Could pink noise be just what you need for a good night’s sleep?

Could pink noise be just what you need for a good night’s sleep?

We all need a helping hand getting to sleep sometimes, and the occasional bad night’s kip is normal for everyone. Whether it be stress, newborns in the house, or the summertime heat, there are so many things that can get between us and our precious sleep.

Using noise to aid sleep is certainly not uncommon, and there have been some weird and wonderful revelations over the years. You may remember the time footballer Wayne Rooney revealed he often struggled to fall asleep without the roaring sound of a vaccum cleaner or a hairdryer in the bedroom.

Now, as many as a quarter of adults say they prefer some kind of background sound over dead silence to lull them into a slumber, according to surveys.

You’ve probably heard of white noise, and according to those who swear by it, this supposedly helps you drift off into a deep sleep. 

However, one thing you might not be aware of is ‘pink noise’. Although the concept has been around for a while, recent research by scientists in the US suggests that it could in fact be better than white noise for helping you drift off.

What is pink noise?

Sound wave isolated on white background

Described as a ‘meaningless sound, comparable to a waterfall’, pink noise is thicker-sounding than white noise, with more low frequencies, making it similar to the torrent of a large waterfall. 

While white noise has equal power per hertz throughout all frequencies, the power decreases in pink noise as the frequency rises. Put simply, this means that the lower frequencies in pink noise are louder – and the louder the noise, the easier it can be to fall asleep.

Pink noise has also been known to improve morning memory too. Those who fall asleep to pink noise often find that their recall is better, and moods are generally brighter when they wake up. 

So good news – that fuzzy morning brain that makes you pour OJ on your cereal by mistake could soon be history.

How to find pink noise generators

You’ll often be listening to pink noise without realising it, as it occurs in a number of natural sources – traffic outside your window and even the sound of your own heartbeat.

Silentnight’s resident sleep therapist, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, has done extensive research into the calming influence of relaxing sounds in the bedroom, and found that playing nature-themed background music in the bedroom, such as rustling leaves or waterfalls can help sleep-strugglers doze off.

However, always be mindful that playing these from a smartphone or tablet could be counterproductive, as the blue light emitted from your device could actually prevent you from sleeping. 

To prevent this, Dr Nerina recommends playing music from a Bluetooth speaker or even a laptop with the brightness turned off. 

Remember that it’s not just for adults though – and bedroom background noise could also be beneficial for children. You can read more about this here.

Want to give it a try yourself?

Three useful apps for pink noise are:

  • Sleepy Sounds (available on Android and iOS)
  • Pink noise (available on Android and iOS)
  • White and Pink Noise (available on Android and iOS)

Let us know if it works for you on our social media pages.

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