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Jackson Evans
Jackson Evans

Sleep With Brown Noise

Researchers have uncovered that the power of brown noise decreases as its frequency increases. This type of noise can be produced by integrating white noise and adding a random offset to each sample to obtain the next one.

Sleep with brown noise

However, the sounds we typically associate with white noise, such as the whirl of a fan or static on TV, often are not white noise at all. You may in fact be listening to something closer to pink noise, blue noise or brown noise.

Don't confuse the colors of sound with ambient noise, which refers to the background noise present in any given setting; for instance, the rumble of a train mixed with passenger chatter, or the rustle of leaves in the wind mixed with the chirping of birds.

The legacy of sleep sounds, white noise has lulled people to sleep for ages. Because white noise encompasses all of the frequencies any person can possibly hear (about 20 Hertz to 20 thousand Hertz), it holds the potential to block out any outside sound.

The consistency of white noise creates a tried-and-true masking effect, which can help people fall asleep faster. White noise sounds like the static you hear when you accidentally tune cable TV to an unused channel.

Try it: Because it's the most popular of all the colors, virtually every sleep sound app includes it. You can also find tons of products that use white noise, such as this Marpac white noise machine with more than 10,000 five-star reviews.

Because it comprises both high and low frequencies, it also has sound blocking benefits that can help to drown out distracting noises that keep you from falling asleep. For example, if you live in an apartment complex where people come and go all night, pink noise may help you drown out the sounds of revving engines or footsteps.

Think of brown noise like a deeper version of pink noise, with even more bass tones and low-frequency concentrated energy. It sounds dampened compared to white noise, but somehow stronger, comparable to hard ocean surf during a storm or the rumble of a brass instrument humming a low note.

Unlike the other sounds, brown noise isn't named after the actual color brown. Instead, brown noise gets its name from its similarity to the Brownian motion, the random and speedy movement of particles in liquid.

The energy of blue noise is mostly concentrated at the high-frequency end, with very few deep tones to balance it out. As such, blue noise sounds similar to the hiss of a kinked water hose. If you're not sensitive to high-pitched sounds, blue noise does a great job of heavily masking outside noises.

Try it: Because blue noise is harsher than the other colors, not many manufacturers include it in basic sleep sound machines. If you really like blue noise, you'll probably have to fork out more change for a higher-end device that allows you to mix and customize sounds at different frequencies, like the Sound Oasis S-5000 Deluxe Sleep Sound Therapy System. There is, however, an Android app that claims to be the only app dedicated to just blue noise and White Noise for iOS has a blue noise track.

The truth is, we don't know. No one knows for sure, because no scientists have conducted research that explicitly compares different colors of sound in a controlled setting. To find out which type of noise helps you sleep best, test them all out with an app.

TikTok is brimming with people who swear by the sound frequency for improved concentration and a sense of calm. We spoke to sleep and psychology experts to find out what the science says about the brown-noise trend.

Ipnos Software provides various samples of ambient noises designed to reduce stress and improve sleep available on its BetterSleep app, including brown noise, green noise and pink noise. The software company encourages you to "tame racing thoughts" by downloading its app.

Brown noise could be described as the sound of a jet engine, a wind tunnel, or the sound waves make during a storm. While this type of sound might not seem like it could be relaxing, many people with ADHD find that brown noise helps them relax or focus. People with ADHD struggle with alertness and often have difficulty focusing on tasks or conversations. Brown noise is thought to stimulate their brains into a state of arousal that allows them to be more focused.

The main difference between brown noise and white noise is that white noise combines all the frequencies of sound and plays them simultaneously at the same volume, while brown noise varies the sound level of different frequencies.

Although white noise can help some people with ADHD, it can be overwhelming to someone with ADHD because it plays all frequencies at once at the same volume. People with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine, and the brown noise stimulates their brains to reach optimal cognition and the desired resting brain state.

To help sleepers figure out which noise color could work best for them, sleep experts at U.K. mattress company MattressNextDay compiled a list of which colored noises are best for the type of sleeper you are. You can check out their findings below.

