if you’d prefer to listen privately.
It’s good to have the option of an auto shut off timer with the Sound+Sleep. The choices are 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes but you can leave it to run continuously if you wish.
It’s been difficult to find any negatives about the Sound+Sleep apart from its cost. It certainly isn’t the most expensive available, but is higher than average. It is, however, one of the best sleep therapy machines there is on the market so you’d expect to pay a little more.
Apart from the overall quality, perhaps the two features that set it apart from the rest are the ability to personalise the sounds and the Adaptive Sound technology which detects and blocks background noise. These features mean you have a large amount of different sound profiles which you can adjust to your liking and when a new background noise occurs, it gets detected and the volume is automatically adjusted to block it.
Although an auto shut off timer might not be necessary, it is always useful to have one. If you’re using the Adaptive Sound technology to detect and block new unwanted sounds, you might not want to use the timer.
The high-quality recordings are long enough at 30 minutes each, to avoid repetition, particularly as you can make them bespoke. One or two people have said they could hear the repetition, but they’re an exception as most people can’t.
As for the quality of the sound output, with an excellent speaker and the fact the recordings are also high quality, the reproduction is natural sounding and rich. It’s good that you can also plug headphones in if you want to listen privately. Most other sound machines don’t have this feature, perhaps they should! The headphone socket can also be used to the “line-in” of an external sound system.
If you you’d prefer a high-end sleep machine with a proven track record, the Adaptive Sound Technologies Sound+Sleep could be right up your street.
Best Sleep Machine Buyer’s Guide
If you’re excited that a sleep machine might be the answer to your sleepless nights, before you rush to buy one there are a few things you might want to first consider. Don’t just choose by price and looks because, although they might be important to you, one type might be more suitable for you than another.
Sleep therapy has come a long way, especially with the development of digital sound. There are usually two types of sounds with these machines, namely natural sounds such as rain or running water and white noise. One or other may be better for you, but if you can, it’s better to look for a machine that delivers both natural sounds and white noise.
White noise is a combination of all frequencies, if all tones the human ear can hear are put together, the resulting sound is white noise. It can help the brain relax and so help you to sleep better. It helps to shut down your brain as it counteracts unwanted outside noises.
When you’re woken during the night by a noise, it isn’t the noise itself that wakes you, it’s the sudden change in noise that causes it. Neuroscientist Seth S. Horowitz says our hearing works as we sleep and it has evolved as an alarm. We get used to some sounds which don’t bother us, while others disrupt us and come to our attention. White noise acts as a mask to any sudden noises.
It can work well for adults and children, so it’s a good idea to make sure the sleep machine you buy has the option of playing white noise.
Most sound machines can play recorded sounds such as rain, the ocean, a jungle, summer nights and many others too, including machine noises and ambient sounds. These sometimes also get described as white noise because they are a constant unchanging background noise.
You’ll find some of these machines have a wider selection of sounds than others do. If you think about the kind of sound you’d prefer to hear as you fall asleep, check that it’s included with the machine you’re going to buy.
Other Features to look out For
Whatever sounds are featured on the sleep machine, you’ll find most are high quality digital recordings. Some machines use short clips which are looped, while others use longer clips. With cheaper machines, sometimes it’s possible to hear the edit of the looped sound and for some people, it can stand out, making it harder to relax. This doesn’t bother everyone, but it is something to be aware of.
A volume control is important because there may be some situations where you need to turn up the sound to help block out the unwanted noise. In most cases a quiet background sound will be sufficient, but it’s always good to have the option to increase the volume.
Having a timer can be helpful, but isn’t really a necessity unless you’re conscious of conserving energy. If you have a problem drifting off to sleep, but don’t have a problem staying asleep, a timer might be useful. For some people, having the sleep machine constantly running through the night, helps to combat disruption from sudden noises.
Getting the Full Benefits
Babies can adapt to sleeping through the night with the aid of a sound therapy machine. It can help keep them calm by providing a constant sound in the same way as while they were in their mother’s womb. There are some machines specifically designed for babies.
People who suffer with tinnitus can benefit from using one of these machines, particularly with white noise. It’s thought this is better than playing low level background music because white noise helps to reduce the difference between the sound from the tinnitus and the quiet of the room.
There’s no doubt that the pleasant sounds created by these machines can help with relaxation and distraction from outside irritating noises. To find the best sleep machine that suits you shouldn’t be a difficult task, so relax!