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Preventive HealthWellness

9 Best Sleep Sounds To Fall Asleep Faster

6 Mins read

Are you on a hunt for the best sleep sounds to help you fall asleep and stay asleep? Are city sounds outside your window keeping you awake at night? There are pros and cons of living in a convenient location close to the city center. Many people who live in a house or apartment in the city have to deal with lots of outside noises keeping them awake at night.

Whether it’s constant traffic noise and sounds of sirens, or sporadic cars honking, street noise and random dogs barking, these sounds can often keep you awake at night.

The good news is that there are many very effective sleep sounds you can play from your smartphone, instead of listening to the annoying noises outside your window. These sleep sounds will not only drown out the street noise that’s stimulating your brain when you’re trying to sleep, but some of the best sleep sounds available today can also help you fall into a deeper, more restful sleep.

Finding the best sleep sounds that work for you is an important component of your sleep hygiene and bedtime routine. 

Discovering which sleep sound works best for you (the one that relaxes your mind and body, lulling you into a deep sleep) will require some trial and error. You’ll likely have to experiment with many sleep sounds before you find one that works for you. 

If you find a sleep sound that you absolutely swear by, make sure to write down the name of the YouTube channel, or note the name of the soundscape if you found it on an app such as the Calm app.

The right sleep sound will be different for everyone. Some people love nature sounds, and some prefer white noise, while others need ASMR to sedate them. 

Below are 9 of the best sleep sounds to help you fall asleep and stay asleep:

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1. The Sound of Ocean Waves

The sound of waves crashing is extraordinarily relaxing. In fact, the sound of ocean waves is commonly known as one of the best sounds for calming the brain. This is why the sound of ocean waves is often used in the background of many meditation videos, sleep hypnosis videos, and more. The gentle and safe sound of ocean waves is widely regarded as one of the best sleep sounds out there. You can find the sound of ocean waves on sleep apps such as the ‘Calm’ app, on YouTube, or even on Apple Music. Some people prefer to buy a sound machine with ocean waves on it, because they prefer to sleep away from the temptation of their smartphone. Either way, if you have trouble sleeping, definitely give the sound of ocean waves a try. 

The slow, repetitive, whooshing sound of the waves will calm your nervous system in no time. Scientific studies have found ocean sounds to help restore healthy sleep patterns, and that they help improve sleep

2. Sounds of a Rushing River or a Waterfall

In general, nature sounds have a restorative effect on the psyche. Nature sounds such as a rushing river or waterfall will relax you, because your brain registers these sounds as non-threatening and safe. Nature sounds are known to help your body and mind relax, and they are great at drowning out the unwanted background noises that keep you awake while you lay in bed.

Nature sounds also are one of the best sleep sounds used in a house or apartment that’s too quiet. It’s not always street noise that makes people feel restless. Sometimes when it’s too quiet, sleep sounds such as nature sounds help calm an overactive mind at night in the quiet, by triggering the mind to shut off and get ready for bed.

3. Rain Sounds as Some of the Best Sleep Sounds

The first three sounds in our list of the best sleep sounds are all water sounds, I’m sure you’ve noticed. This is because the sound of water seems to work very well for helping people sleep. Some people prefer waves, but many people prefer the sound of rain. 

Different people have different theories on why rain sounds work so well to help people sleep. Some people believe that the sound of rain is relaxing because when it rains, we generally don’t feel guilty staying indoors. We don’t feel like we’re missing out on much, so we start to relax more. We associate the rain with staying indoors and having a low-key night. People also associate rain with darkness or dimness.

However, rain sounds also help your brain produce the calming alpha waves. The stable sound of rain can put you in a meditative state. Rain is such a steady sound that it almost creates a white noise effect.

4. Thunderstorm 

Some people prefer the sound of soft, light rain. Others enjoy heavier rain sounds, or even the sound of a storm. Luckily, you can find all types of rain sounds online.

If you love the idea of curling up in bed under the covers, staying safe and dry during a thunderstorm, you might love falling asleep to thunderstorm sounds. 

Thunderstorm sounds tend to involve the soothing sound of rain, combined with sounds of thunder and lightning. Many people think that thunderstorm sounds are one of the best sleep sounds because it’s rhythmic, it drowns out street noise, and it signals to your brain that the weather outside is frightful – which means it’s time to cover up in bed.

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5. Spa Music

Something as simple as relaxing spa music can help you fall asleep. There’s a reason spas play this type of music to help you relax during a massage. They need your body to relax in order to do their job, but this type of music can also help you fall asleep. 

Apple Music has many instrumental spa music playlists available, as does YouTube or Spotify.

6. Brainwaves Music Such as Binaural Beats

Delta waves are the brain waves that are present when you’re in a state of deep, restorative sleep. Binaural beats playing, at a delta frequency of 3 Hz, can induce delta activity in the brain. In this research study, listening to binaural beats helped young athletes get better sleep quality. You can find binaural beats and other delta wave inducing sleep music on YouTube.

7. White Noise

White noise is a constant and predictable noise that contains all frequencies across the spectrum of audible sound in equal measure. This is sometimes referred to as ‘broadband noise’. 

Examples of white noise include a fan, a white noise machine, or the constant sound of a humming air conditioner. 

In this sleep study, participants fell asleep 38% faster while listening to white noise.

8. ASMR Such as The Sound of Someone Breathing or Whispering

ASMR sounds, such as gentle whispering, blowing, scratching or breathing can help you sleep. ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, and it’s known for inducing feelings of calmness or sleepiness.

Some people describe listening to ASMR as the sedating and tingling sensation they get in response to specific audio stimuli.

There are tons of 8 hour ASMR sleep tracks out there, especially on YouTube or on Apple Podcasts. Some involve a woman’s gentle whispering throughout the night, and others involve the sound of a man sleeping or breathing, with intermittent whispers throughout the night.

Some people like listening to ASMR as they fall asleep because it helps them feel like they’re not alone, or they like the bodily sensation ASMR gives them.

When you first discover ASMR, you’ll find it’s quite the rabbit hole, as there are endless variations and types of ASMR to try out. ASMR offers some of the best sleep sounds for people battling depression, anxiety, or general loneliness. Some ASMR sounds are curated specifically with those who struggle with late-night anxiety, for example. 

9. Guided Sleep Hypnosis

The best sleep sounds for those who truly have insomnia or a lot of trouble falling asleep, happen to be guided sleep hypnosis tracks. There are so many options out there, so you need to decide what type of voice you find most calming before you go searching for the perfect sleep hypnosis. Do you prefer a male voice, or a female voice? A deep voice, or a soft voice? 

I find the soft, British, male voice of Michael Sealy very relaxing. He has many different sleep hypnosis videos on YouTube that can lull someone to sleep. You don’t have to watch the video. It can just be sleep sounds playing on your phone as you sleep.

What Are Your Genetic Sleep Traits?

Did you know that the way you sleep, or your trouble sleeping, could be genetic? When you take the at-home DNA test from CircleDNA, you’ll find out a whole wealth of information about yourself, including your genetic sleep traits.

You’ll find out if you’re genetically more likely to have trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, or more likely to have a short sleep duration. You’ll also find out if you’re genetically more likely to be a night owl or an early bird. 

This information about your genetic sleep traits can help you come up with a plan for better sleep.

Erica Gordon
148 posts

About author
Erica Gordon is the Managing Editor and Director of Content at Circle Magazine. Erica majored in Psychology at UBC and has since founded The Babe Report and followed her passion for writing and journalism, with a focus on health and travel writing.
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