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Here’s how loadshedding can sabotage your sleep (And 5 sleep sound solutions!)

Here’s how loadshedding can sabotage your sleep (And 5 sleep sound solutions!)

You’re lying in bed. It’s 2.30 AM. You’ve been tossing and turning since loadshedding hit and your fan has turned off. But your brain can’t shut off. Luckily there’s an easy solution to help you get to sleep again: sleep sounds.

The science behind sleep sounds

While playing sounds to fall asleep might sound like a fad, the concept itself is rooted in tradition. Lullabies have been a staple for centuries, and there’s a certain calming power to repetitive, gentle sounds that aid relaxation.

Different kinds of sleep sounds have different benefits, so you’ll have to experiment to find the ones that work best for you.

In general, sleep sounds can improve our bedtime experience in two important ways.

  • Sleep sounds help us relax. 
  • Sleep sounds make it easier to stay asleep.

Beyond the heat: Why we wake up when loadshedding stops our fans

South Africans are among the countries that are not getting enough sleep, and loadshedding may be contributing to this problem.

Since your brain continues to process sounds as you sleep, different noises can affect how well you rest.

Our trusty fans produce a consistent and steady background noise (known as white noise), which can mask other ambient sounds. When this noise suddenly stops, the change in sound level can disrupt the brain’s resting state and awaken the snoozer. So when your fan stops, your sleep stops, too.

But Meelu is on a mission to solve sleep issues all over the country. Here are our 5 favourite sleep sounds to try and get you back to dreamland.

A ceiling fan in motion.

Related: Finding your best temperature for sleep

White noise

Forget catchy tunes, this simple, consistent sound helps your brain relax, eyelids droop, and body drift into a deep sleep.

  • Unlike music or nature sounds, white noise doesn’t change in volume or pitch. This monotony allows your brain to “tune out” and relax without focusing on what it’s hearing. 
  • White noise encompasses all audible frequencies for the human ear. While it might sound overwhelming, it’s quite mellow, similar to radio static or a fan (as mentioned above). 
  • If a fan isn’t part of your sleep routine, consider turning to a white noise machine or app as an alternative to gently coax you into slumber.
A woman lying down with earphones on, enjoying sleep sounds to help her relax.

Soothing music

Looking for a tuneful lullaby instead of white noise? Here’s what to consider when creating your sleep playlist:

  • Skip the songs with dramatic crescendos and opt for consistent volume throughout. Constant loudness can disrupt sleep, so aim for a gentle, steady flow.
  • New music can be exciting, but for sleep, the comforting embrace of familiar tunes is better. 
  • This one might seem obvious, but choose music you genuinely enjoy! Pick melodies that bring you a sense of calm and relaxation, and let the music gently guide you towards sleep.

Pink noise

Pink noise has been steadily rising in popularity, potentially even surpassing its white counterpart as the go-to sleep sound. But what sets these two “colours” of noise apart?

  • Both white and pink noise encompasses the entire spectrum of audible frequencies for humans, creating a “full” sound without gaps.
  • Pink noise favours a deeper, bassier sound while still incorporating the higher frequencies we can hear.
  • Imagine the calming sounds of nature: rustling leaves, steady winds, and gentle rainfall. These are all examples of pink noise.
Close-up of a person's hands gesturing near a microphone, possibly creating ASMR sounds for sleep.


Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) videos and audio clips use close-up recordings of everyday sounds, like whispering, scratching, or tapping, to evoke this calming response in listeners.

  • While not everyone experiences ASMR, for those who do, it can be a powerful tool for sleep. 
  • If you already enjoy ASMR during the day, incorporating it into your sleep routine could be a great way to wind down and stay asleep. 
  • For newbies, finding the right trigger might take some exploration, but once you do, prepare to drift off to dreamland with a tingly sense of relaxation.

Ocean soundscapes

The calming allure of flowing water stands out, offering a unique blend of tranquillity and familiarity.

  • Recordings of ocean waves and tides can transport you to your dream beach, minus the sand and sunscreen. The natural ebb and flow creates a deeply relaxing rhythm.
  • Few things evoke peaceful slumber like the pitter-patter of rain on a windowpane. While you might miss the cool breeze of a summer storm, recordings capture the calming sounds of raindrops.
Calm, dark blue ocean waves.

Related: Reclaim your zzz’s: Relaxation techniques for when you can’t sleep

Ready to hit the hay? Pick your sleep sound and hit the lights. It has never been easier to explore the world of sound and find the perfect noise to help you sleep, thanks to digital apps and online videos.

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