Noise (or lack thereof) is an important part of a sleep routine. And, it’s also extremely personal and depends on what works for you. Some people need to have complete silence in order to have a good sleep, whilst others find it comforting to fall asleep to music or a TV playing in the background.
The white noise of a fan, air-conditioner or even television static can also create a soothing noise that helps some people drift off. But, according to research, pink noise could be much more effective in providing better quality sleep.
What is pink noise?
According to Healthline, the colour of noise depends on the energy of the sound signal. The difference in colour depends on the way the energy is distributed across different frequencies.
Pink noise is much deeper than white noise and can sound flat to the human ear. It also contains much more of a bass rumble sound.
The sound of pink noise is most commonly found in nature. Examples include leaves rustling, waves lapping or steady rain.
White noise, on the other hand, uses a constant sound to create a soothing effect, like a fan does.
Pink noise and sleep
In 2012, a small sleep study, published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, found that pink noise has the ability to reduce brain waves, which in turn leads to more stable sleep.
“When you hear pink noise, the frequency of your brain waves adjusts to it,” sleep science coach, Alex Savy, told mindbodygreen. This results in the decrease of complex brain waves, which leads to better sleep.
Another study in 2017 also found a promising link between pink noise and deep sleep. This link to deep sleep has also been found to help improve memory. One small study of 13 adults showed improvements to memory processing thanks to better quality sleep.
It’s also great for masking any noises that may be occurring outside and have the potential to interrupt sleep. “Pink noise provides a constant ambient sound, helping to mask sounds that interfere with sleep,” sleep expert Terry Cralle, RN, told mindbodygreen.
According to Cralle, while it’s similar to white noise, the pink variety is usually much more calming.
So, if you’re interested in trying out pink noise, a sound machine is your best bet. Anything that plays the sound of rain, wind or rustling leaves will fall in the pink noise category. Sleep tight.