How to Sleep With Noisy Roommates: 15 Useful Tips


Noisy roommates are the scourge of the world! They play beer pong at 1 am, blast Sinatra at 3 am and loudly make love to the girl next dorm at 4 am.

All the while you’re covering your ears with the pillow in a vain attempt to get some sleep. You have that algebra exam in the morning after all!

But these noisy party animals don’t give a heck about your sleep schedule and obligations. So how can you get a night of restful rejuvenation DESPITE of noisy roommates?

That’s where I step in! In this article you’ll get the fruits of my intensive intellectual labor – for free! Here are the top 15 tips to sleep like a baby when you’re surrounded by noisy roommates, neighbors or guests.

1. Be tired before going to bed

I can’t sympathize with insomniacs. As soon as I rest my head on the pillow, I’m out, wandering straight into la-la land. But there’s a secret reason why I’m able to do this.

The reason is…. wait for it…. I’m tired! Yes, I don’t go to bed unless I’m really exhausted. At that point, no matter how loud the surroundings are it’s easy to fall asleep.

So try to do more work before going to bed, write a paper, read a book, listen to your favorite playlist or a podcast in bed. All of these are good ways to get sleepy and eventually fall to sleep without doing anything special.

A more controversial way is to do a workout before going to bed. Some people can sleep more easily after a workout. Others get energized by it and it turns them into insomniacs.

I personally feel that it can go both ways. For a workout to make you sleepy, you really need to go hard at it. So that when you stop, you actually feel exhausted. If you feel energized after a workout that usually means you haven’t really put in the maximum effort.

2. Play white noise

White noise is used by millions of people for better sleep. It’s a sound frequency that improves relaxation. It also neutralizes the chaotic noise from the environment. For that reason it’s used in many work places and offices as well as bedrooms and nurseries.

There are two ways to play white noise. The first and best way is through a white noise machine. Especially if you want to play it throughout the night. The second way is by playing it on the computer, smartphone or some other music player.

You can play it through Youtube for hours on end, or download a white noise soundtrack and put it on repeat. The problem with this is that it’s not good for the battery of the device, nor for the computer if you use it all day and all night long.

So for whole night of white noise delight, I suggest using a white noise machine because it’s more practical and it provides the clearest frequency. This is the most popular white noise machine on the market with over 6700+ customer reviews on Amazon.

3. Listen to delta binaural beats with headphones

An alternative to white noise are binaural beats. These are also sound frequencies that can do a variety of things for the psyche. They can improve your concentration, relieve anxiety, make you sleepy, increase dopamine release and many other cool things.

The binaural beats you’ll want to use for sleep are delta binaural beats. When you’re in deep sleep, your brain is in the delta frequency. By playing this frequency you can get faster into this deep sleep state.

But you have to use headphones for this to work. Because binaural beats basically resonate between the left and the right headphone to produce that particular frequency. It doesn’t work if you just use the stereo.

I personally use binaural beats “alpha” frequency for meditation and when I’m working on something that requires more focus. Like writing this article for example.

It’s a great little mental tool. There are tons of free Youtube videos with binaural beats so pick one that plays “delta binaural beats” and go for it!

4. Soundproof your bedroom

Soundproofing can seem like some huge and expensive project. But it doesn’t have to be if you do it in a smart way. The first, really cheap thing you can do is seal off any gaps in the door. These let in a lot of noise.

You’ll typically find them where the door meets the door frame. To seal the gap, tape the frame with weatherstripping tape until there’s a seal when you close the door.

There’s also a small gap between the door and the floor in most interior doors. To cover this gap, I suggest using a cheap silicone door sweep. It’s self-adhesive so there’s no tools or installation reqired. Simply stick it to the lower part of the door and it’s done. This will definitely help!

Next thing you can do is insulate the door. Cover it with an affordable but thick material, like a moving blanket. Simply tack one or two moving blankets on the door and you’ll notice less sound coming in and out of your room. There are a few other ways to reinforce the door, and you can read about them in my door soundproofing guide.

Next step is to soundproof the walls. This requires a bit more work. First, because the walls are a bigger surface than doors. Therefore they require more material. Also, the installation is a bit different.

There are many ways to insulate the walls. Such as hanging a new layer of drywall, reconstructing the wall and placing mineral wool batts between the wall joists, placing mass loaded vinyl on the wall joists and much more. If you’re interested in any of these methods, read my wall soundproofing guide.

If you decide to go with any method, the best way to save time, money and effort is to focus on the side of the room from which the noise is coming from. In other words, there’s no need to soundproof all the walls, unless you’re dealing with equal amounts of noise from all sides.

5. Create additional barriers between yourself and the noise source

What do I mean by this? Well, rearranging furniture for example. Placing that big bookshelf by the wall that is standing between you and the source of the noise. Or a large closet. Or perhaps hanging moving blankets on that wall. These are all simple and cheap methods to add mass to the wall without doing any reconstruction.

6. Use ear muffs or ear plugs

Ear muffs can completely block any noise around you. They’re really effective in doing this, but there’s one problem. It’s almost impossible to sleep on the side with ear muffs. If you can sleep on your back, this is the easiest solution of them all. Ear muffs are cheap and a pair can last you a lifetime.

But if you sleep on the side they’re not a good option. In that case, it’s better to use ear plugs or a comfortable sleep mask. I personally have a problem using ear plugs for longer than a few minutes. I just hate the feeling of having something in my ears. But if you don’t mind them, go for it. They’re small and don’t stick out so it’s easy to sleep in any position with them on.

But overall, the most comfortable option is a nice hibernation sleep mask. It covers your eyes and ears, making you completely immersed in the wonderful pitch black darkness of the senses. I recommend using the Sleep Master Mask. It has reinforced ear muffs that completely reduce the noise, plus its super comfortable and durable. It’s also a great travel companion for buses and airplanes.

