The Best Nature Sounds for Sleep

old women with headphones

Did you know that the sound of nature can physically alter the neurological connections in your brain? That’s right. The findings of a 2017 report suggest that nature sounds reduce the body’s natural fight-or-flight response, resulting in a calming, therapeutic effect on the human psyche.

We searched high and low to find the best nature sounds for sleep. Here’s what we found.

Best Overall
Best for Deep Sleep
Best for Stress Relief
Best for Anxiety
Best for Meditation
Calming Rain - Nature Sounds CD - Brings You Relaxation and Sleep - Nature's Perfect White Noise -
Nature Sounds: Ocean Waves, Forest Sounds, Rain, Wind, Thunder, Wilderness Stream (For Deep Sleep, Meditation, & Relaxation)
Relaxing Rain: Natural Rain Sounds for Sleeping and Stress Relief (Nature Sounds, Deep Sleep Music, Meditation, Relaxation Sounds of Soft Falling Rain)
Nature Sounds with Music (Deep Sleep Music, Relaxation, Music for Healing, Music with Nature)
Calming Songbirds - Nature Sounds Recording Of Bird Calls - For Meditation, Relaxation and Creating a Soothing Atmosphere - Nature's Perfect White Noise -
Our Score
9.6
9.5
9.4
9.3
9.1
Available formats
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Length
60 minutes
73 minutes
71 minutes
62 minutes
60 minutes
Sound
Calming rain
Ocean waves, forest sounds, rain, thunder, wind, wilderness stream
Relaxing rain
Nature sounds with music
Calming songbirds
Best Overall
Calming Rain - Nature Sounds CD - Brings You Relaxation and Sleep - Nature's Perfect White Noise -
Our Score
9.6
Available formats
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Length
60 minutes
Sound
Calming rain
Buy button
Best for Deep Sleep
Nature Sounds: Ocean Waves, Forest Sounds, Rain, Wind, Thunder, Wilderness Stream (For Deep Sleep, Meditation, & Relaxation)
Our Score
9.5
Available formats
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Length
73 minutes
Sound
Ocean waves, forest sounds, rain, thunder, wind, wilderness stream
Buy button
Best for Stress Relief
Relaxing Rain: Natural Rain Sounds for Sleeping and Stress Relief (Nature Sounds, Deep Sleep Music, Meditation, Relaxation Sounds of Soft Falling Rain)
Our Score
9.4
Available formats
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Length
71 minutes
Sound
Relaxing rain
Buy button
Best for Anxiety
Nature Sounds with Music (Deep Sleep Music, Relaxation, Music for Healing, Music with Nature)
Our Score
9.3
Available formats
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Length
62 minutes
Sound
Nature sounds with music
Buy button
Best for Meditation
Calming Songbirds - Nature Sounds Recording Of Bird Calls - For Meditation, Relaxation and Creating a Soothing Atmosphere - Nature's Perfect White Noise -
Our Score
9.1
Available formats
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Length
60 minutes
Sound
Calming songbirds
Buy button

How We Tested and Compared These Albums

We spent hundreds of hours listening to the best nature sounds for sleep to find the ones that work and those that don’t. Our strategy was simple. We ranked the sounds based on their effectiveness. Anything that kept us up beyond 30 minutes of getting into bed was automatically eliminated.

Best Overall: Calming Rain for Sleep and Relaxation

Calming Rain - Nature Sounds CD - Brings You Relaxation and Sleep - Nature's Perfect White Noise -

Product Overview:

  • Available formats: Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
  • Length: 60 minutes
  • Sound: Calming rain

If you love the sound of falling rain outside your window, you will enjoy this clean, crisp recording of soothing rain by Board Certified Music Therapist Ryan Judd.

This compilation features 60 uninterrupted minutes of soothing rain sounds, masterfully crafted to drown out external noise as it gently and slowly lulls you to sleep.

What We Like About It

Right off the bat, we were pleasantly surprised by how crisp the recording was. It is by far one of the best rain sounds for sleep we’ve come across.

The high-quality recording of the pitter-patter of the falling drops is extremely soothing, and we were knocked out cold within no more than 10 minutes, which is a record for us. In short, we can confirm from first-hand experience that it works.

What We Don’t Like

Although it worked remarkably well to help us fall asleep, we would have enjoyed hearing some variety in the sound. At some point, it did sound like a 10-15 minute recording on a loop. Some variation between a heavy downpour and a gentle drizzle would have been nice.

What Previous Buyers Had to Say

Most users found this sound calming and soothing. One of them even reported falling asleep within 5 minutes.

Best Alternatives

Best for Deep Sleep: Rest & Relax Nature Sounds

Nature Sounds: Ocean Waves, Forest Sounds, Rain, Wind, Thunder, Wilderness Stream (For Deep Sleep, Meditation, & Relaxation)

Product Overview:

  • Available formats: Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
  • Length: 73 minutes
  • Sound: Ocean waves, forest sounds, rain, thunder, wind, wilderness stream

If you have trouble winding down for the evening, you will enjoy the nature sounds compilation from Rest & Relax. The album features high-quality recordings of ocean waves, forest sounds, rain, thunder, wind, and a wilderness stream, to give you a wide range of listening options depending on your mood.

What We Like About It

For one thing, the sound recordings are clean, crisp, and clear. As soon as you close your eyes, the soothing sounds of nature’s majesty teleport you to a tranquil world, an ancient place where life was simpler, a time when nuisance city sounds were non-existent. We particularly liked the ocean sounds for sleep. These had us nodding off within 15 minutes.

