Most of us are familiar with white noise. In fact in Today is Still the Day I recommend using a white noise machine at night to help you achieve deeper, restful sleep. My son and his wife use a sound machine in my grandson’s bedroom to help him sleep better. My husband uses one every night. It is very effective. You may be wondering why.
It is a fuzzy type of noise for lack of a better description. It sounds a bit like static. The effects of white noise on sleep have been researched extensively. According to one study in the journal Sleep, people fell asleep about 40% faster when exposed to white noise versus hearing normal environmental sounds. White noise blocks typical sounds that can disrupt sleep quality like a ticking clock or traffic noises.
White noise has been found to help settle fussy babies and help them fall asleep more quickly by blocking out household noises as well as mimicking internal physiological sounds, like a heartbeat or digestion, that are familiar and therefore soothing to an infant.
It’s also been found beneficial in easing anxiety in dementia patients.
Research has also found a link between studying with white noise and the ability to retain more information. In one study researchers discovered that the white noise group had a “superior” ability to remember the names of the objects compared to the non-white-noise group.
Something interesting I came across in researching this was that there are other color frequencies. For instance pink noise is very similar to white noise and is helpful in achieving deeper sleep. It is more like listening to a heavy rainstorm. Brown noise sounds more like crashing ocean waves, which has been found helpful for people trying to focus. Blue noise sounds like a hissing water spray. It is most commonly used to minimize distortions during sound engineering. Grey noise is similar to white and pink noise and ear doctors use it to treat conditions like tinnitus. Finally there is black noise. And just as black is the absence of color, black noise is the absence of noise.
I have CDs I use often that have the sounds of rain, ocean waves, a thunderstorm and I really find them relaxing. Now I know it is because they access different colors of sound frequencies!
Do you use white noise to help you sleep?
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Wonderful info; thank you Ms. Ann. My wife and I share in your CD collection. It sounds as though the optimal mix would be to start with white noise (to help fall asleep), then transition to pink noise for the rest of the night (to help remain asleep). Thank you for this info ma’am. Is there a recommended “white noise” we should listen to?
I don’t believe so, J.D. It just depends on what works for you and what you like. I prefer the sounds of nature but my husband likes pure white noise. To each his own my friend!
Ann, I run an air filter when I sleep and if offers a low level of white noise. I always use a white noise app when I travel to drown out hotel sounds. I never realized the benefits for everyone, even for babies.
Debbie that’s awesome! You get a double benefit from the white noise and the cleaner air!!