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The secret to deep, relaxing sleep isn't what you'd expect

The secret to deep, relaxing sleep isn't what you'd expect
© Bialasiewicz | Dreamstime.com

It’s been a long, stressful day. You’re home now, but it’s late and you’re wide awake, your mind buzzing. All you want to do is kick back, relax, clear your head, and eventually get some sleep. You don’t have to go it alone. Let’s enter the world of long-form white-noise videos and let YouTube be your guide on your quest for calm.

We’re all familiar with white noise. It may be the fuzzy static from an old television or the sound of waves gently rolling over a beach. It’s a low-key background noise and you can use it to create a soothing setting around you. It can be especially helpful when you’re trying to fall asleep or concentrate while studying.

YouTube is stocked with a bounty of white-noise videos, ranging from nature sounds to sci-fi-inspired audio. They’re all relaxing in their own ways. The one you choose will depend on your preferences; whether you’re into the sounds of the ocean, sounds of the stars, or even the sounds of your favorite science-fiction television series, there's something for everyone.

Here are some of our favorites:

1. Relaxing rain

A good rainstorm is a sign of renewal. The air smells fresh and the falling rain cleanses the world around you. Even on a clear, cloudless night, you can still enjoy the dulcet sounds of a rainstorm with a 10-hour video from YouTube channel meditationrelaxclub. This isn’t a summer sprinkle, but rather an intense storm where the water is coming down in sheets. But don’t worry, there’s no thunder to jar you out of your meditation. The video has over 22 million views on YouTube, so it’s proven to be a popular white-noise option on the video site.

2. Roll with the waves

There are many reasons why beach vacations are so popular. Many people feel drawn to the ocean and the sound of waves rolling from the great blue expanse onto the warm sand. If you can’t make it to the beach for a nap in the sun, then try out the “Calming Seas #1” video from YogaYak, a YouTube user offering an extensive list of relaxing and calming soundscapes.

There are a lot of beach-inspired wave videos on YouTube, but this one is particularly popular. It’s gentle and even-keeled and approximates the sound of a calm sea pouring onto a quiet beach. A dark-screen version is also available where the visuals consist of just a black screen. This is a nice option if you have your tablet or phone near you and are bothered by the amount of light coming from the original video version.

3. Snooze to Star Trek

There’s something very soothing about the background audio that thrums quietly on board the USS Enterprise. It’s the sound of the fictional spaceship’s engine and it also makes for an ideal white noise track. YouTube user crysknife007 went the extra mile with a video that covers a whopping 24 hours of ambient engine noises from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

You don’t have to be a fan of Captain Picard and Commander Riker to enjoy this soundscape. As crysknife007 writes, it’s “Great for ambiance and imagining that you're in deep space.” But at 24 hours in length, you might want to set an alarm so you don’t oversleep.

“The Next Generation” Enterprise audio track isn’t the only ship you can find on YouTube. Star Trek fans can also search to find engine noises from their favorite series, whether it’s the very low rumble from the original show from the 1960s or the gentle humming of the space station from “Deep Space Nine.”

4. Song of the stars

If the stars call to you, but you’re not up for hours and hours of spaceship engine noises, then check out the “Celestial White Noise” video from the Relaxing White Noise YouTube channel. It’s 10 hours long. The description sums it up: “The sound, uniquely crafted and based upon cosmic radiation, is similar to brown noise but has more bass and less on the high end.” This is a good soundtrack if you want to drift away into your own sci-fi dreams of space.

5. Chill with a fan

Relaxing White Noise on YouTube offers an extensive selection of videos besides the celestial sounds. A video titled “Fan white noise” lasts for 11 hours and consists entirely of the constant whooshing sounds made by a rotating fan blade. The creator writes, “I auditioned a dozen fans for the role to select the most pleasing sound to make your ears tingle and your eyes grow heavy.”

6. Blow-dry your way to sleep

Fans aren’t the only household appliances that can help people fall to sleep. RestandRelaxtionVids offers up 10 hours of hair dryer noises. This one may be a little more polarizing than the pitter patter of rain or the restrained thrum of a spaceship engine, but some people find the noise to be extremely soothing. RestandRelaxtionVids recommends this particular white-noise experience for babies. If you do try this video with an infant, be mindful of keeping the volume low to protect your child’s hearing.

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