Catching some Z's

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My current apartment, while conveniently located, gorgeously appointed, trendy, and perfectly sized for me, isn't quite all it's cracked-up to be, especially when it comes to controlling noise between the units.

Without exaggerating one tiny bit, I can honestly hear everything that takes place in both apartments on either side of me, including: normal conversation (clear as day), coughing, toilet flushing, any kitchen activity (drawers/cabinets opening and closing, microwaves open/closing/beeping/running, garbage disposal running, water being turned on/off, pots/pans being moved, refrigerator door opening/closing), any television programs, music, and so on.

It is not pleasant at all - I know more of the nitty gritty and intimate details of my neighbors' lives than I ever would care to know. And I am not exaggerating at all - I know exactly what kind of Girl Scout cookies the one couple ordered; what their tax returns were; where they're planning their vacation; what they have for dinner each night; their cell phone bill, and so on... it's ridiculous.

I've tried everything imaginable to reduce the noise, but nothing works. I've got a fans, a humidifier, an air purifier, I leave the TV on a lot more than I'd like to, I use my iPod, I've used ear plugs... it really stinks. Granted, I am sensitive to environmental noise, but this is ridiculous - the walls are literally made of a single layer of 1/2" drywall, direct connected to a single 2x4 stud, with a very thin (1-2") layer of fiberglass insulation between the units. Impact noises and all frequencies are easily transmitted - think of the cheapest hotel you've ever stayed in, where you could hear everything between the walls, and that's my life, 24/7.

So at night, it's especially fun for me to try to fall asleep... I'm not into taking any type of sleep aids, so I've searched desperately for a sleep solution. After much trial and error, I finally found two items that work incredibly well - I've managed to get several nights' good sleep lately, and I'm convinced it's because of these two miracle items:


It's my iPad and the Nightwave Sleep Assistant.

My iPad is loaded with iHome's Sleep application, which is essentially a fancy alarm clock that has a "sleep to music" function that I've loaded with a soundtrack called "Tranquil Nights and Peaceful Sleep sounds." It's 80-minutes of calming, soothing, interference noises - mostly running water, like from a slow moving, babbling creek in a very quiet wooded area. It plays for 80 minutes, then slowly fades out. At about 10-minutes prior to my desired wake time, the alarm function kicks-in; it slowly fades the volume up over 10-minutes, so there isn't that abrupt "jar-you-awake" sound that most alarm clocks deliver.

The Nightwave is simply awesome - it uses a calming blue light to help you fall asleep; it "pulses" in a breathing pattern that is supposed to help calm you and help you relax and sleep better. It really does seem to work - as soon as I try to match my breath to the rhythmic brighten/darken patter of the light, I quickly fall asleep. I'd say I'm "out" in less than 10 minutes on most nights.

I've been using this system for a few weeks and am thrilled. Well - I'm not thrilled that I pay more for my rent than I do my mortgage and am left to suffer with unacceptable levels of noise (the management company isn't willing to do anything, but did "test" the noise between units and confirmed my complaints)... but, at least I'm getting a little sleep. :-)

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This page contains a single entry by Steve published on March 18, 2011 3:57 PM.

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