How much control do we have over our sleep environment? We might be able to pick the best mattress and best pillow, but when it comes to disruptive nighttime noises, we often have to put up with whatever our local environment wants to deliver. If I could dictate my sleep soundscape, I would get the Alaskan Malamute that lives next door not to howl mournfully between 12am and 7am.
But just because we can't put a stop to ambient noise, it doesn't mean we can't take some control over what we hear at night. A survey commissioned by hotel chain Premier Inn found that 50 per cent of people use white noise to fall asleep at least some of the time, with 26 per cent listening to it every night. And it turns out we're all dreaming of rainy evenings, with 40 per cent of white noise listeners picking rainfall as their top soothing sound.
But is a wet night really what we want to picture as we drift off? With the launch of its new white noise service – NodFlix – Premier Inn is helping us to dream a little bigger, by tapping into our secret sleep fantasy: to be cozied up on a luxury hotel mattress during a decadent weekend getaway with a massive breakfast waiting in the morning.
Inspired by ASMR, the NodFlix soundscapes are the sort of quiet background noises you expect to hear in a hotel. That's suitcases trundling along the hall, the brush of premium linens as you sink into bed, the lift doors opening at the penthouse suite... It's the sound of soothing luxury, and, yes, you can still have the pitter-patter of raindrops in the distance. (Or for a hotel-style upgrade, switch to the sound of a rainfall shower.)
Crafting this optimal soundscape can potentially help your brain slow down and switch-off, easing you into a deeper sleep. Each part of your soundscape should be chosen for how it makes you feel – relaxed, calm, and peaceful. Steer clear of any noises that might lead to excitement or stress. Those surveyed ranked the sound of a vacuum cleaner as the least relaxing, and if you've ever vacuumed a set of stairs, it isn't hard to guess why.
What about sounds to wake you up? Perhaps unsurprisingly, being shocked awake by a shrieking alarm might not be the best start to the morning. Instead, the best iPhone alarms to wake up to have easy melodies and low frequencies, for a gentle switch from asleep to awake.
But with an ASMR soundscape, you can pick the noises that will really make you want to get out of bed. Sizzling bacon, a boiling kettle, toast being sliced in half – the enticing dream of a waiting breakfast. Although, while these sounds might wake you up, your morning might take a downward turn when you realize that cappuccino and cooked breakfast were imaginary.
Right now, the NodFlix service is fairly limited. If you want an ASMR soundscape for sleeping, you might be best off creating your own. Maybe treat yourself to a night away at a premium resort, so you can capture the perfect sounds in person? After all, your sleep will thank you.
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Ruth is TechRadar’s Sleep Writer. She’s here to help you find the perfect sleep setup for your budget and personal preferences. As well as keeping a keen eye on everything that’s going on in the world of mattresses, she regularly speaks to experts to help you learn how to improve your sleep habits, whether that’s by debunking sleep myths or explaining the science behind it all. Prior to joining the TechRadar team, she wrote features and product guides for new parents hoping to get a decent night's sleep, as well as writing for a variety of online spaces.