Alaska Sleep Education Center

How a White Noise Machine Can Improve Your Sleep

Posted by Hannah Madison on Mar 29, 2022 7:19:05 AM



Nothing compares to waking up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day ahead. Unfortunately, a lot of people struggle with sleep. One reason for poor quality sleep could be the fact that it’s not easy to create the ideal sleep environment: cool, quiet, calm, and light-free. Fortunately, a white noise machine can help with at least one aspect of this equation. How? This article will provide you with all the information you need on white noise machines and how they can help improve one’s sleep.

White noise machines provide steady, undisturbed noise that blocks out all the other stuff like barking dogs, TV noise, sirens, etc. There are even scientific studies supporting the fact that white noise machines give you better sleep.

How does this simple sleep technology work? Let’s find out below.

Good Sleep is Important                 

There are a number of reasons why getting good quality sleep is important. It’s essential to our overall health and affects our physical, social, and mental well-being.

According to research from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over a third of adults in America are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.

Getting good quality sleep provides the following benefits:

  • Better concentration and productivity
  • Decreases the chances of developing mental health risks and symptoms, including depression
  • Decreases risk of health problems such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and cardiac diseases
  • Cognitive development
  • Improves judgment and decision-making
  • Improves athletic performance
  • Improves daily work engagement

One of the major reasons or causes of sleep disturbance is environmental noise, which is where having a white noise machine comes in handy.

But first, what is white noise?

White noise can be defined as a combination of different sounds at different frequencies that are audible to the human ear. This can often sound like hissing or a “shhhh’ sound, just like that of television or radio static.

You may have heard of white noise machines being used in doctors’ or therapists’ offices. In these settings, these machines help keep sessions private.

Research has found that white noise not only helps people get to sleep, but also to stay asleep.

White noise is actually a lot more complicated than just recordings of rain sounds and ocean waves. It is a collection of sounds with the same intensity through the audible range, the creates a uniform sound ideal for masking loud disruptions.

This masking effectively helps block out other sounds so you can sleep.

White vs. Pink Noise

Just like white noise, pink noise is made up of all the frequencies detectable to the human ear. But the energy isn’t equally distributed among them, and there are intense lower frequencies involved, resulting to a deep and even sound.

Examples of pink sounds include:

  • Strong wind
  • Rustling of leaves
  • Steady rainfall
  • Waves crashing on a beach

How White and Pink Noise Helps One Sleep

Both white and pink noise can help people sleep by blocking out foreign sounds by making disruptive sounds.

Studies show that sleep disturbances caused by noise pollution have significant consequences for one’s health, especially for their biological systems. The duration and quality of sleep can be affected by outside noises.

White and pink noise creates a buffer between your eardrums and outside noise so you can continue sleeping peacefully, despite what’s happening in your surroundings.

A huge part of good sleep hygiene involves establishing a solid nighttime routine. Following a nightly ritual such as winding down with a book, switching on a white noise machine, and settling into your bed for the night automatically sends a message to your brain and body that it’s time to rest.

In a way, it’s somewhat a Pavlovian response to the sound of the white noise. After it helps one fall asleep, white noise also helps one stay asleep by blocking out any noises or any loud disturbances.

White noise machines are quite useful, especially for those who live in the city. All sorts of noises, including traffic, aircraft sounds, and neighborhood noises can disrupt one’s sleep.

In addition, white noise machines can help those who work the night shift and need to sleep during the day, or for people who live with housemates on different sleeping schedules.

A 2021 study found that white noise helped to significantly improve sleep for those who have sleeping problems due to high amounts of environmental noise. The study concluded that the use of white noise may be effective in helping improve the quality of sleep for people living in metropolitan areas.

A 2012 study also revealed that steady pink noise can increase stable sleep by reducing brain activity. Another study done in 2017 showed a positive connection between deep sleep and pink noise.

Where to Buy White Noise Machines?

There is a wide range of white noise machines that produce white noise to help with sleep, and some are made specifically for helping babies sleep. There are others that are made for adults as well. Some machines come with features such as adjustable tone and volume to help you find a soothing sound at a volume you enjoy and are comfortable with. This feature helps mask background noises such as traffic sounds, cars on the highway, or loud roommates.

Other machines even come with 24 sounds including white, pink, rain, ocean waves, campfire, plus a headphone jack, night light, and timer. Other fancier machines boast of multi-sleep sounds such as sleep songs, nature sounds, chimes, and meditation! If you don’t have the budget to purchase a white noise machine, you can turn to apps for iOS and Android such as Bedtime Fan and White Noise Generator.


White noise machines can help you get better quality sleep at night by masking foreign or environmental noises causing sleep disturbance.

These machines do not only help you get to sleep but also stay asleep. They can even help in training your brain to recognize when it’s time to sleep.

White noise is a simple and easy way to create an environment supporting good and healthy sleeping habits.

Adding Colorful Noises


Topics: alaska sleep clinic, sleep habits, getting beter sleep, white noise

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