Move Over White Noise, Brown Noise Is the New Thing for Sleep

When researching brown noise for this article, I dreaded what I would find. As our Lifestyle Editor, Katie said, “Sounds like plop.” It may be because it’s reminiscent of ‘brown note’ — a metonym for poop. Turns out it’s not bowel-related at all. In fact, it’s a relative of both white noise and pink noise.

So what is brown noise? As mentioned, it’s a coloured noise but its moniker isn’t from the colour. It derives from botanist Robert Brown, who discovered Brownian motion — random particle motion. Brown noise is named so as its change in sound signal from one moment to the next is — you guessed it — random. 

As for how it sounds? Well, it has higher energy at lower frequencies, according to Healthline. It’s deeper in tone, but also somehow softer. We’re talking low roaring sounds, strong waterfalls, thunder. 

Talking to Well + Good, Sam Nicolino, who you could call a professional in sound (musician, sound engineer, CEO of Adaptive Sound Technologies, Inc.) says that “It has more bass than white noise, making it more pleasant to listen to.”

Recent studies on brown noise are fairly limited, with one saying that it has a calming effect on newborns. Anecdotal benefits are endless including relaxation, improved focus and sleep improvement. A writer at The Cut swears by it as a work soundtrack, while half of the editorial staff at Well + Good swear by brown noise as a sleep aid. And who can argue with that?

And if you’re wondering how to listen to it, we’ve got you sorted. White Noise and White Noise Deep Sleep Sounds offer multiple sounds, including brown noise, whereas Sound Sleep also offers brown, pink and white — simple and easy to use. You can also find brown noise on YouTube, and Spotify has a playlist dedicated to brown noise as well. Get listening.

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