wikiHow to Block out Noise at Night

Two Methods:Modifying Your BedroomCoping with a Noisy Environment

If you live on a busy street or your home has thin walls, you might have a lot of noises bothering you at night and keeping you up. Losing sleep because of noise can be extremely frustrating, and a lack of sleep can even affect your health. Whether the noise is invading your house from the outside or thin walls make your neighbors seem extra noisy, there are several ways to help reduce, and even block out, noises at night.

Method 1
Modifying Your Bedroom

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    Rearrange the furniture in your room. Sometimes moving the furniture around in your current room can significantly reduce noise pollution at night. You want to make sure that there are large, thick objects blocking or separating you from whatever is causing the most noise. For example:[1]
    • Put a thick bookshelf against a wall you share with a noisy neighbor to help muffle the noise. The more books you place on these shelves the more noise it will muffle!
    • If your bedroom shares a wall with a noisy neighbor’s living room, move your bed to the side of the room that is farthest from the source of the noise.
    • Move your bed to be far away from any windows to help reduce the amount of noise you hear from the street.
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    Install acoustic tiles. Acoustic tiles are most often used in recording studios and theaters to absorb and diffuse sounds. However, you can use this technology to help block out sounds at night as well. Available online or from many hardware stores, acoustic tiles come in a variety of shapes and colors and when installed can often look like wall art.
    • You can apply acoustic tiles permanently if you are a homeowner or temporarily if you are a renter. Put these on the walls where the source of the noise is coming from, and the tiles will absorb and diffuse the noise to block out sounds at night.[2]
    • If you can’t find acoustic tiles or don’t like their appearance, try hanging a thick tapestry or rug on the wall for a similar effect.
    • You can also hang acoustic tiles or thick tapestries from the ceiling to block out noises from above.
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    Soundproof your windows. If the loud noises are coming from the outside, the best way to block out noises at night is to make sure your windows are insulated. If you choose to install new double-paned windows to your home, then this can be an expensive solution. But there are other more cost-effective ways to get similar results:[3]
    • Seal any gaps or cracks in the windows with an insulating foam from your local hardware store. This foam won’t harm the existing frames or windowsill, but it will stop noise from entering your bedroom through these cracks.
    • Hang thick curtains or soundproof curtains on all of the windows in your bedroom. The thick fabric of these curtains will create a buffer to effectively reduce the amount of outside noise that gets into your bedroom at night.
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    Insulate the floor. If the offending noises are coming from below you, a great option for blocking this out is to insulate the floor, making the layer between your floor and their noise thicker. If you rent the apartment or home, this can be done by laying down thick carpets or rugs, or even installing new, thick carpet if your landlord agrees.[4]
    • If you own the space but don’t like the look of carpet, you can also install insulate below the baseboards of your hardwood floors.[5] Cork is the best kind of insulating floor material, but there are other options for insulating the baseboards as well, including fiberglass inserts and acoustically rated floor tiles.
    • To really block out sounds from below, double up on floor insulation by insulating your hardwood floors and putting down thick area rugs.
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    Move the location of your bedroom. Sometimes the noises at night are amplified simply because of where your bedroom is located within the house or apartment. If your bedroom is a room that is on the main road of the street or next to a room where there is a screaming infant, then switching rooms can help block out a lot of noise at night.
    • Changing rooms is not always an option if you don’t have another room to switch to, but if it is a possibility, try staying a few nights in a possible new room to see if the noise levels are reduced enough for you to get some sleep.[6]

