When you hit the hay, what are you listening to? Sure, you might have a solid before-bed routine, but finding the best sounds for restful sleep could be just the thing to help you rest and recharge.
More than ⅓ of all Americans fall short on sleep, and restful sleep sounds offer a simple, effective way to help get to a good nights sleepand stay asleep.1
Wondering about the best sleep sounds? We’ll cover 7 options to make bedtime even better. From classic white noise to the soothing sounds of the ocean, there are plenty of sounds (and dreamscapes) to explore.
#1 White Noise
At the top list for any sleep sound is white noise. Far from a catchy tune, white noise is just a tone, offering a sleep sound that can help your brain relax, your eyes grow heavy, and your body drifts off to deep-sleep dreamland.
If you’re not familiar with white noise, here are a few reasons it may be your choice sound for your evening slumber:
Consistency – White noise is consistent. There are no rising sounds, shifting tones, or musical changes. It’s one solid sound that can take you from evening to morning. Because it’s unchanging, white noise isn’t particularly interesting to the ear, allowing your brain to sit back and relax without thinking about what it’s hearing.
All frequencies – Get ready to hear everything. White noise covers the entire spectrum of audible frequencies for the human ear. It might sound like a lot to take in, but white noise is typically very mellow and sounds similar to radio static or a whirling fan.
Scientifically sound – While your experience may vary, some research has found correlations between quality sleep and white noise. Additionally, you may also benefit from white noise when working or concentrating on a task at hand. There’s something in this broad spectrum sound that brains tend to like.
Looking for an aquatic sound to get you through the night? You don’t need to live on the ocean to appreciate the sounds of water, and you need not get wet to enjoy the sounds of precipitation.
Today, there are several options for water sounds (real and artificial) to help lull you to fall asleep fast. Some favorites include:
Ocean Waves – Ready to hear that surf coming in? For those seeking the soothing sounds of the beach without investing in waterfront property, recordings of ocean waves and tides could be an excellent way to doze. The ebb and flow of the tides create a highly relaxing rhythm to drift into as you dream of your favorite surf spot.
Fountains – Looking for a water feature that can double as a sleep enhancer? A small fountain could provide the perfect live water sound for your bedroom. Additionally, if you want to hear the pleasant tinkle of a fountain, you could also find quality recordings, without needing to invest in a real fountain.
Rain – What’s better than a peaceful slumber during a quiet storm? Few things symbolize a sleepy afternoon or a peaceful evening than a pleasant storm. You might not be able to feel the cool breeze, but you can enjoy the satisfying and relaxing sound of rain drops as well as thunder and wind—if you’re so inclined.
#3 Calming Music
More interested in a song than a relaxing sound? Slap on your sleep mask and grab your headphones. There are plenty of relaxing tunes to keep your ears happy at night, and for many people, calming music is a pleasant way to fall asleep and hear their favorite tracks.
When considering what music might make the best soundtrack to your sleep, consider the following:
Volume – Some songs start slow and sweet, only to explode into louder, more aggressive pieces, building momentum and becoming progressively louder. You might want to avoid these types of songs. Typically, sleeping music is best when it keeps a consistent volume and a steady tempo, allowing you to drift off without a roaring breakdown or guitar solo.
Familiarity – The first time you hear a song, you have no idea where it’s going. The exciting prospect of discovering new music can be exhilarating, but the excitement doesn’t help when it comes to falling asleep. Instead, you might want to opt for something you’re already familiar with. Additionally, playing the same music every night could help your brain create a routine around falling asleep, speeding up the process.
Taste – It should go without saying, but make sure you should enjoy your music choice. Picking music that you find annoying, grating, or just plain unpleasant won’t help you sleep and may only keep you awake longer, wondering why you’ve subjected yourself to minor sonic torture.
#4 Woodland Sounds
Enter your little slice of sleepy wilderness heaven. For those interested in the sounds of nature, there are few better aural experiences than the crunching of sticks, the chittering of birds, and the chirping of insects. With nature sounds, put away the technology, and experience the beautiful music of the woods. You even avoid bug bites, too!
