Unfortunately, the simplest solutions are probably impractical – encourage your noisy neighbour to move or pack your bags and find somewhere new yourself.
But what happens if the replacement neighbour is worse?
Let’s face it, as population density increases and more of us are crammed into smaller areas, it’s likely that noisy neighbours will be something we have to learn to live with. It also seems like the newer the buildings, the thinner the walls.
So, what can we do to help get that all important good night’s sleep? If you’d like to know just how important sleep is, read this article.
Whether the noise is preventing you from falling asleep, waking you up, or impacting the ability to enter the essential deep sleep stage, the following tips might all help.
Sometimes the simple things are the best solution. But choosing the right type of earplugs is important. You’ll be wearing these earplugs for 7-8 hours overnight, so they need to be comfortable. Importantly, they need to reduce the noise caused by the offending neighbour but from a safety point of view, you still need to be able to hear smoke detectors or other alarms.
Good quality earplugs include noise rating standards in their specifications. In the US, earplugs have a Noise Reduction Rating or NRR. European brands tend to use SNR, which stands for Single Number Rating. Look for earplugs with a SNR or NRR of 30 to safely block neighbours. The Otifleks range features a number of earplugs specifically designed for a quiet and comfortable good night’s sleep.
White noise refers to a blend of low, medium, and high-frequency sounds played together at the same intensity level. It works by masking other sounds, including sudden loud noises, so it’s very useful to ‘drown out’ noisy neighbours while helping you sleep.
While some people find leaving a fan or air conditioner running useful, there are more sophisticated options that have been designed specifically for helping us get to sleep and stay that way – white noise machines.
White noise machines are also very affordable. Best of all, they come with a range of relaxing sound options such as the ocean, patter of rain, soothing summer night, or just white noise. Importantly, the volume is usually adjustable. Check out the Welcare Sleep-Tight Sleep Sound Machine here.
If you’ve been in a minimalist restaurant or café, where all the surfaces are hard and shiny, you’ll know how sound loves to bounce around. Depending on your bedroom environment, there might be some benefit in stopping that noise getting in or being ‘amplified’ by hard surfaces.
For example, if there are gaps under doors, attachable door weather strips are an inexpensive way to block out noise (and cold draughts). In older homes, you might find gaps around windows let noise in too, and there are similar options for sealing windows.
Sound absorbing drapes/curtains can also help. Then there’s rugs, soft furnishings, or wall hangings to help absorb the noise when it hits your room.
Can you switch things around? Is there another room you could sleep in if the noise is coming from one side of your house or apartment?
Similarly, could the head of the bed be rotated so you’re further away from the offending noisy neighbour?
Some people may not realise the noise is impacting others. For example, someone living on the top floor of an apartment building would never hear the tenants above walking in street shoes or scraping the chair leg over the floor above. Whereas someone sandwiched between two floors knows all too well how noise carries.
Your noisy neighbour may also be a shift worker who has forgotten others are on a different ‘time zone’.
Hopefully some of the tips above will help. If a neighbour is playing loud music late at night regularly, then you’ve got every right to complain to the authorities. Whatever you do, don’t start a noise war – nobody wins.