Recently, colored noise has been said to aid with sleeping, increase productivity, and help people relax. This includes white, brown, and pink noise among others. According to Sarah Hoek’s article on Daily Maverick, they asked experts to explain how it affects our brain.
Do white, brown, and/or pink noise aid with sleep?
As the most popular type of color noise, it contains all frequencies found in the spectrum of sounds you can hear in equal parts. This uses a mix of sound frequencies to create a static-like sound. Studies have also shown that white noise can help improve sleep, reduce crying in babies, improve work performance, and lower ADHD symptoms.
Brown noise, also called red noise, produces a rumbling sound that sounds deeper with a bass-like tone which differs from pink or white noise. The decibels decreases as the frequency go up more than it does with the other two.
It sounds similar to steady heavy rainfall or a shower with good pressure. Studies have also shown that brown noise lower symptoms if you have ringing in your ears. Aside from that, it also improves thinking skills.
Pink noise, on the other hand, remains a constant sound in the background. It filters out distracting things like people talking or cars going by. This way, it doesn’t interrupt your sleep. You can also hear people call it ambient noise. It uses deeper sounds and lower sound waves, sounding gentler and more soothing.
Noise is all around us all the time.
Brains learn to tune things out and tune in to other things. Colored noise, on the other hand, helps the brain to tune out those changes and mask the fluctuations. The continuous sound makes other noise less apparent and less likely to distract or draw attention.
Psychiatrist and lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at Stellenbosch University Dr. Leigh van den Heuvel says:
“When it comes to noise, our attention is directed towards changes in noise, such as a car hooting, a dog barking, or a sudden shrill voice.”
“Noise can be very disruptive, especially for sleep or when we need to concentrate. Colored noise can potentially assist in lessening the disruptions caused by noise. It is also postulated to have a relaxing effect.”
There are other kinds of colored noise like blue, violet, and grey noise among others. Try different sounds, tracks, and volumes to see what works best for you. If the sound of the wind doesn’t soothe you, try a babbling brook. If a sound machine with colored noise doesn’t help you sleep better, try a few different smartphone apps until you find one that works.
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.