White noise combines all of the different sound frequencies to create a specific tone. If you’ve ever heard a fan, vacuum, or television static, you’ve heard white noise. But why do some people prefer to sleep with white noise sounds, like fans, and should you use white noise to sleep?
This article will discuss everything you need to know about using white noise to sleep to help you determine if it’s the right option for you.
- Why Is Sleep Important?
- What Is White Noise?
- How Does White Noise Help You Sleep?
- How Do You Choose a White Noise Machine?
- Create a Bedtime Routine With White Noise
Why Is Sleep Important?
Everyone needs quality sleep. How much sleep do you need? Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. And that doesn’t just mean lying in bed for eight hours a night. We mean quality sleep that helps you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day. You already know how horrible you feel when you wake up after a night of tossing and turning, but let’s discuss some of the reasons why sleep is important:
- Mood regulation: Getting enough quality sleep can help you regulate your mood. Think of it like this: your brain is responsible for regulating your moods, but when it’s not firing at optimal efficiency because it didn’t get enough rest, it can’t do its job properly. That’s why you’re more prone to mood shifts when you don’t get enough sleep and why many people feel cranky after a night of poor sleep quality.
- Recovery: Sleep improves your body and mind’s recovery. During deep sleep, blood flow to the muscles increases to promote healing, facilitating recovery and repair throughout the entire body.
- Productivity: When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain can’t function properly, which can affect decision-making skills and overall productivity.
- Decreased health risks: Sleep is when your body repairs itself, so it’s no surprise that a lack of sleep can increase your risk for various health issues ranging from obesity to heart disease. Getting enough quality sleep reduces your risk of serious health complications.
- Improved judgment: Not getting enough sleep can impact all aspects of your life, including your judgment. Since your brain can’t process information or function properly when it’s tired, it can impact your decision-making. Getting enough quality sleep helps your brain get the rest and repair it needs to make better decisions by processing data and regulating your mood.
What Is White Noise?
White noise is a type of noise that contains all the frequencies of the sounds that you hear. Examples of white noise include television or radio static, fan sounds, rain, waves, and a hair dryer. Many people sleep with a fan on to keep them cool and provide them with a relaxing white noise sound that blocks out all other sounds.
White Noise vs. Pink Noise
Pink noise is another type of noise that contains components on the audible spectrum. However, it’s much lower pitched than white noise. Essentially, pink noise has lower frequencies that are louder than the higher frequencies, making it potentially more relaxing than white noise. An example of pink noise would be waterfalls, rain, and heartbeats.
White Noise vs. Brown Noise
Brown noise is similar to both white and pink noises. It contains sounds from every octave in the spectrum, but the result is much deeper in pitch. Common examples of brown noise are the sounds your shower makes, thunder, or rainfall. Brown noise is the deepest of all and does not contain high frequencies that can be disruptive to sleep and relaxation.
How Does White Noise Help You Sleep?
The main reason white noise helps you sleep is that it blocks out disruptive sounds by providing you with a smooth, steady sound all night long that can help you progress through the sleep cycles. White noise can be especially useful for individuals living in, or near, noise-polluted areas like cities, airports, or on main roads with lots of traffic.
Additionally, white noise can help you establish good sleep hygiene by adding it to your nighttime ritual. Once your brain gets used to shutting down and sleeping with the sound machine on, it will begin to associate the sound machine with sleep, so turning on your sound machine can signal your brain to wind down for the night.
That said, using white noise to sleep isn’t suitable for everyone. Some individuals may prefer silence. If you don’t live in an area with high noise pollution, you probably won’t have to worry about disruptive sounds in the middle of the night. Still, some people prefer to sleep with white noise, even using it as a mechanism to train the brain to relax as soon as the sound comes on.
For the most part, white noise for sleeping works by masking disruptive sounds that can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. For instance, if you live in an apartment complex, your neighbors might slam doors at night, stimulating your brain and making it difficult for you to fall back asleep. White noise blocks these sounds, serving as a buffer between your ears and the outside world.
How Do You Choose a White Noise Machine?
Many types of white noise sleep sounds can help you fall asleep. Sound machines are designed to mimic many different sources of white noise to help you sleep by allowing you to find the right pitch and sound based on your preferences. For instance, you might prefer a lower brown noise than a higher-pitched white noise from a fan.
Whatever the case, a sound machine has more options than your average fan or radio static, which you can use for different occasions, or find your favorite and use it every night. You can purchase a sound machine or download an app on your phone, but the cost, sound quality, and variety of sounds differ depending on your choice. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a white noise machine:
- Machine vs. app: Having a stand-alone white noise machine gives you the option of putting something on your bedside table and avoiding having to use your mobile device. Machines are more expensive, but they often come with additional features like lights and alarms designed to help you wake up more naturally. They also tend to have better sound quality. On the other hand, apps are more affordable and can help you find a sound you like without investing in a stand-alone machine. Plus, they’re more portable and better for travel. However, they often have lower sound quality, affecting your ability to fall asleep faster and stay asleep.
- Cost: As we’ve mentioned, stand-alone sound machines tend to cost more, but that’s usually because they offer better quality sound, variety, and additional features designed to promote better sleep. However, if you’re unsure whether using white sound for sleep is right for you, you might consider the cheaper app option because it can let you experiment without investing too much money.
- Quality: Not all white sound machines are created equal. Since they play a recording or mechanically create a sound, it’s worth considering what you want your white noise to actually sound like. If your machine uses a digital recording, the loop should be seamless to prevent it from becoming disruptive when the sound starts over again.
- Variety: Both white noise apps and machines have variety, allowing you to choose white, pink, or brown sound depending on your preferences. Many also have various options in each category, so you can choose something that sounds more like a fan, vacuum, static, rain, or running water.
- Features: If you use a white noise app, you’ll get a variety of different types of white, pink, or brown noise. However, they don’t come with additional features designed to help you sleep better. Many high-quality white noise machines come with timers, night lights, alarms that use natural light hues to wake you, and sounds other than white noise. They also won’t use your phone’s battery throughout the night.
Create a Bedtime Routine With White Noise
Using white noise can help you build a bedtime routine that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. Eventually, your sound machine will become part of your ritual, which trains your brain when to wind down based on activities and sound.
However, white noise for sleep isn’t the only thing to consider for a good night’s rest. Your sleep environment, including lights, temperature, mattress, and pillows, can affect your sleep quality. Layla makes sleep products designed to promote a better night’s sleep. From mattresses and pillows, to blankets and bedding, we have everything you need to support your sleep. Browse our selection of sleep products today.