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Between being a baby boomer in the autumn season of life with all the changes that entails, and in the continual throes of the Sandwich Generation, constantly juggling crises here and there, I am often battling the same sleep issues I know many of you also know all to well. Many's the night, either when I head for bed or in the middle of the night, that I have been busy searching for ways, means and tricks to fall asleep!
Three of my favorite tips are getting up to do a Bible study, listening to quiet praise and worship hymn songs and music, or, what works even better for me, is listening to a quiet sermon as I rest – usually helping me to nod off within five – fifteen minutes.
I know that other boomers prefer some type of white noise. I have to admit, the sound of quiet waves on the beach or the ripples in a creek can definitely be very restful to me, while my grandsons often go to sleep to the sound of a loud fan which blocks out other noises that may keep them awake.
Recently, one of my grandkids was having a tough day and I went searching for some iPhone apps to help him relax. Lo and behold, there are at least three great white noise sound apps available for free, with extended options for a small fee (though the free ones were all I would need) – all of which can be useful ways to help you fall back asleep when you are waking up in the middle of the night, as well as helping you fall asleep in the first place. Here are the apps we discovered. I've included the opinions of my grandkids and myself just to give you a "flavor" of the apps but please realize this is a very personal "opinion type" of decision. What I might hate, you could easily love, or vice versa. In fact, I'd LOVE to hear what you love OR hate. 🙂
1. Sleepmaker Waves Free – Our personal grade: A
I liked that it has a volume control right off the bat, making it easy for me to adjust the volume for the app without adjusting the volume of the cell phone. For that matter, by using both volume controls, you can make it even quieter if you'd like. It provides a timer by clicking on the letter "I" in the circle. It offers five sound choices in their free app:
- Gentle waves into rockpools – This sound seems to start with one loud crash, then it is mostly quiet ripples with the occasional medium sounding wave – I liked it.
- Medium waves onto shore – steady waves, some louder, and not too fast. I also liked this one. I felt like it was a nice one to listen to but if the occasional crashing might wake you up, you might prefer the gentle waves better.
- Heavy surf crashing into shore – these were louder but also more relaxed, soothing, and steady. Not so much crashing as just the calm back and forth of the surf. I would turn the sound down a bit and use this. Really liked it.
- Heavy big surf and waves – this was definitely a bigger surf. Still, it was fairly steady and relaxing. Both this and the heavy surf make me want to roll over on my towel and soak up some "rays." 🙂
- Underwater ocean scuba bubbles – this is just bubbling. Very quiet and very peaceful. I personally prefer the waves, but if you are looking for something very quiet, this was great.
2. Relaxing Sounds Of Nature Lite – Our personal grade: A
There were several sounds I would use including Musical Waterfall and Beach – Cape Cod. This one was especially nice because it had more than just ocean sounds. It has several lovely wallpaper pictures to go with the sounds, an option to save favorites, and a choice between night, quick night, and wakeup timer. It even has a soundboard to allow you to create your own sounds and save them.
- Crickets Chirping – Personally, I'm not a big fan of crickets chirping. We had them in our house one time for a few weeks and they kept waking me up. Also, this is a loud and steady sound. But if you like the night sounds, it might be good for you.
- Night Ambience – This was crickets +. Also a bit loud and non-stop but in a different tonal range – lower.
- Forest (England) – I would have liked this except for a ??? cuckoo, maybe, that kept making it's noise then stopped. Rather irritating.
- Eastern Australia – Mostly birds singing. They were pleasant, but every so often there'd be a strange loud one that I think would tend to jolt me awake.
- Grasshoppers – Did you know grasshoppers make noise? I sure didn't. Kind of sounds like they stand around and shake a rattle every so often. 🙂 Fairly peaceful but the shaking would jolt me.
- Jungle (Thailand) – Very peaceful sounding with various birds trilling. OK but again, the random sounds might be a bit jolting when you are trying to sleep.
- Mountain Ambience – Again, very peaceful and restful, but if you are trying to sleep there are some louder bird trills that could be an issue.
- Musical waterfall. I admit it – running water is a favorite of mine. It is just so peaceful. I remember being in Hawaii with a knee that was giving me grief thanks to arthritis. I couldn't get around too much, but it led to one of the highlights of the trip. Since it hurt too much to walk to a less expensive restaurant, as we usually did, we would eat every morning in the hotel restaurant. It had a lovely waterfall-style fountain with geese in it. It was the most relaxing, enjoyable way to while away a breakfast hour and this reminded me of that. Such lovely family memories! Definitely liked it!
