How to block out noise at night

Noise during sleep can affect your health, even if you don’t wake up. Here’s how to counteract the commotion.

How to block out noise at night

How to block out noise at night

A TV droning in the next apartment, a late-night bus hissing to a stop, birds chirping in the wee hours — all these noises can potentially pull you out of much-needed slumber. Whether inside or outside of your home, environmental noises can be a problematic sleep disruptor that slowly start to impact your health. Fortunately, noise can be masked or completely avoided in order to maintain quality shuteye.

“In order to sleep at night,” says Chelsie Rohrscheib, Ph.D., sleep specialist and neuroscientist, “our brains have to reduce [their] heightened awareness to allow our brainwaves to slow so we can drift off to sleep. Therefore, it’s essential that our sleeping environment be free of stimulation that our brain will try to focus on, including noise.”

How Noise Affects Sleep Quality (Even When It Doesn’t Wake You Up)

“Our earliest ancestors had to deal with danger from predatory animals, harsh environmental conditions, and other humans from foreign tribes,” Rohrscheib explains. Noise put us on alert. It was how our minds snapped awake or prevented us from falling asleep. “Thus, our brains evolved to constantly scan our environment and switch attention between different stimuli to determine if there is danger present.”

Though we typically do not deal with the same threats that awakened our hunter-gatherer ancestors, the attention processes in our brains still exist and work the same, according to Rohrscheib. And audio cues evolve to notify us of other issues: Our brains are still hardwired to be on alert for, say, that smoke alarm or the wail from the baby monitor.

Researchers have found that environmental noise — like the sounds you may think you’re used to — can cause significant sleep disturbances. One of the most problematic types of night noise pollution comes from transportation, like cars, trains, busses, and airplanes. But noises inside the home are a concern too. Disruptive sounds, even at low exposure levels, can have a negative effect, both on falling asleep and staying asleep. If you have misophonia, or are particularly sensitive to noise, consistent noise may be a bigger disruption for you than other people.

“Consistent noise, such as snoring,” Rohrschieb says, “may make it extremely difficult to fall asleep because your brain never has a chance to reduce attention away from the snoring sound. Conversely, a random one-off noise, such as a car horn, might quickly jolt you awake, as your brain may consider it a threat.”

Ray Sadoun, a London-based mental health and addiction recovery specialist, works with clients in recovery who struggle to get a good night’s sleep in a noisy environment. “Your brain still processes sound when you are asleep,” he says, “so too much noise is a serious obstacle to getting high-quality sleep every night.”

Products and Tricks for Blocking Out Noise at Night

You may not be able to move away from that bus stop outside your bedroom window or stop the birds from their perky chirping. However there are many hacks and products to help reduce sound levels at night.

Soundproof Your Room

“Having multi-pane, noise-blocking windows [is] one of the best ways to reduce outdoor noise from entering the bedroom,” Rohrscheib says. But if you can’t change your windows, you can opt for soundproof curtains, which help block soundwaves. Seek out a product with a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of 20 or higher.

Other effective ways to soundproof your room include:

  • Use a towel or door sweep to seal the bottom of your bedroom door to drown out living room noise and light.
  • Place a bookshelf against the wall that transmits sound to muffle vibrations.
  • Place soft rugs over creaky floorboards to dampen noise.
  • Buy a sound-proof foam sheet to set into your window at night.

Use High-Quality Ear Plugs

Sleeping with high-quality earplugs may also be a solution. And they’re a portable option for travel. “Silicone ear plugs cancel out enough noise for you to be able to enjoy a distraction-free sleep,” Sadoun says.

Earplugs have a noise reduction rating (NRR). If you sleep in a noisy environment, aim for an NRR of 33 decibels, which is the highest level of noise reduction. Based on a specific formula, an NRR rating of 33 reduces your exposure by 13 decibels. For reference, residential urban noise generally ranges from 45 to 55 decibels.

Try a Sound Machine

A sound machine emits a continuous loop of noise to block out environmental sounds. In one small trial, researchers found that a white noise machine helped subjects fall asleep faster than they did when exposed to the normal noise around them. Beyond white noise, there is also pink noise and brown noise to help with sleep.

For a quick fix, you can also try turning on your fan for the night.

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How to block out noise at night

Not everybody is a sound sleeper. For some, the slightest bit of outside noise can cause the loss of sleep. There is no reason that you need to lose sleep due to this outside noise, though. Here is how you can block out noise at night.

Keep your windows closed whenever possible. This may be more difficult during the summer months, especially if you don’t have central air. During the summer, try to close your bedroom windows and leave the other ones open.

Run a loud fan in your bedroom at night. You can do this at all times of the year. When colder weather comes, simply point the fan away from your bed or even towards the opening of your bedroom. This way, your room will not get too cold.

Use a humidifier during the night. This will block out noise in the same way that a fan will. It is also useful if you are suffering for a cold or you simply want to add more moisture to the air. A humidifier is an easy way to combat dry skin.

Keep a TV or radio on during the night. This won’t block the noise out as much as a fan will but it will give you something to concentrate on. If you’re listening to a ballgame on the radio, for example, you’ll be less likely to notice any random noises coming from outside.

Buy a noise machine and run those when you are attempting to sleep. These are nice because you can choose a variety of other sounds to hear other than those that come from the outside. Many people prefer the sound of waves crashing to the regular outdoor noises that keep them awake at night.

Noise can be a real problem to your sleep. Whether its outside, such as:

  • People talking in the street
  • Traffic
  • Barking dogs
  • Noisy neighbors

Or whether the noise originates inside your house, from:

  • Snoring
  • Heavy breathing
  • Other people in the house who are awake

If noise is keeping you awake at night, here are some ways to mask and block out that unwanted noise.

How to mask noise

How to block out noise at nightMasking the noise involves introducing your own relaxing background noise to mask other noises so you can’t hear them. Masking is particularly effective for traffic and any other low level noise that keeps you awake.

There three types of noise that work well to mask noise. In order of preference, they are:

White noise – A type of static noise that contains all the sound frequencies mixed together that’s well known for its ability to mask noises. You can buy a white noise MP3, stream it for free from the Simply Noise website, buy a dedicated sound machine or generate it yourself using a fan.

Nature sounds – Anything with constant noise such rain, streams or waterfalls work best. Bird sounds are often too quiet to block out noise. Ocean waves on their own don’t work very well either because you can hear the noise you’re trying to block in between the waves. Nature sounds vary dramatically in quality so always ensure you listen to a preview of sounds before buying them.

Ambient music – Soft relaxing music that helps you sleep. Ambient music only works well for quiet noises. Otherwise you would have to play the music at too loud a volume for sleep.

The trick is to strike the balance between having the background noise loud enough to block out the noise but quite enough so that it doesn’t disturb your sleep. In most cases through, the background noise can be surprisingly quiet to block out most sounds.

How to block out noise

If the noise is loud or difficult to mask, consider getting a good pair of comfortable ear plugs specially designed for sleeping in.

Not all ear plugs are the same. There’s a variety of different types available. They vary in comfort, how well they fit in your ear, and how good they are at blocking out sound.

For a selection of the best ear plugs for sleeping, take a look at my ear plug reviews. There I go through the pros and cons of each type of ear plug to help you find the ones best suited to you.

How to become less sensitive to noise

Sometimes the problem isn’t the noise itself that’s keeping you awake, but your reaction to the noise. It’s known as noise sensitivity – when what you feel after hearing the noise is worse than the tangible disturbance the noise creates.

It’s a problem I suffer with myself. For example, I used to live next door to a neighbor who kept their dog outside allowing it to bark all night long without doing anything about it. Now just the sound of distant barking at night makes me feel the same anger and frustration about people who seemingly don’t care about anyone else but themselves. The sound has become an emotional trigger. It’s not the sound that’s the problem, it’s my reaction to it.

You might feel the same way by hearing ‘that noise’ that just sends you over the edge. When really, if you changed how you felt about it, it wouldn’t really bother you.

If you can identify with this, there is help out there to help remove those emotional triggers. Hypnosis Downloads, providers of the excellent Insomnia Beater Pack, have two hypnosis sessions specially for this type of problem

I can’t explicitly recommend these because I haven’t tried them myself, but I can recommend Hypnosis Downloads as a company. Each hypnosis session comes with a 90 day money back guarantee so if you suffer from this problem and blocking out or masking the noise isn’t an option, then these hypnosis sessions are definitely worth a try.

It’s tough enough to wind down our overworked minds to relax by bedtime. Add in noise from the street, a snoring roommate, or night owl neighbors, and shuteye seems impossible.

Even if your home is a zen den of silence, we all have to find ways to sleep despite noise sometimes, especially when we’re traveling.

Noise can cause insomnia, making it tough for you to fall asleep and get your full 7 to 9 hours in. Worse, long-term noise exposure has been indirectly linked with disturbed sleep, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and other health problems.

Unless you happen to be blessed with more frequent sleep spindles than the average person, it’s normal to wake up thanks to noise.

Fortunately, it is possible to train yourself to sleep in noisy environments. Just follow these tips.

The behavioral approach

The best way to train your mind to sleep in a noisy environment is through behavioral modifications and sleep-promoting habits. Even better, these techniques will help you sleep more soundly no matter where you are (pun intended).

1. Try to forget it’s noisy.

Our first tip seems easier said than done, but it works. Focusing on the noise, and how much it’s driving you crazy, will only amp up your nervous system and energize you into a fretful bout of insomnia.

Instead, acknowledge its presence and assert that you have the power to overcome it.

2. Focus on something else.

Then, give your mind something else to focus on besides the noise. The following are all great options for calming your nervous system and readying your body for sleep:

  • Deep breathing exercises: Slowly breathe in and out, counting as you do so. Start with counts of 3 each for your inhale and exhale, and then slowly increase that up to 5 or even 6.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Systematically work through your body, tensing and relaxing your muscles as you travel from head to toe.
  • Visualization: Imagine yourself in a tranquil place that’s free of noise and makes you happy and relaxed.
  • Meditation: Meditation is good for training your mind to focus on a single point, whether it’s a vision in your head or a personal mantra.

3. Distract your ears.

Create a classical music playlist and play it softly through noise-cancelling headphones. There are also plenty of white noise and guided meditation apps you can download and play on your phone to help you sleep.

If you don’t want to wear headphones while you sleep, try earplugs. Alternately, add an external noise defense to your bedroom. Turn on a white noise machine, portable fan, or air purifier (this last one provides extra benefits for sleepers with allergies).

4. Make yourself exhausted before bed.

Sleep comes easier when you’re exhausted, noise or not. Exercise and get plenty of natural sunlight during the day.

By the time it gets dark, your mind will be ready to kick off melatonin production and your muscles will be begging for rest.

5. Set up a bedtime routine.

Take a warm bath or shower before bed. Use essential oils. Turn off all your electronics. Go to bed at the same time every night.

The idea here is to prep your mind and body and train it to a sleep schedule.

More extreme ideas

Sometimes a few behavior changes aren’t enough. If you’re dealing with party animal neighbors or a busy city street, you’ll have to start physically adapting your home to make it quieter.

