White, Pink or Brown: Which Noise Helps You Sleep Better?

Posted by:gulf onFebruary 10, 2016


If you’re hoping to fall asleep faster, reach a deeper state of sleep or simply block out your irritating neighbors to get a full night’s rest, more noise could be the answer to your relaxation woes.

Wait a second. Noise as a sleep-aid…really?

Actually, not just any noise — colored noise. Read on to discover the how picking the right color can improve the quality of your zzz’s and help you get more out of life.

The History of Colored Noise

It’s likely that you’ve heard of white noise. You may have even noticed this common static-like sound pattern added to alarm clocks and sleep aids on the market, known as white noise machines. However, there are more “colors” of noise, each with a unique benefit.

Colored noise and similar audiology concepts have been around for much longer than you might think. Thomas Alva Edison was known to conduct audiology experiments. Many of these experiments helped to reveal common traits of sound frequencies and playback. Later, scientists would use the results as the foundation for discovering white noise.

Further experiments and research found ways to reproduce other colors of noise, each with similar effects but a different audible footprint. While there are many different noise colors recognized today, the most commonly found and used noise patterns are white, pink and brown.

Identifying and harnessing the separate colors are important, because each person responds to different noise colors in unique ways. While you might find white noise ideal, a family member or friend might find it harsh or grating.

Let’s get a little more in-depth with each major color.

What is white noise?

Noise color is determined by the frequencies present. Simply put, white noise is comprised of random and equal amounts of frequencies from the entire sound spectrum. This is why it is so effective at masking just about every external sound.

The reason that this works is simple. Audiology research has discovered that the human ear can only process a given number of sound frequencies at once. White noise machines create a sound pattern utilizing all available frequencies. This causes other noises to fade into the background and become less noticeable, preventing them from disturbing your sleep.

Common benefits of white noise include:

  • Sound masking and cancellation
  • Improved concentration
  • Sleep promotion

Is white noise for you? If you like the sound of television static, hissing steam or light rain, white noise could be your ticket to great sleep. Curious how it sounds? Here is a great example of white noise:


What is pink noise?

Some listeners find white noise to be harsh or tinny. One popular alternative is pink noise, which also includes noise from the entire spectrum but emphasizes specific, lower frequencies to create a deeper, gentler sound.

Some users compare pink noise to rushing water, heavy rain or strong wind through leaves. This subdued, fuller sound offers many of the same benefits as white noise, such as eliminating background sounds, but it’s more relaxing for many listeners.

Common benefits of pink noise include:

  • Improved focus
  • Alleviated headaches
  • Soothed babies and young children
  • Better sleep

Here is an example, if you’re curious about pink noise:


What is brown noise?

Unlike the previous two examples, brown noise’s name does not derive from a color but from a person: Robert Brown, the discoverer of Brownian motion that generates brown noise. Also known as red noise, brown noise takes the low-frequency emphasis of pink noise even further to create a noise pattern that is closer to a buzz or hum than a hiss. Brown noise is often compared to rushing water, a low roar or deep hum, like that of a clothes dryer or train passing. The deeper qualities of the noise are great for relaxing and falling asleep.

Common benefits of brown noise include:

  • Relaxation or meditation
  • Improved focus
  • Increased reading comprehension
  • Like the others, sleep improvement

Below is an example of brown noise – tip: Use noise-cancelling headphones to listen if you’re speakers can’t handle low frequencies very well:


So, which colored noise helps you sleep better? The answer is: whichever you like best! There is no right or wrong answer. It might even take a combination of noise colors to be truly effective for you.

One thing is for sure, the world is getting noisier – thanks to increases in population, traffic, construction and cell phones — so devices to help filter out unwanted noise and enhance the sounds you do want to hear are a blessing. Choose the technology right for you to cut through distracting noise and enjoy the benefits of clear hearing, communication and thinking — not to mention precious sleep!

Source: http://www.soundhawk.com/blog/white-pink-or-brown-which-noise-helps-you-sleep-better

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