Sleep Better Tonight: Compact Machines for Your Best Night's Rest

Sleep Better Tonight: Compact Machines for Your Best Night's Rest

Arlyn Hernandez
Apr 5, 2017
(Image credit: Amazon)

I am not a troubled sleeper, and for that, I realize I am incredibly lucky. As long as my environment is relatively dark and quiet, I'm out like a light once my head hits the pillow. But throw in some unexpected sounds, and I'll surely be wide awake for hours, starring at the time tick away while my frustration levels rise sky high. I recently found a solution to ensure a stable-sounding sleep den is always within reach: the sound machine.

These little sleep-helping wonders mask unwelcome sounds from inside or outside your house. Whether your roommate is a night owl who just can't keep it down or your bedroom window faces a noisy street, introducing a sound machine (or white noise machine as they are also called) just might get you some more peaceful, restful and quiet sleep.

Most offer a handful of familiar noises like the gentle rumbling of a distant thunder storm, the ebb and flow of ocean waves, a crackling fire or just simple white noise. Whether you're looking to spend a little or splurge, here are nine of the best-reviewed options on the market.


Six sounds (white noise, thunder, ocean, rain, summer night and brook), adjustable volume and three timer shut-off settings mean you'll get plenty of options for under $25.

If you're not into simulated jungle sounds or babbling brooks and are just looking for straight and simple white noise, the Sleep Easy is for you. Reviewers on Amazon note it could use a timer shut off, though, as it currently is only available with a traditional on/off switch.

This might be the best looking sound machine in this line up, and for just over $30, you'll get a dozen sound options.

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I own this sound machine and though I wish it had a wider variety of sounds (it includes six), it's sleek looking and compact, has a USB port at the back for charging my phone and—at about one inch thick once you remove the kick stand—is great for packing away in my suitcase to take along when I travel. Another cool feature is the auto shut-off timer that can be set to 15, 30 or 60 minutes.

The official sound machine of the National Sleep Foundation, Marpac's Dohm-DS might be one of the most beloved sound machines on the market. It regularly tops many testers' lists, and has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon from over 10,000 reviewers. No wider than your standard pair of glasses, it won't take up much room on your nightstand and travels easily. Choose from two white noise sound settings (high for noisy environments or low for just about everything else).

For those trying to avoid more tangled up cables in their home, the HoMedics Sleep Solutions Sound Soother comes with a rechargeable battery to keep things wireless.

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This unassuming heptagon gives the Marpac machine shown prior a serious run for it's "everybody's favorite" money. Trusted source The Sweethome selected this as their top pick, noting the following: "With its electronically generated sounds, the LectroFan masks shrill noises (such as screeching cats) better than other machines, and it takes up less space on a nightstand."

Sometimes, you just can't reach your nightstand to make adjustments to your machine, so the remote control of this model from HoMedics is a serious savior. Reviewers note the crisp realistic sound of the dual speakers (a common complaint from lower-priced models).

The tiered, complex sound profiles of this super smart machine gives you 30 varied sounds, and if that wasn't impressive enough, the Sound+Sleep actually "listens" to your surroundings while you're dozing off to analyze background noises, remixing the preset sound profiles and adjusting the volume to neutralize disruptions without you even noticing.

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