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What is pink noise and how it helps you sleep

3 min read

Noisli - What is Pink noise and how it helps you sleep

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, pink noise is more intense at the lower-frequencies end of the spectrum and softer at the higher end.

Many people use sounds such as pink noise and white noise to block out external noises, not only to help them be more focused and productive, but also to help them relax, fall asleep faster or improve their sleep quality.

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

What is pink noise?

To better understand pink noise let’s start with the more familiar white noise.

In fact, the practice of naming some types of noises after colors started with white noise, a sound that combines all the different audible frequencies in equal intensity at the same time.

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.

As mentioned above, pink noise is the sound you get when you combine all the different audible frequencies of sound at the same time. But compared to white noise, pink noise is more intense at the lower-frequencies end of the spectrum and softer at the higher end.

Being gentler and more soothing than white noise, pink noise is often regarded as a more pleasant, soothing and relaxing alternative to white noise.

Examples of Pink Noise

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

  • gentle and steady rainfall
  • waterfall
  • wind
  • rushing river
  • crashing of ocean waves
  • leaves rustling in the trees

How pink noise helps you sleep

Pink noise, white noise and other types of sounds are known for their benefits, especially to help sleep or concentrate.

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 pink noise while sleeping it will create a consistent sound environment. Therefore, any sudden noise will just blend in with the pink noise and won’t disrupt your sleep.

This helps you fall asleep faster, improves your sleep quality and keeps you in a deep sleep longer, which in return will make you feel more rested the next day.

Here are 3 main benefits of pink noise:

Helps you fall asleep faster

A study has found that exposure to steady pink noise, at 60 decibels, helped participants fall asleep faster.

Improves Sleep Quality

Deep sleep is the most restorative sleep stage, the one that allows the body and the brain to enter a state of rest and restoration. A study found that listening to pink noise while sleeping helped participants sleep more deeply.

Induces a stable sleep time

Another study found that playing pink noise while sleeping reduces brain wave complexity and induces a more stable sleep time, leading to overall improved sleep quality.

The different colors of noise

Although 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:

  • Brown noise or Red noise
  • Blue noise
  • Violet noise
  • Gray noise

How to find the best pink 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 pink, white or brown 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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