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Soundproof Sleeping Closure Answered

Hello fellow instructables :)

Right I need some help and advice on a design brief to help fix my problem.

Problem - I live in a ground floor flat and there is 1 flat above me, 2 scum bags occupy it, a couple of 22 year olds and they have obviously never been taught consideration for others and they bang and thrash around all through the early hours of the morning.

When they bang on their bare wooden floor it sounds like a heavy metal dumbbell coming through my ceiling and it wakes me abruptly and its ruining my life :( I've complained to the council the past 18 months but there not interested.

They have not put any carpet down in their flat in the last 18 months and it looks like they have no intention of doing so (they can afford fags n booze tho), plus they have a baby due any day now, great.. so now there making their problems, my problem.

Solution - The only thing I can think of is making a soundproof sleeping closure, a large box like a 4 poster bed but all sides solid made out of a layer of MDF then insulation then more mdf, but I have some questions before I start.

How would I get adequate air in and out ?
Would this even stop the banging on my ceiling waking me up ? or would it still penetrate the box ?
How would I control the temperature, would it be too hot in there ?

Something like the image below but more solid with a door.

If anyone has any experience with this or input or any good ideas I'd be ever so grateful.

Cheers in advance.


13 Replies

BruceL38 (author)2016-03-29

Hello, Matt.

I feel your pain, man, I have the same problem with my neighbours. You could start by contacting your landlord about adding soundproofing. Also, call environmental health and see if you can get rid of the scum bags (they're probably bothering other tenants, too).

As for building an enclosure; I built one out of MDF, lined the inside with cardboard, added lights, a fan and speakers (to play white noise) and I wear ear plugs. The enclosure blocks out about 80% of the noise, however, there is very little I can do about the crashing sounds, they vibrate through the legs of the enclosure and wake me up, it's like someone kicking the underside of my bed! You may not have to worry about that 20% though as your neighbours are above, mine are below.

The fan deals with the heat (an ordinary desk fan), but you could put a wall fan at one end of the pod to draw air in and another at the opposite end to withdraw air, although if you build a large enclosure like the one pictured above, it shouldn't be necessary.

I'm planning on building a new enclosure, something special that looks futuristic with all the bells and whistles. I'll be looking on the internet for designs and appropriate materials.

Just remember you're not alone, good luck and sleep well.


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Sean.2 (author)BruceL382016-06-03

Hello Bruce and Matt,

Yep - same here as far as the upstairs neighbors from hell go. Matt, you are on the right track with your thinking. I did the same thing. Cheap 4 poster bed frame. MDF, fan and speakers. I used acoustic paneling on the inside and out side. I have become a sound wave expert, lol. Blocking or effectively stopping a sound wave is almost impossible especially if it's bass/deep Db wave. Reflecting the sound wave is very doable. The sound now travels through the ceiling and bounces off the sleeping pod into the wall into a baffle pointed out the door and into the living room where the plush carpet absorbs most of it. I created my own white noise track that has the opposite Db value of the Db values the scumbags upstairs produce (you can rent a meter to find the values). I also ran some crashing waves in the background because I love the beach. Works pretty well.

But I still couldn't get rid of the crashes. So, I raised the sleep pod off the ground. with two rubber pucks under each post/foot. I think the crashing sound waves are vibrating the ceiling to the walls and then vibrating the floor to the sleep pod. The rubber really seems to deaden the crashing vibrating sounds.

Or you could take Ambien, lol.

I would post pictures but this experience has made me realize that there are no cheap, off the shelf sleep pods for regular working people so I'm patenting it.

Best of luck,


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seanbell157 (author)2015-12-02

get some earplugs. Problem solved although the pic you posted is pretty badass

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lgooms (author)seanbell1572016-02-26

If it were me, I'd find earplugs to be insufficient. The bumping would drive me nuts. it's not the sound so much as you can feel it. Kinda like someone kicking the chair while you're sitting in it.

