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Can Pink Noise Really Help You Sleep Through the Night?

by BetterSleep
Jan 25 • 4 min read

If forest sounds and soothing music aren’t helping you sleep better, try listening to neutral sounds like those of white noise. White noise has long been recognized as beneficial for sleep, but research now indicates that pink noise could be even better at helping you get the rest you need.

What Does Colored Noise Mean?

Most people have heard of white noise, but did you know there are other colors used to describe different types of noise?

White noise is a mixture of all frequencies of sounds. The sound of white noise is like that shushing sound you get when between stations on a radio. It’s called white noise because white light is also a mixture of all the frequencies of visible light. Each color of light is a different frequency.

The different colors of sound also mix frequencies but with an uneven distribution. Pink noise emphasizes lower frequencies. Brown noise is even lower in frequency, while blue noise includes higher frequencies.

White Noise for Sleeping Babies

If you’ve raised a baby in recent years, you may have turned to white noise to help get your little one through the night. An early study on the topic found that babies fall asleep more readily to white noise as compared to a control group.

Many mothers now use sound machines to help their babies settle and fall asleep. The ongoing neutral sound may also help babies stay asleep because it drowns out other sounds that could otherwise wake them.

White Noise or Pink Noise for Sleep?

If white noise can help babies sleep, why not adults? Many adults have discovered that white noise helps them sleep, too. But, now that we know more about other frequencies of background sounds, white may not be the best option for you.

Pink noise for sleep is increasingly popular as an alternative to white noise. Because it emphasizes lower sounds, it provides a deeper rumble that many people find soothing. Like those found in white and blue noise, high-frequency sounds can be harsh on the ears and less relaxing than deep tones.

Recent studies of pink noise show it promotes sleep and has other benefits:

  • Studies indicate that steady pink noise promotes deeper sleep than sleeping in silence.
  • Another study of pink noise found that it simplifies brain waves during sleep. This makes sleep more stable and improves quality of sleep.
  • Pink noise helps people fall asleep faster.
  • Pink noise not only improves sleep but also enhances memory.

How to Use Pink Noise to Sleep Better

Once you have completed your nightly routine for good sleep, set your Better Sleep app to play pink noise. You can listen to a steady stream of pink noise alone, or you can mix it into other sounds you like. Try using nature sounds with deeper tones, like rain, a waterfall, ocean waves, or thunder, to complement the lower frequencies of pink noise.

Whether you use pink noise alone or in combination, the steady, deep sounds of this type of noise should help you fall asleep faster. Start by clearing your mind with a relaxing meditation and then drift off to the soothing sounds of pink noise.

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