From White Noise to Brown Noise: Using a Spectrum of Sound for Better Sleep

From White Noise to Brown Noise: Using a Spectrum of Sound for Better Sleep

From the Creators of SleepPhones®, the Best Sleep Headphones for Listening to White Noise

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, sometimes a little noise surprisingly can be more beneficial than silence. Don’t get us wrong—some sounds, such as car alarms, sirens, and train whistles can keep us up; other’s can soothe us into a restful slumber.

While many people have heard of “white noise,” there is actually a whole spectrum of frequencies and amplitudes to choose from. To help you get a better night’s sleep, we’ll explore a variety of sleep noises, the research behind them, and the reason SleepPhones could be the best option for getting a sound night’s sleep.

The Color of Noise

A graphic representation of the various 'colors' of noise

While many folks have heard of the term ‘white noise,’ more may be surprised to find that there’s more of a rainbow when it comes to the color range of sounds. What’s more, various color noises help different people in different ways. One thing remains consistent—whether you prefer white, pink, or other noises—a set of SleepPhones will help you harmonize your sleep patterns no matter your preference.

White Noise

White noise is a steady sound or hum that helps reduce the difference between background and “peak” sounds (e.g., dog barking, fireworks, garbage truck beeping in the night). Scientifically speaking, white noise can be produced professionally by combining all frequencies together. However, you can also create a decent stand-in by turning on a fan or air purifier.

The term “white” noise evolved from the idea that “white” light contains all of the different colors, much like how “white” noise includes every frequency.

Because synthetic white noise contains all noise frequencies (roughly 20,000 Hz), it’s particularly good at drowning out other sounds. When it comes to sleeping, this attribute can help treat different types of insomnia.

Whether you produce it by turning on a fan or drop by a site with professionally designed white noise tracks, consider giving yourself more control over the sound levels by listening in comfort through SleepPhones®.

Listen to a Sample of White Noise:

Pink Noise

Like white noise, pink noise has a consistent mix of high and low frequencies. However, the intensity of pink noise decreases as frequency increases. So while white noise has a consistent “static sound,” pink noise has a kind of natural ebb and flow. This dynamic also gives it stronger bass tones than white noise, making it more pleasing to the human ear.

Research shows that pink noise may improve sleep quality and quantity by slowing down and regulating brain waves. Furthermore, there is evidence that suggests older adults can strengthen their memories by listening to pink noise, giving it an added benefit not present in white noise.

Pink noise occurs frequently in nature. The sound of the rain, wind, or waves is often considered pink noise. But if you’re out of proximity to the ocean breeze, you can always use synthesized pink noise.

As for the name: It arises from the fact that, when visible light is at this frequency, it gives off a pink hue.

Listen to a Sample of Pink Noise:

Gray Noise

Gray noise is made of randomized white noise that is processed through an equal-loudness curve/contour, meaning all gray-noise frequencies have the same volume.

However, running white noise through this process results in “psychoacoustics,” wherein people perceive different frequencies as louder or clearer. Like white noise, gray noise has been used to treat hyperacusis, sound sensitivities, and tinnitus.

Listen to a Sample of Gray Noise:

Blue Noise

Unlike the aforementioned noises, blue noise is composed of high-frequencies. It’s what gives it a sound closer to a hiss or swish than a hum or drone. It does an excellent job of masking other sounds. However, if you’re sensitive to higher frequencies, blue noise isn’t always the best choice. As with pink and white noise, blue also gets its name from the color spectrum. 

Listen to a Sample of Blue Noise:

Brown (Red) Noise

Unlike the other noises, whose names originate from spectral wavelengths, Brown, or “Brownian,” is named after the botanist Robert Brown who discovered Brownian motion (random particle motion). Brown noise is a more comfortable listening experience than blue noise as the power decreases as the frequency increases, and vice versa. Brown noise often sounds like a low-pitched roar.

Listen to a Sample of Brown (Red) Noise:

Noise and Sleep

Sleep is vital to your overall health and well-being. Some sleepers use sound machines to drown out the hustle and bustle of a busy street; for others, it’s to break the unsettling silence. Benefits of sleeping with a sound machine include, but are not limited to:

Sleep Noise Technology

While we all do it, sleep is specific to the sleeper. For example, it's why certain beds offer a wide range of programmable numbers to adjust to varying levels of firmness and softness. Further, you might be a side sleeper, a pillow-tucked-between-the-legs sleeper, or someone who needs to have one foot hanging out from underneath the covers.

Regardless, we all know the value of a good night's sleep. Just ask anyone who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. There's a reason that's a cliche after all. And until now, we might not have considered the critical role sound plays in getting our snoozes.

That's why our team at AcousticSheep LLC is always continuing to research the science—and art—of rest. Our wearable SleepPhones® headphones provide complete comfort and leave you in control of what lullabies you listen to as you drift off. But we know there's more to do. That's why we've developed the Harmony Project app to help each sleeper find the right sound for them.

To learn more about our products, our app, and our team, visit our site.

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