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January 24, 2019 3 min read

White Noise and Sleep; Is it Right for You?


White Noise and Sleep; Is it Right for You?

We all know at least one form of white noise – television static. At high volumes it may be irritating, but at lower volumes, white noise may actually help some people focus or tune out other distracting sounds.

Believe it or not, listening to constant noises like these may help some you sleep! It may not be right for everyone though, and there are some things to understand before using white noise for sleep.


What is white noise?

Simply put, white noise is a constant sound that covers all the different frequencies our ears can hear. Think of waves crashing on the shore or the sound of a rainforest and you are thinking of a type of natural white noise.

It’s called “white” noise to indicate that it includes the full spectrum of sounds, similar to white light, which contains a full spectrum of colors.

People often use white noise to block out annoying sounds in their environment and feel calmer and more focused. It may even help you fall asleep, sound good?


How does white noise work?

White noise works to drown out unwanted sounds. To do this, it basically uses the brain against itself. 

To put it very simply, the brain has to choose between focusing on one sound you are hearing or focusing on all the sounds in the environment, it can’t do both. So when you are talking to a friend, your brain can easily focus on your friends voice and drown out other environmental sounds.

However, if you brought 100 friends together and had them all talk to you at the same time, your brain wouldn’t be able to listen to any one of them, it would all just sound like noise.

This is how white noise works. By adding noise to the environment, it essentially eliminates the brain’s ability to pick up other potentially annoying sounds. Sounds like car alarms, neighbors talking, or even dogs barking down the street just become part of the white noise. 


Who is white noise best for?

It’s easy to see how white noise may help at bedtime, especially for lighter sleepers. The ability to drown out the sounds of doors slamming, noisy neighbors, or 4 a.m. trash collectors is amazing. 

Other people may enjoy white noise machines as well. They make good tools in homes where people have different sleep schedules, such as roommates who work different hours of the day, or in a baby’s room while they nap.

People with tinnitus may also love white noise machines, as it may drown out the distracting ringing in their ears and let them get some sleep. 

White noise is not for everyone. Some people say they feel nervous listening to white noise. For others, the sound is actually more distracting than the environmental noise. Try it out and see if white noise improves your sleep quality.


Tips for using white noise to sleep

Keep it quiet. Loud white noise may be too stimulating, and could make it harder for you to fall asleep

Choose the sounds you like. Some people can only fall asleep to certain types of white noise, such as rainfall, windy seas, or calm waves on the shore. Others enjoy simply turning their fan on and falling asleep with the sound.

Give it time. It may take time to get used to the sound, but don’t get discouraged.

If white noise is not working for your sleep issues, there may be something else affecting your sleep quality, such as an old mattress or lumpy pillow. 


If you are in Oklahoma, come visit Mattress King. We don’t have any white noise videos for you to watch, but do know a few things about a good night’s sleep.

Written by Ryan Farris Founder