I’ve been using a Brookstone Sleep Machine for over 15 years. It’s a small box that sits on my night table.

The “noiser” (as we affectionately call it in my family) simulates calming sounds like waterfall, ocean, rain, white noise, etc.  to induce sleep and block out any unwanted noises. The latest version of my sleep machine offers 12 different sounds:

I almost always choose rain. The sound of rain is so soothing; it puts me right to sleep. Rain isn’t calming for everyone, though. I’ve had bedmates tell me that the sound of rain makes them feel like they have to get up to pee every 30 minutes. I’m always surprised when I hear that because I only know rain as a calming sound. But it reminds me that every person has an optimal zone of function. Each of us needs a certain level of arousal (or lack of arousal) to ‘be’ the best version of ourselves.

Some people love to exercise before bed; some like to watch TV, take a bath, drink wine, have sex, read a book….I love my sleep machine because it so effectively induces the calm I need to sleep well. And I’ve been thinking about what other sorts of calming technologies I’d like to use for other parts of my day.

The Calming Technology Lab at Stanford is hosting an event to discuss the design of calming technologies in December. I can’t wait to learn more about how to design more calm into my life.

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