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April 25th, 2001

White Noise

I’m one of those people that sleeps a lot easier with some sort of white noise. During the winter, a humidifier will do the job. During the summer, I use a fan. While I can deal with absolute silence and don’t need one of those white noise generators, I still prefer some sort of background noise if I have an option. But this is one of those things that varies widely from person to person.

When I stayed at a friend’s place in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York a few years back, I had trouble sleeping over all the loud yelling from the street throughout the night. But they told me that they need that (it’s their white noise) in order to sleep well. They can’t fall asleep with dead quiet.

Others, though, seem to have trouble with the smallest of noises, waking up with a shudder if someone so much as walks by the room.

I’m interested in taking an informal poll of Ping regulars: dead silence, white noise, lots of noise, doesn’t matter — what do you need to sleep well? -ram

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Old Fezziwig
DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 9:00:47AM
I can fall asleep in just about any situation. It always helps to drink lots of beer first.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 9:16:49AM
Fezz--Once again, you know the score.

I like to have a slight amount of background noise when I sleep. A TV or a space heater have proven to be too much for me in the past, but a leaky faucet was fine.
I suppose the best sound to sleep to in that of someone laying next to you sleeping, cuz that means . . . well, you know.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 9:19:01AM
And one more thing . . . I want to be the first person to mention the Anthrax album Sounds of White Noise.

FROM: Tina
DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 9:52:59AM
In high school, I used to sleep with a fan on every single night - summer, winter, it didn't matter -- mostly to provide a noise factor. Also so I didn't have to hear my parents...well, you know. They were a loving couple, let's just put it that way. When I left for college, the fan was no longer needed.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 10:58:10AM
Tina -- Ugh! I think I would have had to turn on a fan, the TV, the radio and then put on a pair of earplugs AND headphones.

DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 11:00:03AM
I prefer dead silence. And the wall between my bedroom and my neighbor's studio apartment is cheap-hotel-thin. Which is why I'm so cranky all the time.

DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 11:15:16AM
I sleep best when there are kids out in the parking lot yelling at the top of their lungs for no reason, bass blaring from some idiot's car, and some moron honking repeatedly instead of actually going to the person's door and seeing if they're there. Oh wait. That's just what my neighbors seem to think.

I actually seem to sleep best with a tiny bit of white noise. I tend to like absolute quiet best, but I think a bit of ambient noise helps some. I can also sleep to either instrumental music or music that I know really well, so it ends up being sort of background noise.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 1:46:09PM
I have made the shift from needing a wee bit of noise to sleeping best with complete silence. At most, I'll usually hear the distant hum of the PC in the living room - and that's it. It's quite wonderful.

I used to need some sort of sound; the sleep timer on my TV will attest to that.

FROM: liz
DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 2:25:01PM
usually i can sleep with no noise at all, but if i really need something, i'll turn the classical station on very low and put it on the sleep timer.

of course, my problem is waking up, not falling asleep.

FROM: Tony
DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 3:54:56PM
Some noise, most times a fan, on 24/7 anyway. Other than that, when my pc is on doing something important I can deal with. The thing I cant stand is the blinking 12:00 on my VCR. Since we have power outages daily, I decided it would be a waste of time to reset it.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 5:28:17PM
I usually can sleep in most situations. Although I've never really lived in a noisy city, I have visited and stayed and have been able to sleep in those situations also.
I think my ideal is no noise, but when I get a little older I want to take naps with my wife listening to Easy Listening music.

FROM: cat
DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 6:29:02PM
You know, I answered this ping without thinking. Isn't it a little disturbing that Ryan wants to know how much noise we all need (or don't need) to sleep? Is he planning some heinous offensive strike using 10-foot woofers and old Thin Lizzy albums?

Confess. We know you're up to something.

FROM: Maria
DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 8:13:16PM
I need some noise to fall asleep, so it's usually going to be my radio/a CD or the TV. I can't fall asleep in complete silence, but once I'm asleep pretty much any noise will wake me up, so whatever I fall asleep with has to turn off fairly soon after I fall asleep. I absolutely can't sleep with my computer on, for some reason. I also can't sleep once my neighbors on either side decide it's fun to play loud music at 8:30 a.m. on weekends.

FROM: Terry M.
DATE: Wednesday April 25, 2001 -- 10:36:20PM
So if everybody requires (mostly electrical) white noise to sleep, how did anybody sleep before the mass adoption of residential electricity -- a phenomenon of the 20th century?

They say that composers like Beethoven lived in a fundametally different acoustic universe than composers today. Since they didn't tune out the hum of the A/C, cars driving by, planes flying overhead, the hum of the fridge, the sound of indoor plumbing, etc., they supposedly had sharper listening skills to pick up nuances in sound.

But how did they sleep??

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:18:44 pm

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