listening is comfort. i find it impossible to sleep in silence, it makes me feel far too anxious. instead i rely on whatever artificial "white noise" is available; at home a fan, on the road an a.c. unit... though sometimes the newer hotels have really quiet systems. better yet are the real sounds from outside. the wind in high trees or a river are nice. the most optimized spot i've ever found to sleep was in a beach house in hawaii within a few feet of the water with both the surf and the breeze... perfect. i'd guess a lot of people are similar to me in this, and that's why they sleep with the t.v. on or buy those soothing sound gadgets from brookstone. absolute silence can be disconcerting because maybe it means we're alone. but as long as we have something to listen to we're reassured, comforted.