Silence, not sheep.
April 17, 2017 7:26 PM   Subscribe

I've become the lightest sleeper ever. Please help me with a white noise solution that is portable for traveling. Sleepy snowflakes to follow.

I struggle horribly with falling asleep in general, but am usually able to get to sleep with white noise. I have one of these white noise machines for home which helps. This is of course, after taking zzquil and magnesium and rubbing lavender essential oils on my pillow. Sleep and I don't have the best relationship. I've been to a doctor and they told me I'm fine, nothing to worry about. Except sleep, just still doesn't happen. Ugh. I get my daily run in and try to make bedtime at the same time/a ritual, yadda yadda, still no sleep.

I have a lengthy travel schedule approaching and need help with a solution for white noise because I 1) can't bring my machine with me because 2) I don't have room or the capacity to carry the clunker. I used to bring a portable fan with me, but that no longer helps as far as white noise is concerned.

Usually while traveling, I cram some of those neon-colored drugstore foam earplugs in my ears, but can no longer wear them at all because they really irritate my ears to the point where they get painful and raw from itching. The only time I can wear them is if I grease them in white bacitracin first and eventhen, I'm only good for an hour or two of use.

Are sleeping noise canceling headphones a thing or can anyone recommend a solution? Everything I find are either earbuds (which I am concerned about the ear irritation) or giant, honking clunker-phones which seem more suited for working/reading. I saw a few headband solutions online, but they look like they would get super hot or just shift off. They also look a little scamy, but if anyone has had luck with them, I'm interested to hear. Basically these days everything from traffic outside to my dogs downstairs to my husband trying his best to be quiet wakes me up.

Please help, I'm open to ideas or suggestions. It must be packable/travel well for any international travel. Cost isn't an issue if it's something that would be a game changer.
posted by floweredfish to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I use a White Noise smart phone app. It works almost as well as the machine.
posted by mmf at 7:32 PM on April 17 [7 favorites]

Would a white noise app for your phone work?
posted by mogget at 7:32 PM on April 17

The foam earplugs did nothing for me, but the waxy ones are great.
Quies are wax, but a bit pricey.
I use Mack's Silicone.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:33 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]

Forgot to mention that I would prefer not to use an iPhone app as I don't want to depend on my phone and for some of the travel it will be switched off and tucked away due to being in some remote places where electricity in general will be an unknown (for charging).

Am also a side and stomach sleeper.
posted by floweredfish at 7:36 PM on April 17

This one is light, works well and can run on batteries for travel.
posted by JimN2TAW at 7:50 PM on April 17

Have you seen a sleep doctor? Truly, it changed my life. It was brushed off by other doctors but a sleep doctor immediately listened, understood, and helped me develop a treatment plan. I'd like to encourage you to keep trying for a "real" solution.

In the meantime, I can vouch for this battery-powered white noise machine.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:56 PM on April 17

I have the one peanut_mcgillicuty linked to, which looks like the same as the one JimN2TAW linked. I got it for the kids, but hearing the ocean down the hall actually has helped me sleep tremendously.
posted by sulaine at 8:02 PM on April 17

My daughter has the same one that JimN2TAW linked to...we usually use ocean or thunder and like it a lot.
posted by notjustthefish at 8:04 PM on April 17

I have been using SimplyNoise ( on my computer and phone for a few years and it's great. There's also a SimplyRain version for both devices:

White Noise, Pink Noise, Brown Noise.
posted by GernBlandston at 5:00 AM on April 18

I travel with a white noise machine usually, though I use the one on my phone as a backup. This is one I've been looking at but not yet gone all-in and purchased yet. I'm lucky enough to be able to sleep with earplugs and it does seem like you might want to try a few more different kinds, including those wax ones which mostly go outside your ear and not in your ear canal.

Sleep hygiene is the big thing, of course, but for me the big travel game-changer was flat out sleeping pills. Only used for travel, they help whatever new noises are around not be such a big deal. Everyone manages this stuff differently but I wake up more awake than after ZZZquil and equivalents which was useful to me.
posted by jessamyn at 7:09 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]

If you have a portable CD player and a little speaker, you can get a white noise CD. Use batteries and put it on repeat.
posted by Leontine at 7:25 AM on April 18

In my experience nothing replaces mechanically generated white noise. This may not work for you but I have found that listening to some sort of spoken word podcast helps me get to sleep. Something with no music and dry but slightly interesting content.
posted by jmsta at 7:29 AM on April 18

I know you are discouraged with ear plugs but you should try these Hearos. I have tried several brands and they are only ones I can wear all night for multiple nights because they are narrower & softer.
posted by canoehead at 7:39 AM on April 18

I use the Sleep Cycle app as my alarm clock, and they have an option to set white noise as part of the sleep analysis situation. Won't help if you want to keep you iPhone in your bag, but I've been really happy with it, and you can also get a better idea of your overall sleep quality.
posted by helloimjennsco at 7:48 AM on April 18

I swear I'm not a shill for SleepPhones (I seem to recommend them a lot on the Green), but I really love mine. They are super comfortable (and I am mega-sensitive about everything) and work great paired with a white noise app on my phone. I can wear them when sleeping on my side.

Another option if you don't want to wear headphones is to get a little portable bluetooth speaker and use a white noise app.

There are tons of free white noise apps. Personally, I like Calm.
posted by radioamy at 12:35 PM on April 18

Spouse and I use/are addicted to a high quality fan at home, and when we travel use the White Noise app on my iPad. On that app I use the Brown Noise setting and it works great. I find that if I set the phone or iPad on a pillow it 'softens' the noise a bit further. I think many times it works better than a fan.
posted by docpops at 2:39 PM on April 18

I just saw an ad this morning for the Asti Lectro Fan Micro - it looks to be really small, generate white noise, & charge by USB. I haven't tried it, but it might work on the small requirement.
posted by needlegrrl at 3:11 AM on April 21

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