A quiet bedroom is ideal for a good night’s rest. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to achieve for everyone. If you live in an apartment, you may hear noise from surrounding neighbors or roommates. If you are particularly sensitive to noise, you may find that a car horn, snoring partner, a barking dog may interrupt, or prevent you from falling asleep.
What is white noise?
White noise is a type of noise that is produced by combining various sound frequencies audible to the human ear. The reason why it is called “white” noise, is because is it described in the same way as white light is made up if all the different colors of the light spectrum. White noise is a combination of all the different frequencies of sound. Because of its variety of frequencies (20 Hz to 20 kHz), it is often used to mask other background sounds. Its sound can best be described as a hiss of static. For example, if your upstairs neighbors are having a loud conversation as a level you can hear in your apartment, a white noise machine can help conceal that sound (a fan can produce a similar sound to that or white noise). The reason why this works so well, is because the human brain can only acknowledge and interpret one voice. Hearing white noise is equivalent to hearing 1,000 voices, so the brain can’t pick out any particular one, while masking the voices of your loud neighbors.
What is pink noise?
Pink noise is similar to white noise, and contains all the same frequencies, but sounds less harsh to the human ear. The best way to describe it is white noise with the bass cranked up. It sounds more even and flat, deeper and softer than white noise. According to a study at China’s Peking University, researchers found that 75% of participants exposed to pink noise, experienced more restful sleep. It was found that they had 23% more restful brain activity than those not exposed to the noise. Another study showed that pink noise was associated with increased deep sleep and improvement in memory in older adults. Pink noise seems to be the gold standard among medical researchers and sleep specialists.
Combine white and pink noise for the best results
At the end of the day, it all comes out to personal preference. Some people may prefer one over the other. I live in an apartment with very thin walls, and hear my neighbors from all sides. Whether it is the sound of my upstairs neighbor walking around, my next door neighbor’s barking dog, or a bus outside my window, I had to do some experimenting on what type of masking noise(s) is best suitable for my situation. Personally, I found that combination of white and pink noise works best for me. I’ve been using an inexpensive, yet effective white noise machine in conjunction with pink noise sounds from my Amazon Echo device. I found that it makes a massive difference in the quality of my sleep, and does a great job of preventing racing thoughts running through my mind.