1. Rearrange your furniture.

Noise works by reflecting or bouncing off of surfaces. This is why recording studios are outfitted with all sorts of padded acoustic panels and strategically placed furniture.

Move your bed to the part of your bedroom that’s furthest from the noise. In an apartment complex, this could be the opposite wall of your neighbor, while in a dormitory it could be further away from the door.

2. Place blockers against the source of the noise.

Then, place some pillows or towels against cracks in your door (or get a door sweep). Move a couch or loaded bookcase against the offending wall.

You can even hang a blanket or piece of fabric against the wall. Remember: Soft items absorb noise, while hard surfaces reflect and amplify it. If you’re willing to buy specialized equipment, get acoustic blankets or wall panels with a noise reduction rating of at least 0.85.

If you own your own home, plant trees, bushes, and other foliage outside your bedroom window to provide an additional buffer between you and cars passing by on the street.

3. Insulate your floor, walls, and ceilings.

If you live in an apartment with thin walls, get carpeting for your floor or a thick, shaggy area rug. If you prefer a harder floor, opt for cork flooring over wood for your home.

Seal up your windows with window sealant, and use heavy, blackout curtains. These will not only block out the noise, they’ll block out light, too, making sleep easier.

Start a conversation

Sometimes the best way to get rid of the noise is to go straight to the source.

If you share your bedroom with a snorer, kindly encourage them to fix their snoring. In the meantime, you can get earplugs, white noise machine, and even a mattress with better noise and movement isolation.

If you’re dealing with a noisy neighbor, be as nice, honest, and courteous as possible. They may not realize how loud they’re being. Talk to your neighbor directly, instead of calling the cops or your landlord. Approach them at a time that’s convenient for them, which is not in the middle of the night when their noise is keeping you up and making you angry. If they’re an upstairs neighbor, you might even bring an area rug as a peace offering.

With either of these approaches, you have to do it with the ultimate finesse. Otherwise, you risk causing a rift in the relationship and them acting noisier than ever before in retaliation.

Special tips for travelers

If you’re traveling, plan ahead to minimize the noise you’ll have to deal with at your destination:

  • Request a bed or a room furthest away from noise. In a hotel, this could be the room furthest from the elevator. In a hostel or shared sleeping environment, it could be the bed closest to the corner and furthest from the hallway.
  • Before booking, read reviews to see which of the hotels or hostels you’re considering has the fewest noise complaints from other customers.
  • Pack earplugs. Disposable ones are small enough to carry and cheap.

IF YOUR neighbours hold all-night raves and play loud music in the dead of night, the way to get a good night’s sleep may be to use the loudspeakers on your own hi-fi to eliminate the noise.

Researchers at the University of Southampton are investigating the scope for neutralising low-frequency bass notes by generating “antiphase” sound with an ordinary hi-fi system.

“It’s well known that the low-frequency bass beat can create very serious disturbances to neighbours,” says Frank Fahy, professor of engineering acoustics at Southampton. “It has even led to murder” he adds. “There’s so much sound energy at low frequencies that conventional, passive sound insulation within walls doesn’t work,” says Fahy.

The idea is that microphones in the bedroom would pick up the bass notes and relay them to the victim’s own hi-fi. The hi-fi would process the signal, and produce “antiphase” sound waves that would cancel the offending bass note.

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Fahy and his colleague Steve Elliott stress that their three-year project is simply a feasibility study to assess whether such technology would be worth developing. “At this stage, we don’t know if it can be done,” says Fahy.

But active noise-damping systems are already used in factories, cars, helicopters and aircraft. The team at Southampton has developed several such systems for industry, but this is its first attempt to apply the technology in homes.

Fahy and Elliott want to blot out bass notes with frequencies of around 50 hertz. “We are looking to mop up the ‘boom, boom, boom’ sound that drives people mad,” says Elliott. In effect, he says, the wall separating neighbours acts as a giant loudspeaker, resonating at the same low frequencies.

In preliminary experiments, Fahy and Elliott made a mock-up of two rooms separated by a wall. The bass notes that passed through the dividing wall were picked up and fed to an amplifier, which adjusted their amplitude and phase so that the sound waves coming out of the loudspeakers neutralised the sound of the bass notes from next door.

Fahy and Elliott stress that the technology would only cope with bass notes and would be no substitute for good wall insulation, which cuts out higher frequencies.

They hope to fit their system into ordinary hi-fis, so that people could use their existing loudspeakers to blot out noisy neighbours. “It’s relatively long-term stuff,” admits Elliott. “But it’s such an important problem, and it makes so many people’s lives a misery.”

No more noisy interruptions.

How to block out noise at night

Sleep is essential—but often interrupted. Snoring, among other sounds of the night, can wake you up and leave you staring at the ceiling for hours wondering how long your body can go without sleep.

You can change up your diet, check in with a sleep coach, or count sheep, but none of those solutions will quiet noise like a good pair of earplugs can. While some people find white noise and sleep gadgets to help them catch some extra Z’s (and they totally can!), sometimes, you’ve just got to turn off the noise and go the hell to sleep. And earplugs are safe to sleep with, too! At most, you risk a little buildup of earwax, but there are treatments for it.

Let’s face it, you owe your body a peaceful night’s rest. Sleep is so crucial to your overall health and wellness and a good night’s sleep sets the tone for your entire day. When your sleep and wake cycle is thrown off, you disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm which helps keep your bodily functions in check and connects to outlying health issues like blood sugar regulation, metabolism and mental health.

You might have never thought of wearing earplugs before, but after you try one of our picks from the roundup ahead, you’ll see that this simple change was worth the effort. We have studied and tested a ton of options to bring you the 10 best earplugs on the market, especially if you sleep with a snorer, live in a noisy building or a city that never sleeps.

From noise-cancelling options that completely block out sound, to affordable-yet-effective reusable picks for the guy on a budget and noise-masking earplugs that lie in the middle, soon you’ll achieve the deep sleep you’ve always dreamed of. We bring you the best earplugs for traveling and taking naps too! Because if we all got a good night’s sleep, maybe the world would be a nicer place.

How to block out noise at night

One of the biggest problems people face when moving into a new apartment is loud neighbors living upstairs. You may be able to hear their footsteps, as well as music and shouting, and this could disturb your sleep.

At one point, the noise from my neighbors upstairs was so unbearable, I couldn’t take it anymore, especially since my wife had a baby on the way and I’d recently started working from home.

I absolutely love DIY projects, so learning to soundproof my space wasn’t a problem for me. However, it wasn’t always easy, and it required the investment of some time and money.

In order to share what I’ve learned and help you accomplish the same thing, I’ll fill you in on some of the easiest and cheapest ways to block out noise from your own upstairs neighbors.

How to Block out Noise From Upstairs Neighbors

1. Find the Source of the Noise

The first thing you’ll need to do, before wasting any money on materials you don’t need, is to find out where the majority of the noise is coming from. If the noise is coming from a specific area of your apartment, as opposed to the whole ceiling, you’ll only need to soundproof that area on its own.

Often, the apartment building itself is the culprit in regard to the circulation of noise. If this is the case, you’ll need to soundproof your entire ceiling, in order to stop unwanted noise from traveling through it.

2. Determine What Type of Noise Bothers You

Once you’ve found the source of your neighbors’ noise, it’ll be time to decide what type of noise bothers you.

Normally, noisy neighbors have a wide array of disturbing techniques in their arsenal. For example, they might loudly play music, stomp around the house and slam doors, instead of just doing one of these things.

You should also keep in mind that you may be dealing with both of the main types of residential noise. If the sound is carried through the structure of the building, then you’re dealing with structure-borne noise, and the most common type of structure-borne noise is impact noise.

In short, when an impact is generated in a rigid structure, it vibrates and radiates the energy that’s not absorbed. It transmits this energy to the building structure, to the connected constructive elements and even to adjoining particles, generating a low, attenuated airborne sound.

For example, impact noise is the noise you hear as your upstairs neighbors are moving pieces of furniture or dropping items on the floor. Even heavy footsteps can create impact noise.

You can easily solve this problem by using soundproofing or sound-absorbing materials to reduce echo and impact noise. You can also contact your neighbors and ask them if they would mind carpeting their floor. This will help reduce the amount of noise they produce by 50% percent, and you’ll have a much better sleep when you’re no longer hearing footsteps above you.

3. Increase the Density of the Ceiling

If your ceiling’s thin, it doesn’t matter what it’s made of—you’ll surely hear some noise coming from upstairs.

However, there are several materials you used to solve this problem, and the most common material used for soundproofing a ceiling is drywall. It’s a thick material that can effectively block out noise and reduce the amount you hear by at least 70 percent.

For the best results possible, add two or three drywall sheets (instead of just one) to your ceiling. In order to attach the drywall securely, you should use a noiseproof sealant such as Green Glue , and you must remember to cover the entire ceiling of the room you’re trying to soundproof.

The best part about this technique is that you won’t need help from your neighbors (or anyone else) to get the job done, since everything can be completed within your own apartment.

On the negative side, drywall isn’t the most attractive-looking material, but there are ways to make it look better. For instance, you can easily coat it with soundproofing paint or cover it with some soundproof foam panels .

4. Insulate the Underside of the Ceiling

With this particular technique, you’ll need to remove the ceiling and insulate the bottom by using some resilient channels , which are metal constructions that create small air pockets in a structure.

Although this method takes a lot of work, it’s a fairly affordable soundproofing solution to make use of.

5. Construct a Drop Ceiling

Another effective way to block noise from your upstairs neighbors is to construct a drop ceiling. Once it’s been created, this additional ceiling will be hanging underneath your actual ceiling.

The space between a regular ceiling and a drop ceiling is actually known as the plenum area. This area is where all of the impact noise passing through your primary ceiling will completely disappear—no more footsteps, vibrations or items dropping will be heard!

If you’re planning on using this method then you should be prepared to put in a lot of time and money, but it’s worth the investment in the end.

6. Politely Speak With Your Neighbors

When addressing your neighbors, you can politely ask them to be a bit quieter, although you should use this method in conjunction with at least one of the other methods above.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are several effective ways of dealing with noise that’s coming from your upstairs neighbors, and although they take some time and effort to employ, they’re all fairly inexpensive. With these fixes available, it’s a shame that so many people spend their lives being bothered by this sort of noise.

If you’re interested in soundproofing more areas of your home—or even the whole thing—you may be interested in our guide to soundproofing a laundry room door.

When air-conditioners buzz, children scream, jackhammers rumble and restaurants clamor, these tools help best.

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How to block out noise at night

Ms. Chen is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter, a product recommendation site owned by The New York Times Company.

Slowly but surely, my corner of New York City is coming alive again. New neighbors will be moving into the long-vacant apartment across the hall, and from the sound of it, they’re giving it a real face-lift. The building’s sidewalk replacement project, long delayed, is back in action. People are having rooftop parties on my block again — or maybe it just sounds like it’s on my block.

