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The magical machine that helps me fall and stay asleep

There are two kinds of people in this world: People who immediately pass out as soon as their head hits the pillow. Then, there's the rest of us — we toss and turn for hours on end, only to fall asleep and then be woken up by thunder, snores, or a faint sound coming from the kitchen. / Shutterstock
Woman suffering from insomnia lying in her bed

Growing up, I shared a room with my older sister. I was always envious of the way she fell asleep the moment she got into bed. It was a freaky gift I’ve always tried to replicate, to no avail. The problem is, I often find it hard to shut my brain off at night — whether I'm stressed out or simply excited about something — so falling asleep has never come easily.

I've dealt with bouts of insomnia off and on for years, and have tried almost every trick in the book to catch some z's — counting sheep, getting up and walking around, trying melatonin, you name it. None of them have helped me as much as my trusted sound machine.

A few years ago, my mom picked it up for me, and even though I’ll admit I was skeptical at first, I figured it was worth a try. The Homedics sound machine she got me has a built-in radio and features six soothing sounds to lull you into a peaceful slumber. It has limited availability now since it’s an older model, but Homedics has another version out now that only costs $20 on Amazon!

Homedics Sound Spa Relaxation Machine, $15 (normally $25), Amazon

I've always found that listening to rain is relaxing, so I immediately gravitated to that particular sound, and started setting the machine’s timer for a half hour, then an hour, at a time.

As I focused on the soothing rain noise, I quickly discovered the only thing I was doing was putting pressure on myself to fall asleep before the noise stopped. At my worst, it's taken me over an hour to fall asleep, so any added pressure to reach slumber land is never helpful.

I decided to start leaving the sound machine on all night, so it would play at a constant stream just in case I woke up in the middle of the night — and since I live on a busy street, the likelihood of something like traffic, construction or snow plows waking me up on any given night is very high.

I won’t lie and tell you the only reason I sleep better now is my sound machine; it's taken a lot of effort to calm my thoughts and relax before bedtime. But I will say that I couldn’t have done it, and couldn’t continue to sleep peacefully, without my sound machine.

There’s something simply soothing about having a light rainfall sound in the background that relaxes me even when I’m stressed out. And after years of sleepless nights, getting a good night’s sleep now is priceless.

This Homedics sound machine is one of the top best-selling sound machines on Amazon. If you are looking for alternative options, here are the top four:

1. Big Red Rooster Sound Machine, $20 (Originally $30), Amazon

2. Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine, $50, Amazon

3. LectroFan White Noise Machine, $45( Originally $50), Amazon

4. Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine in Black, $50, Amazon

For more help getting to sleep, try this $8 silk sleep mask the internet loves, or test out one of these TODAY Show approved gadgets!

This article was originally published on October 31, 2017 on