You have every intention of getting a peaceful, eight hours of rest when you nestle under the covers at night. But, like clockwork, your eyes pop open at 3 a.m. Other nights, you struggle to fall asleep at all.
If this scenario sounds painfully familiar, you’re not alone. Research suggests as many as 10%-30% of adults have trouble sleeping, and that number creeps as high as 48% for older adults.
From special pillows to eye masks to gadgets galore, our culture’s quest for better sleep has created a booming industry of sleep products. Within that industry, many people have learned to use certain types of noise to sleep better and for longer (and even enhance their concentration during the daytime).
Let’s see if there’s any merit behind whether it can help you sleep better or even boost your ability to focus.
First, What Are the Different Types (and Colors) of Noise?
We all know about white noise: the static you hear on an old television set or radio when a channel is on the fritz.
But a whole rainbow of color is used to describe different types of noise and how they sound to the human ear.
White noise gets its name from the color white because of the frequencies the noise contains. Just as the color white is a combination of all the colors in the color spectrum, white noise contains the widest range of frequencies across the spectrum of sound.
“I personally think white noise is best for sleep and concentration,” says Health and Mindset Coach Olga Epstein. “I use a HEPA air purifier machine, which doubles as a white noise machine. It blocks out unwanted noise and cleans the air of unpleasant smells, allergens, and dust particles so my family and I can breathe easier.”
Although white noise contains a wide range of frequencies, our ears naturally gravitate towards the higher tones. Because of this gravitation, white noise often sounds a bit tinny to the ear. Pink noise is a variation of white noise with a lower frequency range, which means our ears are less sensitive to it.
Blue noise uses a set of higher frequencies and is often likened to a hissing sound. While people rarely use blue noise therapeutically, some people prefer it due to its similarity to the sound of rain.
Purple noise is a more abrupt version of blue noise.
Brown noise, trending on TikTok and in news headlines, is popular because it is lower frequency. Some people compare brown noise to the sound of bodies of water in motion, such as an ocean or a waterfall. The deep frequencies are quite soothing and remind many people of the experience of holding a seashell up to their ear.
What Do People Use Brown Noise for?
After listening to a few audio clips, it’s easy to see why brown noise is popular; Its deep, soothing tones are easy to listen to and comforting.
Although researchers are still studying brown noise many people use it to enhance relaxation, meditation, or sleep.
Benefits of Brown Noise
- Relaxation: Brown noise may help .
- Better sleep: Noise levels have a big impact on how you sleep; in fact, the reason noise is an issue for many people is that The low, consistent frequency of brown noise can help you block out the noise variances around you, making it easier for you to fall asleep.
- Productivity: In a similar vein, brown noise can help you reduce the distractions around you and enhance your productivity. Allowing your mind to focus on a soft and soothing sound may distract your ears from external sounds, thereby improving your productivity.
Tips for Trying Brown Noise
If you’re looking to get a better night’s sleep, here are a few ways to use brown noise.
- Purchase a noise machine: Noise machines have been around forever; they now come in a variety of different sound-colors, including those made specifically for brown noise. The benefit of these devices? They’re specifically designed to help you sleep better.
- Try an app: Maybe you need a travel hack that helps you fall asleep on business trips or when you’re away from home. Many apps, such as Spotify, offer users brown noise playlists. While your phone’s speaker may not be as high quality as the speakers in a noise machine, using an app can provide you with a quick solution for poor sleep or productivity.
- YouTube video: There are plenty of free brown noise videos available on YouTube. Try one out while you’re working (like we do at Arootah) or while you’re trying to fall asleep. The downside: If you don’t have a paid YT subscription, you may get hit with a barrage of ads. Try to find a longer video to avoid them.
The Bottom Line
From brown to pink to white, the different hues of noise benefit you in different ways.
But which hue will bring you better sleep and make you more productive? While brown noise works best for many people, your best bet is to try the different variations and see which works for you.