For many of us, sleeping in silence is simply not an option. If you’re like me, you need the steady sound of a fan to doze off every night.
Fans create white noise—a static-like sound that can drown out disturbing noises. It’s the most popular type of noise for camouflaging other noises. It can be intense and high-pitched and contains all frequencies that are found in the spectrum of sounds that you hear in equal parts.
But white noise isn’t the only color noise—there’s also pink noise. And research shows it might be an even better option for getting more restful sleep.
Like white noise, pink noise is a constant sound in the background. It also filters out distracting sounds like people talking and cars driving by, so your sleep isn’t interrupted. Another name for pink noise is ambient noise, and that steady hum may be the key to a better night’s sleep.
Compared to white noise, pink noise uses deeper sounds and lower sound waves. That potentially makes the sound gentler and more soothing than white noise. The consistent frequency of pink noise creates a more even, flat sound. Think of the waves on a beach, a steady rainfall, or the wind rustling through the leaves of a tree.
The added depth and lower waves of pink noise will filter out the higher sounds, which means you hear lower-frequency sounds that are more relaxing. And, there’s science to back this up.
In one study, researchers hypothesized that steady pink noise could “change the complexity of brain activities into a characteristic level, and it might have a significant effect on improving sleep stability.” The results, published by the Journal of Theoretical Biology, found that pink noise induced more stable sleep by “reducing brain wave complexity.”
In other words, to get a better night’s sleep you might consider ditching the fan and trying out pink noise.
A nice affordable option is the Sleepmac Pink Noise Machine. Along with their own patented pink noise variation, you can choose from 13 static sounds, 13 nature sounds, and 13 baby soothing sounds.
The speaker includes an adjustable night light with seven different color options, a timer option, and volume control. A few users have reported the volume dial can be a little finicky, but overall that product boasts an average of over 4 stars.
A more high-end option is the Sound+Sleep SE Special Edition High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine from Adaptive Sound Technologies. Featuring 64 sound profiles (including pink, white, and brown noise), this smart speaker automatically adjusts the selected audio volume and mix to adapt to your environment.
The easy-to-use front panel’s lights automatically turn off after selecting your settings, which is a small but appreciated feature. Some reviewers have reported issues with the machine turning off unexpectantly after a few months of use, but those who have contacted the merchant reported their machine being fixed or replaced.
When you can’t get peace and quiet, instead of suffering through the garbage trucks and late-night parties, the key to you good night’s sleep might be finding the proper noise. And surprisingly, pink just might be better than white.