Welcome to The Esquire Endorsement. Heavily researched. Thoroughly vetted. These picks are the best way to spend your hard-earned cash.
There are some legitimately crazy things you can buy to help you sleep better. Head-ensconcing padded wraps outfitted with sensors. Acoustic sleep buds for your ears. A smart sleep and wake-up lamp (which I am on the record as whole-heartedly endorsing, by the way). Melatonin, if you think it works. Weed. Because no one can sleep in 2020—no one’s been able to sleep since 1939—the things and more things pile up. Naturally, I’m about to suggest one more. But it’s a small thing, a not-expensive thing, and simple thing: a noise machine. And the LectroFan, a straightforward, effective, and compact model, is the best option.
It’ll hush up the outside world.
White noise and its effects are constantly being studied, because there’s not really a consensus on them yet. But if you’re living somewhere that’s noisy—around me, I can more often than not point to sirens and loud car stereos in the dead of night, above-ground subway tracks, rats (I know, but, New York), the guy who smokes and coughs on the fire escape above my window, and this random drip in the walls of my apartment—the LectroFan will wrap you up in a dependable, unpuncturable cloud of noise as you drift to sleep. I’m not what you’d call a good sleeper, but I sleep easier with this machine. My audible surroundings bother me less, it takes less time for me to calm my mind the fuck down after I turn off the light, and it seems like I’m waking up fewer times in the night. (I don’t have sensors strapped to my brain electrodes though, so these are just anecdotal observations.)
It has the range.
There are two types of noise emitted electronically, without breaks, by the LectroFan: one that mimics a fan, and one that’s just like the white noise you’re imagining. Each of these two types of sound is available in 10 different volumes so you can get granular with your settings. And the machine can be set on a 60-minute timer if you don’t want to play it all through the night. As for the white noise specifically, it’s a range of white, pink, and brown noises to hit all frequencies that we humans can hear. (Sleep science is intricate, but just know that the colors are being studied, too.) Personally, I prefer my white noise at a low volume setting that ASTI, the company that makes the LectroFan, calls “cinnamon.” That’s nice.
It’s designed to fit on your nightstand—and to travel.
It makes big noise, but the LectroFan is a little thing—about four and a half inches in diameter, which ought to be pretty easy to sneak onto your nightstand. Or to pack on a trip, as you can buy a travel case for it for $ 14. And I’ve gone on and on about using it for sleep, but there are folks who like white noise while they work or read, too. I do not have a baby, but I understand that it works well for them as well (with precautions, naturally). That’s the saying, isn’t it? I slept like a baby last night. The dream.