I finally solved my chronic insomnia by listening to a special Mp3!

I've always been a very light sleeper. Every little click, pop, drip, bang, bark, or screech used to wake me up with a start, interrupting my REM sleep and often ruining the next work day for me, causing irritablity and lack of concentration. This could go on for many consecutive days, until somehow I was lucky enough to get a full night's sleep.

Over the years, I tried many things. I tried various types of earplugs, both foam, and non-foam, which helped a little bit but not much. I tried sleeping with earplugs while wearing those enormous hearing protectors which helped a little bit more but still nowhere near solving my problems, and gave me massive neck aches. I considered buying a several thousand dollar isolation chamber to modify, lay on it's side and become a "soundproof" sleep chamber. But that would not help if I travelled anywhere, and wasn't sure if it would be as soundproof as they claimed.

Well, to make a long story short, I finally solved my sleep problems FOREVER, and here's how I did it.

I had an old TV sitting in my room and I turned it on one day and noticed that the tuner was broken and all I got was static noise. I turned up the volume and noticed that the static seemed to mask the traffic sounds outside my window and the talking and music in the next room. So I wondered if I would be able to sleep with this static playing, while it masked the other noises. So I tied sleeping that night with the static playing at full volume and IT WORKED. After just a few minutes, I got used to the static sound and was able to fall asleep just fine. Well, it almost worked. Sometimes, even with the tuner broken, the old TV would pick up some stray TV or radio station waves for a few seconds and "come to life" in the middle of the night, startling me out of a deep sleep. So I had to go to plan B.

Plan B: Make a noise-masking Mp3 file

So I got on the internet and researched different kinds of noise. My idea was to make an mp3 file of uninterrupted static noise that I could play  at night. I tried different kinds of noise, white noise, brown noise, and finally, pink noise, which worked the best, because it consisted of all the frequencies that humans hear, and so could best mask the drip-drippy high and the boom-boomy low-frequency noises. The first pink noise MP3 I made was kind of hollow sounding so I added a sort of "surround sound" stereo effect to the mix which really improved the effectiveness.  Next, I experimented with the levels and the different frequency settings to find the most effective mix.  Then, I had to limit the size of the file to something reasonable, as my Mp3 player at the time could not hold an huge Mp3 capable of playing all night, so I limited the file to  an hour in length and faded up the beginning and faded out the ending, so that when the player switched back to the beginning of the MP3 file  on auto-repeat, I would not be startled awake by the sudden cut-off of sound.  The fades are important, because almost all players will cut off for a second or so when they auto-repeat, and will certainly startle you.

Fight fire with fire, noise with noise!

The bit about pure silence being able to wake you up may seem paradoxical, but very true, and is the central principle on which my system was established. Think about it: Has someone ever turned off the water faucet in your house when you didn't realize it was running? All of a sudden, the relative silence caused you to notice that the water had been on. So in essence, it's not noise, per se, that keeps people awake, it's the sudden change in the ambient sound (or lack of sound) in our environment which keeps waking us up. Try it with a noise source that does not fade in or out smoothly. Have someone turn it off at a random time when you are asleep. The sudden silence will startle you awake. 

How effective is it?

I have used my pink noise Mp3 (with foam earplugs) in all types of situations for over ten years now. I  have travelled throughout the world, living in India, Turkey, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and other countries, staying in dozens of different hotels, guesthouses,  and dorms both on busy streets and speedboat-filled rivers, with loud talkers in the next room,  construction workers working,  music playing,  faucets dripping,  fans rattling,  snorers snoring,  karaoke playing, cats screeching, dogs barking, birds chirping, babies screaming, and horns blaring, and I have found my Mp3 to be effective in all of these situations. There has only been one occasion when my Mp3 did not cut it at full volume:  In central Penang, Malaysia during Chinese new year with huge firework explosions going off outside my window. Well, I guess nothing's perfect.

My setup:      

aa         aa                                            Hat keeps out light too !                            Foam Earplugs (reccommended)                                

           Hat required to keep phones snug                       Good quality, flat earphones, $5
                if you use earplugs (I do). 

