I’ve never been a great sleeper. Since high school, I’ve gone through phases where I’ll alternate between having a hard time falling asleep and having a hard time staying asleep. Traveling the past few months has helped a lot. After flying through the night or running around in the sun all day, I’m literally too tired to stay awake and it’s not unusual for me to fall asleep on the couch watching a movie or playing on Duolingo.
But, the other big help has been the White Noise app from TMSOFT. I have the free Lite version, which has plenty of options for my needs. There’s a catalogue of 10 sounds that come with the download and you can add up to 5 more from their website. Instead of straight-up “white noise,” I err towards water sounds – beach waves crashing, extreme rain, thunderstorms. I especially like the mix function which lets you layer in multiple sounds and control their individual volumes, balances, pitches, speeds, etc. Plus, you can set timers so the app will shut off whenever you want. Mine’s set for an hour, but most nights I’m fast asleep within the first 10 minutes.
Admittedly, there are a few annoying sounds, like the ominous, monotonous grandfather clock ticking… ticking… ticking. It’s like trying to sleep with Edgar Allen Poe at the end of your bed. No thanks. And, although I personally don’t use an alarm, I can understand why users of the Lite version wish there were one.
Minor complaints aside, it’s a great app for anyone who has a hard time sleeping and especially for people who find themselves traveling in unfamiliar places. Having a standard playlist to fall asleep to every night can help make any hotel room feel like home.
To sleep, or not to sleep…
• With more than half of Americans having sleep issues every single night, sleep research is surely an area in need of study. The New Yorker covered that need last spring with this article on sleeplessness.