7. Make babies

Making love with the missus or the mister, or taking the monkey for a walk (if you know what I mean) are the proven sleeping techniques. Rumor has it that even the ancient people of Mesopotamia used this trick to their advantage!

Do I really need to go further? Releasing sexual energy in one way or another will make you tired and you’ll sleep like a baby. The noise might still bother you, but the tiredness will override it sooner than it would otherwise.

8. Roll down the shades

If you can’t control the noise levels, at least make sure that there’s no light coming into the room. Roll down the shades, turn off any buzzing machines with lights. Also try to avoid watching anything on your smartphone in the bed. It will only mess your eyesight and dry out your eyes.

The piercing light from the screen in contrast with the surrounding darkness can mess up melatonin production by tricking the body into believing that it’s daytime. So roll down the shades and make sure it’s pitch dark in there like a good old cave our prehistoric ancestors would be proud of.

9. Pop some sleeping pills

No one wants to hear this advice, because it’s not “natural”. Well, there are natural, herbal remedies for getting to sleep. And there are pharmaceutical pills. I see no reason for bashing one or the other option. If it helps you get a good nights rest, go for it.

But I don’t recommend relying on any substances for inducing sleep, because it can create psychological and/or physical addition in the long run. However, using it from time to time if the noise is to unbearable is perfectly okay.

As far as herbal remedies go, I’ve had great success with this valerian root supplement. This herb has supposedly been used back in the ancient times to treat nervousness and insomnia. Anyway, my girlfriend got the bottle as a free bonus with protein supplements.

I popped 2 tablets before going to bed for 3 nights in a row and slept like a baby. Even came close to having a lucid dream on the second night but unfortunately got too excited and woke up. Good times! But I didn’t want to start relying on the stuff and quiet using it shortly after.

Chamomile is another herb that supposedly helps with sleep. But I’m not sure if it’s some particular herbal supplement with a high concentration, or chamomile tea can help in the same way.

10. Meditate

One of the main reasons for insomnia is not external noise, but the internal ones. Wow, I felt like Yoda writing that! But seriously, if you have a lot of problems on your mind, and a lot of chatter, this can keep you thinking and recycling old thoughts long into the night.

Binaural beats and white noise can sort of help in this regard. But meditating before bed is a straightforward way to quiet the mind. I have a lot of experience with meditation. I’ve tried mantra meditations, mindfulness meditation, concentration meditation, you name it! All of them can work well.

I’ve had great success with TM, also known as transcendental meditation. While TM instructors charge thousands of dollars to teach you the technique, it’s really simple and easy to do. I’ll teach you right now for free! First, choose a mantra.

Here’s a list of mantras you can use. Pick one and stick to it. Once you’ve picked the mantra, repeat it mentally for 20 minutes. Thoughts will arise in your mind as you repeat the mantra. They will disturb you and take your attention away from the mantra. When that happens, simply acknowledge it and then return to the mantra. Repeat it fast, slow, however you like. At around 15 minutes your mind will start to go blank. It’s an amazing feeling of mental emptiness.

After 20 minutes of this you will feel rejuvenated and external noises will not bother you like they did before. You should do this meditation in a sitting position, rather than lying down.

Here is a great interview about TM with Jerry Seinfeld, who’s been practicing it for a couple of decades:

Also, one thing I learned from Eckhart Tolle to prevent thoughts while meditating is to simply ask yourself: “What am I thinking about?” This makes your mind go blank for a moment. Try it now. Ask yourself that question and you’ll see something interesting happen as the question derails your current train of thoughts.

If you’re not a fan of mantra meditation, you can simply focus on your breathing. I usually combine various techniques in one meditation session. Experiment a little and find what works best for quieting your mind.

But give it at least 20 minutes because it can take up to 15 minutes to see any results in the beginning if the mind is not used to meditation. It takes practice like anything else, but everyone can reap the benefits if enough effort is put into the practice!

11. Confront your roommates about the noise

If your roommates are being too obnoxious, straighten them out. Tell them you’ve got obligations and you want to sleep. Their partying should not be more important than your sleep schedule. At least not always. And if they’re not willing to make a compromise, I guess it’s time to find new roommates who will.

12. Eat oatmeal before bed

For some reason oatmeal makes many people very sleepy, including myself. If I eat it in the morning, I feel like going back to bed straight away. Many people have wondered why it has this effect. Some say that it’s because oatmeal is full of fiber.

Therefore the digestive system takes a lot of the blood from the brain to process the fiber. So you feel tired due to this activity. Others say it’s because of blood sugar changes. And some say that oatmeal triggers melatonin production, and melatonin makes you sleepy.

Whatever the case may be, it works for many people. So try eating a bowl of oatmeal before bed and see if it works for you or not.

13. Go to sleep at the same time every night

Having a sleeping schedule will train your body to feel naturally sleepy at some hour of the night. That can be 10 pm, 11 pm, midnight.. it doesn’t matter. Just turn it into a habit, and the habit might override the noise without you having to do anything special.

Of course, if the noise is really loud this probably won’t help, but it can help if it’s just standard chit chat or music coming from the other room.

Final Thoughts

As you can see there are many ways to get a better night’s rest. You can use most of these methods to improve your sleep even if you’re not bothered by any noise. It ultimately depends on your individual situation and what kind of a sleeper you are.

What would definitely eliminate the noise problem is using ear muff or ear plugs. Or even better, soundproofing the room by adding mass to the door and the walls. Hope this helps!

Peter Bone

Soundproof expert and a staunch opponent of noise. This website is a free source of information on how to 'keep it down a notch'. I update the content regularly to keep up with advancements in the soundproofing industry.

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