I tried a hodgepodge of noise-fighting devices — white-noise machines, ear plugs, noise-canceling headphones — but nothing seemed to work. So I turned to audio experts and my colleagues at Wirecutter, where I’m a senior staff writer. It turns out, I’d been using these devices all wrong. Successfully managing everyday city noise requires a balance of physics and psychology — part of what makes noise annoying is our lack of power over it. Here’s how to optimize your noise-fighting devices and take control of common noise problems.

Construction Work

For extremely loud noises like building or street construction, you want to start by lowering the decibels. When jackhammers and electric saws make your ears hurt, feel full or ring, then the noise is too loud and could be damaging your hearing. Start by getting a pair of good-quality foam ear plugs, which can lower the intensity of noise entering your ears by as much as 15 to 30 decibels. Mack’s Slim Fit Soft Foam Earplugs (about $10 for 50 pairs) were the top performers in most of Wirecutter’s objective measurement tests, and they had the most fans on our four-person test panel. If you can’t get a snug fit with Mack’s — crucial with any earplug — Wirecutter also recommends 3M’s E-A-Rsoft OCS1135 for people with wider ear canals.

Earplugs will take care of safety, but even at lower volumes, noises can be annoying. Add a second layer of defense with white noise, either from an app or a dedicated machine. For very loud noises like construction, you can combine both ear protection and masking noise “so you don’t need to crank the sound up to painful levels for it to work,” said Stéphane Pigeon, an audio engineer and the developer of Wirecutter’s favorite white-noise app, myNoise.

Mr. Pigeon suggested protective headsets that fit over the ears and connect to your streaming or white-noise device. Nonconnecting headsets worn over wireless earbuds are also very effective “for the truly desperate,” said Wirecutter senior staff writer and headphones reviewer Lauren Dragan.

Typically, the most effective masking option is one that’s a close match to the sound curve of your nuisance noise but sounds more pleasant in your mind (rain on a tarp, for instance, to diffuse incessant hammering). However, loud apartment renovations — with a mix of high frequencies (drills) and low frequencies (jackhammers) that start and stop abruptly — can be tough to mask effectively. Counterintuitively, Mr. Pigeon recommends fighting such “bad” construction noise with “good” construction noise (his version of designed cacophony is available when you search “Demolition Site” on myNoise.net; on the app, it’s $1). It sounds bizarre, but when I tried it, the gentler, more rhythmic bulldozing and jackhammering blended away the jagged edges of the real-life noises just enough to keep me sane.

Generators and Air-Conditioners

The humming of your window air-conditioner unit may be a constant companion this warm-weather season, and its predictable, low-frequency whirs and rumbles are exactly what noise-canceling headphones are best at tackling. Dan Gauger, an engineer in applied research at Bose, explained that noise-canceling technology creates sound waves in the same frequencies and amplitudes — but opposite phase — of a low-pitch nuisance, so the sound essentially cancels out. Those sound waves don’t line up with high-frequency noises (such as car alarms or a crying baby), so don’t try using your headphones to block those.

Wirecutter recommends Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (about $380). Though a bit pricey, they offer Bose’s top-notch noise cancellation on an adjustable scale from zero to 10, plus plenty of comfort.

Bars and Parties

Properly inserted ear plugs will dampen high-pitched noise best, Mr. Gauger said, but often the problem is a mix of frequencies, which means you’ll want to dampen volume and mask it with the sounds you want to listen to. Noise-canceling headphones can tame the thump of low-frequency bass, and you can add pink noise or rainfall sounds from a whit-noise app or machine to effectively soften loud chatter or the shouts of rowdy guests.

If you’re trying to sleep in the headphones, though, you will have to sleep on your back. For those who won’t miss the noise-canceling aspect, Wirecutter has found sleep headphones, like the headband-style, wireless AcousticSheep SleepPhones (about $100), that may be more comfortable for side and stomach sleepers.

Things That Go Bump in the Night

White-noise machines are the most suitable solution for the jarring, high-frequency sounds that grate on your nerves — a leaky shower, the yapping of small dogs, or the high-pitched screams of small children. Instead of setting your white-noise machine on the night stand next to you, you’re better off placing it three to six feet away from you, between you and the source of the noise.

Sam Nicolino, the engineer who developed the white-noise machines LectroFan EVO and Sound+Sleep, said that the gentle rhythms of the white-noise machine should fill the room rather than sit in a corner.

The LectroFan EVO (about $45), Wirecutter’s pick for the best all-around white-noise machine, masks a wider variety of noises than the other machines we tested in its price range. Otherwise, the classic, no-frills Yogasleep Dohm (about $45) is a reliable choice if you feel soothed by fan noises. (Yogasleep, formerly Marpac, bills it as the “original white noise machine.”) The Dohm generates its sounds from an actual fan, which gives it a comforting analog quality, but it’s also more limited in its masking capabilities compared with its electronic counterparts.

The best earplugs for sleeping are those that stay in, stay comfortable and block noise — so which is best, wax, foam or silicone?

How to block out noise at night

Sleeping well is vital to staying healthy. Regularly getting a good night’s slumber will improve mental and physical health, boost productivity at work, help creativity, benefit the immune system and encourage your brain and heart to function properly. Sleep deprivation can lead to prematurely aged skin, lower libido and heightened susceptibility to diabetes or Alzheimer’s. The list goes on.

Perhaps it’ll come as no surprise that Britons aren’t getting enough sleep. According to a survey cited by The Sleep Council, 70 per cent of us sleep for less than seven hours a night, which, for most people, is too little.

If too much light is the problem, the solution is fairly simple: blackout blinds and eye masks should do the trick. But even the best duvet, the best mattress and the best pillow in the world are no good if your sleep is disturbed by noise. Whether it’s a partner snoring like a steam train, neighbours partying, traffic thundering past or birds chirping at 4am, noise has the potential to keep you up all night.

Enter the earplug, which can make a huge difference to your sleep quality. For many of us, these little buds are the only thing reducing noise pollution during the night. “Earplugs are great for blocking out noise such as snoring partners, or for using in the warmer months when you may leave a window open at night,” explains Lisa Artis, chief adviser at The Sleep Council.

The good news is they’re cheap (although high-end ear plugs are available — see our review below), they’re easy to use, and, on the whole, they work. In short, the best earplugs can improve your sleep quality dramatically.

Which earplugs are best for sleeping?

There are three main kinds. Wax earplugs come as a cylinder or ball that you warm in your hands and mould into a cone before placing in the ear. The benefits are that they can be shaped to fit and, being quite dense, block out a considerable amount of noise.

Reusable silicone earplugs, which you wash in cold water between uses, are lighter and more comfortable. Some find them less effective at filtering out noise, though in tests our reviews editor didn’t find this to be the case. But they do cost more than disposables.

Foam earplugs are the cheapest option and being soft, they’re reasonably comfortable for sleeping in. However, as a porous material they’re a fertile breeding grown for bacteria, so you have to replace them regularly.

The right earplug for you will depend on various factors. Our lifestyle reviews editor Simon Lewis spent a month testing the most popular earplugs to find the best of each kind.

How I tested the best earplugs

Earplugs start cheap but rise steeply for custom-made and noise-cancelling varieties, writes Simon Lewis, so I considered price as well as noise-blocking ability. I also rated for comfort: a good earplug won’t hurt when you lie on it, won’t irritate the inner ear and will stay in place all night. I live on a busy road with noisy neighbours and a fire station nearby, so there’s plenty of noise to block. As for snoring, I had to ask my wife to test the earplugs too. Someone in our bed snores, apparently. I can confirm it’s not her, but beyond that I’m at a loss.

At a glance – the best earplugs for sleeping 2022

  • Best overall — ACS Custom SleepSound
  • Best disposable earplugs — Quies Natural Wax
  • Best reusable earplugs — Bollsen Life+
  • Most comfortable earplugs — Mack’s Pillow Soft
  • Best noise-cancelling earplugs — QuietOn 3

Read on for the full reviews

The best earplugs for sleeping

1. ACS Custom SleepSound

We liked: unbeatable comfort and noise-blocking, although you have to pay for it

How to block out noise at night

One of the worst problems people face when moving into a new apartment is the presence of loud, annoying neighbors. Noise coming from your neighbors downstairs can be uncomfortable and disturbing, especially if you’ve already confronted them about the situation.

If this is a problem for you, I know exactly how you’re feeling, as I went through this after I moved into an apartment after college. My downstairs neighbors would play loud music all day, and I just couldn’t get the peace and quiet I wanted.

I knew I had to take steps if I wanted to change things, and you can, too. In this article, I’ll explain everything you can do today to significantly reduce the unwanted noise coming from your downstairs neighbors.

Before we get started, I must say that soundproofing an existing building can be very challenging, and living in an apartment will limit the soundproofing capabilities you’ll have, because of the rules and laws commonly instituted by landlords.

How to Reduce Noise From Downstairs

1. Soundproof the Floors

The first thing you’ll need to do is soundproof the floor of your apartment. By soundproofing the floor, you’ll be able to reduce the sounds and low-frequency noises coming from downstairs. Here are a few methods you can try today to get the job done:

Place Carpet Padding

To combat unwanted noise from downstairs, I recommend that you place carpet padding on your floor, if you haven’t done so already.

For the best result, you can carpet the entire floor, if your landlord has no problem with that. To reduce the presence of unwanted sound even further, I suggest adding carpet padding to new or existing carpets.

If you’re not a fan of carpet, then what I suggest is to add some rugs. For great results, you can use these fluffier rugs . What I like the most about rugs is that they’re very attractive and affordable, and carpeting your floor with them is probably the easiest way to combat noises and echoes coming from downstairs.

Use Moving Blankets

Using moving blankets on your floor is another great idea for getting rid of unwanted noise. This is probably the best option for those on a tight budget, since you can actually use any thick blanket. But if you want the best result possible, I recommend getting some moving blankets , since they have sound-absorbing properties.

Add Drywall by Using Green Glue

This is considered to be the most effective solution when it comes to soundproofing your floor. Green glue is an amazing product and is also one of the most popular noise-proofing solutions on the market. You can use green glue to sound-dampen your floor by adding an extra layer of drywall—it’s as simple as that!

Adding drywall is pretty easy, and you won’t need to hire a professional to get the job done. However, it takes a lot of time, so if you choose to go with this method, be prepared to work for the whole day.

The only downside to this solution is that if you’re living in an apartment or rented flat, you may not be allowed to change the structure of your room.

2. Try Bass Traps

Bass traps are great at absorbing low-frequency sound waves, so if you’re hearing bass sounds coming from downstairs you might want to invest in a few of these .

You can easily place these in the vertical or horizontal corners of the room. Using bass traps won’t completely absorb all the unwanted noise you might hear, but these will certainly help reduce most of the unwanted bass sounds in your bedroom.

3. Seal All the Gaps In the Door

You probably know that windows are one of the main culprits when it comes to noise in your room, but you may be surprised by just how readily doors will allow noise to come into your home as well.

Some doors have gaps through which noise sneaks in; for example, between the door and the doorframe.

To get rid of these gaps, the best solution is to use weatherstrips to close them completely. Another effective thing to do is to simply hang thick blankets. These method may not be visually appealing, but it works like magic.

