The quest for a good night’s sleep can seem quite elusive at times. In many cases, distracting and annoying noises are to blame. If you’re like many people around the world, you’ve tried all kinds of tactics to get those much-needed Zzzs.

The good news is that white noise is one of many sleep solutions available that can be truly effective. These tips will help you pick the right white noise machine to get the quality sleep you need.

Therapeutic White Noise Machine

What is a White Noise Machine?

While it is a little counterintuitive to make noise to fall asleep, it’s also highly effective. Popular Science describes white noise as “A consistent noise that comes out evenly across all hearable frequencies.” Essentially, white noise is a sound frequency that one hears as a gentle hum or hiss, and is similar to television or radio static, ocean surf, or wind rustling through trees, for example.

White noise machines work by masking the sounds and noises that distract you at night and keep you from falling asleep, as well as those noises that would otherwise wake you up at night.

White noise machines are devices upon which you play the white noises that help you sleep. Most white noise machines fall into two main types:

Mechanical. These consist of an enclosed fan, and enable you to change the tone or pitch of the noise.

Electronic. As the name suggests, these produce white noise sounds electronically and can reproduce nature and relaxation sounds quite naturally and accurately.

What to Consider When Choosing a White Noise Machine for Sleep

White noise machines come in a number of options, in terms of features, types, and sounds.

Sounds. Many white noise devices can imitate sounds like rainfall, waterfalls, wind chimes, songs birds, a cooling fan, and the sound of waves crashing onto the shore – all for the purpose of soothing, relaxing, and masking other noises going on around you.

Tinnitus. For people who experience tinnitus, there are white noise sound machines that come with a Tinnitus sound card to help mask tinnitus. These can be used at night, at home, and at work to mask the ringing in the ears tinnitus sufferers endure.

Babies. White noise machines designed for babies offer others sounds, such as a mother’s heartbeat, womb sounds, lullaby music, and even sounds a car makes on the road, in addition to white noise.

Travel. If you travel a lot, you might find that white noise machines designed for travel are your best option as they often come combined with an alarm clock and travel pouch.

Many people find using white noise machines also enhances their productivity at work and studying skills for school.

If you find, that the slightest noise – a dog barking down the street, the garbage truck outside, or a spouse’s snoring — disturbs your sleep or your concentration, then a white noise machine may be for you.