The $45 solution that drowns out sounds from the city that never, well, you know.

By Brandi Broxson
Updated March 29, 2017

I’m a light sleeper. Some nights the clank clank of glass bottles and aluminum being emptied into the recycling truck will rouse me awake. Other mornings the well-meaning cheep cheeps of the songbirds on the tree outside my apartment will do it. Sometimes if it’s too quiet (rare in New York City, but still happens) I stir. My sleep-aid past reads like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Earplugs kind of worked, but gave me a headache. A bedside fan had the right sound, but made me cold. I’ve tried listening to apps with recorded sound of heartbeats (which for the record is creepy when you’re already in the dark) or waves crashing, but those only made my brain buzz more (not to mention the weird dreams).

I was at a loss until I heard that InStyle editor in chief Laura Brown swears by the Marpac Dohm white noise machine. So I gave it a whirl, and was amazed at how much more rested I felt. I no longer wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to get back to bed. So what makes it different? Rather than loop a recording, the circular gadget uses air to create a soothing whirring sound. It’s adjustable so you can determine what pitch will work best and what sound level (low or high) will best drown out your noise.

The trick is to place it between yourself and the source. For this reason, I keep it on my bedside table to run interference when a late night honk honk! threatens my slumber. I’ve even considered purchasing a second one to leave on for my dog to drown out the sound of the neighbor’s footsteps that make him edgy during the day.