In houses where there’s no such thing as the sound of silence, restless would-be sleepers can turn to white noise from a bedside machine for relief — from street noise, trains whistling from nearby tracks, air-conditioning units kicking on, dogs barking and other sounds that are simply part of daily life.
People who need white noise to sleep find it to be a “helpful distraction,” says Dr. David Davila, a sleep specialist at Baptist Health Sleep Center in Little Rock. “Also, white noise tends to distract and help control ruminations which are repetitive thoughts that often crop up at bedtime or in other quiet settings.”
Whooshing wind, gentle breezes, rain, ocean waves, chirping birds, a whining vacuum cleaner or hairdryer, bubbling water, a purring cat — even the wail of an ambulance siren— are among the sounds people find restful. The type of sound a person finds soothing boils down to personal preference. See tomorrow’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more.