What We Don’t Like

We wish the individual tracks could have been longer, although you can simply play them on a loop. We also found that the volume variation between tracks was a little on the higher side.

What Previous Buyers Had to Say

Most users found the sounds relaxing, with many reporting that they fell into a deep sleep within minutes.

Best for Stress Relief: Rest & Relax Relaxing Rain Sounds for Sleep

Relaxing Rain: Natural Rain Sounds for Sleeping and Stress Relief (Nature Sounds, Deep Sleep Music, Meditation, Relaxation Sounds of Soft Falling Rain)

Product Overview:

  • Available formats: Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
  • Length: 71 minutes
  • Sound: Relaxing rain

There’s something about listening to water sounds for sleep we find quite soothing to the soul. The Relaxing Rain album from Rest & Relax is another favorite. It features six different variations of rain carefully curated to help relieve stress and allow you to get deep, restorative sleep.

What We Like About It

Our favorite thing about this album is all the different rain sound variations it comes with. From the sound of softly falling rain on the pavement to the sound of raindrops on a window, you’re spoiled for choice. We particularly enjoyed the sound of rain falling gently alongside a mountain stream. It was 15 minutes of pure bliss.

What We Don’t Like

The random sound of chirping birds on the sixth track was a little startling. Cricket sounds for sleep would have been better placed there.

What Previous Buyers Had to Say

One user reported that the nature sounds for sleep in this album helped them sleep through the loud 4th of July fireworks in their town.

Best for Anxiety: Rest & Relax Nature Sounds With Music for Sleep

Nature Sounds with Music (Deep Sleep Music, Relaxation, Music for Healing, Music with Nature)

Product Overview:

  • Available formats: Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
  • Length: 62 minutes
  • Sound: Nature sounds with music

Nature Sounds With Music is yet another marvelous compilation from Rest & Relax. The album features five tracks of soothing nature sounds for sleep designed to calm the senses, particularly among individuals who suffer from anxiety.

What We Like About It

Unlike most of the albums we’ve come across, the tracks in this compilation consist of a mix of nature sounds and instrumental music.

The sound of falling rain alongside soft piano music is hypnotizing. A warm feeling of calmness washes over the entire space when it plays in the background.

What We Don’t Like

In some tracks, the music goes silent while the nature sounds continue playing before starting back up again. This can be a little startling if you’ve already fallen asleep.

What Previous Buyers Had to Say

Several users have left numerous positive reviews on their experience. One user, in particular, was quite pleased, noting that the tracks in the album successfully drowned out the sound of her husband’s snoring.

Best for Nighttime Meditation: Calming Songbirds

Calming Songbirds - Nature Sounds Recording Of Bird Calls - For Meditation, Relaxation and Creating a Soothing Atmosphere - Nature's Perfect White Noise -

Product Overview:

  • Available formats: Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
  • Length: 60 minutes
  • Sound: Calming songbirds

This is yet another masterpiece from Ryan Judd. If you enjoy the sound of waking up to chirping birds in the morning, you will certainly enjoy the Calming Songbirds album. It features 60 blissful minutes of soothing songbirds singing their hearts out in the forest.

What We Like About It

The sound recording is so clean and crisp that it almost feels as though you’re physically in a rainforest. While the sound of singing songbirds is bound to lull you to sleep, it also provides the perfect serene and relaxing atmosphere for meditation.

What We Don’t Like

This compilation of songbirds might not be ideal if you associate the sound of chirping birds with waking up as opposed to sleeping.

What Previous Buyers Had to Say

This one appeared to be a hit or miss. Some users found the sounds of singing songbirds soothing and relaxing, while others stated that it made them feel more alert.

Benefits of Nature Sounds for Sleep

Here are some of the proven benefits of listening to nature sounds.

Sleeping

If you have chronic insomnia or have trouble winding down after a long day, playing nature sounds is an effective way to increase your melatonin levels and relieve stress. These sounds suppress your body’s fight-or-flight response, allowing you to calm down, fall asleep, and stay asleep.

Meditation

Meditation has proven to be an effective way of reducing stress levels, alleviating the symptoms of depression, curbing anxiety, and improving mood. Playing nature sounds for sleep during a meditation session can significantly impact your mental well-being.

Health

Nature sounds have an uncanny way of calming your nervous system. As a result, it has been shown to lower blood pressure among hypertensive individuals and boost immune system function, making it less likely for you to fall sick.

Nature sounds for sleep have proven particularly effective among individuals with autism, ADHD, ADD, and other mental disorders.

Bottom Line

Listening to the best nature sounds for sleep can have remarkable benefits on your health and well-being. You would be surprised at the world of difference getting a full night’s rest makes to your day-to-day life.

Not sure where to start? Try listening to the nature sound albums we’ve reviewed in this guide and reap the benefits that come with improved sleep quality.

If nature sounds aren’t your cup of tea, try listening to these relaxing music albums instead.

FAQ

What are the best nature sounds for sleep?

The sound of falling rain, a roaring river, a gentle stream, crashing waves, or any other natural water sound will likely knock you out within minutes.

How long does it take to fall asleep listening to nature sounds?

The sweet spot for most people is somewhere around the 7-10 minute mark. If you’re a chronic insomniac, it might take about 15 minutes.

What are the best nature sounds for anxiety?

Distant thunder, falling rain, ocean waves, and forest sounds have shown the best results in calming individuals with anxiety.

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