Light sleepers will understand how hard it is to sleep a complete 8-hour at night. But a light sleeper with a huge discomfort with earplugs on will have it hardest.
Big relief to this type of person is knowing there are ways on how to block out noise without earplugs.
I can personally relate to this because first I am the type of sleeper who cannot sleep when there is the slightest sound aside from my fan.
Second, I'm not a rooter of earplugs. It feels uncomfortable to have a foreign object inside the ears.
To make it worse, crickets and loud croaking frogs are heard too clearly in my room. It keeps me awake for hours and I know what will happen during the day- low bat version of myself.
However, you must learn that not all noise that keeps you from sleeping comes from outside. Your roommate (your spouse if you're married) might be the noise source too.
In this post, we will be addressing all possible sources of noise that you'll try to solve. Again, earplugs are a big no because others (like me) find it too uncomfortable and some health risks are present. And this discomfort may be a hindrance to sleep as well.
Not Enough Sleep Is Bad For Your Health
For everyone's information, sleep deprivation results in more than just sleepiness the next day, lack of focus or short temper. These are the common effects you notice to the sleep-deprived person. But there's a lot more.
The immediate effect it has in our mind can be drowsiness, difficulty in memorizing and mood swings. If you have a physical task, you will feel a reduction in strength. Worse you can have hallucinations. Something you would not want.
To better picture, imagine yourself like a charging battery at night. An incomplete charge doesn't last long. Your immunity can be at risk.
Not alarming yet? Lack of sleep can be pretty serious. It can increase the risks of some chronic diseases like diabetes, heart problems, depression or even obesity. Therefore, if not entirely necessary, avoid putting up an all-nighter.
Prevent not getting enough sleep by following pointers on how to block out noise without earplugs.
This is a concise guide to help you stop noise from reaching your ears whether from the outside of your bedroom or inside. You don't need to put up with it before giving a good fight.
Is It Bad To Sleep With Earplugs?
Generally, no. There are a variety of earplugs that are meant to help sleep. But being too dependent on them is not healthy either.
It is an effective solution to dissolve all sorts of sound for a peaceful sleep, yes, but along with its benefits, risks of wearing earplugs must be clear too.
- Often grossed out by earwax? Slightly understandable but earwax is the body's natural defense to dirt that enters ears. Regular use of earplugs may disrupt your ears' ability to drain earwax.
- You take a bath daily because you are concerned with your hygiene. Likewise, clean what you use regularly. If not, bacteria in earplugs will build up and cause an ear infection.
- Earplugs can be harmful to the ear canal. Worst case scenario, the earplugs are pushed inside the ear too much because of its small size.
- Eardrums will be damaged if earplugs are removed fast.
- As earplugs are meant to block out noise, important audio warnings may be muted too.
Best Ways To Block Out Noise Without Earplugs When Trying To Sleep
If possible, refrain from putting foreign objects in your ears. Some solutions for sleeping soundly without help from earplugs are discussed below.
1: Block Out Noise From Outside
Preparing for a good night's sleep? The world is just so good that you can retire the day quietly on your soft bed. Sounds perfect! Too good to be true. In reality, there is a noise that can spoil your night.
There are your loud neighbors on the peak of the party, the busy street, dogs barking simultaneously or howling alone and nature's live sound effects. All or at least one can be a challenge to your sleep.
Block out this sound. Noise can be from outside your bedroom and there's no better option than to soundproof your bedroom.
A perfect bedroom is quiet, dark and well ventilated- very conducive for sleeping. Anyhow, soundproofing can give you all this. Wondering how? Then keep on reading.
Soundproof the door
You may have shut the door of your bedroom but in soundproofing, this is not enough. When you put a door in your layout, it's as good as punching the biggest hole in your wall.
Seal the hole by using a solid core door or if the hollow type is used, just add mass by adding MDF or fiberglass panel or soundproof blanket.
Most importantly, make sure there is no gap by using Weatherstrips along the perimeter of your door and use a door sweep at the bottom.
