Is Pink Noise the Secret to Better Sleep?

Young african woman sleeping in her bed at night, she is resting with eyes closed

Tired of waking up drained and groggy after a late night of restless sleep? We all know that feeling a little too well. And while finding the key to a good night’s sleep may not always seem like the easiest of tasks, having an arsenal of tricks up your sleeve, from rocking socks to bed to sipping on the best sleep drink before hitting the hay, can make all the difference. And as it would turn out, the latest trick to help you doze off is one that you probably haven’t turned to yet (or, at least, one that you don’t know you’ve been turning to): pink noise. We repeat: pink – yes, pink, and not white – noise.

Pink noise is kind of like white noise, but more natural and relaxing. It might be the sound of wind in the trees, waves gently crashing on the sand, or peaceful rainfall. As for the scientific difference between white and pink noise, that all comes down to frequency. Confused? Buckle up for a quick science lesson.

Think of each noise as a color (should be easy enough, since that’s what they’re named after). Both white noise and pink noise get their monikers from the colors that show up on the color spectrum at the same frequencies. So, just like white light contains all the colors, white noise contains all frequencies of sound that we can hear, each at an equal volume (think television static). Pink noise is similar, but places a bigger emphasis on the lower frequencies.

So now that you’re more of an expert on the difference between white and pink noise, you probably want to know just how it is that pink noise can actually help you. Scientists have been testing this noise as a way to aid sleep for a while – as early as 2012, in fact – and have done so with some pretty impressive results. Some studies have found that playing pink noise improves regular sleep and daytime napping, while others have found that pink noise, when played as you’re heading into a deep sleep, could help you stay in a deep sleep for a longer time. (Added bonus: the prolonged deep sleep helped contribute to better memory after waking up, too.)

So, to review: pink noise relaxes you, helps you achieve deep sleep for a longer time, and improves your memory by playing low frequency nature sounds like calming waves or rain. If you think you’re ready to give it a go, try out apps like Noisli and SimplyNoise, both of which have a ton of pink noise mixes to get you started. Sweet dreams!

Looking for more tricks to help you get to sleep and stay asleep? Try out some reBloom before bed for an all-natural sleep boost that will help you doze off, and feel your best come the morning. 

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