What is white noise and why does it help you sleep?

Jonathan Warren

Author: Jonathan Warren



What is white noise and why does it help you sleep?

From audiobooks to scented candles and face care routines, there are plenty of tricks we can use to get our bodies and minds ready for bed. Self care plays a massive role in helping us to fall asleep peacefully and experience a restorative night’s rest.

And if you’ve been googling ways to ensure you get some quality shuteye, then you’ve probably stumbled across the white noise trend. The use of white noise has become an increasingly popular tool for sleepers around the world in recent years.

But what is white noise and how can it help you sleep? In this blog, we have put together everything you need to know about white noise and how it can help y9u to improve your sleep quality.

What is white noise?

Miriam Webster defines white noise as "a heterogeneous mixture of sound waves extending over a wide frequency range". Put another way, white noise is an amalgamation of sounds at different frequencies which are audible to humans. 

Common sources of white noise are static from a radio or a TV, sounds from vacuums or fans and the sound of running water. White noise is typically inconspicuous and sometimes referred to as continuous droning, but its nature makes it a great companion to a good night's sleep.

How white noise can help you sleep

White noise can have numerous benefits when it comes to sleep but its primary quality lies in its ability to block out other sounds in our environment. Whether it’s someone walking up the stairs, car alarms outside or the bark of your neighbour's dog, white noise can help our minds to block out these unwanted interruptions. In reducing the impact of unscheduled noises, white noise can not only help you get to sleep but also to stay asleep too! 

The buffer-like quality is what makes white noise so popular with people who struggle to fall asleep and could be the answer to the prayers of night shift workers or those living in busy surroundings. 

As well as blocking out external sounds, white noise can also help to provide a calming background for those with lively inner monologues who struggle to relax in silence or who suffer with anxiety. And as white noise doesn't absorb much of our concentration, it’s the perfect companion for a soothing sleep. 

White noise can also be a key feature of a healthy and reliable bedtime routine. Having your own nighttime ritual will improve your circadian rhythm and help your mind trick itself into falling asleep. White noise can slot in seamlessly when it comes to an evening routine as your brain will start to interpret white noise as a signal that its time to head to the land of nod! 

Where can you find white noise?

The good news is that white noise is incredibly accessible. There's always the option of generating your own white noise through a fan, a vacuum or television static. If these sounds exist in your environment already, they could add a layer of comfort and familiarity which may help you get to sleep. 

If creating white noise organically doesn’t appeal, you could invest in one of the many white noise machines on the market which could be the ticket to you having a gloriously peaceful night's sleep. There are also various apps on your phone which have a variety of white noise tracks, long enough to last through till morning, and platforms like YouTube also have a wide range of free soundscapes available to access. 

What other noise colours are there?

White noise isn't the only colour noise out there that can help when it comes to drifting off and enjoying a long, deep sleep. 

  • Pink noise is a close relation to white noise but is typified with lower frequencies. The sound of pink noise is said to be more mellow and deeper than white noise; 
  • Brown noise uses an even lower frequency and its deep murmurs are likened to stormy winds or heavy rainfall; 
  • Green noise is very similar to brown noise and tends to have a balanced frequency, drawing on more natural sounds like the sound of leaves in autumn or the calming waves of the sea. 

Aside from these other different types of colour frequency sounds, there's also black noise which is pure silence. If no noise is the best option for you, then earplugs are a necessity, but you'll be at the mercy of your surroundings! 

Searching for more ways to boost your sleep quality?

If you want to know more about how to improve your sleep quality, then check out our Time4Sleep blog for more information on all things sleep! From what you should drink before bed to how to fall to sleep fast and how to reset your body clock, we've got all the hints and tips you need to get the most restful night's sleep possible.