'white noise'/uniformity of senses as an aid to sleep

I live next door to the neighbours from hell for an insomniac and yesterday was one of the worst. I had not slept in probably 48 hours and I got home from work to confront one of their daily living-in-the-garden days.

Drills, hammering, wife’s talking-to-three-year-olds-always voice, tiny-dog-bark that must surely be direct from hell even though no such place exists.

In desperation and after much thought on the subject I remembered that my zen vision:M device has a radio function. I recalled some discussion (probably sourced at the SDMB) about how uniforming the senses can aid sleep. I stuck the earphones in and tuned into white noise (the bit between stations)

It worked fairly well. I had to stay awake for a bit listening to the imperfect white noise you get from radio, but before long I was slipping into hypnagogic imagery and thoughts. And soon after that I was fairly well asleep experiencing a kind of harry-potterish thought process where I was both good and evil (I was voldermort and harry at the same time) directing my authority and influence in orders here there and everywhere.

I never seemed to gain full sleep but I think I gained something good enough to get me through my last night shift for two weeks.

We too have fairly noisy neighbors–mostly sporadic outbreaks of car stereos, and the occasional block party–and we use the combination of an air cleaner on the nightstand right next to the bed on “High” and a big box fan on the floor on “Med” or “High” as white noise generators. Works great.

And we have those storm windows that you can slide up and down, and we’ve found that it helps during the essential Sunday afternoon nap to close those, too. That extra layer of insulation shuts out a LOT of noise. The downside is that in the summer the bedroom gets pretty stuffy, but for only a 2-hour nap, you can usually stand it; you wake up just as the room is getting unbearable.

Ever tried ear plugs?

I actually use my Zen Vision:M and those “relaxation” albums–ocean waves, birdsong, rain. That kind of thing. Works a treat for me.

For me, earplugs only block out the white noise, making voices and music even more irritating.

They also make me seasick.

Ear plugs block out all the pleasant sounds and let the unpleasant ones through.