4. Soundproof the Windows

If the noise coming from downstairs is also entering through your windows, then you might consider sound-dampening those as well.

One of the easiest and cheapest things you can do to sound-dampen windows is to install noise-reducing curtains. Curtains are a fantastic way to deaden sound in your room and keep it from echoing. Curtains alone may not be enough to reduce all the noise, but they’ll certainly help. If you’re interested in noise-reducing curtains, I recommend getting this Nicetown Blackout Curtain .

5. Invest in a White Noise Machine

If you’re looking for a quick solution, you can invest in a white noise machine . These machines work by generating a soothing sound of a steady consistency. By delivering this type of sound to your ears, your white noise machine will allow you to stay focused on whatever you’re doing instead of getting distracted by other sounds.

I think this is the fastest way to combat noise coming from downstairs, but I don’t recommend it as a permanent solution.

6. Speak With Your Neighbors

You can simply confront your downstairs neighbors and politely ask them if they could lower their noise level, because it’s affecting you. They may not be aware that you’re bothered by the noise they’re making. Try to reason with them calmly, and maybe you’ll be able to come to an agreement that will make both parties happy in the end.

Conclusion

Living with noisy neighbors can be exhausting. However, implementing the steps above will help you ensure that you have a noise-free environment, regardless of how much noise those neighbors make.

Personally, I first soundproofed the floors by using carpet padding and moving blankets, sealed the gaps on my door and then added noise-reducing curtains to my windows.

Now, it doesn’t matter how much noise my neighbors make downstairs—I can finally concentrate when reading my favorite books!

Imagine this. You come home after a hectic day. You want to kick back with a beer (or whatever you take) and have an easy time. Then, out of nowhere, your noisy upstairs neighbor’s stomping. Annoying, right?

As they are walking, your ceiling and even the floor vibrates. What should you do?

Why can you hear the stomping?

Before we move to what you can do, let’s first understand why you hear the noise in the first place. One of the prime reasons you can hear the noise is due to thin floors.

It’s normal for property developers to cut corners and install thin floors. After all, they are after profits, and they aren’t going to live in the house, right?

You will also hear the noises if your upstairs neighbor has removed their rugs/carpets, and they are walking on a naked floor.

Regardless of the reason you hear the stomping, there are several things you can do to stop it. Some of these things include:

Report to the building manager

Some people will argue that the first step is to talk to the neighbor, but you should know people generally don’t like taking instructions from strangers.

Since you aren’t acquitted to your neighbor, the first place to take your complaint is to the building manager.

Let them know what you are going through. Chances are the manager who has had similar problems and knows better how to deal with such issues.

You should note reporting the issue to the manager isn’t a guarantee the problem will go away. Sometimes it might get worse, especially if the neighbor is stubborn.

Talk to your neighbor.

If you have reported the issue to the manager and still the problem isn’t going away, you should now talk to your neighbor.

If the management didn’t notify the neighbor about the complaint, chances are they aren’t aware they are making the noise, and the most considerate ones won’t have a problem changing their behavior.

As you are thinking about talking to your neighbor, remember you are asking them to make a switch from their normal and most likely spend money (on rugs and carpets) to make your life better.

Since you want them to go out of their way, you should be respectful of how you approach the issue.

If you know the neighbor’s schedule, go to their place at a time that is more convenient for them. This shouldn’t be when they are leaving for work or are just back from a tedious day.

One of the best times is in the evening when they are relaxed or during the weekends.

Remember, even when you let the neighbor know about the issue, they aren’t going to make immediate adjustments—it will take time as they will have to get rugs, rearrange the furniture, buy slippers, have a fridge-ectomy, among many other things.

Give the neighbors time, and if they took your words seriously, the stomping would stop or reduce.

Write a note

Are you one of the people that don’t like confrontations? If you aren’t comfortable facing the neighbor face to face, consider writing a note and put it in their mailbox.

To increase the chances of the neighbor taking action, ensure the note is friendly. Avoid sarcastic, threatening, or condescending language.

Also, keep it short. Four to five sentences are enough to get the word across.

Block the noise

Did you know you can block the stomping, so you don’t hear it? Some of the ways you can do it include:

Wear headphones

Headphones are ideal when the stomping happens for a short while, then it goes away. Instead of getting worked up over your neighbors walking, put on a pair of headphones, and turn on your favorite music.

The music will drown the annoying stomping, and you can go back to what you were doing.

Try a white noise machine.

Is the noise coming through your bedroom? You can try to drown it using a white noise machine.

The machine emits soft sounds such as static rushing water or nature sounds that can go a long way towards drowning the unwanted stomping sounds from upstairs.

Put on earplugs

Are the stomping sounds too loud to drown with a white noise machine? Earplugs might help you block them.

Get industrial strength from earplugs in the shape of your ear canal, and you will enjoy your sleep and have fun when working despite the neighbor making noise.

Talk to the police

Have you tried asking the neighbor to keep it down without success? Call the police on their emergency line and report the issue.

The police are trained to respond to plenty of issues, including disputes between neighbors, but they have other pressing matters to attend to, so only consider contacting them when everything else has failed.

Before you contact them, first check your complex rules and confirm noise rules or rules requiring the upper floors to be carpeted.

Put on a ceiling vibrator.

Have you done everything to stop the stomping, and still, the issue isn’t getting better? Why not take matters into your hands? One of the ways is using a ceiling vibrator.

The vibrator is made up of a motor, extendable rod, Wi-Fi remote, and a cable. It creates vibrations on the ceiling that are subsequently unleashed on your upstairs neighbor’s floor.

The attractive thing is the vibrator is affordable and easy to use. Would you like to know more about it? Read about it here:

Play racquetball against the ceiling

Like the vibrator, the racquetball is cheap and highly effective when executed properly. Bored in the house, and the elephant man is still stomping? Why not unleash the Serena Williams in you?

Grab a tennis ball and racket and volley the ball against the ceiling persistently and consistently. To get into the neighbor’s skin, play during the odd hours of the night or early morning.

When the neighbor asks you to stop, let them know about the stomping, and stand your ground, you will only stop if they stop walking as if they swallowed the fridge.

Move out

Can’t stand the noise anymore? Consider moving out. Ask your landlord if there is any other unit you can move into. If there is none, you may have to break the lease.

If your landlord is aware of the issue, most of them will work with you in finding a quiet apartment. Others will allow you to break the lease without a penalty.

Soundproof the ceiling

Don’t want to move and got some money you don’t mind spending? Soundproof the ceiling for a more permanent solution. Most soundproofing options involve placing a second layer of soundproofing material over the ceiling.

You can install acoustic tiles held in place by a metal grid, add a second layer of sheetrock, or paint the ceiling with dampening products such as Green Glue. It’s up to you.

Do everything you can to have a quiet home you enjoy living in.

Duncan

I hate noise with every single bone in my body and I’m here to share some of the tricks that have worked for me in my effort to keep off noises from noisy neighbors, noisy appliances, and so on. Buckle up for the ride.

By KELLY KLEIN , | Kelly Klein
July 27, 2018 – 12:13 PM

Q: A tenant moved into the apartment above me in December 2016. From the first day she moved in, she has been making a lot of loud noise, which keeps me awake at night. She is a night person and stays up until 2 a.m. most nights, but sometimes she is still up making noise at 3 or 4. She insists on doing her chores during these early-morning hours, such as washing dishes, banging cupboard doors, dragging chairs and other heavy items across the floor, dropping heavy items on the floor, and rolling things across the floor, which sounds like she is bowling up there. She also has a habit of running the shower multiple times during these hours.

I have been sending complaint e-mails to my landlord about this tenant and her excessive noise from Day 1. We sat down together with our landlord and tried to figure out what could be done to make us both happy. We agreed that she would not make noise between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., but she has not followed that agreement. At the first meeting, we exchanged phone numbers and e-mails so that I could call, text or e-mail her when noise is occurring. However, she apparently never receives my calls or e-mails because she turns off all electronics at night.

We had another meeting with the landlord, who told me that I had to find a way to block out the noise. My landlord said that this woman is a paying tenant, too, and has the right to make noise in her apartment. He suggested that I try using headphones, playing music, turning on a fan or using a white-noise machine. My lease goes until July 1, 2019. What recourse do I have to get this situation fixed?

A: Noise is a common complaint in apartment buildings, but there is no clear law that applies when the noise is coming from typical daily use of an apartment. There is an implied covenant or promise of habitability and quiet enjoyment from the landlord included in every lease. This promise means every tenant has the right to use and enjoy their apartment, that their landlord promises nothing will disrupt their tenant’s use and enjoyment of their apartment, and that the apartment will be fit for its intended use. You and your upstairs neighbor both have an implied covenant of habitability and quiet enjoyment, which for your neighbor means being able to walk around her place performing chores during the night. Since your neighbor’s activity is interfering with your ability to sleep, your enjoyment is being negatively affected.

Typically, the landlord and all parties would sit down together and come to an agreement, which is what occurred in your case, but your neighbor didn’t abide by the agreement. You didn’t mention whether the agreement was put into writing and signed by all parties, but that would help your landlord’s ability to enforce the agreement. Since the meeting did not resolve your noise problem, it is up to your landlord to find a solution.

You could ask your landlord to terminate your lease early with no penalty fee. You can also request to be moved to another apartment within the building. Another solution is to ask that your landlord try to mediate the problem by meeting with both tenants again, and this time get the agreement in writing and signed by everyone so it’s taken more seriously. You should also check your lease language, since sometimes loud noise during the night is considered a violation of the lease terms. Unless you can prove your upstairs neighbor is violating a noise ordinance or her lease terms, your landlord has no legal requirement to stop the noise. Calling the police on noisy neighbors is usually done only when there are loud parties, excessive music or noise coming from a home or apartment. However, you could start documenting the noise occurrences and call 311 if you live in Minneapolis, or complete the online complaint form at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/environment/environmental-complaint.

If you live in another city, you should contact that city office to find out how to file a noise complaint. You could also request that your landlord reduce your rent for the rest of your lease or until you find another place to live. Make sure to get any agreement for reduced rent and early termination of your lease in writing and signed by all parties.

How to block out noise at night

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Window glass is one of the least efficient sound-blocking substances in any home. A single pane of glass will almost allow as much noise to come through as if there wasn’t any glass there in the first place. Since windows are a feature on every type of home, noise through windows is always taken as a given. However, there are practical and useful ways to block out noise coming through the window, and they range from do-it-yourself projects to calling in professional help.

Caulk and weatherstrip all of the gaps and openings around the window and the frame. This is basic soundproofing, and while it won’t eliminate all of the sound coming from a window, it will slightly reduce noise, and that may be all you need to do.

Insert multiple pane windows. You can either retrofit your window openings with pre-made windows, or have your windows removed and redone with a multiple pane window system. The more glass that separates the outside from the inside, the more noise coming into your home will be reduced.

Install window mats between the outside and inside windows. These are available at hardware stores and work particularly well if you have double hung windows with a window on the inside and a storm window on the outside. They also block out the light coming from the window, but you can roll them up at times when you want natural lighting.

