Does White Noise Help You Sleep? [2024 Survey Results]

Does White Noise Help You Sleep?

Does White Noise Help You Sleep?
"While white noise holds promise in promoting better sleep, its effectiveness does vary between individuals. By understanding and implementing practical strategies, you can harness its potential to help you sleep."

 

Understanding White Noise

White noise has emerged as a potential solution for enhancing sleep quality by mitigating the impact of disruptive noises. Whether or not white noise has a positive effect on sleep really depends on the individual, but understanding its characteristics and how you can use white noise to aid sleep can offer insights into its potential benefits. 

Here, we take a look at what exactly white noise is, what other colours of noise (who knew noise could be a colour?) there are and what they’re defining features are and practical guidance on how you might incorporate white noise into your sleep routine to see if it works for you! 

What is white noise? 

White noise refers to a type of sound that contains all frequencies within the audible spectrum at equal intensity. In simpler terms, it's a consistent, uniform sound that spans across the range of frequencies humans can hear.

This sound is often described as a steady, soothing hum or static, similar to the sound of a fan or an untuned radio.

White noise is named after white light, which contains all colours of light combined, as it contains all audible frequencies in a similar manner. It's commonly used to mask or block out other sounds, creating a more tranquil environment conducive to relaxation and sleep.

Examples of white noise

  • The sound of a running fan: The consistent hum produced by a fan is a classic example of white noise. It provides a steady background sound that can help mask other noises and promote relaxation.

 

  • Static from a television or radio: When a television or radio is not tuned to a specific channel, it often emits a sound similar to white noise. This static noise contains a mix of frequencies, creating a continuous background hum.

 

  • White noise machines or apps: Many dedicated white noise machines or smartphone apps are designed to produce various types of white noise, such as static, ocean waves, or rainfall. The sounds can be adapted to suit individual preferences and sleep environments.

 

White Noise vs. Pink Noise:

Pink noise is a type of sound that contains all audible frequencies, similar to white noise, but with a different frequency distribution.

In pink noise, the power of each frequency decreases as the frequency increases, as a result, lower frequencies are more prominent in pink noise, giving it a deeper and more balanced sound compared to white noise.

Pink noise is often described as having a softer and more natural tone, resembling the sound of steady rainfall or rustling leaves. Like white noise, pink noise is used for masking background sounds, promoting relaxation, and improving sleep quality.

Pink noise has demonstrated benefits in enhancing deep sleep, in older adults and improving cognitive performance!

 

White Noise vs. Brown Noise:

Brown noise, or red noise, follows a similar broadband pattern but with a steeper decline in frequency power.

Often likened to heavy rainfall or a distant thunderstorm, brown noise's deeper pitch is described as having a rumbling, thunder-like quality and has shown promise in alleviating symptoms of tinnitus and enhancing cognitive function, though its impact on sleep will vary from person to person. 

 

Can white noise improve your sleep?

The jury is on out on whether white noise can improve your sleep, but anecdotally, more and more people are talking about using white noise like nature sounds, rainfall or static to help them fall asleep at night. 

The Big Sleep Survey 2024 from DFI Beds surveyed 2,000 members of the Irish public about their sleeping habits and revealed that almost half (47.6%) of people surveyed relied on noise to help them sleep advising that they watch TV/tablet until they fall asleep, listen toa n audiobook or white noise/ASMR to help them relax and fall asleep.


White noise has become increasingly popular with parents who struggle to block out ambient sounds when settling babies or infants down for a sleep.

There have been further studies that have shown that babies or infants exposed to white noise at bedtime fell asleep quicker, while adults experienced a better sleep and also fell asleep quicker when exposed to white noise. 

How to create white noise to soundtrack your sleep

Creating white noise for your sleep soundtrack is easy, you can use a fan or an untuned radio, turn on a white noise machine, or play calming nature sounds on your phone – whatever works for you! 

Step 1 Setting the Right Volume

While no official guidelines exist for white noise volume, it's crucial to avoid excessive noise exposure. Aim for a noise level comparable to background conversation or light rustling, prioritizing your auditory health and comfort.

Step 2 Incorporating White Noise into Your Routine:

Integrate white noise into your bedtime routine as a complementary sleep aid. Establish a consistent bedtime, avoid screen-based activities, and reserve your bed solely for sleep or intimacy. Experiment with white noise duration and timing to identify what works best for you.

 

So, whether it's the neutral hum of white noise or the soothing tones of pink or brown noise, exploring these options may pave the way for more restful nights and revitalised mornings.

Brian McCann

Our Managing Director Brian's expertise in crafting comfortable sleep experiences makes him a reliable voice for all things bedding-related. Brian publishes advice and tips on mattresses, beds and the overall sleep experience based on extensive industry experience.

Author Profile: Brian McCann Bio

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