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Face it, none of us get enough sleep. Chronic sleeplessness is damaging your health and risking your safety on your morning commute. What's worse, it's not for lack of trying. A good sound machine (also called a white-noise machine or a sleep machine) is just one tool in an arsenal of gadgets that can help you get your recommended number of z's.
I've filled my house with sleeping sound machines, to block the battles of The Witcher in the living room while my children snooze, or to let my husband sneak into the bedroom if he's been working late. These are my favorite machines for getting a good night's rest—and those can be hard to come by lately.
Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, such as the Best Mattress and the Best Sunrise Alarm Clocks.
Updated July 2020: We reviewed and continue to stand behind our current picks. We've adjusted pricing, and added more retailers.
You may wonder why we call these "sound machines" more often than "white-noise machines." It's because we're nerds. Technically, the steady background whirr produced by most of these machines isn't white noise at all. Most sound machines use pink, or brown, noise instead. If you think of sound waves as being loosely analogous to light waves, then the different colors of noise refer to different parts of the sound spectrum. Pure white noise is a mix of all the frequencies humans can hear, so it can be a little agitating (think of the static on your TV). Pink and brown noise are at the lower end of the spectrum. They aren't as grating, and have been found to help people sleep a little more deeply.
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