The 7 Best Sounds for Sleep (2021): Rainscapes, White Noise Machines, and More

on boats in Southeast Alaska, they call it a “diesel coma.” The gentle tone of the boat engines combine with the rolling sea and petroleum waters, lulling you to some of the best things you’ll ever catch – on a fishing vessel or otherwise. When I was a camp counselor at Sitka Fine Arts Camp, I discovered joy in a diesel coma. Some of the best naps I’ve had were on inter-island trips.

Early in the pandemic, my underlying desire for a home audio sleep aid swelled into an absolute need. I It was To distract myself from my rushing thoughts after sunset. Without a big open-water body and a pair of diesel V-8s, I looked the next best thing: echo point with clock. I’ve scrolled through the different sleep sound options, to no avail. None of them felt the truth enough, natural Enough, they can put me to sleep.

Finally, I found out Rainforest Sounds by Voice Apps, LLC. It’s a multi-layered soundscape built on top of a softly circulating stream. You hear the chirping of birds, the hum of an owl, and other soothing sounds in combination that grab your attention and then do nothing with it. Listening to Rainforest Sounds, my mind becomes inside the white room where God hangs out at the movies. Every time I need something to help me sleep, it’s the first thing I turn on.

This got me thinking: What are the other members of WIRED Gadget Lab using? During one of the WIRED Gadget Lab’s recent weekly meetings, I mentioned the sounds of my beloved rainforest and received a barrage of others’ private voices in return. So without further ado, here are the sounds we’d love to fall asleep to, from traditional favorites to more exotic options.

If you are looking for a speaker to listen to sleep sounds, we recommend Mini smart speakers from Amazon and Google. It costs less than $100 and offers enough fidelity to simulate streams, fans, and other distracting noises. Don’t forget to check out our buying guides to Best bluetooth headphones and the Best wireless headphones As well. Do you have a favorite of yours too specific to send a snooze? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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Rainforest sounds by audio apps


For over a year, my favorite sleep-soothing sound has been using the gentle sounds of nature. The combination of flowing water, bird calls, and roaring bugs makes me feel like I’m outside camping. I also like that it’s a pretty long loop, about an hour, but it fades between the intro and the epilogue so it’s never really shaken by a quick change of volume. —Parker Hall


iOSAnd the Android

This no-nonsense app lets you choose from different rain sounds. You can choose a thunderstorm, crackling raindrops on the roof, and a couple of other options. It’s a good free alternative to what’s also excellent Rainy Mood App ($3). Lauren Strump



Watch ASMR Videos Sleep can lead to a tingling feeling, making it difficult to achieve the same feeling of relaxation. Getting stuck in this channel was a stroke of luck. Sophie, the creator, creates aesthetically pleasing videos that focus on crafts, nostalgia, makeup, and hours of sticky sounds. ASMR is a saturated space, but these videos relax me without fail. Lauren Strump

Times End II


Sometimes I need a simple atmosphere to sleep – to put my mind in a certain place, in a certain atmosphere. One of my favorites is the album End time II on Spotify. It’s made up of remixed music from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s MaskThe delightfully bizarre follow-up to the hit N64 game ocarina of time. It’s moody, dark, and mixed with the sound of the woods at times. It does not calm me to sleep so much as it takes me to a place soft, dark and safe like a bed of moss inside a great deco tree. – Jess Gray

sound fan box


During our three week trip to Asia, my partner and I badly missed the box fan we usually leave while sleeping. We played this trusted reality episode for eight hours every night. Spotify Wrapped even said it was the best song of the year. Pro tip: Use the cross-fade setting to avoid awkward pauses when the “song” starts over. Lauren Strump

White Noise Ambience Lite

iOSAnd the Android

While I love listening to rain or birds outside my window, I’m not a fan of the fake versions that are often available on audio devices. But I also needed to filter out all the noise that happens in apartment buildings. This is how I found the White Noise Ambience Lite app. It has your classic options, like ocean waves and chirping bugs, but there’s also the crackle of a vinyl drum and my favorite, the clothes dryer. It’s just the right amount of noise to block out everything else and put me to sleep. – Media Giordano

From fellow product reviewer Matt Jancer to others across the WIRED family, many swear by the selection within our white noise machine guide. Our top pick is LectroFan Classic ($50)It features a surprisingly sophisticated array of pink, brown and white noises. It even has the ability to ramp up to a whopping (but still safe enough not to hurt your ears overnight) 85 decibels of distraction.

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