Available at marpac.com, Amazon.com and Bed Bath & Beyond; $45 to $60
The pitch: “Research shows that using a white-noise machine in your bedroom to mask disruptive sounds can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.”
The skinny: Sleep is our friend. The older we get, the more we need. I’m not talking 12 hours here; I would be content with seven to eight hours of uninterrupted slumber.
But I have this little problem. It doesn’t have anything to do with hot flashes, stress or drinking caffeine before bed. My sleep issues have everything to do with noise.
It all started back in college, when five of us were crammed into a four-person dorm room. I drew the short straw, and had to sleep in the study area. This was a dorm populated by rowdy freshmen who liked extremely loud rock music, so the only way I could sleep was to run a high-velocity floor fan right next to my pillow.
And thus began a lifetime of “white-noise” addiction.
I cannot sleep without the steady whirl of noise buffering all outside intrusions (a snoring partner, a ringing telephone, a ticking clock, you name it). If a power outage occurs in the middle of the night and my fan suddenly stops, I wake up instantly. Don’t think of me as an odd duck; I happen to know there are plenty of you out there. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 50 to 70 million American adults have a sleep or wakefulness disorder.
So what happens when you travel, or if a boxy fan cramps your room’s style? Enter the Dohm (formerly the SleepMate and Sound Screen). This compact machine weighs just 1.5 pounds and comes with a dual-speed switch for volume and tone control. Instead of using an electronic recording like other noise machines, the Dohm creates its steady and comforting sound through rushing air.
I love it for its portability and its simplicity. And it certainly gets the job done. But there are a few downsides.
I would like it to be just a little bit louder, and I wish there was a battery option, because power outages in Florida during the summer storm season can render it silent.
Overall, I love this machine, because it can make the difference between a cranky, blurred-eyed Michelle and a well-rested refreshed Michelle. It also won the endorsement of the National Sleep Foundation.
For those of you who don’t need a crutch like this, I envy you. For the rest of us, this is a “must-have” product.