Getting your infant to sleep through the night is no easy task. It involves many sleepless nights for you, a lot of crying (from everyone involved), a ridiculous number of lullabies that just never seem to work no matter how many times you sing and a constant eye on your baby monitor in hopes they’ll drift off.
But beyond developing a solid sleep routine for a new baby, even toddlers and younger children struggle with falling asleep. Whether you’re a new parent or just looking for ways to help your little ones get better sleep, one gadget you can add to your nursery or kids’ room is a white noise machine.
But first, let’s talk about the science behind white noise. Sound waves are measured in frequency, meaning how fast the waves vibrate per second, and amplitude, which is how big the waves are. With white noise, every frequency we can possibly hear is played at the same amplitude, resulting in the static-like sound some find soothing.
Studies found that white noise can help babies and young children fall asleep quickly, meaning more winks for everyone in your household. But the best way to figure out if your little ones will respond well to it is to just try it out.
So we asked you, our HuffPost readers, to tell us about your favorite white noise machine to help out other parents who may need a little extra help with bedtime. Mentions included traditional sound machines but also alternatives like box fans and even a vintage-style transmitter radio.
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The LectroFan was submitted by HuffPost reader Katie Concetta. "3.5 years and still going strong! Has lots of different options and sounds great. It has been a lifesaver for us," they said.
The machine offers 10 fan sounds and 10 ambient noise variations, including white, pink and brown noise. It can be powered with either an AC or USB cord. You can also control the volume and adjust it to the level that helps your little one sleep comfortably.
Dreamegg D1 sound machine
HuffPost audience editor Abigail Williams recommends the Dreamegg sound machine. "We've had this white noise machine in my daughter's nursery since she came home from the hospital. It's been so helpful to soothe her, drown out outside noise and help her sleep through the night," she said.
It has seven white noises, seven fan sounds and 10 relaxing natural sounds like bird noises, sea waves, campfire crackling and rain. It also has an optional night light, which gives off enough light so you can see during night feedings. And you don't have to worry about waking up to turn it off as it has a 30-, 60- and 90-minute auto-off timer.
A Sleep Sheep On The Go musical cuddly toy
"We have two of these -- sheep and giraffe. Both my boys (7 and 5) still use them nightly. Both like the ocean sound best. They are small enough to travel with us. And when the boys wake up in the middle of the night, they will turn them on and fall right back to sleep," said Courtney Schmidt, another HuffPost reader.
This version of Cloud B's Sleep Sheep is the travel size, but you can get the original here
. The travel-friendly version stands 8 inches high and fits perfectly in a baby bag or carry-on. It plays four soothing sounds: gently flowing stream, spring showers, ocean waves and whale songs. It also attaches to car seats, strollers and cribs via a Velcro strap on the back. The volume control is adjusted to doctor-recommended sound levels and the timer turns off at 23 or 45 minutes.
The Authentic Sleep Sound Machine
HuffPost reader Holly Meers Shields plugged this sound machine made by Hammacher Schlemmer. "The best. Used for both my girls when they were babies and helps drown out my husband's snoring," Shields said.
It was originally invented in 1962 and produces a soothing white noise to aid in sleep. It comes in pink, gray, tan, white and black.
Homedics' white noise sound machine
The Homedics sound machine was recommended by multiple HuffPost readers, including these two:
"I have always had HoMedics Sound Spa Sound white noise machine for both my children. I ran it with the rain sound for both of them from birth. Took it whenever we travelled as the unit took batteries as well as plug into the mains. My son is now almost 14 and still likes to sleep with it on. He can sleep fine without it but says it puts him in a very relaxed state hearing it as he drops off." — Shelley Hargreaves
"This one has been the one and only for both of my kids and my 4-year-old still uses it. Simple and effective! — Larissa Vinciguerra
The sound machine comes in blue, white and gold and with six soothing sounds: white noise, thunder, ocean, rain, summer night and brook. Its compact size makes it a great travel accessory when you're on the go with your kids. It has an optional auto-off timer with 15-, 30- or 60-minute options.
A Hatch Baby Rest sound machine
Another sound machine that received multiple recommendations from HuffPost readers and over 24,000 five-star Amazon ratings
is the Hatch Baby Rest sound machine.
"We have The Hatch that you can program with LED lights and sounds on an app on your phone. You can set on and off times as well as volume and lock the device so little hands can’t mess with it!" said HuffPost reader Drea Zummo.
Part night light, sound machine and alarm, this multifunctional gadget is one of the more customizable options on our list. You can set programs according to your little one's sleep schedule from your phone or manually by tapping the machine. It provides soft light and white noise.
PowerBear portable radio
Though not a traditional white noise machine, one reader recommended using an old transistor radio for a cheaper option. Cara Johnson suggested setting it in between stations to get the white noise, static-y sound.
A Google Nest Hub
For a family tech gadget that everyone can use, even as your kids get older, opt for the Google Nest Hub, which was recommended by a HuffPost reader on Twitter.
"We say 'play thunderstorm sounds' so much my 3-year-old does it himself," they said.
A staple in any smart home, the Google Nest Hub plays music, shows, videos and soothing sounds, has sunrise alarms and even books restaurant reservations. It comes in chalk, charcoal, mist and sand.
The Echo Dot
The Echo Dot is a smart speaker that uses Alexa to carry out commands. It streams music, podcasts and audiobooks, plays the news and answers questions. It can also be used to play sounds, including those for bedtime.
"I played 'box fan' on loop with an Echo Dot for about 6 months straight," said HuffPost reader Christina Elena Gilbert.
It comes in charcoal, glacier white and twilight blue.
A Hurricane box fan
A simple, easy-to-get option for white noise is a good old box fan, which many readers said they use as well. This one is 20 inches high and has three speed options.