For many people the term white noise is associated with the old days of accidentally changing to a static television channel, and the caustic sound that accompanied it. In the new era of HD television, though, those memories are in the rear view, and so should any negative impressions about white noise. White noise is a wonderful discovery and it might just be the secret to helping you get some much-needed shuteye every night.
The reason behind white noise’s ability to aid in better sleep is that when your brain is focused on a singular sound, it tends to have a calming effect on your thoughts. That’s why, for example, people doing homework at a coffee shop can often focus better with loud music playing in their ears. The music blocks out the random sounds of the hustle and bustle of baristas, customers, and espresso machines.
A similar experience takes place while listening to white noise in bed. Because your brain perceives sound even during sleep, steady, low-level noise helps block out distractions that might otherwise keep you awake. So while upbeat music and caffeine in a coffee shop may be intended to stimulate energetic focus, listening to white noise in the evening provides a calming focus that allows your brain to drift into a deep, unabated sleep.
The noise essentially blocks out ambient sounds that can pierce through silence and startle you. Something even as seemingly insignificant as a sheet of paper falling off a dresser can wake you in a quiet bedroom, but the sound of a radiator – which is a common source of white noise for people – can keep you sleeping through something as loud as a dog barking outside.
In addition to organic sources of white noise, like the air conditioner next to your bed or a ceiling fan that isn’t screwed on very tight, there are various sources of artificial white noise, including white noise apps and “sounds of the ocean” YouTube videos. The primary appeal of a white noise app or video is the convenience of selecting your favorite sound regardless of availability. For example, you can listen to rainfall on a cloudless night, or the sound of a dryer without moving your mattress into the laundry room.
Of course, not all kinds of white noise appeal to everyone. Crickets chirping at night may be maddening to some, while soothing to others. So if you’ve never tried white noise before, try testing the waters with soft and quiet sounds to start things off. Think of it as background noise you can barely hear.
And before you give white noise a try, it’s also important to note that research hasn’t drawn definitive conclusions as to whether white noise improves actual sleep quality. So if you’re getting great sleep every night without white noise, there’s no need to feel any compulsion to start using it. If you are having trouble falling asleep, then that might mean it’s time to consider giving white noise a try.
Try using white noise to block out unwanted buzz that might be startling you awake in the middle of the night, and consider including a bit of reBloom in your evening routine to further ensure a restful sleep free of interruptions.