x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

App of the Week: White Noise helps you drift off to sleep

The White Noise app offers soothing sounds like rainstorms and crickets to help calm your mind.

In ways both obvious and subtle, the digital age has conditioned us all to embrace the 24-hour work cycle.

Our smartphones often serve as little more than round-the-clock vibrating baby monitors for our bosses.

And have you even tried to find the "off" switch on something lately - anything? In most modern offices, you can't even power down the lights without first providing some sort of confirmation code.

Lights out, you say? Just who do you think you are? I'm sorry, but your office is going to need to see some credentials.

It's little wonder then that sleep so often stresses us out, in a world where any sleep feels like sleeping on the job.

Insomnia is a pernicious, perpetual foe that needs little, if any, ammunition to hold us hostage - it can make us toss and turn about literally anything, including insomnia.

The app

Fortunately, there's the White Noise app (iPhone, Android), a full-featured, sleep aid that comes in both free and paid (Dh7.50) versions. In fact, it has so many features, you could easily stay up all night calibrating the thing, which, at the onset, seems a bit counterproductive.

The details

The free version offers 10 soothing background sounds that aim to gently walk you down your own memory lane of slumber until you reach REM Sleep Boulevard, back to simpler settings when you had not a care in the world.

Sounds include a rainstorm, ocean waves, crickets, a grandfather clock and even a plane engine (although if your fondest flashback to a "safe sleep place" is on a red-eye flight to Mexico City, you've probably got problems this app can't solve).

But the options don't end there. White Noise allows you to mix multiple noises together into a kind of catnap cacophony, unleashing your inner DJ doze (I preferred to stick with one sound because, in my head, I started to worry about that grandfather clock getting wet in the rainstorm).

You can also set favourites, timers, loops, alarms and faders - it even comes with a digital LED alarm clock simulator.

Upgrading to the paid version of the app frees you from the tiny ads at the bottom of the screen and gives you access to 30 more noises. It also lets you listen to soothing sounds in the background while you mess with other apps, if you're the type who prefers to have the Sandman wrestle you right into the ground until you lose consciousness.

In a hyperactive age, finding a real-world peaceful place to sleep can feel like chasing a rainbow - not only impossible, but silly and counterproductive. With White Noise, you may find that just basking in virtual bliss can make you feel better.

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