While white noise features an equal intensity of all sound frequencies, pink noise creates a harmonious balance of high and low frequencies, mimicking sounds found in nature. This gentler noise can help light sleepers. Meanwhile, studies show that pink noise can help individuals spend more time in deep sleep, helping them wake up with more energy.

This cycle can continue because your brain is always responsive to sound stimuli. So, even if you successfully get yourself into deep sleep, the sound of a barking dog can bring you back to square one. And although these midnight noises may not always wake you up, they may still adversely affect brain activity and even heart health.

Because white noise carries all the sound frequencies you can hear in equal volumes, it effectively blocks out external noise. But, it emphasizes high-frequency sound energy, which makes it sound unpleasant to some. Regardless, numerous studies affirm its ability to support undisturbed sleep.

A 2017 study published in Frontiers in Neurology investigated the impact of white noise on how quickly a person falls asleep, their sleep cycle, and sleep quality. The results found that white noise may reduce the time difference between wake time and stage 2 sleep by 38%, improve sleep quality, and support sleep health in some people who have trouble sleeping at home. Similarly, a 2021 study suggests that white noise may improve sleep quality for hospital patients.

Another study identified white noise, sleep hygiene, and circadian rhythm management as practical tools for promoting optimal sleep for people with sleep problems. Likewise, an older study suggests white noise is a viable stand-alone treatment for helping toddlers fall asleep quickly and managing nighttime awakeness.

Also, a 2017 study published in Frontiers in human neuroscience found that pulses of pink noise (acoustic stimulation) may consolidate deep sleep and enhance sleep-dependent memory retention in older adults. Similarly, an older study also suggests that pink noise may help some people fall asleep faster.

Using noise to shield yourself from other noise may seem counterintuitive. Still, the inherent characteristics of these types of noise can often give you the comforting and restful sleep your body deserves regardless of your sleep environment. You may try listening to one of these types of noise from a noise machine or sleep sound apps if you are indifferent about sleeping in perfect silence or you have trouble sleeping well.

White noise, pink noise, and brown noise may be functional tools to aid restful sleep. But try not to underestimate the importance of having overall healthy sleep hygiene. These habits work side by side with these tools to ensure your body always gets total rejuvenation every night.

This is FRESH AIR. There are podcasts that can put you to sleep because they're so boring. But now there's a genre of podcasts and audio streams intended to put you to sleep. Here's what podcast critic Nick Quah has to say about the phenomenon of white noise streams.

QUAH: What you're hearing is a white noise stream. You might find variations based on different pitches and frequencies - brown noise, pink noise - but they all have the same form, long recordings of a static droning sound, not unlike the ambient noise you'd hear on a plane flight. White noise streams are a kind of sonic wallpaper, generally having the effect of drowning out the rest of the world. For many, they help keep some parts of the brain distracted so that other parts may better focus on things like writing or studying. As a phenomenon, white noise streams aren't particularly new, but they have recently been rising in prominence on digital platforms like Spotify and YouTube. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that some white noise creators were earning up to $18,000 a month on Spotify. The trend has everything to do with the shape of these platforms, which are built around incentives that encourage the mass production of content that's cheap to make and sticky to consume.

There is some precedent to the contemporary popularity of these white noise streams. In a sense, they are of a piece with an increasingly vibrant ecosystem of similarly shaped audio content that are native to digital spaces. Consider, for example, stream-of-consciousness podcasts designed to help you fall asleep, like this one, the aptly titled "Sleep With Me," hosted by Drew Ackerman.

QUAH: On the surface, the growing ubiquity of white noise streams has a slightly dystopian feel. They seem to sprout like a fungus, and they quietly creep into spaces they aren't quite meant to be, arriving unexpectedly when you leave YouTube to autoplay indefinitely on its own, or appearing on Spotify charts displaying popular podcast episodes. That's how I first started noticing them, by the way - tucked between an episode of "The Joe Rogan Experience" and "Last Podcast On The Left." What's particularly weird about them is how they are meant to sound intentionally generic. While some creators of these streams are affiliated with the traditional music industry, many operate anonymously, presenting themselves as digital avatars. They also feature clumsy, descriptive titles written specifically to game search engines, like "Deep Layer Brown Noise 12 Hours" or "Relaxing Rainstorms White Noise For Sleep." 041b061a72


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