Does Listening to White Noise Really Help You Sleep?

Those who use white noise for sleep believe they have found the Holy Grail that allows them to enter deep sleep. According to several experts, white noise apps are quite soothing. Psychiatrist David Neubauer from the Sleep Disorders Center at the John Hopkins Institute is a true believer, and he himself uses white noise to sleep.

Before downloading the app and turning up the noise, why don’t you read in detail how this sleep tech works?

White Noise 101

Think of white noise as anti-noise. In layman terms, it’s a noise that is redundant and helps you sleep by distracting your brain so you don’t feel the need to focus on anything. It does not work on everyone. However, people who rely on white noise describe it as a noise that simply dampens other sounds. For example, the way snow muffles noise. A few sounds that get lost in this white noise include your partner’s snoring, people talking loudly outside your apartment, or a dripping faucet.

White noise is not just that static noise you hear when the TV loses its connection. There are many variations of this noise such as gentle rain, a cat purring, the sound of lapping waves, and more. You just have to find the one that works for you. To make sure that you maintain your deep sleep state while listening to white noise, time the mobile to keep the noise humming till morning. Once you wake up, it will be harder to fall asleep again.

Varieties of White Noise

There are various types of white noise. We are not talking about the sound, but the frequency. For example, pink noise has a slightly low frequency than white noise, and it is also gentler. Let’s have a look at the types of sounds:

  • Nature Sounds – Sea/waves, rain, jungle noises, crickets chirping, etc
  • Ambient Soundscapes – Crowd noise, crackling campfire, aircraft interior
  • Machinery Noises – Washing machine, air conditioning units

As for the frequency, each type of white noise for sleep has been given colors, which include violet, grey, red, and brown.

Sweet Dreams

A member at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Shalini Paruthi, believes that white noise can help people set a sleep routine. Let’s assume that you have a bedtime routine where you first have a hot shower, drink a glass of milk, clean your bed, dim the lights, and go to sleep while listening to your preferred white noise.

Paruthi believes that following this routine and anticipating it in a sequence gives your brain the signal that sleep is coming. Think of it as the cue for the melatonin to induce in your body so that you can sleep right on time.

The Takeaway

Yes, white noise for sleep is quite effective. Some people compare the sleep brought on by white noise to having a great night’s sleep like a baby. For others, it feels like sleeping in a room that is devoid of any noise.

To learn about more sleeping tips, check out our article here!