How Do You Sleep With Noisy Neighbors?


Falling asleep can be hard enough without outside interference. What are you supposed to do when the source of the noise is your rowdy neighbors? With little to no control over the sound of neighbors laughing late at night, a television left on, or music blasting from next door, it can be difficult to have a good night’s rest. So how can you deal with this unwanted noise?

How do you sleep with noisy neighbors? One of the first things you can try is to talk to your neighbor directly. You can either write a letter or raise the issue face-to-face depending on your preferences. If this isn’t an option, you can try blocking out the sound.

There are different ways you can do this: you can use ambient sounds such as white noise to mask loud, unsettling sounds with gentle, steady sound; you can wear earplugs to block noise from your neighbors as you sleep, or you can go to bed wearing noise-canceling and sleep headphones. Another option is to make some modifications to your bedroom to block out sound. Some soundproofing modifications to try include: sealing all the cracks and gaps in your window frames and door frames, hanging heavy noise-blocking curtains, and laying down a thick carpet.

Noisy neighbors can ruin your sleep as well as the quality of your life if left unchecked. There are a variety of ways to try and tackle nuisance noise with varying degrees of success. Read on to discover the options available.

Approach your neighbor

1. Try talking directly

The first step should be to talk to your neighbor about the noise. You can either raise the issue face-to-face or write a letter about your concerns. You want to be as honest and direct as possible – you don’t want to offend your neighbors, but you also don’t want to deal with perpetual noise when you’re trying to sleep.

2. Keep a record

Consider keeping a record of when the noise occurs, and how long it lasts, in case you need to take the issue further. Clear notes of what’s been happening will serve as good evidence if you later have to make a formal complaint against your neighbor.

3. Ask a mediator to help

If talking to your neighbor doesn’t resolve the issue, consider seeking help from a mediation service. Mediation involves relying on a third, neutral party to act as a referee in a dispute. Keep in mind that mediation only works if both you and your neighbor agree to it. Your housing association or local council may provide a mediation service, so check with them to see if this is an option.

4. If you are a renter, let your landlord know

If your neighbor is a tenant, consider contacting the landlord, freeholder, or housing association and make them aware of the issue. If this doesn’t solve the issue, you can raise the issue with your local authority.

5. Report the issue to your local council

If all the aforementioned approaches don’t work, you can submit a complaint to your local council, who should follow up on excessive noise and antisocial behavior in the community. If the council finds that your neighbor is causing a statutory noise disturbance, they must issue a noise abatement order. This lets the individual at fault know that they are required to put a stop to noise nuisance or risk facing further legal action.

6. Take legal action

As the very last resort, you may want to consider taking legal action and escalating the issue to court. For this to work in your favor, you must convince the court that the noise disturbance from your neighbor constitutes a statutory nuisance. 

Before you go down this road, you should keep in mind that taking a noise issue to court will cost you a pretty penny. You should only consider this option if you’ve tried all other approaches and haven’t found a solution.

Block out the sound

Sometimes the most suitable solution is to stop the noise from neighbors reaching your ears or replacing it with a sound that you consider to be more relaxing. This is not to say that you shouldn’t try to eliminate the noise at its source when you can, but more about reducing the amount of noise that reaches you. 

1. Earplugs

Earplugs come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and sizes, which makes it a bit difficult to find what suits you best. It’s worth noting that how well earplugs fit in your ear canal is just important as their official noise reduction rating. You can buy a good set of earplugs at most pharmacies or online platforms at affordable prices.

2. White noise

Soothing, ambient sounds such as white noise can be used to dilute or drown out louder, sharper sounds with a more tolerable noise. White noise delivers a uniform amount of sound at every audible frequency that is intended to help you relax, which in turn may help you fall asleep quickly. You can purchase a white noise machine, download white noise sounds online, or simply keep a fan blowing in your bedroom while you sleep.

3. Noise-canceling and sleep headphones

These headphones are effective at reducing outside ambient noise, consequently minimizing distractions and increasing relaxation.

Modify your space

Sound can find its way through even the smallest of gaps. Modifying your space may help to block out the noise coming from your neighbors. Here are some tips on how to go about it:

1. Soundproof your windows

Sometimes closing all your windows just isn’t enough to keep out noise. You can always check to make sure that your windows are properly sealed. Gaps can let noise from the outside slip in, so use a reliable insulating sealant like foam for your peace of mind. Alternatively, you can try using a window insert to create more of a noise buffer. Another alternative is to hang thick windows to help keep out the noise. If your budget allows it, you might want to consider installing double or secondary glazing windows to muffle outside noise.

2. Cover your walls

Walls let quite a bit of sound through, especially if they’re shared. Covering them can significantly reduce the noise coming in from your neighbors.

  • Consider affixing sound-absorbing panels such as felt and foam on your walls. They come in a wide variety of color pallets and can help enhance the décor of your living space.
  • Acoustical blankets are special clothes that are made to be hung on the wall to muffle outside sound.
  • Hanging art, pictures, and frames on the affected wall can help to absorb noise and annoying sounds.
  • Adding a living wall will not only add some life and style to your living space but can also help to minimize the noise coming from outside.

3. Move your furniture

If you share a wall with a loud neighbor, rearranging your furniture could help to reduce the noise coming into your home.

4. Move your bed

This may seem like a drastic solution especially if you don’t have much space to work with. However, if you share a wall in an apartment building, for example, and your bedroom wall happens to be a wall in a room with a screaming toddler, barking dog, or loud TV and/or music, it may be worth considering. Try moving your bed to the side of the room that is furthest from the source of noise, or sleep in a spare bedroom if you have one.

5. Rearrange existing furniture

Creating a solid mass at the offending wall can help to muffle some of the noise. To do this, position large, thick pieces of furniture such as cupboards, wardrobes, or bookshelves filled with thick, heavy books on the wall which is next to your noisy neighbor.

6. Insulate your floor and ceiling

If the noise is coming from your downstairs neighbor, you can muffle the noise by insulating the floor. To do this, you can put wall-to-wall carpeting down, or high pile rug designs. To insulate your ceiling, opt to use acoustically-rated ceiling tiles that have a ceiling attenuation class (CAC) of at least and a minimum Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of 55.

7. Soundproof the door

The space between your bedroom door and floor can allow noise to enter your sleeping space. To prevent this, consider the following tips:

  • Put draft guards with dense foam filling and insulating material into the space.
  • Block the space using door seals 
  • You can roll up a thick towel and place it at the bottom of your bedroom door

Final thoughts

The importance of sleep is not to be overlooked – in addition to ensuring that we’re awake and ready to go the next day, it also activates the natural healing and restorative factors in our bodies. Poor sleep has been linked to several ailments, including heart disease, fatigue, and weight gain. When a noisy neighbor is the cause of disruption to your sleep, you can choose to either block out the noise or communicate and try to fix the problem. Regardless, this post contains suggestions that may prove useful in helping you sleep when you have noisy neighbors.

Last update on 2021-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author. She enjoys traveling, reading and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC. Connect with her at [email protected]

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