Digital Life
5:00 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

'Sleep Machine' Am Ambient Noise App For Your Nap

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 11:29 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And finally in Tech, an app for your nap. It's called Sleep Machine, and it lulls users into rest and relaxation by way of ambient noise: from lapping waves on the beach...

(SOUNDBITE OF WAVES)

BLOCK: ...to the loud hum of a hair dryer, if that's your thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF A HAIR DRYER)

BLOCK: And there's instrumental music

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

PAUL F. TOMPKINS: I can't stop picturing the people making the music.

(LAUGHTER)

TOMPKINS: That's always my downfall with those is that I just imagine like, OK, how many people are in on this session?

BLOCK: That's comedian and self-described light sleeper Paul F. Tompkins. Tompkins has tried his fair share of soothing sounds to fall asleep, so we asked him to get some shut eye using the Sleep Machine app. He sent us this review.

TOMPKINS: I had a great experience with this. There's a paid version and a free version. I sprang for the paid version because I'm worth it. It's got great things like - there's a timer so you can control how long you want the noises to go on for. You can have them fade out after a while. You can give yourself, you know, half an hour to fall asleep, and then you can have a totally different sound wake you up in 30 minutes or the next day, whenever you need it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

TOMPKINS: And it has a ton of sounds. And I was really kind of amused and surprised by the - some of the noises that I'm assuming people wanted to hear...

(SOUNDBITE OF A FAN)

TOMPKINS: ...a bathroom fan. I get that it's a fan, and I get that the white noise of that is appealing. But I don't know who's falling asleep in their bathroom.

(LAUGHTER)

TOMPKINS: There's crickets on here, which I have never found relaxing.

(SOUNDBITE OF CRICKETS)

TOMPKINS: And I think that the problem with, I say this as a veteran of environmental recordings. The problem for me with crickets is that they're always too loud, and they're - it's too constant. It's like it's not just its nighttime in the summer and there's crickets in the background. It's like you're in a cricket nest or a cricket hive. I don't know what they live in, but it's too many crickets. They really sound aggressive.

But there's a lot of great machines like dishwasher and air purifier, air conditioner. There's ones that I thought would be good, but weren't that great. Like, foghorn ends up being not a relaxing sound.

(SOUNDBITE OF A FOGHORN)

TOMPKINS: Frog's not a relaxing sound. But you can mix and match the sounds. You can layer up to three different sounds together. So you can put the beach together with the rain. You can put your frogs and your crickets together if you want to, you know, make yourself insane.

(SOUNDBITE OF FROGS AND CRICKETS)

TOMPKINS: I mean, for the thing that you wanted to do, it kind of has covered all of the bases. So I would have to say this is a great app for somebody like me. And I consider it a new ally in my ongoing war against sleeplessness.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT")

THE TOKENS: (Singing) Ee-e-e-um-um-a-weh. A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh...

BLOCK: That's comedian Paul F. Tompkins. He was reviewing the app Sleep Machine.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT)

TOKENS: (Singing) A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.