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JonM74 (author)lgooms2016-03-19

Earplugs combined with a hammock could minimize feeling the bumps. If you were really smart you could put the hammock hooks on sprung tracks. =)

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hello1976 (author)2016-02-26

Matt - this is my dream come true too. I have "audiophonia" - very high sensitivity to noise. I have lived at so many places and always difficulty sleeping and I have been thinking of launching a business where I actually MAKE those items from scratch - on a smaller scale - much like a bigger "coffin" kind of thing out of plastic and with holes for air and a pump.

Anyway - reach out to me directly: foto312 AT gmail

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machete555 (author)2015-10-14

Hi Matt,

Have you had any luck resolving this yet?

I have been suffering with a similar problem, I live in a semi detached house and my neighbours child keeps waking me up in the middle of the night and they have just had another one and it is now intolerable.

I have tried the white noise trick with the fan which has a 50/50 success rate and even had custom ear plugs made but they’re still uncomfortable to sleep with.

I’ve got a friend that’s an engineer so hopefully we can knock something up to solve this.

I’m going with a top and bottom outer shell of brushed stainless steel fitted with soundproof insulation and then lined with linen.

Will use telescopic poles on each corner to raise the top from the bottom, so it should look like a four poster bed when open and PC style fans at the head and foot to create enough air flow to support up to three adults run through tubes inside the soundproof insulation lined with that conical foam used as packaging for IT equipment,

to disrupt any sound.

Will have a circuit breaker so that it will pop open in case of a power cut and sensors to stop it from closing if there is an obstruction.

The end result should look something like Deacon Frost’s coffin from the film Blade

I haven't factored in for temperature or humidity yet as I’m hopping this can just be controlled by the airflow or externally by the room conditions.

Not sure how much all this is going cost, but like you say making the outer shell from MDF would be a much cheaper DIY solution.

Can you really put a price on a decent nights uninterrupted sleep?

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thematthatter (author)2014-06-07

Had a similar issue the first apartment i moved into. I was the "scumb bag" and the floor creaked every time we walked on it. My wife would walk across the floor in the middle of the night and I would have to get up at 5am to go to work. The lady below us used to get mad and bang on the ceiling and yell obscenities. She even had the nerve to come upstairs and ask us not to walk on our floor.

Long story short, we bought a mossberg for protection (it got heated a bit) and ended up moving out.

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liquidhandwash (author)2014-06-07

Have you thought of "white noise". I made an air filter with a large computer fan inside that I thought would probably keep me up at night, as is it makes quite a bit of "fan noise" to my surprise I sleep much better for some reason, and don’t wake up to every little sound. I also found I have become aware of falling asleep, as the sound seems to change pitch and becomes quieter as I start to nod off,

Long story short try a noisy computer fan in your bedroom...

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Toga_Dan (author)2014-06-06

You might research what the Japanese are doing. They seem to big on stuff like a motel "room" that's just 1 bunk of a bunkbed with a private entrance, a tv, radio, bookshelf, etc.

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Downunder35m (author)2014-06-06

I would not opt for some enlosed space as the problems with air supply and moisture outway the benefits.

Instead I would opt for a design like this:


Since your problem comes from above and is most likely reflected and transfered through your walls you want something that is able to cancel the noise out.
If you designe some "hood" like the chair over your existing bed you will have it much easier.
Include a lifting device so you can adjust the height over your bed for optimum noise cancellation and you are good to go.
If there is still too much leftover noise you try to include some speakers based on those airplane headphones that cancel out the noise, but would need to use a small amplifier and experiment with the right placement of the speakers.

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mpilchfamily (author)2014-06-05

Any insulated enclose you make will have to be well ventilated. Not only for air but also for temp control. It will heat up rather quickly in there. Quiet running PC fans would be good. You'll probably want a set to draw air in at one end of the bed and a set to vent the air out at the other end.

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