This is so simple I hesitate to mention it, but it's so cool I've got to tell you about it. If you happen to check out my Audioscrobbler page in the near future and see that the most played song is called "WhiteRain1", there's an explanation in order.
Last week, I was in Nashville for a few days visiting friends. The hotel we stayed at was great, but it was NOISY at night. People talking, faucets dripping, footsteps above us, the usual. As I lay there hoping the sleep gods would smile down on me the third night, a plan formulated. What if I put a track of white noise in my iTunes library and have it repeat? The first question: where do I get the white noise? I could record a rushing stream or an ocean myself, but since it was 1AM and there was no brook or sea nearby, I had to come up with something else. You guessed it: the world wide web.
There's an excellent site called Luxe Vivant which specializes in sleep aids and the like. They have several different white noise tracks available in CD and mp3 format. You can even get a CD of San Padre Island at night. I chose a track called "WhiteRain1", and 15 minutes later had the track I needed. Yes it took 15 minutes, but that was because I entered my email incorrectly and customer service had to help me work through it (yes, their customer service helped me at 1AM!). "WhiteRain1" cost $4.99, which sounds steep, but the track is 20 minutes long. Trust me - it's pretty obnoxious to have a noisemaker sound which cycles around every 30 seconds.
I put the track in iTunes and was asleep within minutes. One other thing I should add: if you do this, be sure to change your display settings on your computer so that the display goes off but the computer doesn't go to sleep. Otherwise your display will stay on all night. It took a couple minutes of experimenting, but soon I had it quite dark in there.
Again, this may sound hopelessly simplistic, but often times the best solutions are the simple ones. If only one person gets a good night's sleep from this post, then it's completely worth it. Oh, yeah. One person already did. Me.