Reading: Best White Noise App For Sleep: Rain Rain

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Best White Noise App For Sleep: Rain Rain

From burbling streams to crackling fires, steady white noises from this app let you sleep

By Lesley Jane Seymour

flowers in a rain shower
Photo by Michael Podger for Unsplash

My battles with sleep have a long sordid history.

In boarding school, I won “Best histrionics” for my habit of storming into my neighbors’ rooms and asking them to turn down their stereos late at night.

My first apartment in New York had a bedroom on the third floor, just steps away from Second Avenue, so that my entire bedroom shook when trucks hit the steel repair plates in the road. Also, there was a couple below me who fought late into the night, prompting me to pound on the floor with a broom to remind them that I could hear everything.

That was the moment a very fancy New York store called Hammacher Schlemmer debuted one of the first white noise machines. A small fan inside a beige shell, it was small enough to place on a nightstand, and — for around $50 — it changed my life.

This bulky friend traveled everywhere with me, including to the Hotel d’Angleterre in Paris, where my husband and I found ourselves in the inexpensive, but very noisy first-floor room facing the lobby, where every footstep and drunken giggle echoed.

“Never fear!” I told my husband as I whipped out my sleep machine and plugged it into the converter and turned out the lights.

“Do you smell smoke?” my husband Jeff asked me five minutes later. I opened my eyes and saw blue flames shooting out of the sleep machine base. We both jumped out of bed, grabbed the sleep machine and threw it into the bathroom sink.

Since then, I’ve been on the lookout for great alternatives that travel well. Over the holidays, I spent time with my daughter in Boston and slept in her room, which has a door opening to an alleyway often filled with late-night revelers. I had to borrow her roommate’s sleep machine until she turned me onto a free white noise app called “Rain Rain,” which offers a cornucopia of soothing noises for blotting out whatever racket the world might offer. You have dozens of choices — from splashing rain on a forest floor to rain on a tent or in the city (yes, they all do sound different). You have ocean waves and beach bonfires. There are even seagulls over the ocean and planes and trains. Best of all, you can program the app to play all night (instead of automatically turning off after an hour, like some apps). You can even combine your favorites into your own playlist.

You can also use the white noise app to create a sense of office privacy in a small space or to keep street noise from waking the baby.

Now, where’s that app that stops my husband from snoring…

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