Attach functional shutters that cover your windows. There are several types available, from classic wooden shutters, to shutters insulated for even more noise reduction, and even powered shutters that have a polyurethane core for maximum noise reduction. Even the most basic shutters will provide some noise relief, so let your budget decide which type is right for you. Check hardware stores or home and garden shops for shutters.

Put up window blankets. These cover the windows from the inside out, and can be allowed to hang and be pulled up when needed, or can be permanently attached. They come in various thicknesses and sound absorbing materials, and have been tried and tested in the music industry to minimize sound from one room to the next. Soundproofing blankets are so efficient, that they will limit the noises from trains and aircraft in the immediate vicinity. They are available through music stores or on the Internet.

Last post: 25/09/2018 at 1:00 pm

First of all, please don’t judge me. I know children make noise, I have my own. I know they have to play out. I’m not asking for an opinion, just wondering if anyone knows how to keep the noise out – low cost too!

We live in a residential street, our neighbours have two children probably aged approx. 15 and 12. Their house is end terrace with a fairly narrow garden and they have a large trampoline, right up to the fence between their garden and ours. They are quite big children. At the back on that side we have our dining room with floor to ceiling windows, when we are eating our evening meal they are often bouncing on the trampoline, looking through our windows.

When I am outside and they also are outside (which is most of the time outside school hours from this time of year til September/October) they screech, shout, kick footballs very hard against the adjoining fence, bounce and screech on the trampoline. The ball often lands in our garden and sometimes hits our french windows.

All of this is normal behaviour for children, I know that. I just want to be able to sit out in this nice weather without a headache. So . any ideas for blocking out the sound – and view – of them bouncing on the trampoline, screeching etc.? I’ve tried mp3 player but unless very loud I hear them over the music.

I’ve planted a Montana clematis on that fence, but although it is growing fast, it will take time to stop the view and not sure it will absorb that much of the sound.

We are living on a strict budget so any low cost ideas for putting something there to block the noise/view would be great. I’m not very arty or inventive, think I could do with someone like Alan Titchmarsh when he used to do the garden makeover programme!

I have my table and chairs with parasol on the decking right next to the fence. DH is rubbish at DIY (and I’m more than rubbish!) so we can’t just move the decking over to the other side of the garden without getting someone to do the work, as far as I can see, the garden isn’t huge but anything would be better than how it is now. I’m trying to save money (slowly) but there are so many things in the house I need to sort out (decorating, carpets, kitchen floor) that it will be a while before I can get round to having money for the garden. So some temporary solutions would be a help.

I know it’s a tall order, but just thought someone may have been in a similar situation and have some ideas.

Thanks in advance and sorry this post is so long.

The sound of neighbours laughing late into the night, music playing from across the hall, a buzzing phone on the bedside table, a television left on—there are an array of everyday noises that can cause trouble sleeping. Perfect silence isn’t always necessary, or even desirable, for your best night’s sleep. In fact, some sounds at night can enhance sleep, while others – like a child crying or a smoke alarm – are important to wake up to.

When it comes to noise and sleep, the goal is to protect against unwanted and disruptive sounds, the intrusive noise that interferes with sleep’s regular routine. B y taking time to ensure that your sleeping environment is optimised for sleep, you’re already on your way to protecting and improving your nightly rest. For a comprehensive guide to improving your sleep, download “ Unlocking the Pillars of Health ” eBook.

Waking from noise

Noise tends to be most disruptive in the light stages of sleep, which occur at the beginning of the night and in recurring periods throughout the night. It’s also possible for noises to rouse you from deep sleep and REM sleep. To get a full night’s sleep, it is important to protect your sleep environment against unwanted noise for the duration of your night’s rest.

Noise at night can prevent you from falling asleep initially, and sounds during the night can cause trouble sleeping.

Even noises that don’t wake you can have a detrimental effect on sleep quality. The sleeping brain continues to register and process sound. Noises can create restlessness in sleep even if they don’t wake you fully, and these interruptions affect sleep quality and the movement from lighter to deeper stages of sleep.

The brain’s response to Noise

Individual responses to noise can vary significantly.

Brains that generate higher concentrations of sleep spindles—bursts of high-frequency brain waves—have demonstrated greater resistance to noise during sleep. Sleep spindles first occur during Stage 2 sleep, a phase of light sleep that composes nearly half of a typical night’s rest. 1

Sleep amid ordinary sounds

Familiar sounds tend to be less disruptive to sleep than new or unusual sounds. The sounds that occur regularly in our daily lives are ones that we give little attention, and don’t create bother. 2

People in cities fall to sleep with sounds of traffic every night—the same sounds that would likely keep rural dwellers wide awake. The absence of these sounds can make sleep harder.

Reactions to sounds during sleep can be influenced by meaning and significance. Sounds indicating possible danger—even very quiet sounds, like the opening of a door—often will easily wake a sleeping person. Hearing their children cry usually causes parents to wake almost instantly. These responses to noise are highly individual, and a sign of how deeply engaged the brain remains to external stimuli during sleep.

How to sleep in quiet

As with all aspects of sleep, protecting against noise gets easier with a little bit of planning. If sound interferes with your sleep at night, there are adjustments you can make to reduce and regulate noise in your bedroom:

  1. Carpets and floor coverings, along with curtains on the windows can help muffle noise from outside, and from other areas of the house.
  2. Keeping windows closed also will limit noise from outside. Be sure to turn off all electronics before you turn in for the night.
  3. White noise can help to block variable noises and provides constant, soothing sounds that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. White noise machines are designed for this purpose. Radio static, a running fan or an air conditioner can also provide this kind of mixed-frequency, pattern-less noise.
  4. Some people prefer familiar sounds, often from nature, such as breaking waves, crickets softly chirping, or wind rustling through leaves. Sound machines, CDs, and smartphone apps can provide these types of relaxing sound patterns to accompany you to sleep.
  5. When you can’t completely control the sounds around you, earplugs can help. Earplugs are comfortable and affordable way to limit noise disruption. When selecting earplugs, make sure they’re soft and flexible. Earplugs are rated at decibel levels. Be sure to select earplugs that rated at no higher than 32 decibels. These will block noise but still allow you to hear sounds that are important, such as a child crying, or your morning alarm.

Watch for noisy mornings

Don’t forget to consider sounds of the early morning, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping past a certain time. A newspaper delivery, early traffic, neighbour’s dog can disrupt sleep and shorten overall sleep time. In addition to making sure your sleep environment is quiet at bedtime, it also helps to protect against the intrusion of these early-morning noises.

Noise can undermine sleep, but it doesn’t have to. Being aware of the noise-related disruptions to your sleep environment—and taking simple steps to reduce unwanted noise—will make your nightly rest more peaceful and rewarding.

Being aware of the effects of noise on your sleeping brain can help you deal with having trouble sleeping. For a comprehensive guide to improving your sleep, download “Unlocking the Pillars of Health” eBook. By taking time to ensure that your sleeping environment is optimised for sleep, you’re already on your way to protecting and improving your nightly rest.

How to block out noise at night

Busy street noise is one of the most obvious and most frustrating forms of noise pollution. From honking cars to construction, road noise can be absolutely maddening. If you live in an urban area, street noise can even interfere with your sleep and ability to concentrate.

Ways to Reduce Road Noise

Figuring out how to stop road noise may seem like a hopeless endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce traffic noise and other noises from the street.

How to block out noise at night

Use Nature

One way to block noise from the street is to get nature back on your side. There are many natural phenomena that block or blend sound. You just have to bring some of those to your home. Plant trees and shrubs around your home to isolate you from some of the noise, or you might even add a water feature to cover unwanted noise with the pleasant sound of running water.

Change Your Windows

There are soundproof windows you can install to significantly reduce the amount of sound getting into your home from the street. These are essentially double-paned windows that are too difficult for most sound waves to get through.

Seal the Gaps

Most of the noise from the street that is plaguing you is airborne noise. Since airborne noise needs to travel through air, it stands to reason that if you block as many entry points as possible though which air enters your home, you will encounter less sound. Try filling any cracks or gaps in your walls with an acoustic sealant. We recommend ISO® Pro-Series® SC-175 Acoustical Sound Sealant. You can also use this sealant under the molding of your door to stop air from escaping that way.

For additional soundproofing protection as well as energy efficiency, add weather-stripping to your doors and windows.

Add Acoustical Panels

You can add sound blocking and sound dampening acoustical panels anywhere you feel that outside noise is penetrating to too great an extent. Soundproof Cow even has art acoustic panels that allow you to block sound with the art of your choice. Guests will not even realize the true function of the art hanging on your wall is to block noise from the outside!

How to block out noise at night

There’s an awful lot of construction going on in Malta at the moment. Old, decrepit buildings are being torn down and hundreds of new ones are going up every year. All over Malta, construction is rife and new projects are being announced all the time. The noise from a construction site is at best annoying and at worst completely disrupting. If you work or live next to a construction site, you’ll know the nightmare that is coping with the excessive noise.

While there are laws in place that govern when construction can take place in Malta, these don’t really help if it’s happening right next to your office or apartment. Legally, construction can start at 7am and go on until 8pm, with only a small break between 2 and 4pm! Even on Saturdays, you can be woken up at the crack of dawn by a drill. Sundays and public holidays are the only exceptions. Unlike noisy neighbours, whom you could probably ask politely to turn down their loud music, you can’t really ask the construction workers to stop doing their job. Not unless they’re working outside of the legal hours, anyway.

Almost everyone in Malta has been affected by construction noise at one point or another. If you’re someone who works from home, you’ll struggle to get anything done if your apartment is next to a construction site. Not only can the noise affect your work, but it can also affect your down time and your sleep. So, how can you stay sane and deal with construction noise? Here are some tips to help you stop construction noise from disrupting your life:

Wear earplugs or noise-canceling headphones

During the day, if you work from home, then you’ll need to block out the noise if you’re going to get some work done! Noise-cancelling headphones are the perfect solution. In contrast to normal headphones, noise-cancelling headphones block out unwanted frequencies and sounds. If you take a lot of calls for work, you can purchase a pair that connect to your laptop and/or your phone. A decent pair will cost you around €100-€200 or more. A cheaper option, and something that you can use at night, is earplugs. Earplugs can take a bit of getting used to. But, once you’re comfortable with them, you won’t want to stop using them! Pair your earplugs with an eye mask and nothing will wake you up from your slumber.

Use a white noise machine

White noise machines are less expensive than noise-cancelling headphones. Using a white noise machine will lessen the disturbance of construction noise. In addition, you can use it to drown out the traffic or your noisy neighbours. White noise machines can help to reduce stress and improve sleep. You can buy a good-quality one for around 40 or 50 euros. Alternatively, you could run a fan (a ceiling fan or a standing fan) to create some white noise. This is perfect for the warmer months!

Change your schedule

It might feel frustrating to change your schedule, but it would only be a temporary change. Besides, it could dramatically improve your situation whilst you’ve got construction going on next door. If you’re always getting woken up early in the morning and losing out on sleep, go to bed a little earlier. Some of the most successful people in the world swear by their early morning starts! If you don’t work at home, you can even speak to your boss and see if you can temporarily alter your working hours for a short time. This way, you can be out of the house during the loudest construction hours.

