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You don’t necessarily think of the sound of static coming from your TV as being relaxing. In fact, many find the noise rather unpleasant. Believe it or not, that sound – also known as white noise – can actually help you in a variety of ways. Indeed, there are benefits of white noise for sleep.
Just like binaural beats and ASMR can help you relax, the repetitive sound of white noise can slowly put your mind in a state of readiness for sleep. Not just any sound will work though. First, we need to understand what is white noise and what is the difference between it and other noise frequencies.
What is White Noise?
White noise gets its name from the term “white light,” meaning a blend of all visible light wavelengths. White noise is a blend of all audible sound frequencies, hence the name.
White noise is sound that includes all frequencies audible to the human ear — between 20 hertz and 20,000 hertz — played at an equal intensity or amplitude, measured in decibels. This produces a "shh" sound similar to that of a humming air conditioner, a hair dryer, a whirring fan, TV static, or radio static. The sound of white noise can conceal other more jarring sounds, allowing you to get a better night's sleep.
Aside from the benefit of a better night’s sleep, white noise has shown promising results related to memory, tinnitus, and concentration (among many other things). Lots of studies on sound therapy have focused on specific sonic hues such as white, pink, and brown, so what exactly is the difference between them?
The Best White Noise Frequency for Sleep?
In a study that showed promising results, most test sleepers where able to fall asleep faster when using a white noise machine set to a volume of 46 decibels. If 46 decibels does not feel like enough for you, gradually increase the volume, but be sure to stay below 85 decibels as that is a level where you could get permanent hearing loss if used over time.
But what about brown and pink noises? Think of pink noise as white noise but with reduced higher frequencies. Pink noises sound more like the rain or wind and are considered a bit smoother than white noise. Several studies on pink noise have shown that sleeping with it can improve our memories the following day, and potentially even long-term.
Brown noise, on the other hand, lowers the higher frequencies even more. It’s a bit “rougher” than pink noise and resembles the roar of a river current or strong wind. Common benefits associated with brown noise are relaxation, improved focus, and of course, sleep improvement.
3 Benefits of White Noise for Sleep
Just because you turn on your TV to a channel that plays nothing but static doesn’t mean it’s going to help you fall asleep. For one, you don’t want any light in your room when you’re trying to fall asleep. Secondly, if the volume is too loud, it’s likely to make you angry throughout the night, and that doesn’t lead to quality sleep. Lastly, there is a plethora of white noise machines – and even apps for your phone or tablet you can download – that will take the guesswork out of finding the right volume and frequency.
Once you get all of that figured out and you’re ready to try everything out, here are a couple of benefits of white noise to help you sleep.
Helps “Turn Off” Your Mind
We’ve all had nights where we simply could not turn our brains off. You think about all of the things that happened during the day as well as all of the things that are going to happen in the next day, or the next couple of days. Having white noise wafting through the air helps your brain focus on one simple thing. If it stays focused on the white noise, the better the chance you’ll have to fall asleep quickly.
Distracts from Environmental Noise
It doesn’t matter where you live, there is always going to be some form of unwelcomed noise coming from either inside or outside of your house. If you live in the city, you have to deal with honking horns, loud neighbors, emergency vehicles, you name it. If you live in the country, you have to live with the noise of animals and insects making all kinds of a fuss. White noise helps to drown out all of that outside nonsense so you can get a better night’s sleep.
If you don’t have to worry about the problems of the day or the litany of aggressive sounds trying to bombard you, then all you have to worry about is if your pillow and mattress are comfortable enough.
If that’s all you have to worry about at night, there’s an easy remedy. Just drop by your nearest Mattress Warehouse and ask our sleep experts how you can get your best night’s sleep as soon as the next day.