When selecting your woodland harmonies, explore the following options:
Wildlife – Interested in the ribbiting frogs, hooting owls, and the pitter-patter of tiny rodents? The sound of animals out in nature can help fully transport you to the woods. If you’re hoping to feel like you’re resting under the stars, the added sounds of wildlife could be a perfect option.
Weather – Much like the aforementioned water sounds, the woodland elements can have a distinctive sound, especially when mixed with the hum of cicadas and the babbling of a distant brook.
Birdsongs – You may find the melodies of our feathered friends are the perfect cure for insomnia. Birdsongs offer a majestic beauty for nature appreciators. The whistles, chirps, and full-throated singing of birds may be a little niche, but you’re certain to find these sounds if you seek them out.
#5 Pink Noise
Thought you knew everything you needed about colored noise? Think again. Pink noise has slowly been gaining popularity as one of the best sounds to sleep to and may have even eclipsed white noise as the favorite sleep tone.
Compare and contrast the differences and similarities between these common sleep sounds:
Both are full-spectrum – Both white and pink noise fill the entire human auditory range, sounding ‘full’ without gaps in the sound spectrum.
Pink is deeper – While white noise is produced with an even amount of energy and volume throughout the entire sound spectrum, pink noise puts more energy and volume into the lower spectrum and less in the higher frequencies.2 The resulting tone sounds deeper and lower but still touches on the higher frequencies that your ears can pick up.
While white noise may sound like an air conditioner set on high or a vacuum in the distance, pink noise can be compared to:
The major difference between these natural sounds and the sound of pink noise is consistency. Like white noise, pink noise is a singular tone that you can listen to all night long without ever hearing a shift or a change, allowing it to become complete background noise as you close your eyes and fall asleep.
If you’re uninitiated in autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), now might be the perfect chance to explore its effects on your sleep. ASMR refers to a tingling sensation felt on the scalp and neck while listening to specific sounds. Through the close recording of tactile sounds, ASMR videos and audio clips aim to cause particular reactions in the listener.3
ASMR doesn’t work for everyone, but for those that enjoy this unique form of auditory tickling, it could also have a positive impact on your sleep.
Common ASMR sounds include:
If you’re already using ASMR during your waking life, it may be a wonderful way to boost your sleep or help you remain asleep throughout the night. For those new to this phenomenon, finding a sound that agrees with you could take some time. But after you do, it’s off to the dreamworld.
Just make sure you have a comfortable pillow to rest your head on before the tingling starts.
#7 Relaxing Voices
Sometimes all you need is the right person to talk you into a deep sleep. For small children, the sound of a parent’s voice is often the precursor to falling asleep, and there’s no reason to think that adults are immune to the sounds of soothing voices for sleep.
If you’re looking for a voice to assist with bedtime, consider the following factors:
Familiarity – Often, it’s easier to drift off to a voice you know. That doesn’t mean you need to know them personally—they could be a podcaster, radio host, or actor you’ve heard several times before. A stranger’s voice could have the opposite intended effect, causing an undercurrent of uncertainty that will keep you awake all night.
Tone – A pleasant, calm, and even tone of voice is usually preferable. As such, consider listening to a meditation teacher or a yoga instructor. That said, if you like the sound of an impassioned speaker, don’t let that stop you from trying them out as a sleep aid. It’s ultimately about personal preference.
Casper: The Best Rest Every Night
Pick your sound, hit the lights, and get ready for a sound sleep. There’s a world of sound to explore, and with digital apps and online videos, it’s never been easier to find the right noise to put you to sleep.
And sometimes, one of the best sounds to fall asleep to is the sigh of relief as you crash into a cozy mattress after a long day. If you’re ready to go all-in on quality sleep, Casper is your one-stop shop.
From award-winning mattresses to super-soft bedding, we’re making sleep so good that you’re going to need a second alarm. Whether you’re looking for the perfect accessory to improve your sleep or you’re ready to take our mattress quiz to find your perfect cozy bed, we’re ready to help.