Silence would seem to go right along with darkness for a good night's sleep. But I'm not a fan. I play brown noise through the radio on my nightstand. It's a deeper (more bass) version of white noise.
It seems to be very helpful, because I don't really hear small noises. Things that used to wake me up don't bother me -- like one of my dogs moving around or noises from outside. This leads to better sleep.
The noise also seems to make falling asleep take less time. I now have an almost Pavlovian response to the brown noise -- I start dozing off when I hear it.
Anyone else use background noise during sleep? Is anyone aware of any negative effects caused by playing this artificial noise throughout the night?