Work from a café

When the noise gets too much at home, why not go to a local café? Take your laptop and have some lunch or a coffee. Give yourself a break from the noise. Just a few hours in a quiet environment where you can concentrate will be way better than a whole day of disturbance at home! If you rent your apartment in Malta, do double check if there’s any construction going on (or any planned for the near future) in the local area before you sign the lease. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere noisy for 6 or 12 months without being able to leave!

Insulate your windows

Installing proper insulation will help a lot. Double glazing significantly reduces outside noise. On top of soundproofing, double-glazed windows will help increase the efficiency of your home. With properly insulated windows, you will be able to heat and cool your home for less money. If you rent an apartment in Malta that doesn’t have double-glazed windows, speak to your landlord to see if they can improve the insulation for you.

Move your bed

If the construction is happening right by your bedroom, and it wakes you up in the morning, move your bed. It’s really not pleasant to be woken up with drilling noises at 7am every day. Just moving your bed a few inches away from the wall could help. Otherwise, if possible, you could turn your bed around. Put the headboard up against another wall until the construction has ended.

Try yoga or meditation

Both yoga and meditation are well-known stress-busters. When you find that the noise is really getting to you, why not try a session of calming yoga or meditation. The excessive noise from a nearby construction site can hinder your sleep, your mood and your productivity. Practising yoga or meditation might help you switch off and relax. Yogis often rave about how good yoga makes them feel, so it’s definitely worth a try!

Look after your pets

Noise from construction sites can be even more upsetting to your pets than it is to you. The loud noises can really stress your pet out, as many become anxious and afraid. If you have to leave your pet while you’re at work, take them for a long walk or tire them out with a play session before you go. That way, hopefully they will mostly sleep while you are working. If you can, let them stay in the quietest room so they don’t get too stressed out. If you have a dog, perhaps you could take him or her to doggy day care, so they’re not left alone and afraid. Otherwise, leave the TV on for them and some interactive toys.

If you have a neighbor that’s playing their music too loudly, you can get them back by hijacking their speakers with a little DIY project.

Some people are more than a little inconsiderate, and when a friendly note or call to your landlord doesn’t solve the problem, sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands. Evil genius and electrical guru junkyardmessiah over at Reddit came up with this DIY solution:

In deference to XKCD the real way to cause problems with her system is pretty simple. You need a Cheap CB radio, A linear amp, and a bottom loaded CB antenna (easier to build a ground plane for it). See if you can get a good guess where she has her [speakers] set up and get your antenna close as you can to it. You should be able to talk to her THROUGH her stereo system. The amplifier sections are not shielded in these plastic ready made toys and the resulting AM signal will impact it. In my case I ran a continuous 6khz tone from a signal generator which was more than enough to blow it up good. ENJOY!

Essentially, with a few tools, you can transmit your voice, play an annoying tone, or even blast your own music through their speakers—even if their speakers are turned off. If you’re truly evil, you could probably blow out their speakers too, but that could have repercussions. Different states have different legal issues pertaining to these types of devices, too, so check with your area’s laws—if such things concern you—before you start plotting. There’s also this organization called the FCC that will probably have a thing or two to say about your transmission, too, so it may be wise to think of this as more of a very interesting proof-of-concept rather than an actual prank you should pull off.

This post details a bit more of what goes into the project, while this post uses a slightly different method to get to the same end.

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And how to clear things up.

How to block out noise at night

How to block out noise at night

Finally, after a long day of battling a stuffy nose—from a cold, a virus, or allergies—you get to go to bed. And your blocked nose gets worse.

There’s a reason for that—and there are also some good ways to get stuffiness out of your nose at night.

Why your nose gets stuffed up at night

When it comes to your nose and mucus, gravity is your friend. When you’re up and about during the day, even if you have a cold, mucus is draining down and out of your nose.

But when you get into bed, you don’t have the gravity advantage. “When you’re in the supine position, congestion gets stuck,” explains Lakiea Wright, M.D., an allergist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. What makes it even worse, she says, is that when you have allergies or a cold, inflammatory chemicals that go to help fight the microbes or irritants in your nose get stuck there, too. “It’s like a traffic jam,” she says.

To clear it up so you can breathe easily again, it helps to know if what’s causing the stuffiness is allergies or a cold (here’s how to figure it out). Then, you can take the right steps and the right medicines for the job. There’s no sense in bringing out a sledgehammer if what you really need is a belt sander, so to speak.

If your nighttime stuffiness is from allergies

If you have allergies, nighttime can be especially tricky for your nose. “At night, your mast cells can be very active and can start firing off histamine at night,” says Dr. Wright. That’s an attempt by your body to help you get rid of an allergen. But it they can also contribute to mucus and contribute to the traffic jam that’s already happening.

Take care of your allergies, of course, and your nose shouldn’t be as blocked at night. The first step, of course, is to contact a doctor and figure out exactly what you’re allergic to. Then you can:

  • Control your exposure to that allergen as much as possible. So if it’s certain kinds of pollen, you’d want to keep your windows shut when it’s everywhere, and make sure you shower and change when you come in from the outdoors when those trees, flowers, and grasses are in full bloom. “You want to do as much as you can to remediate your environment,” says Dr. Wright.
  • Consider OTC medications. By controlling the allergy with OTC allergy medications (see the best ones here), you may be able to eliminate nighttime stuffiness. You may need an antihistamine medication (you probably know them by names including Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra), or you may want a nasal steroid (that’s Flonase, or Nasacort). Just be aware that the nasal steroids can take a few days or a week for you to notice that they’re working. Some people may end up on both medications, says Dr. Wright.

If your nighttime stuffiness is from colds or the flu

When you’re sick, the blood vessels in your nose open up more than usual, and decongestants constrict them, explains Crystal Zhou, PharmD, assistant professor in the department of Clinical Pharmacy at UCSF School of Pharmacy.

The trouble is, she explains, “these medications are not specific to the nasal passageways. They have the ability to decrease the size of blood vessels all over the body, and that can cause high blood pressure.” So decongestants can be risky if you have underlying cardiovascular disease. So it makes sense to try to start taming a blocked nose at night in a non-systemic way first.

How to block out noise at night

No-pill nasal relief methods

  • Elevate your head. Even propping yourself up on a few extra pillows can make a difference.
  • Hydrate. “Patients ask me ‘if I have extra fluid in my nose, why should I drink more water?’ But the fluid in your passageways is in the form of mucus, and if you can think it by drinking more water, it will help clear it,” Zhou says.
  • Try saline nasal sprays. Saline sprays, like Ocean nasal spray, have anti-inflammatory properties. Squirt them in your nose a few times a day and before bed, and some of that congestion may go away. “It works really well for some people,” says Zhou. But not others.
  • Consider a nasal rinse. That means a neti pot or a saline nasal rinse that comes in a squeeze bottle. Whereas a spray like Ocean is very localized, says Zhou, “saline nasal rinses help clear the entire nasal passageway.” Also, she explains, “the sodium is a little more concentrated than it is in your tissues, so it can draw out more of the fluid.” Meaning, the stuff that’s making you so miserable.

If you want a decongestant

If you don’t have underlying health concerns that prevent you from taking a decongestant, here’s how to stop feeling so dazed in the cold remedies aisle.

Know that there are two types of OTC decongestants, both of which constrict blood vessels, says Zhou.

How to block out noise at night

Pseudoephedrine is OTC, but pharmacists have to keep it behind the counter and note its purchase (large quantities can be used to make crystal meth). “It not only constricts blood vessels, it also somewhat works on the lungs to help open those. It has two mechanisms of action that help you breathe better,” she says.

Phenylephrine, the other main type of decongestant that you can just pluck off the shelf, doesn’t have that lung action.

The trouble with these at night is that they’re stimulants. So for “PM” or “nighttime” formulations, drug companies add something to the meds that help you sleep. If you don’t like or need those sedating additions, there’s a hack you can try with daytime meds, says Zhou. Try taking a 12-hour formulation about 11 or 12 hours before you want to sleep. It may keep your nose from being blocked long enough to get you to sleep, and hopefully a stuffy nose won’t awaken you in the middle of the night.

What about combination products? Those cold meds with something for cough, headache, and congestion? “I like combination products if you truly need every ingredient in there,” says Zhou. But in general, when it comes to cold medications, more isn’t better. Get just the ingredients you need to breathe easier.

Those annoyingly bright lights on your TV, alarm clock, or other gadgets in your bedroom can make it hard to fall asleep. But these genius tips will solve the problem fast!

How to block out noise at night

We all share a common need to sleep, but that doesn’t mean we all sleep the same way! We all have different preferences, needs, and sensitivities when it comes to sleep. For instance, I’m one of those people who needs a room to be really dark in order to fall asleep. And one thing that makes that difficult is those bright LED lights on every electronic item in our bedroom! (Especially the ones that stay lit even when the device is turned off.)

More Ideas You’ll Love

How to block out noise at night

I’m sure I’m not the only person who has ever been kept awake by those annoying LED lights on TVs, alarm clocks, and other electronic devices. So I thought that in today’s post, we could explore some creative solutions to that problem together! Below you’ll find three easy solutions for covering up those annoyingly bright LEDs on the following items:

  • TVs
  • Chargers
  • Internet modem and/or router
  • Alarm clocks
  • Speakers
  • Computers
  • …and more!

How to block out noise at night

These solutions are removable, so you won’t have to worry about causing any damage. And you can pick and choose your solutions based on whether you want to dim the lights or block them out completely! With the help of these creative solutions, we’ll all be able to sleep a bit more soundly! 🙂

3 Easy Ways To Cover Bright LEDs In Your Bedroom For Better Sleep

How to block out noise at night

1. Painted Tape

Start by placing a piece of clear scotch tape over the LED light you want to cover up. Then paint over the tape with a bit of black nail polish or a black permanent marker to prevent the light from shining through. (Black nail polish is more opaque than marker, so I would recommend using nail polish if you want to block the light completely.)

This is a great solution because it’s totally removable. Whenever you want to remove your light-blocking tape, it will peel right off easily!

How to block out noise at night

2. DIY Blackout Stickers

Another way to cover up those bright LEDs is to make your own “blackout stickers!” You’ll need some black electrical tape, some wax paper, and a hole punch. Place a piece of electrical tape onto the wax paper, then use the hole punch to punch out a few circles from the taped area. And voila, your blackout stickers are ready to roll!

How to block out noise at night

Just peel off the wax paper layer to expose the sticky side of your blackout dot, and apply the sticker over the LED light you want to cover up.

More Ideas You’ll Love

How to block out noise at night

How to block out noise at night

Electrical tape is perfect for this purpose because it’s really easy to remove. Peel it off easily whenever you want!

How to block out noise at night

3. Light Dimming Stickers

If you have a lot of bright LEDs you want to cover up, consider investing in a set of light dimming stickers! This set from Amazon comes with over 400 light dimming stickers in different sizes and levels of opacity, which gives you a lot of options when covering up LED lights.