Neglecting the spaces will mess the soundproofing project of yours. The seal will block the sound from entering your room and contain the cold inside. Moreover, the door sweep will not allow the nasty insects in.
Soundproof the window
Like your door, seal air gaps using Weatherstrips. The tiny space it has on the wall is the sound from the outside's pathway.
Invest in some good, thick curtain too so not only sound will be absorbed but the light will not disturb your sleep as well.
Just by soundproofing your door and window, you already created the perfect bedroom.
A good drape can even cause you to oversleep so keep your alarm nearby.
Soundproof the wall
If you can hear the movements from the adjacent room, too bad you have a thin wall.
Reinforce it by altering your wall's entirety by adding green glue and drywall. However, if you choose not to, there are non-invasive options you can try.
Hanging acoustic foams and soundproof blanket can surprisingly reduce the noise that bothers your sleep. You can even cover this foam with artworks if you're feeling artistic.
You may also try placing your huge furniture against the wall to increase its thickness. Your closet and bookshelf are nice suggestions.
Soundproof the ceiling and/or floor
No thanks hearing the studs of anyone's footsteps (scarier if you're supposed to be alone!) from your ceiling or floor.
If you happen to live in an apartment where you are above or below someone else's, better not hear it at night.
Use acoustic foam as well on your ceiling to fade your upstairs neighbors loud footsteps.
Alternatively, minimize the noise transmitting through the floor by laying thick rugs or carpet on your flooring.
White noise machine
If you're one busy bee who has no time for soundproofing your room but aspire to sleep in peace, a sound or white noise machine is what you need.
This machine is specially designed to help anyone who is bothered by sound other than from their own.
Mask the sound you hear at night with more calming music nearby.
Personally speaking, I'd prefer listening to soft sounds like raindrops, ocean waves or rustling leaves than the loud voices of my neighbors.
The machine is closer to you so you will hear it clearer than outside sounds. One good example is the sound from a fan.
I am a huge admirer of using an electric fan to mask noise from the room. I am too sensitive that even ticking of the clock keeps me awake (silly me!).
Luckily, my fan noise is louder and it helps me dissolve the faint sounds around me.
A form of white noise is the sound produced by the fan.
2: Behavioral Approach To Neighbors
Frankly, some noise we hear in bed is man-made produced by inconsiderate neighbors.
Supposedly, it should be the easiest to solve, but in some cases, they are not.
It is not rude to discuss to your neighbors something so disturbing especially if it's your sleep we are talking about.
Talk to them nicely if they can tone down what they are doing because you have trouble sleeping with their volume.
You are lucky enough if it's a one-time event. In some rare cases, it is an every night loud event. If your neighbor doesn't cooperate, a little help from authorities will be fine.
3: Reduce Noise From Inside
Once upon a time, you dreamt of being a good spouse. That is good until the night falls and you realize that your better half turns into a snoring machine.
Singles, hold your sigh of relief yet because you probably have a noisy roommate who snores like there's no tomorrow.
Luckily, it is easier to deal with people from your own home. Though this is easier than soundproofing, do not belittle the effect of snores to you.
Block out noise without earplugs within your bedroom by these methods.
The most polite approach is to talk to them. Most snorers are not even aware that they snore.
If they will allow, you can record it so they can witness it with their own eyes how loud it can be. There's some truth in seeing is believing.
Afterwards, say you have talked to the snoring-machine-in-human-form and agreed to compromise with you. Then you may suggest a few things they can do to address snoring.
Sometimes, no matter how much soundproofing in your bedroom you do and talking to the right persons responsible, noise finds mysterious ways to reach your ears.
Since you find using foreign objects in your ears uncomfortable, earplugs are out of the options.
In these special cases, you must learn to adjust. If you can get accustomed to the sound around, better, because that will be the best technique if you can.
3: Train Yourself To Sleep In Noisy Environments
But if you can't, you must train yourself to get sleepy. Calm down and try the following. None will hurt by the way.
Grab warm milk or tea before you sleep. Tea has low caffeine content so it won't mess with your body clock. Warm beverages before sleeping relax both mind and body.
