Sounds that can help you fall asleep better

A poll which looked at 2,000 adults, found half enjoy listening to white noise to go to sleep or wake them up.

Francesca Tuckey
Tuesday 26 September 2023 13:05 BST
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


A sleep expert has revealed which sounds help you get to sleep – and which ones are the best to wake up to.

Sleep expert Hannah Shore claims ocean waves, a crackling fire and the distant buzzing of a fan are among the top ten sounds that help people fall asleep.

Whereas hearing a piece of toast being cut or a kettle boiling is most likely to make them rise and shine gently.

It comes after a poll which looked at 2,000 adults, found half enjoy listening to white noise to go to sleep or wake them up.

The study, commissioned by Premier Inn, found 26 per cent listen to it every night, with rainfall sounds (40 per cent), music (34 per cent) and the sound of a fan (24 per cent) among the top choices.

The hotel chain has launched Nod-Flix: an ASMR channel where guests can have their optimal video and soundscape play as they drift off.

Hannah Shore, who is working with the hotel brand in partnership with Silentnight, said: “Depending on the individual, watching or listening to something calming before bed can be part of our sleep process.

“Different sounds generate different responses from our subconscious when we’re asleep, so what might be soothing to one, might not be for another.

“If you’re sharing a bed or a room, be considerate and invest in a pair of headphones or why not try finding a sound that you both find soothing?”

The study also found that if they are sharing a room with other people and unable to listen to their white noise, 27 per cent wouldn’t be able to sleep properly as a result.

More than half (58 per cent) normally listen to these sounds or noises on their phone, while 34 per cent tune in via an app.

But 15 per cent even have a sound machine.

Wind sounds (21 per cent), audiobooks (16 per cent) and a cat purring (seven per cent) also made the list of sounds and noises people like to fall asleep to.

It also emerged half of the adults polled feel their sleep varies depending on the season we’re in.

And 57 per cent reckon they sleep the best during autumn or winter, compared to only seven per cent who get the best shut-eye over the summer months.

Respondents were shown a number of hotel-inspired ASMR type videos from the Nod-Flix channel, from the kettle boiling to a suitcase being pulled along hard floor.

It found the sound of sizzling bacon was found to be most relaxing, followed by the trickle of running water from the shower.

The study carried out via, also revealed the sound of a vacuum was surprisingly least calming.

Hannah Shore, for Premier Inn, added: “Switching off does not come as easy to some people as it does others and sounds are a great way to help with this.

“Some people prefer complete silence whereas to others the silence means they listen out for all the little sounds, in a hotel this can be people walking down the hall, doors closing, the lift.

“Others may find they need their brain to concentrate on something else, in these cases there needs to be something in the sounds they can focus on like the slow rhythm of calming music, the repetitiveness of waves lapping on the beach or even the noise of the TV.

“This can allow the mind to switch off from the day and therefore allowing you to fall asleep, which we hope the Nod-Flix channel will accomplish for many.”

Some noises that help Brits sleep better:

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  1. Rainfall sounds
  2. Music
  3. Ocean sounds
  4. The sound of a fan
  5. The sound of favourite TV show/ streaming service
  6. Wind sounds
  7. Podcasts
  8. Audio Books
  9. Jungle/forest/woodland sounds
  10. Fireplace sounds
  11. Static sounds
  12. City ambience
  13. Animal sounds
  14. A cat purring
  15. The sound of a vacuum cleaner

Here are some tips for a restful sleep:

  1. If you’re going to watch something before bed, make sure it’s calming content
  2. Keep the space you’re sleeping in tidy
  3. Don’t eat a heavy meal before bed
  4. Invest in some bed socks – they help increase blood circulation
  5. Make sure your pillow supports your sleeping position
  6. Dim the lights – it helps our bodies to produce sleep hormones like melatonin
  7. Get some black out blinds or curtains to block out bright lights
  8. White noise such as fans, hairdryers, hoovers are great for blocking out sound.
  9. If you want to go to sleep in a calmer way, pink noise is also good - think of wind, steady rain and reselling leaves.
  10. Green noise is similar to pink but will have an undertone of more constant hissing noise but still nature led such as running streams.
  11. To help you focus throughout the day, brown noises such as the crack of thunder which have deeper tones works really well.

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