What are benefits to listening to white noise?
- Helps you sleep by blocking distractions
- Pacifies fussy and crying babies
- Relaxes and reduces stress
- Increases focus while enhancing privacy
- Soothes headaches and migraines
- Masks tinnitus (ringing of the ears)
Why does white noise help you sleep?Even when you’re asleep, your brain is constantly scanning and listening for sounds. If it’s too quiet, unwanted noise such as a faucet drip or police siren can interrupt your sleep. White Noise generates sounds over a wide range of frequencies, masking those noise interruptions, so you can not only fall asleep, but stay asleep.
How does white noise mask sounds?
In order to better understand how white noise masks sound interruptions, let’s investigate one of the most annoying sounds that can wake you up–car alarms. Yup, that neighbor’s car with the siren, horn, and 1960’s robotic voice programmed to wake you up.
Note: The charts we will be using in this article are called sound spectrum analysis graphs, which is similar to the display of a stereo equalizer. The far left of the graph represents lower bass frequencies and the far right represents higher treble frequencies.
So let’s say your bedroom is quiet and you fall asleep. It’s probably no surprise that a room full of silence will show up as an almost empty graph. If your sound profile was completely empty you might want to look outside your window and see if your home is floating through the vacuum of space–and if so you might have bigger concerns than sleep.
Lack of any noise interruptions equals a great night’s sleep. But just after you enter deep sleep, something outside sets off your neighbor’s pesky car alarm. Now your room fills with a very distinct pattern:
Your brain has been scanning the room all night listening for a reason to wake you up, and that car alarm will do it! Now you’ll toss and turn until you hopefully get back to sleep. In the morning you might not remember waking up, but one thing is for sure, you will feel tired because you didn’t get a good night’s sleep.
Now let’s say you fell asleep while listening to white noise. Your bedroom will be filled with all the possible frequencies that your ear can recognize. White noise filling your room looks like this:
The graph of white noise almost looks like a comfy bed–just add pillow and blanket. OK, let’s get back to the evil neighbor and his car alarm. Now when it goes off this time those annoying frequencies will be mixed in with the white noise sound. The end result looks like this:
Notice that most of that car alarm’s distinct pattern is absorbed by our blanket of pure white noise. Playing white noise audio throughout the night will allow you to stay in deep sleep longer which means you’ll wake up feeling refreshed. And if not, it’s always the neighbors fault.
We hope this simple example helps explain the science behind how white noise masks noise interruptions to give you a better night’s sleep. You can try our free white noise generator above or download our free White Noise Lite app to your mobile device.
What are the different sound colors?
White noise spectrum analysis
Gray noise spectrum analysis
Brown noise spectrum analysis
Pink noise spectrum analysis
Blue noise spectrum analysis
What platforms does the White Noise app support?Our White Noise App is available for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows. The white noise flash app featured at the top of this page can play in any browser with Flash installed. It is also available as a chrome app too.
Can I download mp3 versions of the colors noises featured here?Yes. The color noises are available as 10 minute MP3 tracks. Just enable 1-track repeat and you will be off to sleep in no time. Download from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and other online music stores.