Make Your Sound Sleep A Colorful One


Who doesn’t want a good night’s sleep? We all know that sleep is essential to our immune system. It also recharges you for the next day, it gives your hormones and enzymes the green light to repair and restore muscles and cells. And researchers now tell us, it’s also essential for clearing out the metabolic garbage that builds up in our brain during the course of the day, not to mention it just feels good to wake up refreshed in the morning instead of repeatedly hitting the snooze button and dreading the day ahead.


What if you could add a little color to your bedtime routine in order to get a sound sleep? Millions of adults, children and babies too, struggle to get enough sleep each night, due to issues like stress, chronic pain, sleep apnea or even normal development. Thankfully, some simple sleep aids have been shown to help, including the use of soothing sounds, such as white, pink, brown and black noise colors. Here’s what the experts say about sleep and sound: while the wrong noises (like your neighbor’s yapping dog or your spouse’s snoring) will keep you up at night, other sounds (like crashing waves or the hum of a fan) can lull you into dreamland. And certain sounds—including falling rain—can actually improve the quality of your sleep.


All sound waves can be broken down into two categories: frequency, or how fast the waveform is vibrating per second, and amplitude (or “power”). That said, some noise types (or colors) get their names based on colors of light wavelengths. Let's take a look at the most studied ones.


White noise is defined as noise that contains a mixture of all audible frequencies that human ears can hear (about 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz). This type of noise includes low-, mid range- and high-frequency sounds. This sound combines all noise frequencies to create a steady background hum that drowns out other sounds that can keep you up.


Pink noise is white noise but with reduced higher frequencies. It’s described as being “less harsh” than white noise and a bit softer and more soothing, with more bass sounds and it's been found to improve sleep quality by slowing and regulating brain waves so that you wake up feeling more well rested. Some examples you may be familiar with are the sounds of rainfall or ocean waves. Research also shows that pink noise can increase productivity, memory and creativity.


Brown noise is a deeper version of pink noise, described as having bass rumbles such as a strong wind, waves crashing on the shore or a steady stream and is known to improve focus.

Black noise is basically silence with a little bit of random noise thrown in. It is also known as “technical silence.” Technically black noise has a frequency spectrum of predominantly zero power level over all frequencies except for a few narrow bands or spikes.


According to an article published in The Atlantic, “In audio engineering, there’s a whole rainbow of noise colors, each with its own unique properties, that are used to produce music, help relaxation, and describe natural rhythms like the human heartbeat.” Any of these colors are worth experimenting with through apps on your phone or specific sound devices.


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