Getting the proper amount of sleep is so critical to your health, and yet so many of us are lacking sleep for various reasons. If we are in the season of parenthood with little children or even babies, then it's understandable why we aren't getting enough sleep. After all, we're up throughout the night dealing with hungry babies, scared toddlers, or little kids who can't sleep.
This is why it is all the more important to ensure that when we do actually sleep, we are able to do so uninterrupted. Some people can fall asleep fairly easily and sleep soundly, with very little that can actually wake them up. Others, like me, will wake up if a cricket farts outside (as my mother used to say). This can be very frustrating when you desperately need sleep, but you are a very light sleeper and wake easily to the slightest sound. There's good news, though: there are things you can do to help decrease the amount of noise when you're sleeping. Here are 10 clever ways to block out noise while sleeping.
10 Use white noise
White noise is a trick that many parents use to help their children sleep better. You can use white noise to block out any other sounds that may cause a disturbance to their sleep. Many adults also use this as a way to sleep more soundly and decrease the risk of being woken up, especially if they are sleeping at off-hours, such as coming home from a night shift and having to sleep during the day when the rest of the house is awake.
Using a floor fan is a great way to create some white noise in your room that will help to cut down on the exterior sounds that might wake you up. The gentle hum of the fan can lull you into slumberland and help you get a better night's sleep.
9 Listen to quiet music
Although you are trying to block out noise and might not think adding more noise is a good idea, quiet music can be a great distraction from other, more disturbing sounds while you are trying to sleep.
Choose a selection of music that is gentle and quiet, without jarring drumbeats and loud changes in tune that would wake you up. Classical piano music is a great choice, as the sound is fairly consistent, and it is very peaceful to listen to. Another option that is very popular is gentle music put to the sounds of nature, like rain falling or waves crashing. Any of these selections could help to block out other noise and help you to get a better night's sleep.
8 Wear earplugs
Another option for those who really need good, solid silence in order to sleep is to resort to using earplugs at night. While they may not be the most comfortable thing to wear, and may take a little getting used to, they will definitely help to block out any sounds that may wake you up.
Wearing earplugs is also a great thing to do if you're having to sleep during the day when the rest of the family is awake and making noise, perhaps if you're coming off of a night shift. There are many different varieties of earplugs, so try a few different sets to find a type that fits comfortably and helps you to sleep.
7 Listen to a guided meditation program
This may be another way to bring sound into your sleep instead of blocking it out, but it works to block out annoying or loud sounds that could wake you up. You can focus on your inner peace, calm your breathing, and set your body up for deep sleep.
By listening to a guided meditation program as you fall asleep, your ears will be naturally tuned into what you are listening to, and less inclined to pick up on other sounds that may be bothersome. Choose a peaceful meditation program that you enjoy the sounds of, it can take a while to find the one that works best for you. Then, put it on as you lay down for sleep, and let your meditation lead you into a peaceful sleep.
6 Wear noise-cancelling headphones
This may not be the most comfortable approach to seeking a silent sleep, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do. If you simply can't get good quality sleep without blocking out more of the noise that's disturbing you, then invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones, and put them on when you're heading to bed.
There are many different kinds of headphones on the market now, and many that you can connect to your iPod or stereo. So, you could also incorporate the technique of playing quiet music or listening to a guided meditation program as you're trying to sleep. Once the music or meditation program ends, you've still got your noise-canceling headphones on to ensure that your sleep continues uninterrupted.
5 Invest in anti-snoring products (if your partner is the noise problem!)
Let's face it: a lot of the time, the noise that keeps us awake at night is lying peacefully beside us, sound asleep. Yup, it's the dreaded partner snore. If you're sleeping (or not sleeping) beside someone who snores loudly, this can be hugely disruptive to your own quality sleep.
Try investing in some of the anti-snoring products that are on the market these days - from the nasal strips to mouth guards. Talk to your family doctor for recommendations. If it is a problem that continues, and the snoring is incredibly loud, it could also be a sign of an underlying condition, such as sleep apnea. Consider speaking to a sleep expert for some advice, so that both of you can get better quality sleep.
4 Soundproof your bedroom
Okay, this image may be a tad on the extreme side, as we don't necessarily want our bedrooms looking like a padded room out of an asylum! But, taking the time to add some extra insulation to your bedroom can actually be very beneficial.
There are several tips and techniques out on the internet to help you ensure that your bedroom is sealed and as soundproof as it can get. Some of the ideas include ensuring windows have a good seal around them, installing a door sweep to close the gap under your door, installing carpet or using an area rug to mute the floor sounds, and hanging soundproofing curtains over the windows.
3 Communicate your needs
If your sleep deprivation is simply a result of people in your home making too much noise, perhaps it's time to communicate your needs to your family. Not everyone is a light sleeper, but many people are, and they require near-silence in order to sleep properly. If you've taken all the steps you can to try to block out as much noise as possible, and you're still not sleeping well, try having an honest conversation with your family.
If your spouse likes to enjoy a nighttime snack and crashes and bangs around the kitchen, explain to them that this noise disturbs your sleep and ask them to either be quieter or make their snack earlier in the evening. If you've got older kids who tend to stay up later than you playing video games or watching movies, ask them to keep the volume lower or invest in some gaming headphones that they could wear. Communication is key!
2 Rearrange your bedroom furniture
It may seem a bit drastic to think of rearranging your bedroom furniture simply to get a good night's sleep, but if there is a specific source of noise that you can escape by moving your furniture, then it is well worth it. Perhaps you live on a busy street, and the traffic noise from your bedroom window is keeping you awake. Don't have your head right at that window. Instead, move your bed so that your head is as far away from that window as possible.
Some sleep experts have even suggested moving your bedroom to a different room in the house, but this option isn't always feasible for everyone. Perhaps there isn't an extra room in the house to move to or it's just not something that you want to do. Try moving your furniture first, and see if that doesn't alleviate some of the noise troubles.
1 Mind over matter...or is it?
Some say that a good way to combat the noise that is interrupting your sleep is to just determine your mindset and choose to ignore it. Focus on your breathing, focus on relaxing your body and your muscles, and don't pay attention to the noise.
Sometimes, when we become too focused on the noise, it almost becomes a source of anxiety, and before we know it, it seems even louder than it did before. This is because we're now stressing about it and how it is affecting our sleep. Choose to ignore the sound and focus on positive thoughts, like how soft your blanket is, how comfortable you are in bed, how relaxed you feel, etc. Perhaps it will be enough to drown out the noise and help you fall asleep peacefully.