As each day passes, I have a harder and harder time getting to sleep without white noise. It now takes me over 90 minutes to get to sleep in a quiet environment no matter how tired or wound down I am. But, if there is a sound in the background I will fall asleep instantly. (I am not talking about that over-tired state, which is a different issue.)
When we moved into our house, we had the windows open because it was summer. We live next to a major freeway with a sound wall, and that provided great white noise for me to sleep to. Now that itís cooler, the windows are shut and the house-fan blowing doesnít do it for me. My wife doesnít want to have the window open + 25 blankets + have the heat on, and I agree.
I have had two sound machines in the recent past, but they both were terrible. One was a $50 unit my wife got for free, but the sounds were electronic sounding and they were on a 7-second loop, which I could pick out the loop-point. It caused a rhythmic pulse to it, and I would drum along to the sound machine instead of sleep. The other machine was for the baby (we switched) but that also has horrible sounds to it and it was very loud even at its softest point--it actually made me really antsy.
My favorite sounds to sleep to are very specific: I love the sound of the shower running in the next room. The rare days when my wife had to get up before I did were the best times I had ever slept when I could hear the shower through the wall. Those 20 minutes were better than all the other hours I had ever slept.
I also love the sound of the clothes dryer: when I was a kid, I would wake up at 5am and throw clothes in the dryer and sleep next to it before I got up for schoolóI was the best-rest kid I knew back then!
So, who uses a white noise machine and are there any really good ones? I was thinking about recording the sound of the shower myself, but the only playback devices I have would be my iPod/laptop, and I donít want to sleep with earbuds in my ear. That would be uncomfortable and probably screw up my natural ear drainage or something, knowing my luck.
In the past, I have found sound machines in the $150-300 range, which seems ridiculous also.
It would be nice if my wifeís voice happened to be white noise. She will talk to me until well into the morning, and she magically knows when I fell asleep because she will start talking again and the process starts over.