- Tropical Rainforest – Very nice and my grandsons will enjoy listening to the different animals, but there were too many times of a bit louder trill to use it at bedtime for us.
- Light Rain – It was steady, but not my cup of tea.
- Rain on a Tarp – i I liked this a bit better – a little more variety without to much variation. If you like rain, I think you might enjoy it.
- Beach (Cape Cod) – My oldest grandson liked this the best. An occasional wave and a hint of seagulls but fairly soothing overall. He listened for 15 minutes, then had me turn it off and went right to sleep – definitely a good sign!
- Beach (Australia) – Slow and steady waves but the seagulls were a bit louder and came in and out. That tends to jolt me a bit.
- Whale Calls – Water rippling, some quiet waves, along with a quiet whale call periodically. It was nice. If you are a baby boomer trekkie (Star Trek Fan), it will probably bring back some fun memories of Star Trek 4. 🙂
- Clock – IRRITATING! Just a steady tick tock and LOUD. I know they recommend a clock with a brand new puppy, so it might be good for them or those who grew up with these type of clocks. I, personally, have always hated them, so it definitely gets a thumbs down for me. I have a feeling my dad would have liked it, though. 🙂
- Melody – A peaceful quiet wood-wind instrument playing a soft melody.
- On Train – Ohhh, my husband would have loved this, as will any of you who are train buffs – whether ??? or the real McCoys! You feel like you are sitting on an older train as it makes its way down the long train track.
- Piano – A lovely classical song playing however an orchestra did come in and out. If you like music, it was nice, but for me, it would tend to wake me up.
- Monastery – Voices chanting musically – pretty much the same tune over and over.
- Calm Melody – Piano music played quietly. Not quiet as steadily quiet as I would need but it was pretty.
3. White Noise Lite – Our personal grade – B
This one offers lots of sound options, but none were ones I am likely to use. I allows you to make your own sound mix as well.
- Beach Waves Crashing – Just steady small waves, occasionally a bit louder and a bit fast, but overall not bad.
- Thunder Storm – Thunder crashing – Since the real McCoy can wake me up, this isn't one I'd use.
- Extreme rain pouring – Definitely pouring rain but with the sound turned down it was rather nice and cozy.
- Crickets Chirping – Again, not one of my favorite sounds but I think I preferred this one to the crickets in Relaxing Sounds – Nature
- Grandfather Clock – Another ticking clock that would serious annoy me but probably not my dad. 🙂
- Chimes Chiming – I once stayed at a friend's house and in my guest room the wind chimes she had all along her porch kept me awake all night long. She, however, loved the sound and slept like a baby. So depending on who you take after, you might love these or hate them.
- Oscillating Fan – My grandkids usually go to sleep to the real McCoy so I know this sound can help. I prefer waves, though, I must admit.
- Airplane Travel – If you are one who sits down in the airplane seat, hears the engines roar, and immediately fall asleep, this is probably perfect for you.
- Train Noise – Another railfan delight! This was a bit bumpier track, so I think I would prefer the one with Relaxing Sounds of Nature, but it was nice to hear.
- White Noise – Seriously irritating to me. Sounded like a gigantic balloon with the air being let out.
One caveat to all of this. I received a text message in the middle of this process. My text messages are set up to beep me. I rarely get them at night – only if it is one of my family members. But if you are trying to nap during the day or get text messages at night, they will beep through the sound, probably waking you up. For me, that means I might not want to use it for a grandkids' naptime, although, once they are asleep, they pretty much sleep through anything, so we shall see.
All in all, there are some great choices from all of these iPhone white noise sound apps. I'm going to keep 1 and 2 and use them for grandkids, while I keep listening to my verse by verse sermons. How about you? If you try any of these intriguing iPhone app white noise ways to help you fall asleep when heading for bed or up in the middle of the night, we'd love to hear your opinion. And if you have other tools or tricks of your own to help us fall asleep, we'd love to hear about them. As busy boomers in the Sandwich Generation, caring for the elderly parents in the family along with grandkids, we definitely need all the help we can get, don't you agree? 🙂
P.S. If you don't have an iPhone and don't want to buy a white noise sound generator, you might try a white noise cd or mp3 download. For more information about an ocean white noise sound cd click here. And to find out more about an hour-long ocean white noise mp3 download, click here. Aloha! 🙂