How to block out noise at night

The various opacity levels allow you to either slightly dim, mostly dim, or completely block any LED light on any device.

How to block out noise at night

Bonus Safety Tips!

  • Don’t cover LEDs with fabric. It can be tempting to toss a shirt or scarf over those bright lights to block them from view, but it’s not a great idea. Fabric tends to trap heat, which could cause your electronic item to overheat and even become a fire hazard.
  • Don’t store your modem or router in a cabinet. Internet modems and routers can have a lot of annoying lights, making it tempting to shut them up in a cupboard to block them from view. But don’t do this! Not only could storing these devices in a cupboard lead to problems with your internet connection, it could also cause them to overheat.

Do you ever have trouble falling asleep because of bright LED lights?

Sleep doctors explain what to look for in effective earplugs for better sleep.

How to block out noise at night

How to block out noise at night

Screeching tires at a busy intersection, a significant other who snores like a bear, neighbors who start band practice at 11 p.m.—no matter what’s keeping you up at night, waking up groggy morning after morning puts a serious damper on your well-being.

Before you resort to sleeping in separate bedrooms or consider putting your house up for sale, there’s one easy and affordable solution that might help you snooze more soundly: earplugs. They reduce overall noise levels, making it easier to fall and stay asleep, says Nate Watson, MD, past-president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a SleepScore Labs advisory board member. The only trouble? Finding the right pair can be challenging.

A good pair of earplugs block out the right amount of noise (you want to muffle snores, but also be able to hear fire alarms) and should fit comfortably. The size, shape, and bend of everyone’s ear canal is unique, says Catherine Palmer, MD, director of Audiology and Hearing Aids at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which is why some people prefer to go with a custom-fitted pair. However, there are a number of more affordable options online that get the job done—and well.

How to choose (and use) the best earplugs for better sleep

Check the NRR: All earplugs have a noise reduction rating (NRR). If you really want to block out loud noise, go for earplugs that have an NRR near 33 decibels (the highest one available), says Lynelle Schneeberg, PsyD, a fellow at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and assistant clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine.

Opt for comfort: If you aren’t getting custom-fitted earplugs, all of the doctors we spoke with agreed that foam is the way to go. “Soft foam is usually going to feel the best and it does a better job at reducing the amount of noise that gets through,” says Dr. Palmer. However, if foam doesn’t seem to work for you, there are silicone and wax options.

Insert them properly: For the best fit with foam earplugs, Dr. Palmer says to “squeeze the foam until it is very small and then insert the foam as deeply as possible while still being able to remove the earplug later.” Foam earplugs will expand to fit the shape of your ear.

Not sure where to start? Here, the best earplugs for sleeping soundly throughout the night.

Millions of Americans live in apartments or townhomes where they share at least one wall with their neighbors. As people go about their day, their conversations, footsteps, music and children cause noise that may be heard in the apartments or homes next door. The good news is, there are ways to improve the acoustic properties of our homes and keep neighbor noise out.

To understand how noise is traveling from our neighbors’ homes to our own, we must first take a look at how sound works. Sound creation starts when an object is set in motion, whether it’s our vocal cords, footsteps on the floor, or the speakers in our televisions. When these objects move, they cause vibration, which forces nearby air particles away from the object. These air particles travel in the form of sound waves, continuing until they reach our ears. The inner workings of our ears help translate these waves into sounds we can interpret and understand.

We measure the strength of these sounds in the form of decibels (dB). The higher the decibel level for a sound, the louder it is to our ears. For humans, the lowest sound level we can interpret is 0 dB, and the highest level we can put up with without pain is around 120 dB. A normal conversation typically measures around 60 dB [source: Vanderheiden].

To deal with neighbor noise, we have to find ways to keep these sound waves from reaching our ears, or at the very least, slow them down. We do this by adding materials in our homes that block, absorb or isolate the sound waves, keeping unwanted noises out of our homes.

The extent to which we manage to block sounds from entering our homes can be measured in terms of its sound transmission class (STC). The STC rating of a product gives us a good estimate of how many decibels it can block from penetrating the surface. Many soundproofing products as well as regular construction materials are marketed by the level of their STC rating.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can improve the STC ratings of your walls and keep noisy neighbors from getting you down.

Whether you are dealing with musically-inclined, argumentative, or party people, a neighbor’s noisy habits can quickly become an issue. Especially if you’re trying to sleep or finished a long, stressful move.

Noisy neighbors can wreak havoc on the peaceful space that you call home. If you want to deal with noisy neighbors but not sure how to go about it, follow these 5 tips.

1 . Pick Your Battles

Before deciding to move forward with confronting or reporting your noisy neighbors, it’s important to determine whether the battle is worth fighting. Whether you live in a complex with thin walls or a townhouse with next-door neighbors, you’re part of a community.

Within your community, some noise is to be expected. If your neighbors are a family with infants or young children, be prepared for crying, screaming, and laughter. That’s what family life is. If they have dogs, expect occasional barking. Unless the noises genuinely detract you from enjoying your peaceful abode, it’s not something to complain about.

However, if your neighbors are throwing loud raucous parties every weekend or playing music at extreme volumes while you’re trying to sleep at night, it constitutes as excessive noise. Being in a community means being cognizant and respectful of others around you. Interrupting a good night’s sleep or simply disregarding your neighbors doesn’t fit that bill.

2 . Talk to Your Neighbors

The first step to dealing with noisy neighbors is to talk to them about their noise levels and how to best remedy the situation. However, confrontation can be hard and uncomfortable. A simple complaint can be taken to nuclear levels when done incorrectly. Here are some tips to follow when confronting your neighbor with a noise complaint.

  • Remember Your Goal: Don’t stray off track. You’ve come to discuss a noise problem. Getting sidetracked by anger or simple distractions won’t help your case. Choose a neutral territory to discuss the matter, whether you ask your neighbor out to coffee or meet them out in the street.
  • When in Doubt — Ask: Truthfully, your neighbors may not be aware of their discourtesy. It may help to phrase your complaint as a neutral question. Instead of “You’re playing music loudly every evening” try “Did you know that your music is pretty loud?” A question is less accusatory and may help avoid conflict.
  • If Things Get Heated, Walk Away – Worst case scenario, your argument turns to an all-out screaming match. You know, like the ones you try to avoid during family holiday dinners. If you sense the situation veering out of control, walk away. Excuse yourself, and leave it be. You’re not going to convince an irate person to listen to your noise complaint, it’s a waste of time.

3 . Leave a Letter

Talking to your neighbors in person is definitely preferable to leaving them a letter. However, a letter may help to limit the chances of a screaming match between you and your neighbor. Letters also help to keep everything organized. When talking in person, it can be easy to lose your train of thought or to forget the entire speech that you prepared in your head.

A letter should address all of your concerns without being accusatory or passive-aggressive. Sometimes our anger or frustration can leak out when writing. To avoid this, have someone who isn’t familiar with the situation read the letter and check for potential sore spots.

4 . Compromise

Any healthy relationship features a compromise or two. Your relationship with your neighbor is no exception. Suggest a compromise alongside your noise complaint. For example, if your neighbor is in a band that practices every night, suggest that they don’t practice after a certain time (like your bedtime).

This will likely yield much better results than if you tell your neighbor they can’t practice at all. Asking your neighbor to compromise with you won’t hurt your relationship and comes from a place of mutual respect.

5 . File a Noise Complaint

Filing a noise complaint is one of the last steps that you should take when dealing with noisy neighbors. Use this as a last resort when other, more peaceful, methods have failed to change your neighbor’s behavior.

When filing a noise complaint, you’ll have to determine who you would like to file the complaint with. If you live in the same complex, you may want to register a complaint with your landlord. If your neighbor lives next door in an apartment or townhouse that isn’t owned by your landlord, you might have to file with the police.

Before filing a noise complaint with your landlord, check to see if your lease agreement has a clause regarding noise. If you find a clause, be sure to point it out to your landlord, who may then issue a warning to your neighbor, followed by a fine if they continue to violate the terms of the lease. As a last resort, your landlord may evict the noisy neighbor if the situation is that serious.

When filing a report with the police, expect the same results. After a warning, the police may give your neighbor a ticket for continuing to disturb the peace with their noise.

Final Thoughts

Just like a lot of annoying things, noisy neighbors are a part of life. Unless you live in a secluded forest or at the top of a mountain, it’s likely that you’ll have to deal with one eventually. Knowing what steps to take when dealing with a noisy neighbor can be the difference between a screaming match and an amicable relationship with your neighbors. Choose the latter, it’s a lot easier in the end.

Four tips for clearing your mental clutter.

In the past 20 years, some controversial research suggests that at any given moment, women have more activity in their brains than men. The corpus callosum that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain is larger in women, allowing for more movement across the hemispheres. This accounts for a frequent change in focus and, ultimately, a noisier brain.

Whether women really have noisier brains or not, aren’t there times you wish you could shut off the incessant mental chatter? Don’t you wish you had a way to clear out the clutter—worries about work and family, concerns about your health and aging, nagging thoughts about money, the rehashing of arguments and relationship complications, and the incessant planning of events? Top this off with fretting about opinions others might have of you plus your own critical analysis of yourself and there is little space left for noticing what is delightful right now.

The answer is not in thinking happy thoughts or chanting affirmations. Once you stop, it’s likely the throng of thoughts will flood back in.

Instead, you have to empty your brain to control your mind. When you clear the space, you more easily control what comes in. For a period of time, you choose what you see, feel and think. You’re free to plunge into the present. Here are four tips to help you clear your thoughts:

#1. Let go of what you thought would happen. Clinging to your expectations blocks out possibilities. We all have pictures of what we thought a situation or conversation would look like. Then something else happened. To let go of your frustration, go with the flow. As they say in tennis, “play the ball in front of you.”

Trust that everything will work out. Think of the times in life where you didn’t get what you wanted yet the results turned out to be better than expected. There is always a possibility the worst will happen. Just as strong is the possibility the best can happen. Live with faith in a positive possibility and your brain will quiet down.

#2. Be curious. Enter conversations and situations wanting to learn more than you already know. Seek to see a broader picture or to find something new about the person you are with. You will see fresh ways to deal with challenges. Plus, people will find you much more interesting.

Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, said, “In the Beginners Mind there are many possibilities. In the expert, there are few.” Try coming from a place of “not knowing the answer.” Quit figuring out what people are going to say while they are talking. Quit making snap judgments about ideas. Stay open and curious to keep your mind clear.

#3. Laugh it off. When you are laughing, your mind is clear of clutter. In fact, you increase focus and awareness. You can then better evaluate options and consequences. You have a better sense of where you are and what you are doing in the moment.

Develop your sense of humor. See the silliness in habitual human behavior. Listen with a comical ear. The world is brimming with fodder for laughter. The great comedian Steve Allen taught his protégés to practice having a funny state of mind by seeing comedy films, reading funny books and hanging out with funny people as a daily diet.

#4. Don’t give up. If you can’t clear your mind today, try again tomorrow. You are teaching your old brain a new trick. It will take time.