Method 2
Coping with a Noisy Environment

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    Wear earplugs. Earplugs are an effective way to help block outside noises while you sleep because they muffle and reduce distracting outside noises. There are many different kinds of earplugs, but simple earplugs are available at most local pharmacies.
    • Look for earplugs that that are rated NRR 33, which means that they reduce the noise in a room by 33 decibels, since this reduction should provide enough relief for most sounds.[7]
    • Be sure to wash your hands before inserting your earplugs, and replace the earplugs regularly or clean them according to product instructions.
    • Earplugs are most effective when worn properly. For best results, roll the earplug into a thin cylinder, push it into your ear, and hold it there until it expands to fill your ear canal.
    • Don’t ever force the earplug deep within your ear. You want to be able to remove the earplug easily by pulling outward and twisting. Putting them too deep in the ear canal can cause discomfort and injury.
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    Cover up the noise with white noise. It may seem odd to cover up distracting noises with more noise, but white noise makes it less likely that you will notice outside noises.[8] This is why you don’t hear the faucet dripping in your house during the daytime, but at night it’s the only thing you hear. White noise is any type of constant noise that does not have a recognizable variance or tempo so that you don’t really notice that you are hearing anything at all. You can buy white noise machines, phone apps, or use objects around your home. Some popular white noise sounds include:[9]
    • a fan
    • falling rain
    • ocean waves crashing
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    Play something distracting. If white noise doesn’t work for you, there are other types of noise you can use to help block out noise at night. White noise is one aspect of the “colors” of noise, which include other color groups of sounds. Blue noise is a more whimsical version of white noise, including sounds like birds chirping or children laughing. Pink noise includes warm, echoing tones like the sound a conch shell makes when you blow into it. Many people also find ambient music or the murmuring sounds of people talking around them comforting, so you can also try leaving your television or radio on quietly as you try to fall asleep to see if that helps.[10]
    • Since leaving the TV or radio on all night can disrupt natural sleep patterns, it is recommended that you turn on a timer to automatically shut the device off after a certain amount of time.
    • If you can, turn the brightness down on your TV so that the light from the TV doesn’t disrupt your sleep.
    • When choosing ambient music, first try listening to it during the day to see if it relaxes you before trying it out as a sleeping aid.
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    Invest in high-tech noise suppression products. If the noise at night is so great that simple white noise or earplugs are ineffective, then it might be a good idea to invest in more high-tech products for blocking out noise. There are a wide variety of products available online, so do a bit of research to find out what will work best for your needs. Keep in mind that these high-tech products can also be expensive, but the investment may be worth it to you for a good night’s sleep. Some of the most common noise suppression products include:[11]
    • High-tech earplugs that contain a tiny acoustic chip that allows quiet noises to pass through but blocks loud noises outside of a set decibel level. This is great for people who still want to be able to hear if their child is calling for them or their partner is speaking to them but want to block out the sounds of honking cars or construction work.
    • Noise-cancelling headphones that use microphones to detect patterns of ambient sound and create an “anti-noise” signal to cancel out those sounds. This works great for constant, low-frequency noises like that on an airplane, but is not necessarily the best choice for noises that cause sudden decibel spikes.
    • Earpieces that work much like an earplug by blocking outside noise, but that also include a small speaker inside to channel white noise or ambient music directly into your ears. This product is great for people who want to totally block out outside noise, but who also find white noise soothing.
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    Try mindfulness-based noise reduction techniques. For some people, blocking out distracting noise at night is as simple as dealing with the experience instead of reacting to it with frustration and desperation. Similar to relaxation techniques used throughout the day, being mindful of the noise and your reaction to it, and then altering this reaction can often help people get a good night’s sleep. The goal of this is to reduce how much you allow yourself to be upset by noise at night, which can be done several ways:[12]
    • Concentrate on your breathing and take slow, deep breaths in your nose and out your mouth. Focus on the way your diaphragm and lungs fill with air and listen only to the sounds of your own breathing.
    • Try focusing on fully relaxing each part of your body, one body part at a time. Start at your feet, working your way up the legs, torso, outward to the arms and fingers, and then the neck and face.
    • Try adopting a new attitude towards the noise. Forgive whoever or whatever is making the noise, and remind yourself that you will become accustomed to it with time.


  • Remember that appropriate noise levels are a two-way street. Be sure that you also try to not make too much noise at night!

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Categories: Better Sleeping