• Kevin Hale

What Is White Noise and Why Does it Work?

It may seem counterintuitive to make more noise when you want to go to sleep. If you have a baby or young child, you may be tempted to insist on silence at nap time or bedtime. Getting enough rest is an important part of staying healthy, after all, and you want to support good habits as much as possible. You may be surprised to learn that white noise can actually help you and your baby sleep better than if you keep everything quiet.

Mother holding baby

What Is White Noise?

From a scientific perspective, white noise includes tones across the entire range of frequencies that humans can hear. Most people associate the term with things like a fan, running water, a radio not tuned to a station, or ambient sounds that imitate the general music of everyday life. White noise does not have melodies or recognizable beats like music. Instead, it creates a steady and all-encompassing sound that essentially drowns things that may startle you out of sleep.


Many people enjoy white noise mixed with ambient sounds like gentle thunderstorms, rain and wind chimes, waterfalls, wind through the treetops, or the roar of waves at a beach. These only work as relaxation and sleep aids if the loop is generally calm and even toned with no sudden volume changes or extreme shifts in frequencies.


Does White Noise Help You Sleep?

People wake up in the middle of the night for a variety of reasons. Of course, your ears still work when you are not awake, and any sudden changes in the sounds around you can knock you out of your sleep pattern. Even a quiet noise is noticeable when it is generally quiet. Think about how annoying it is to try to go to sleep near a dripping faucet or with someone who snores loudly. These are changeable noises that constantly distract your brain from relaxation.


White noise, on the other hand, smooths out all these rough edges of sound. It is a bit like protecting your senses with a soft pillow or a thick blanket so nothing jars you awake. Research has shown white noise to help people of all ages including babies fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer. It has even shown to help those with chronic illnesses or sleep disorders overcome the medical issues that cause disruption.


How to Make White Noise for Bedtime

While it is possible to turn on a fan for some white noise at bedtime, there are better options available. You do not need to buy a separate noise machine to plug in next to your bed anymore either. All you need is your smartphone and a recording of a track pacifically designed to include all the frequencies. Playing soft music or sound effects on a loop will not get you the same results. In fact, they can disrupt your slumber more than they will help. It is especially important to choose the right white noise for baby sleep since getting enough rest is so important for a little one’s health.

The Fade Away Sleep Sounds collection can help you fall asleep and stay asleep so you get enough healthy rest every day.

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