Practice mental clearing by consciously stopping your thoughts for one minute. Pick out all the different sounds you can hear. Focus on noticing the details of a small area in front of you. Notice how you are breathing. See if you can even out your breathing and heartbeat. Tomorrow, increase your practice to two minutes. Each day, see how much longer you can go without thinking. Enjoy the moment of peace.

Find these and other tips for giving taking control of your mind in the book, Outsmart Your Brain: How to Make Success Feel Easy.

Is your cat’s meowing keeping you up at night? You’re not alone. Many cat lovers are dragging out of bed to quiet a feisty feline.

A cat’s night-time vocalizations are his way of signaling a need such as hunger, thirst, or loneliness. Once you figure out why your cat fusses at night, you’ll find it easier to calm him.

Before trying any of our 7 tips, be sure to take your cat to the vet. Like the rest of us, cats can cry because of illness or pain. If you’ve ruled out health issues, though, consider some of these tactics to stop your cat from meowing all night:

1. Reset your cat’s body clock.

Cats are crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) and nocturnal (active at night). Even though cats are wired for activity at the same time you’re snoozing in bed, you can reset your cat’s body clock with a little patience and diligence

Jackson Galaxy from the TV show My Cat From Hell recommends providing toys throughout the day while you’re away. Active play can between naps can help your cat stay alert during the day. When night falls, schedule a hearty play session with your feline friend to further tire him out. Follow playtime with his evening meal. Pushing your cat’s mealtime back will help minimize his crying for a midnight snack.

If your cat is a free feeder and grazes throughout the day, changing this behavior could prove a wee bit more challenging.

“If you allow them to graze all day long, not only do you not have a chance of affecting their behavior even a little bit, but you’re also not allowing their body to process foods in a natural way…If you’re free feeding, stop and establish a meal time,” Galaxy said.

2. Provide essentials like food and water.

Middle-of-the-night meowing could be your cat’s way of letting you know she’s hungry or thirsty. If you follow Galaxy’s advice to feed later in the evening, say around 9:30 p.m., nighttime crying for food should end. Make sure to fill your cat’s water bowl before turning in for the night, too. That way they’re not calling out for a drink at 3 a.m.

3. Scoop the litter box before bed.

Cats prefer a fresh and clean litter box when they go about their business. So a dirty litter box could be the reason your cat is crying at night. Try scooping before bedtime so your furry friend has a clean place to do business. Aside from daily or twice daily scooping, your cat’s litter box should be dumped every week and the box washed out thoroughly with a safe, environmentally friendly cleaner. A glistening litter box will help keep your cat happy and quiet at night.

4. Give your kitty plenty of playtime and affection before bed.

Some cats cry at night out of loneliness, boredom, or anxiety. Especially if you’ve been away at work all day, your cat needs interaction and companionship. Without one-on-one time your furry friend will become stressed and lonely , and he’s likely to let it be known when you’re right in the middle of REM sleep.

Spend time with your kitty in the evenings. Lavishing a cat with love and affection should be fun and rewarding, right? So grab a laser, ball, or wand, and get ready to romp.

5. Use nightlights around your home to help senior cats with dementia or vision issues.

Being able to see their surroundings can help an elderly cat with visual problems or impaired cognitive function feel less fearful and more confident, which should help tone down night-time caterwauling.

6. Refrain from responding to your cat’s night-time meowing.

If your cat’s needs are being met and you suspect the night-time vocalizing is linked to his desire for your attention, ignore him . As hard as it might be, shrugging off the behavior with neither a hush nor an admonition will teach your cat that no amount of unnecessary meowing will get you out of bed.

Will this tactic work? Yes, but it might take a couple of weeks. In the interim, you might invest in ear plugs.

7. Check for lights or sounds that could disturb your pet.

An annoying noise or even light filtering in through might be the cause of all that meowing outside your bedroom door. Remember that cats can hear sounds of up to 64,000HZ — compared to 20,000HZ for humans and 45,000HZ for dogs — so you may not even hear what’s bothering your kitty. LED lights and flickering computer screens might also disturb your cat during the night. Try shutting off your laptop to end the caterwauling.

Losing sleep because your four-legged companion won’t stop meowing warrants immediate attention. First up, figure out why the behavior is happening, and then set out to resolve it so that you and your kitty can finally get a good night’s sleep. 🖤 🐈

Shop the Modkat litter boxes and accessories to freshen up your cat litter area today!

How to block out noise at night

If you’ve ever felt groggy from being woken through the night by abrupt noises, you know it’s a recipe for a rough morning. While some sounds can nurture sleep, others snap us awake and make it difficult to go back to catching zzzs. In this article, we’ll answer the question “How does noise affect sleep cycles and some tips for reducing unwanted noises during prime sleep hours.

How Noise Interferes with Sleep

It may surprise you to learn that even when you’re sleeping, noises can still be disruptive enough to wake you. What’s more surprising is these sounds don’t even have to wake you to interfere with sleep, since the sleeping brain remains aware of sounds in the environment. Because of that, you might suffer from a restless sleep that leaves you tired because you did not spend enough time in deep and REM sleep, the deepest and most restorative sleep cycles.

Whether you have a loudly snoring partner who is in need of an anti-snoring mouth guard, a roommate who talks at all hours of the night, or any other noisy sleep distractions, we have some helpful tips and suggestions to get your rest back in control.

  • Consider covering the noise with sounds you enjoy – White noise machines are a wise investment for those who struggle to sleep due to noisy sleeping environments. For example, those moving from a rural to an urban setting can benefit from white noise machines that cover sudden loud noises with a continuous sound. There are also pink noises, like the sound of steady rainfall, and brown noises, like the roar of a river, which work well, too.
  • There’s always an app for it! 2017 is full of apps meant to provide workable solutions to many issues, including noisy bedrooms. If you cannot or do not want to invest in a portable sound machine, explore your options for apps that can provide white, brown, or pink noise. There are also sleep-oriented music apps ideal for those struggling with this issue.
  • Use appliances to mask unwanted noise – Fans are the original white noise machines, but your air conditioner, ceiling fan, or air filter machine can also provide you with effective white noise creation.
  • Consider earplugs – Though a distinctly old-school answer, they work wonders for blocking out all of the ambient noise and sound. However, keep in mind that if you count on an alarm clock, this is not the right solution for you.
  • Modify the entire bedroom – This involves moving furniture to optimal locations to reduce noise, adding sound-proofing panels to the walls where noise enters, and insulating floors, windows, and ceilings safely.
  • Sweep the house for buzzing appliances- The humming of an electrical device may be what is causing the problem, and the solution as simple as removing it!
  • Train yourself to ignore it – This may sound impossible, but experts have discovered that many of us can actually use relaxation methods and mindful forgetfulness to learn how to sleep in a noisy environment.

And be sure not to forget that morning noises such as barking dogs, garbage trucks or early traffic could be another noise concern. If so, take these same steps to address these early morning noises before it interrupts your healthy and natural sleep cycle.

The term ‘white noise’ can be confusing. After all, it does contain the word ‘noise’ in it. But it’s not what you think. White noise is a wonderful option for covering up unwanted external sounds.

Buying a white noise machine is a great choice because it can play many different sounds combined together at a variety of frequencies all at once.

While it sounds like it might create quite a cacophony, it’s rather pleasing to the ear. Unlike a noise disturbance, white noise uses soothing sounds like rain falling on the leaves of trees, waves of the ocean crashing on the shore, or even fans whirling air around.

It’s a pretty brilliant concept. After all, if you have noisy neighbors, you likely don’t hear them at all on a rainy night, do you? That’s the beauty of a white noise machine.

It takes away their racket and brings you peace and comfort through a soothing and comforting sound.

When you rent or live in close proximity to your neighbors, masking the sounds they make without competing by, say, turning up your stereo or watching TV equally as loud to drown it out, using white noise is a smarter way to get your own slice of peace. That’s because white noise balances the frequencies rather than making more conflicting noise.

New parents often find it mystifying that newborn babies delight in white noise sounds. Fussy babies can go to sleep rather quickly when you turn it on, making it a less intrusive noise than a crying baby at 3am that your neighbors hear through the walls.

But can they hear your white noise machine? And will it bother them? For the answers to these questions and how you can use white noise in your favor, keep reading!

What Is a White Noise Machine?

Now that you know what white noise is, a white noise machine is one capable of producing these soothing sorts of sounds. Because we all find different ambient sounds calming, white noise machines are wonderful for their selections. You can choose a waterfall, wind rustling through the trees, gentle rain, heavy rain, and other nature sounds.

They also allow you to choose selections like ‘white noise’ or even ‘brown noise’ or ‘pink noise’ which come through higher frequencies.

These can often be helpful when other sounds are disturbing you. You won’t even hear them, and isn’t that the point?

Because let’s face it…if you keep hearing your neighbor loudly talking on the phone or watching TV, or really doing anything while you’re trying to sleep, that anger boils up inside you, which is never a good thing.

Neither is missing out on sleep. With a white noise machine in your corner, your noisy neighbors and other violating sounds around you will be a non-issue, allowing you to truly feel at peace.

Can Neighbors Hear a White Noise Machine?

In short, the answer is yes. Your neighbors can hear a white noise machine, but it’s not what you might think.

White noise is made when you combine many sounds of the same intensity but differing frequencies. These sounds then cover up other sounds in the background that are interfering with your sleep or relaxation time.

Most of the time, it’s not the loudness of the sounds that can shake us from a deep sleep. It’s the suddenness of them coming on. If you’ve ever sprung awake, sitting straight up in bed because of a loud noise, this is why.

With constant white noise, it covers up any distracting noises. If you’re a light sleeper, you really should have gotten a white noise machine ages ago. Once you try it, you will wonder why you ever went to sleep without one.

And again, white noise machines are a blessing for new parents. The sounds white noise creates simulate what a baby hears in the womb.

When babies are in their first 3 months of life outside the womb, the sudden quiet of the world around them is disconcerting. New babies need that noise. It calms them and lulls them to sleep.

But what about your neighbor? Whether you are playing white noise to keep from hearing the annoying sounds in surrounding apartments or outside in the streets, or you have a new baby in your home, that white noise can’t be fully distinguished by your neighbor.

They might hear something but it would be like having one thousand people having a conversation simultaneously. It’s not distinguishable so it creates a soothing hum, which will not disturb them.

Who Else Can Hear Your White Noise Machine?

Again, babies are one of the best customers of white noise machines. Perhaps they’re not ordering them themselves since they haven’t yet mastered fine motor skills, but parents are ordering white noise machines in droves simply because of how efficiently they can get a baby to go to sleep.

White noise helps condition babies to fall asleep. When they hear the sounds, it reminds them of all those loud organs inside the womb.

The blood rushing by in the circulatory system, the gurgles and whooshes of sound from all the internal organs surrounding the uterus.

They love this sound, but if you plan to use a white noise machine for the baby, be careful about the volume.

While it is soothing, it also can be loud. Make sure you can control the volume and keep it from going to high in decibels to avoid hearing damage.