Try breathing exercises. Inhale and exhale. Do it in 5 repetitions. It will slow down your heartbeat therefore slowly relaxes your whole body.
Empty your mind and forget your worries after your reflection of the day.
4: Try ASMR To fall asleep when nothing else works
This is a not so popular method but definitely helps.
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is a relatively new technique for helping people who have a hard time falling asleep.
Currently, this is a debate whether it helps a person fall asleep or remain asleep throughout the night.
In this method, a person watches video clips or listen to audio files that will give you a dreamy, tingling sensation.
Most people who experienced ASMR first-hand share that they felt a euphoric sensation from neck to scalp which eventually leads them to fall asleep.
Funny thing is that the videos contain people doing everyday tasks such as folding laundry or brushing hair only. Audio files include the sound of flipping pages of books or magazines and crumpling paper.
Some people require to be touched before experiencing ASMR. The response can be achieved from activities like a massage, caress or light strokes of a feather.
It is found that people who experienced it feels pure bliss then calming in the whole body system and then fall asleep.
5: Products You Need If Noise Keeps You Up At Night
Still struggling to get a peaceful sleep? Don't worry, you do not have to live with dark circles or low spirited body because if none of the above works on you, it's time you reach out for your wallet (even emergency fund!). These special devices will help you.
All pillows are meant for sleeping. But you have to admit it, there are pillows out there that are especially designed for people who doesn’t sleep as fast as others do.
The Dreampad Sleep Pillow is one good sample of which. How? Because it plays music uniquely to signsl your body to calm and relax once you lay your head on.
This music is for your ears only so anyone who sleeps beside you will not be affected. The play back time is long enough for you to bid the day goodnight
White Noise Machine
You already know what white noise machine are, I suppose. If not yet, then you scan the above post.
Sure it is a way to mask sound during the day, but depending on what sound you will play and it can aid your sleep too.
There is an available phone application as white noise machine but expect that you’re batter is low the next morning.
Why don’t you try HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine? A product available exclusive for this purpose.
It offers 6 nature sounds such as White Noise, Thunder, Ocean, Rain, Summer Night, and Brook with adjustable volume setting.
It is portable for you to bring it wherever you decide to spend your night away. Moreover, it can be plugged into AC outlet or battery operated.
The Sound machine can accompany you all night or use its auto-off feature after setting your timer to 15, 30 or 60 minutes.
Somewhat similar to earplugs but minus the discomfort it brings.
SleepPhone is tool in aiding sleep designed to be worn like a headband that even side sleepers may find comfortable.
It is made of special fabric textured to be friendly to the skin with thin, padded & removable speakers that can play music for sleep i.e. audiobooks, meditation melody, white noise, or radio.
Nowadays, the essential oil has been gaining popularity because of its numerous uses. One popular effect is its aid in falling asleep. One can diffuser this recipe at night and expect cloud nine in no time.
- 3 drops of Cedarwood
- 2 drops of Vetiver
- 2 drops of Lavender
All three are known to have a calming effect on the body, especially when inhaled through air.
I use Young Living essential oils and their effectiveness is proven by many.
There was even an instance when minutes after diffusing (by my sister) instant calmness and sleepiness after a long day's work is felt.
Sleep is one luxury in life that must not be scarce. Even without help from earplugs, getting enough of it should not be a problem especially if you know how to block out noise without earplugs because not everybody finds comfort in them.
If you find this post helpful, please don't hesitate to share.
Jessica is a Acoustical Engineer, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. After graduating from her degree in Master of Engineering degree in Acoustics from Solent University in 2014, Jessica worked for a few companies before She will be blogging about her past and current experiences in the studio and sharing her journey as she pursues her career goals. She enjoy the balance of work inside and out of the office, solving practical problems on a daily basis as every project is different and requires a different solution, the variety of work (sound insulation testing, background noise survey, mechanical plant commissioning, external plant assessment, plant room breakout assessments) and the mix of independent and team work.
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