Silence vs. Sound Machines: Which helps you sleep happy?
There are many types of sleepers in the world: some toss, some turn, some snore; the list goes on and on. Today, we’re focusing on two specific types of sleepers: those who sleep in silence vs. those who need a little sound to sleep throughout the night.
Some people can fall asleep in an eerie silence and aren’t fazed by the honk of a car or the squeak of an old house. For many others, sleeping in silence is distracting or even borderline terrifying. To avoid restless nights due to the disruptive sounds of an unruly environment, many use television, music or noise machines to help them sleep.
This made us wonder — how is it some need absolute silence and some need sound just to rest? The answer is simple: Sleep is as unique as a thumbprint, and we all have different preferences on what allows us to sleep happy.
Silence vs. Sound Machine
The Silent Sleeper
For those who prefer to sleep in silence, it could simply be because you don’t have a negative or stressful association with silence. You find it peaceful and ideal for your sleep health. A sound emerging from the darkness won’t keep you from falling asleep or scare you awake because, for whatever reason, you are not worried about what’s going on in the night. Additional sounds from a TV or a machine may ultimately distract you from sleeping because the noise activates your brain instead of drowning out your thought process.
The Sound (Machine) Sleeper
On the other hand, you may find yourself staring at the ceiling in bed, made sleepless by everything you hear. From a dog barking outside to the shift of an old house, every sound triggers a new train of thought that keeps your brain active and interferes with the process of relaxing and falling asleep. To distract your brain from itself, you leave on the TV or use a sound machine to get some decent rest.
It turns out sleep sound machines can do more than sidetrack your mind from a creaky old house. They can help decrease our brain’s craving for sensory input and can actually distract it from the sounds around us. Our brains are always on the lookout for stimulation and will pick up on anything that’s loud enough to grab its attention. So, when you jolt awake because you hear a car alarm, that’s your brain lighting up. White noise can provide just the right amount of volume and frequency to consistently hold the brain’s attention and tune out any sudden noises it would normally latch on to.
Ironically, sound machines essentially serve as anti-noise mechanisms. Picture it this way: When it’s silent in your bedroom while you’re trying to sleep, outside noises are much more obvious and your brain has nothing else to focus on. You hear the person in the apartment above you walking around and begin to wonder why they aren’t sleeping, what they’re doing and ultimately get annoyed you’re focusing on them instead of sleeping yourself. If you have a sound machine providing steady and consistent noise, you won’t be able to hear the footsteps above you and will be able to naturally drift into a peaceful sleep without distraction or delay. Learn more about the best sounds to help you fall asleep.
There are many different ways to fall asleep. We could all bicker for hours about which allows for a more restful night of sleep, but that makes us tired, and we care about solving your sleep problems. So instead, maybe we should all just go take a nap…
*Cue up thunderstorm setting on sound machine*