The reason being that even if a sound doesn’t wake you during the night, it can affect your sleep pattern. For example, if you're in a deep sleep, a sudden sound such as a thunderclap may cause you to fall back into a lighter sleep stage. However, your body needs these deep sleep cycles to wake up feeling rested, and poor sleep is proven to lead to poor health as well.

So how can you stabilize your sleep so that you aren’t awakened by peak noises? White noise.

White Noise Definition - What is it?

White noise is a steady intensity at various frequencies. Essentially, it is a constant drone without any rise or fall in sound or peak noises. White noise is used to help absorb the peaks of loud sounds which cause a disturbance in sleep. 

In addition to people who use white noise to help them get a more restful sleep, many parents also use white noise with their babies. Research on neonates has proven that it can help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer. Additionally, many people with tinnitus, a condition where the patient hears constant ringing in his/her ear, use white noise as a type of therapy.

Different Types of White Noise

If you or a loved one believes it may be beneficial to your sleep, there are several different kinds of white noise. Many people just turn on a recording of white noise on YouTube. There are multiple recordings of 10-plus hours of white noise that you can turn on before you go to bed. Just make sure that you plug in your phone or laptop before going to bed and turn down the screen as light can also have a negative effect on your sleep. The other problem with a YouTube video is that commercials may interrupt it causing a disturbance in your sleep.

Therefore, a safe alternative is simply turning on a fan or air purifier (in fact, some companies even advertise their fans for their white noise benefits). Both of these work well as the sound is consistent at a steady intensity. Some people even use the static from a television.

If you prefer something a little more high tech, you can also purchase a white noise machine. These allow you to adjust the sound to the exact decibel; they’re ideal if you wish to leave something on in your child’s room.

Other Sound Colors

The only problem with white noise is that some people find it sounds like static which can be irritating. This is because it registers very high pitched noises in addition to low ones. 

Fortunately, white noise is not the only type of noise. Similar to light, there is an array of colors of sound. While white noise has the same frequencies at various pitches, it has a broad range (jumping from say 5Hz to 50Hz). Pink noise, on the other hand, keeps the Hz within the octave (only jumping from say 5Hz to 10Hz). It often sounds lower-pitched and softer like leaves rustling.

Therefore, many people actually prefer to purchase pink noise machines (even though many are advertised as white noise since that’s the more common term). Brown noise is another sound color, similar to pink noise, which registers lower-pitched sounds and could be much more soothing than white noise.


If you find yourself having trouble sleeping at night, or find that you wake up feeling restless and unable to return to sleep, consider using white or pink noise. You may find a white noise machine leaves you not only feeling better, but in a physically healthier state as well.