You’ve probably noticed, at some point in your life, that having a fan whirring in your bedroom can help you sleep. Maybe you never even quite understood why, but you intuitively felt safe and slightly more “tucked in” when blanketed beneath the comforting whoosh of fast-moving fan blades. Besides making the room cooler (which can also significantly improve sleep quality), the real soporific power of a sleep fan lies in its ability to mask disruptive sounds.
The power of sound masking
One of the most popular and well-known examples of a sound masking noise is white noise. The actual sound of white noise is like the thrum of a fan or a the hiss of a static-y television. How does the drone of white noise work to “mask” other sounds? White noise and similarly sound masking sounds reduce the difference between background noise and potentially disturbing “peak” sounds, therefore making peak sounds less likely to interrupt your sleep cycle. Examples of peak sounds include a door slamming or a dish clattering. With sound masking sounds present in your soundscape to mask peak sounds, you’re more likely to slumber on, undisturbed.
According to the National Sleep Foundation: “If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, creating a constant ambient sound could help mask activity from inside and outside the house. In your bedroom, white noise can be created by a sound conditioner, a fan or an air purifier, anything that is a consistent and soothing backdrop throughout the night.”
If you don’t have an actual sleep fan, you can still access the effectiveness of white noise or other sound masking sounds thorough recordings and downloads.
Listen: Sleep fan ASMR sounds
Below, listen to a sleep fan — specifically a box fan — for eight hours (a whole night’s sleep!) of sound masking sounds. This particular sleep fan recording induces ASMR — autonomous sensory meridian response. ASMR is an extremely relaxing experience defined by a static-y, tingling skin sensation. In ASMR, this tingly sensation usually starts at the scalp and travels the back of the neck and to the upper spine. See if you experience the effects of ASMR listening to this video …
Listen: Sleep fan white noise
White noise is the sound of all frequencies hearable to the human ear being played at equal intensities, simultanesouly. As mentioned above, a whirring fan is a prime example of white noise. If you’re really needing a night of good, hard, deep catch-up sleep, here’s 11 hours of white noise in the form of a sleep fan … long enough to help you fall asleep and sleep undisturbed all through the night and into the morning.