Absolute Faves || White Noise Machines

I swear by these white noise machines below. I grew up with a fan in my room and while it helped keep me cool, it also helped me fall asleep by cutting the sounds of the crickets and frogs when I lived in the countryside.  Later in college rather than get a fan, I noticed a friend had one of these and asked him what is that?!?

That’s right, its basically a fan sound simulator.  Don’t laugh if your not familiar with it, it works for me BIGTIME.  I own two of the Dohm-DS All-Natural Sound Machine’s.  They have been making these since 1962 and probably still will be making them in 2262 if were still around on this pale blue dot.  🙂

One of mine sits by the door to our bedroom, it cuts the sound of the TV in the next room.  The other I’ve moved all around the house sometimes to cut sound when I’m just on the laptop and trying to work on a project.

The other one I’m linking to below was a big deal on Kickstarter.  It’s basically the digital upgrade to my trusty analog version above, complete with Bluetooth pairing and calibration via your phone.

Bloomberg profiled it a few days ago here:

If this white noise machine can’t get you a good night of shut-eye, nothing will.

 This 16-ounce white noise machine uses a real fan instead of prerecorded sound, and it comes in a knit-wrapped round shape that blends in with just about any environment at home or on the road. The Snooz uses an app that easily pairs over Bluetooth to adjust the fan speed, program automatic start and stop times, and calibrate for nurser

Worth getting if you struggle with sleep or focusing because of background noise.  Worked for me.

Absolute Faves || Sleep Masks (Not just for night time but for Naps too!)

Though they won’t appeal to everybody, I have found sleep masks hugely helpful in falling asleep faster and also staying asleep. My preferred use though is for occasional 20-30 minute naps where I couldn’t block out the light with curtains or a closed door if I tried.

If you have a problem falling asleep or are a light sleeper and occasionally wake up, sleep masks are definitely worth a shot.  You can usually tell within about two weeks if they work or not.  The first 3-4 days, they take a little getting used to or at least did for me.

I’ve tried a bunch of these and I settled on the Sleep Mask by Bedtime Bliss. It’s got about 10K reviews on Amazon and for < 15 bucks I found it paid for itself rather quickly.

The other one I’ve tried is the one that Tim Ferris and some other popular bloggers have recommended.  It’s about 10 dollars more:  Sleep Master Sleep Mask. This one is better made IMO, but a little heavier.  I think it’s all going to come down to personal preference.

As long as I’m typing I’ll weigh in on earplugs as well.  I don’t use earplugs for sleep.  I prefer to listen to audiobooks or podcasts to put me to sleep but I do occasionally use earplugs at cafe’s, on plane’s, and while trying to get work done during the day if it’s super noisy around me.

Like many others, I’ve found Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs to be the most comfortable that I’ve used and also have the best seal. The trade-off is pretty well known. There white and get a little dirty over prolonged use and they are a little sticky compared to the more traditional silicone ones.  Beyond that there all about the same to me.  You kind of get what you pay for here. (The little yellow ones work but after an hour they will start to hurt my ears.)


Absolute Faves || Gravity Blankets: Debates over for me, love them for anti-anxiety, insomnia, and relaxation.

Weighted Blanks?  Anxiety Blankets? Gravity Blankets? Huh?  No don’t stop reading yet, these can change your life if you have a hard time sleeping.  I figured these were probably B.S but you’re not taking mine away.  Absolute Fave.

So what are they?  It’s exactly what it sounds like folks.  A HEAVY blanket.  What are they for?  Well, they have a history of use in occupational therapy to help people with autism, ADHD, and anti-anxiety.  For me, they mainly helped with insomnia.  For my son, they help with his autism, for a friend of mine who just uses her when she curls up for some Netflix, they help with anxiety and relaxation.

If you’d like to learn more there is a good overview here despite the title of the article.  Another article I’d recommend is here:

Sleeping With Weighted Blanket Helps Insomnia And Anxiety, Study Finds

A few relevant quotes:

“This treatment is sometimes used to help people with autism or other disorders to focus on sensory experiences, which experts say may boost these individuals’ ability to regulate their emotions and behavior. Weighted blankets are one tool therapists use to provide “deep-touch pressure,” May-Benson said.”

When pressure is gently applied to the body, it encourages serotonin production, which lifts your mood. When serotonin naturally converts to melatonin, your body takes the cue to rest.”

Depression, anxiety, aggression, OCD, PTSD, and bi-polar disorder have all been linked to low serotonin levels in the brain, which weighted blankets are reported to assist with. In addition, people battling with depression, mania, anxiety, trauma, and paranoia, or undergoing detoxification have reported relief from symptoms.

Weighted blankets have reportedly helped patients suffering from a lot of different diseases and disorders, from autism, to Tourette’s, Alzheimer’s Disease, Cerebral Palsy, Restless Leg Syndrome, and even can help alleviate menopausal symptoms!”

Most of the studies on these recommend them at about 10% of your body weight.  I’m about 165 and use the 15-pound version FWIW.  Definitely worth a look if you have insomnia or some of the other symptoms above.

Absolute Fave.

Absolute Faves || The Perfect Gift for Sleeping, Insomnia, and listening to Audio without disturbing others. SleepPhones (pajamas for your ears)

A fantastic suggestion below mentioned by Matt Ridley in Tribe of Mentors for those of us that love audiobooks, podcasts, and music, have difficulty falling asleep but don’t want to disturb others.

But first, a few words about Matt Ridley.  If you haven’t read any of his books yet, he is a sensational best selling author that has written multiple award-winning books mainly about science and economics.  What I love about his writing is that he takes difficult subjects and writes them so that you don’t have to have a PhD to understand them.

His last book is absolutely amazing and I wish I had read it earlier.  (Inexplicably, it sat on my audible wishlist for months.):  The Evolution of Everything.

This book is so good that I started it on a cross-country road trip thinking I’d go back and forth between it and some podcasts maybe mixing in some NPR in between, but it grabbed me from the first chapter and I listened to it almost straight through.  In fact, I actually called a friend at one point and recommend they download it midtrip.

But I digress. 🙂

If you are looking for a gift for a friend, spouse or even yourself and have a hard time falling asleep (like me), you might want to check out SleepPhones.

Want to comfortably listen to audio in bed (or on the go) without disturbing your partner? Drown out snoring companions or noisy neighbors? Then Sleep Phones Wireless are “pajamas for your ears”. The patented “headphones in a headband” design secures ultra-thin, Bluetooth stereo headphones inside a soft, stretchy headband. Sleep Phones Wireless pair with Bluetooth-enabled devices for hours of enjoyment, and are rechargeable via micro-USB. With no painful ear buds, clunky headsets or tangly wires, Sleep Phones Wireless are the cordless version of the original Sleep Phones product, designed by a family doctor to help people fall sleep faster and stay asleep better.”

A Ted Talk by Matt Ridley down below that remains very popular:


“At TEDGlobal 2010, author Matt Ridley shows how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It’s not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.”