I use foam earplugs at night when I play the noise. The earplugs, obviously, go in first and my earphones go on over the earplugs. As I said, earplugs alone are nowhere near effective enough at noise reduction for my needs, but they add an extra layer of noise protection, as well as reducing the perceived volume of the pink noise that will be playing. I can crank up the volume of my mp3 player when wearing earplugs for more effectiveness. I also wear beanie cap over the top of my earphones to hold the earphones down and which doubles as an eye cover to keep out the light. I formerly used the flat, lightweight, on-the-ear headphones like these but I eventually found that it was more comfortable to use good quality in-ear earphones with the beanie holding them down. You'ld be surprised how much rolling around you can do at night without the earphones slipping out if you use a snug beanie. If you prefer to use the on-the-ear headphones, make sure you get ones that are as flat as possible, as the bigger and more rounded ones tend to crook your neck when you sleep on your side. I do NOT use nor reccommend those funky earphones that go deep into your ear like these , as you might press them too deep into your ear when you roll over onto your side, and you can't use them with earplugs. I use good quality Philips earphones as shown above. They are strong, streamlined, and relatively flat, so I can sleep on my side without even noticing I'm wearing them. Also, you may know that all earphones are not created equal. The sound quality and volume levels you get from a good pair are vastly superior to cheap Chinese ripoffs. Sound quality and volume levels are important, because, you need full frequency range of noise to mask all the possible sounds coming in, and enough "juice" to let you crank it up when things are really bad. But you can get a good-sounding pair of earphones for 5 bucks or less, like the Philips SHE1350. Panasonic also make an excellent low-cost earphone which I have listened to.

Mp3 players and battery life

Of course, you'll need an Mp3 player and batteries for your setup. The Mp3 player will need to be capable of auto-repeat, which most are. I formerly used a disc-type mp3 player which used two AA batteries but those days are gone and I'm using a little flash-type player that runs on rechargeable AAA Nimh batteries. I can easily get 10 or more hours of full-volume noise per night on one 800 milliamp-hour AAA battery with a little Siren (Wal-mart) brand Mp3 player, which is a few years old. I just pop the used battery into the recharger every morning and it's charged when I need it that night. My disc-type player got three full nights of play (30 hours) on one  duracell alkaline AA battery. All Mp3 players are not as efficient, though. Some have power-hungry backlights and other things going on which might eat up battery power and make it so you don't get a full night's worth of use. The same goes for handphones and other devices. Most new handphones can double as mp3 players, but I don't know how long the battery will last, because handphones have to generate phone signals and keep their beefy microprocessors running so you can view your contact list in stunning 3d graphics. You'll have to experiment yourself, but a very basic, low-cost flash-based Mp3 player with minimal backlight which runs on AAA batteries should get you past the 10 hour mark at full volume. Then you'll need 800Mah or higher capacity AAA Nimh rechargeables and a charger.  Well, you don't *have to* use rechargeable batteries, but it's far cheaper in the long run. You should be able to go hundreds of charges before you need to replace rechargeable batteries. I don't know how long an iPod will go on a battery charge but would appreciate feedback from you if you have one.

Go ahead and listen:

Below is a sample of the my final tweaked and optimized Mp3. I call it the Slick Slumber sleep-enabling Mp3. Notice that it fades in, then reaches full volume, then after an hour (shorter in the sample) fades out again, so that it can auto-repeat without startling you awake. I find that I don't even notice the fade-ins and outs when I'm sleeping.

(If no flash available, choose iPad / iPhone).

How to download the Mp3:

If you want to download the Slick Slumber Mp3, I will charge three U.S. Dollars ( $3 ). That's to help me maintain the cost of the website, and to compensate a little for my time. Here's how it works. Once you click on the button to buy, you will be taken to PayPal to finalize your purchase. Note that you do NOT need a paypal account to purchase, just a credit card. After you make the payment, wait a few seconds and you will be taken back here where you will be given a link to download the full Mp3 to your computer. The file size is 43 megabytes and is one hour in length, with 40 second fade-in's and fade-outs. If for some reason you don't get redirected to this website after you purchase the Mp3, you will get instructions in your email telling you how to download the file.

That's it! If you want a great night's sleep tonight, click the button below and get it!

USD $3.00