White Noise - What It Is & Why It Can Help You Sleep
It might sound crazy but, sometimes the best way to get a peaceful night’s sleep is by making some noise. Not just any noise, white noise!
What is White Noise?
Simply put, white noise is a consistent sound containing every frequency that the human ear can hear, both high and low. As a result, it is a good tool for blocking out or masking particular noises that can be distracting. Therefore, a white noise machine can also make a great sleeping companion to settle down with for the night.
Reduce noise pollution
Sleep therapy machines can be used to drown out intermittent background noises that are keeping you up every night and causing lack of sleep. It might be the neighbour’s new dog or the nightclub open till late that’s just opened up across the road. Anticipating sounds like these keeps your brain alert. The sounds aren’t consistent enough for your brain to become used to and eventually block out. You’re more likely to jerk awake to a sudden change in frequency or noise level which can make night-time restless rather than restful.
The continuous sound generated by a white noise machine masks over irregular and alarming noises. Instead of busying itself with trying to pick out a particular frequency, like your neighbour’s dog, your brain is unable to pick out one single noise to focus on because white noise combines all different frequencies together! So, as you drop off to sleep, any sudden barks won’t disrupt your trip to the land of nod.
Relaxation for anxious minds
Sleeping plays a big part in keeping your mental and physical health in tip-top condition. Allowing your body time to rest means time for your body to heal and support healthy brain function. The long term effects of not getting enough sleep can impact on everyday life from poor concentration to difficulty controlling your emotions. If you already struggle with forms of anxiety and/or depression, then night-time stress and sleep deprivation can be very distressing and worsen symptoms.
A white noise machine could help you to relax by masking noises that your active mind is trying to pick out and focus on.
White noise in the workplace
The office environment isn’t always a restorative one if you’re trying to concentrate. They're generally full of bustling colleagues and all kinds of beeping machines around you. The soothing sounds of nature, like rainfall and wind, are examples of the perfect white noise to work to. You could try incorporating a white sound machine into your office, whether you have your own or share one. Not only will you be able to concentrate better but, you should also see a reduction in work related anxiety that is closely associated with constantly being interrupted. Instead of relating your work to stress and busyness, you can enjoy your work environment as a place of calm, happy and productive one.
White noise for babies
They've become known as an increasingly comforting sleep aid for babies. After listening to the party going on from inside the womb for 9 months, deafening silence isn’t something they’re used to. In fact, studies suggest that the volume inside the womb can be as loud as a baby’s cry. White noise is used to comfort babies as a reminder of the muffled voices and “womb-like” sounds. It can also pacify the stimulation of so many new lights, sounds and experiences.
Sound machines gently encourage a baby to sleep for longer than their usual 20-45 minute cycles before they stir again. The consistent hum of white noise creates a constant state of calm that not only drowns out intermittent house noises like doors slamming and loud voices but, also soothes a baby to sleep for longer.
Some other tips to help you drop off
Limit your mental and physical stimulation at least an hour before bedtime. Your brain takes time to wind down, so going for a late night run and hopping straight into bed isn’t a typical lullaby. Instead, save the last hour before bed for winding down and relaxing. Make this a regular habit so your brain recognises that it’s now time for bed and you should find yourself falling to sleep more easily.
Set the scene for sleeping by making sure your environment is calm, dark and comfortably quiet. Temperature control is also a must! During the summer months, an air conditioner or fan will keep you cool throughout the night.
Enough reading? You look tired, time for bed.
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