We used to live in a noisy area and purchased this Marpac White Noise machine. We had tried a few other and this was the best by far. When our son was small we purchased one for his room. We still use them today, highly recommended.
I used this sleep mask to block out light. I have read about people who travel with duct tape in their luggage to tape hotel room curtains to keep the light out. This is a much easier solution.
Most important is going to bed and waking at the same time.
I keep all electronics far from the bedroom as the temptation at 3 AM is too much. Once your mind learns that “I can wake in the middle of the night and get entertained,” it will make waking a habit. Your mind has, um, a mind of its own. And unfortunately, that mind is that of an eight year old.
I would have great trouble sleeping without a ceiling fan set on low or medium. I also occasionally make use of a podcast where the hosts have nice voices and ramble for two hours about a game I 30% care about. I also make sure the sheet’s not going to wrap in a weird way and wake me up at 3am. That’s about it!
Yes, I’d like to get there too. Thankfully I don’t feel the need to use audio too often. Usually it’s when I have a chance to get slightly more than eight hours of sleep and I didn’t stay up late the night before. I really have to be proactive to make myself just lay there.
Living in a country where at this time of the year its in the high twenties at night and high thirties during the day I find working while sweating profusely during the day tends to make me so tired sleep is never a problem.
To be honest to me a lot of “sleep solutions” tend to be just something looking for a problem. A good days work, a clear conscience (or a lack of one) and you will sleep.
Simple really if you’re tired you sleep, if you’re not you don’t so do something useful instead, and don’t worry about it otherwise it just becomes self fulfilling. Listen to your body and the natural rhythms not go looking for a tech solution or this weeks trendy regime.
Science says you’re wrong, Old Designer. Sure, a lot of sleep aids are gimmicks, but they exist because there is a real problem. Noisy environments, bright lights, screen time before bedtime and stress can all make it hard to sleep. Other people have aches and pains and illness.
Getting to bed and waking up at the same time every day is a huge help, but that’s extremely difficult for many people. Me included: I’m by nature a night person but my job happens early in the morning, so I sleep in on weekends and every Monday morning is like jetlag crossing three to five timezones for me. I’m sleep-deprived Monday and never really catch up all week, then on Friday night I crash and sleep in on Saturday and the cycle starts again.
I’m also a night owl who has had to accommodate myself to rising early. The only way I’ve ever been able to make this work without being miserable in the ways you describe is to keep to that same schedule on the weekends (and even on vacations). No matter how nice it would feel to sleep in on weekends, it’ll be far more miserable come Monday morning.