Is there an app for soothing sounds?

The Power of Soothing Sounds

Soothing sounds have been scientifically proven to help people relax and sleep better. Studies show that listening to nature sounds can lower heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and alleviate symptoms of anxiety.

Researchers believe nature sounds are relaxing because they create a meditative state and block out interfering noises that can cause stress. The rhythmic, low-frequency sounds of ocean waves, rainfall, or bird song act as a form of auditory massaging that slows breathing and clears the mind (Source).

Unlike sudden loud noises which trigger the “fight or flight” stress response, steady natural sounds promote the opposite “rest and digest” relaxation response. Listening to nature helps shift our nervous system into a parasympathetic state that lowers cortisol levels and induces calm (Source).

In today’s busy world full of sensory overload, taking time to listen to soothing sounds can provide an oasis of tranquility and a powerful antidote to stress.

Popular Soothing Sounds

Some of the most popular soothing sounds used for relaxation, sleep, focus, and stress relief include:

Ocean waves – The gentle, repetitive crashing of ocean waves is one of the most universally soothing sounds. Listening to ocean waves promotes relaxation and can help lull you to sleep. Studies show ocean waves can synchronize brain waves and lower heart rate and blood pressure (Source).

Rain – The pitter patter of falling rain provides a calming, steady background sound that can dampen distracting noises. Rain is very effective at promoting sleep and relaxation (Source).

Nature sounds – Sounds of nature like birds chirping, crickets, or a babbling brook provide the comfort of the great outdoors. These organic sounds connect us to the natural world and have meditative qualities.

White noise – A neutral, constant background noise that masks distracting sounds. White noise comes in handy when trying to sleep, work, or study in a noisy environment. It can help drown out noises that would otherwise be disruptive.

Ambient music – Soothing, primarily instrumental music without lyrics serves as peaceful background audio. New age, classical, acoustic guitar, and piano music are common ambient options for relaxation.

Soothing Sound Apps

There are many excellent apps available to help you create custom soundscapes for sleep, relaxation, focus, and more. Some of the top options include:

Relax Melodies – This app offers over 100 high-quality sounds including white noise, fan sounds, nature sounds, ambient music, and more. You can mix different sounds and save custom combinations. It also has features like timers, alarms, and background sounds for sleeping. Relax Melodies is available for iOS and Android.

White Noise – As the name suggests, this app focuses specifically on different white noise sounds to help block distractions for sleep or focus. It includes over 40 white noise varieties along with an alarm clock, timer, and the ability to mix sounds. White Noise is popular on both iOS and Android.

Rain Rain – This sleep sound app includes high-quality rain noises along with other nature sounds like thunder, wind, and storms. You can mix different sounds and adjust volumes for custom relaxation or sleep promotion. Rain Rain is available on iOS and Android.

These are just a few of the top options. The best soothing sound app for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Look for features like sound customization, background play, alarms, and timers to create the perfect soundscape.

Creating Custom Soundscapes

One of the best features of many soothing sound apps is the ability to create custom mixes of different sounds. This allows you to blend and layer sounds together to make your own unique soundscapes tailored to your preferences.

For example, the app Soothing Sounds lets you mix up to 12 sounds together and save them with your own naming scheme. Popular custom mixes people create include blending ocean waves, light rain, and distant thunder for a relaxing rainstorm mix. Or combining a crackling fireplace, howling wind, and chimes for a cozy cabin in the woods vibe.

The app Atmosphere also makes it easy to layer sounds like streams, bird songs, piano melodies, and more to design your perfect mindful audio environment. The options are endless when you can customize your own mixes.

Sleep-Promoting Features

Many soothing sound apps include extra features to help promote sleep. One common feature is a sleep timer that allows you to set a timer for the sounds to automatically stop after a set period. For example, the Relax Melodies app allows you to set a sleep timer from 5 to 120 minutes (

Another useful feature is fading out the sounds slowly at the end rather than stopping abruptly. The White Noise app fades out sounds gradually over the last 30 seconds as the sleep timer expires ( This helps avoid startling the user awake.

Some apps allow you to integrate with your phone’s alarm clock. For example, Sleep Bug allows you to set an alarm that will fade in a sunrise sound to wake you up gently ( This can help promote waking up feeling refreshed.

Using features like sleep timers, fading sounds, and gentle alarms can enhance the sleep-promoting capabilities of soothing sound apps.

