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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 Soundspa Relaxation Sound Machine, $17, Amazon
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This is also available for $17 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 the top four:
1. Big Red Rooster Sound Machine, $15, Amazon
2. Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine, $50, Amazon
3. LectroFan White Noise Machine, $50, Amazon
4. Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine in Black, $45, Amazon