Stop using your phone for sleep sounds – News Block

iPhone on charger with white noise crossed out.
Justin Duino / Instruction Geek

Sleep sound apps have millions of downloads on App Store and Play Store. Whether it’s good old white noise or the sounds of rain, people seem to love sleeping with noise. If you’re one of them, it’s time to upgrade.

On the surface, it seems like a smartphone would make the perfect sound machine. It’s already on your nightstand, has a speaker, and has access to apps that can play a wide variety of sleep sounds. That’s fine at times, but if you’re serious about the need for background noise while you sleep, there are much better options.

false comfort

There’s a reason so many people use their phones for sleep sounds instead of an actual sound machine: convenience. Smartphones can do so many things that we used to need specialized devices. Sometimes the phone is easier, but not always.

I’m not going to discuss a phone. it’s not easy, but a sound machine is even more convenient. Just press a button to turn it on. That’s all. No fiddling with apps, volume buttons, voice commands, or a shiny phone screen. You set it up once and it’s immediately ready from then on.

That’s the part I love about my sound machine. I have also used my phone for white noise in the past. I didn’t see the need for such a specialized device. But ultimately, buying a sound machine was a similar experience to upgrading my mouse. Why didn’t I do this a long time ago? What I thought was convenient actually wasn’t.

Sound quality and longevity

Sound machine on nightstand.
Joe Fedewa / Instruction Geek

If convenience isn’t important to you, sound quality is another thing to consider. Sure, your phone has built-in speakers, probably not in the plural, but are they any good? Even the best smartphone speakerphone has major limitations.

Your smartphone’s speaker is probably tinny and not capable of delivering room-filling audio. That’s just the reality of a speaker crammed into a relatively small device. The “sound” part of sleep sounds should not be overlooked.

My cheap $30 boombox sounds a hell of a lot better than the speaker on my phone. White noise doesn’t sound so much like it’s coming from a specific place – it fills my room evenly. There is also much more depth to the sound. Similar to the difference between a CD and vinyl.

Another benefit of a dedicated sound machine is longevity and consistency. You can upgrade your phone every year, and each one will sound slightly different. I’ve had my cheap sound machine for over four years and it sounds the same as the first day.

Long-term use could damage your phone.

If you’re like the average person, you probably sleep around 8 hours a night and probably keep your phone for 2-4 years before upgrading. When you calculate the amount of time your speakerphone will be in use, that’s a lot of wear and tear on your phone.

Just do the math: 8 hours of using your phone as a sound machine per night is 2920 hours per year, that’s 121 days, or about 4 months of each year. If you keep your phone for 3 years before upgrading, you’ll have used those speakers for the equivalent of a full year.

One of the editors here at How-To Geek had the speakers blow up on an iPad after about 2 years of using it as a sound machine every day. That may not happen to you, and it definitely won’t happen if you only use your phone for occasional sound machine use, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Free is not always free

Let’s talk a bit about the “free” sleep sound apps that are prevalent on the App Store and Play Store. These apps don’t cost anything up front, but you’re “paying” for them in other ways. That could be with annoying interrupted ads, collecting personal data in the background, or consuming your data while you stream.

A dedicated sound machine does none of that. There are no dropouts or loops, you don’t need an internet connection, and you don’t have to worry about signing up for accounts or tracking your activity. Sometimes a “dumb” device is just better.

if you must

A sound machine is not always a viable option. You may not want to travel with one, and most of them don’t have batteries to run without power. For those situations, what should you use? The best solution is the one that does not require downloading any app.

On the iPhone, Apple has buried a “Background Sounds” feature deep within the Accessibility settings. It has white noise, rain, ocean, and stream sounds. It’s annoying to access this every time you want sleep sounds, but it’s easy to create a home screen shortcut.

RELATED: How to Play iPhone Secret Rain Sounds to Sleep

On Android, the built-in method is not that good. You can use the Google Assistant to just say “play white noise” or “play thunderstorms” and it will do it. However, you need an internet connection for this to work. Try “BetterSleep” app if you need sleep sounds offline.

Smartphones have replaced many gadgets, but sometimes the analog counterpart is better. It’s just easier to push a button than mess around with your phone before bed. While you’re at it, you might also want to stop using your phone as a flashlight.

RELATED: Stop using your phone as a flashlight

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top