Can’t Sleep? This Is The Sound That Will Conk You Out

I used to laugh at old people who fell asleep in their easy chair at 8:30pm.

I’ve become one of them.

I don’t mean to do it, but it happens more often than I’d like to admit (and not just on nights when I have wine with dinner, but that doesn’t help). The worst part about it is the unintended consequences. If I drift off at 8:30 in front of the TV, I usually only nap until about 8:50pm. Then I’m wide awake, only to have trouble falling asleep for the night later. I get a horrible night’s sleep and the Catch 22 pattern starts all over again.

But fortunately I have a daughter who set out to help me. She introduced me to the Sleep Pillow app. The free version has a number of “white noise” type sounds that can help you drift off to sleep like a baby on Benadryl. There’s falling rain, thunderstorms, forest sounds, crackling fires and even whale songs.

I plugged the earphones into my iPhone and tried out a few of the sounds. Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

FALLING RAIN – At first I liked the sounds of the gently falling rain. But let’s be honest, I’m a middle-aged woman. It made me have to pee. This is a no.

FOREST SOUNDS – I don’t do nature so the sounds of the chirping or buzzing or whatever you’d call it was kind of annoying. (I’m so NOT into nature, I don’t exactly know what was making these noises.) But it reminded me of when my college friend talked me into camping at We Fest and I laid in the tent wide awake listening to the sounds of critters all around me. It turns out they were closer than I thought – like in the tent.  I woke up in the morning not only with a Bud Light hangover, but bug bites. Traumatic memories I choose not to relive.

OCEAN WAVES – I thought for sure this was the one. I love being near the ocean. I love everything about it – the sounds of the waves, the sand in my toes, and seafood. All that was missing was the smell of the Coppertone. But unfortunately my bladder wasn’t buying it. See #1.

MASSAGE THERAPY MUSIC – This was just “Meh.” I don’t fall asleep to music well. I’ve often thought instead of music, I should have recorded the lectures of some of my political science professors in college. I had a Public Administration class that would knock out Charo. Coochi Coochi. Snore.


LULLABY – More trauma here. It reminded me of the days when I had my first baby and I was sleep deprived and stressed out. I listened to the same lullaby CD every night when she refused to sleep. So I just remember that. Then I start feeling guilty that I have unpleasant memories of when my daughter was a baby. Then I think about how she’s starting high school next year and then she’ll go to college and leave me. Then I’ll be sad and lonely and long for the days when I had to listen to that damn lullaby CD. This is my brain on a lullaby.


WHALES SINGING – This was kind of a cool one that I tried to listen to for awhile, but then I started thinking about how I used to watch Jacques Cousteau specials when I was little and how John Denver sang that song about his boat and how I love John Denver and am sad he died. Then I start thinking about how he sang “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and I start getting hungry for  ‘cakes on the griddle.  So I go downstairs and eat Nilla Wafers.

METRONOME  – Tick, tick, tick. Nails on a chalkboard. No.

CRACKLING FIRE – Maybe it’s because I live in Minnesota, but I really liked this one. It made me feel safe and warm. It also reminded me a Campfire girl sleepover I had when I was 12. The popping and snapping sounds of the firewood reminded me of drinking Shasta pop and laughing until my sides hurt. This was okay for awhile, but then I started having a hot flash and I had to turn it off. HONORABLE MENTION.


STORMY WEATHER – And I’m not talking about Lena Horne here (although that is a fabulous song). This sound was more like a few sounds. I could hear wind, and a little rain, but not enough to convince my bladder that it was full. The sounds of the thunder made me hunker down in my covers a little bit and it’s the last thing I remember before I finally drifted off to sleep.


So I’d recommend both Crackling Fire and Stormy Weather. But probably your best bet is no wine with dinner and an uncomfortable easy chair.