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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Chrissy Callahan

Some people immediately pass out as soon they see a pillow. The rest of us aren't so lucky. We toss and turn for hours on end. Then, after falling asleep, we can be woken up by thunder, snores or even a faint sound coming from the kitchen.

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.

HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine, $30, Amazon

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This is also available for $20 at Bed Bath & Beyond and for $19 at Walmart.

I've always found that listening to rain is relaxing. So, I immediately gravitated to that particular sound and set 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, I decided to start leaving the sound machine on all night. This way, it would play at a constant stream just in case I woke up in the middle of the night. 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 best-selling sound machines on Amazon. If you are looking for alternative options, here are a few other Amazon best-sellers.

The best white noise machines on Amazon

  • 1. Big Red Rooster White Noise Sound Machine, $20 (usually $30), Amazon

Also available for $25 at Bed Bath & Beyond.

  • 2. Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine, $49, Amazon

Also available for $45 at Walmart.

  • 3. LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Machine, $50, Amazon

Also available for $50 at Walmart and Bed Bath & Beyond.

  • 4. Marpac Hushh White Noise Sound Machine For Baby, $30, Amazon

Also available for $30 at Target, for $33 at Walmart and for $35 at BuyBuyBaby.

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!