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What is brown noise and how it helps you improve sleep

3 min read

Noisli - What is brown noise and how it helps you improve sleep

Brown noise, along with white noise and pink noise, belongs to a group of sounds which are well known for being associated with benefits such as sleep improvement and relaxation. Brown, pink and white noise are also often used to block out external noises so to help be more focused and productive, and to cope with tinnitus or ADHD.

Let’s see what brown noise is, how it compares to other noise colors, and the potential benefits of brown noise for sleep.

What is brown noise?

Brown noise, as well as white noise and pink noise, is the sound you get when you combine all the different audible frequencies of sound at the same time. But unlike white noise, which combines the frequencies at equal intensity, brown noise is more intense at the lower-frequencies end of the spectrum and softer at the higher end. Brown noise is even lower than pink noise. You can read a comparison between white, pink and brown noise.

The practice of naming some types of noises after colors started with white noise, the most well-known among the color sounds. White noise is the sound that combines all the different audible frequencies in equal intensity at the same time. Consequently, the name white noise was given by analogy with white light, which contains all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum at equal intensity.

Other color names, such as pink noise, were then given to other noises with other spectral profiles.

Brown noise is also called brownian noise or red noise. And while the lesser-known term “red noise” comes from the light analogy, as red noise is strong in longer wavelengths and similar to the red end of the visible spectrum, the more famous term “brown noise” comes from the brownian motion, a certain kind of random microscopic motion discovered by botanist Robert Brown, and the low-frequency sound this random motion produces.

Examples of Brown Noise

    We can find many familiar examples of noises, especially natural noises, to which brown noise is often compared, such as:

  • rumbling waterfall
  • distant thunder
  • gentle rumble of the ocean
  • heavy rain

How brown noise helps you sleep

Brown noise, pink noise, white noise and other types of sounds are known for their benefits, especially to help improve sleep, increase focus and concentration and even soothe babies.

The reason why such sounds are used is because of their capability to mask distracting sounds that might otherwise disrupt your sleep or focus.

Imagine you’re in a silent room at night trying to fall asleep. Any sudden noise will wake you up and keep you awake, and your good night’s sleep is gone. However, if you listen to some brown noise while sleeping it will create a consistent sound environment. Therefore, any sudden noise will just blend in with the brown noise and won’t disturb you anymore.

Listening to brown noise can help you fall asleep faster, improve your sleep quality and keep you in a deep sleep longer, which in return will make you feel more rested the next day.

The different colors of noise

Although brown noise, pink noise and white noise are the most common color noises and the most associated with sleep, there are several other colors of noise.

    Some of the more commonly used noise colors are:

  • White noise
  • Pink noise
  • Blue noise
  • Violet noise
  • Gray noise

How to find the best brown noise machine

There are many white noise machines out there, but the problem is that they are limited in the functionalities they offer. Also, they are often bulky and mainly designed to be put in one place and stay there, which makes it difficult to have them always with you when needed.

Therefore, the best option is to use an app such as Noisli, which lets you play brown, white or pink noise whenever you need it and no matter where you are.

The great thing about Noisli is that you can also layer the sounds and add lots of other natural sounds on top. This makes the ambient sound more realistic and pleasant, less “static” and customisable to your needs.

On top of that, Noisli offers various playlists with curated sound combinations tailored for certain types of situations, such as sleep or relaxation.

And, to enhance the experience even more and really make it your very own sleep sound environment, with Noisli you can also create and save your own sound combinations, for any occasion and ready to play.

Avatar photo Written by Stefano M.

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