Meditation and Relaxation

Soothing sounds can be very beneficial for meditation, relaxation, and mindfulness exercises. The gentle and rhythmic sounds create a calming ambience that helps quiet the mind and relieve stress. According to research, listening to calming sounds before bedtime helps promote better sleep as it signals the body to relax and unwind (1).

Nature sounds like ocean waves, light rain, or bird song provide a peaceful backdrop for guided meditations. The repetitive and predictable sounds allow you to zone out external distractions and focus internally. Soothing sounds apps offer a variety of meditation tracks that layer calming music and sounds to enhance relaxation.

Having a pre-bed routine that involves listening to calming sounds can help your mind detach from the stimulation and anxiety of the day. Turning on a soothing soundscape creates an environment primed for mindfulness, reflection, and rest.


Babies and Kids

Certain sounds can be especially soothing and sleep-promoting for babies and young children. The shush of white noise is reminiscent of the ambient sounds in the womb, providing comfort and familiarity for newborns. Nature sounds like rain, ocean waves, or crickets can also lull babies and toddlers to sleep. There are many apps dedicated specifically to generating calming sounds to help young children sleep better.

The White Noise for Babies YouTube playlist offers 10 hours of white, brown, and pink noise to promote restful sleep. The sounds are soft and gentle, without any sudden changes in volume. Parents can let the videos play all night to create a soothing soundscape for their child’s room.

In addition to supporting better sleep, calming sounds can also help soothe crying babies or fussy toddlers. The repetitive and predictable nature of certain sounds can be comforting and regulating for young developing minds.

Working and Focusing

Background noises like soothing rain or cafe chatter can help boost productivity and focus while working. These sounds create a calming ambiance that blocks out unpredictable distracting noises from the environment. The predictable steady hum helps the brain concentrate on the task at hand without being disrupted.

Studies have found that the right kind of background noise can improve cognitive functioning for tasks requiring sustained attention, like reading, writing, and data analysis. Moderate noise levels activate areas of the brain responsible for processing information, allowing workers to stay focused for longer periods of time.

Soothing sounds apps provide customizable ambient soundscapes perfect for working contexts. You can mix together different audio tracks like rain, wind, cafe chatter, keyboards typing, and fire crackling to make a personalized productive sound environment.

Some apps have adjustable volume, timers, and fade-in/fade-out features to find the optimal sound levels and durations for your work needs. The ability to layer multiple audio tracks gives you more control over the type of background noise.

The key is finding a balance – the sound should be just loud enough to mask distracting noises but not overly intrusive. Experiment to find your perfect focus-boosting soundscape for productive and concentrated work sessions.

Other Devices

In addition to apps, there are dedicated soothing sound devices like sound machines and sleep headphones that can provide ambient noise. Popular options include the Marpac Dohm Sound Machine, the Homedics SoundSpa, and sleep headphones from brands like AcousticSheep. Many of these devices have built-in sounds like white noise, nature sounds, and fan sounds. Some also have features like timer functions to automatically turn off after a set duration.

Some sound machines and sleep headphones can connect to smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home for voice control. This allows you to start sleep sounds, adjust volume, set timers, and more using just your voice. The integration with smart home ecosystems provides added convenience and hands-free operation.

Creating Your Own Custom Sounds

With the wide variety of soothing sound apps available, you may still find it difficult to create your perfect soundscape. Fortunately, there are free tools you can use to mix and customize your own unique audio tracks from audio files or recordings.

Audacity is a free, open source audio editing software for Windows, Mac and Linux. With Audacity you can record live audio, mix existing music or nature sounds, add effects, and export your custom creation. It provides an intuitive interface to overlay tracks and adjust relative volumes to blend sounds like ocean waves, rain, and classical piano.

Garageband for Mac and iPad also makes it easy to mix multiple audio tracks. You can layer soothing nature sounds, filter out frequencies, adjust volume envelopes, and edit to any duration. Export your mix as a MP3 to use in other apps or devices.

If you have audio or video files already available, use an online video editor like Clipchamp to extract the audio and mix multiple tracks. Upload each sound file, align them on a timeline, adjust volume, and export the final mix.

With a little creativity, you can produce custom soundscapes optimized for your unique needs. Test different sound combinations until you find the perfect balance for relaxation or focus.

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