4 Health Benefits of Pink Noise
People with sleeping problems are advised to respect sleep schedules, limit daytime naps and, above all, provide an environment to rest. This includes using curtains to darken the room, placing a fan to keep the space cool, and playing sounds, such as pink noise, to create a relaxing atmosphere.
According to a study published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, pink noise makes it possible to sleep more deeply at night, as well as improving memory in people with early dementia. Find out what pink noise is, how it can benefit your health and if there are other colored noises that you are missing.
What is pink noise?
To understand what pink noise is, we must know a little about the frequency of the sound. In general, this frequency is the number of times per second that a sound wave repeats itself and is able to determine its pitch.
For this reason, if the human being hears frequencies ranging from 20 to 20,000 hertz, 20 hertz is a very low tone, while 20,000 hertz is a very high tone.
Now, when we talk about noise having a “color”, we mean how energy is distributed at these frequencies. In the case of white noise, it consists of all sound frequencies distributed at equal levels.
For its part, the color pink also has all the frequencies, but they aren’t distributed equally. In pink noise, the energy is usually higher at lower frequencies, resulting in a deeper, lower, and more balanced sound than, for example, white noise.
Some examples of pink noise that you can find in nature are the constant sound of the rain, the rustle of the leaves, the gentle waves of the sea, the heartbeat, and the fan on low.
The main benefits of pink noise
As we have seen, the benefits of pink noise revolve around improving the quality of sleep. Let’s look at this in more detail, as well as whether it can offer other benefits.
1. Helps to fall asleep
The reason we wake up after hearing a door slam or a car whistle is that sudden changes in the volume or frequency of the sound interrupt our sleep.
Fortunately, pink noise could end this problem, since it provides a constant ambient sound, capable of masking those that interfere with sleep. But how does it help you fall asleep? This is because it is relaxing and uses its background to disguise abrupt sounds.
2. Allows deep sleep
Deep sleep is what allows you to feel refreshed and energized the next day. Similarly, it is the time when the body repairs muscles, regenerates tissues, and improves the function of the immune system.
A study published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology found that participants who slept with pink noise in the background had a deeper sleep than those who rested in a quiet room.
Experts believe this is due to pink noise’s ability to adjust to deep sleep brain waves, known to be slower and softer. They conclude that this color noise is capable of further reducing the complexity of brain waves, which allows rest to be more stable, continuous, and, therefore, restorative.
3. It can improve memory
Since a good memory depends on adequate deep sleep and pink noise helps achieve this, some experts believe that it can benefit this brain function.
In general, memory consolidation begins in the hippocampus, the area of the cerebral cortex responsible for collecting memories and making decisions. When you sleep, the memories you created during the day are transferred to this area where they are stored as long-term memory.
A study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience showed that pink noise improved deep sleep and memory in 13 older adults. The researchers concluded that this was caused by the memory process that occurs during rest hours. However, more studies are still needed to certify these effects.
4. It can improve concentration
Concentration, like sleep, can be interrupted by sudden sounds. The good news is that pink noise, thanks to its constant and relaxing sound capable of reducing external sounds, can improve it. This is believed to be helpful, especially if working in noisy environments such as a cafe, office, or home with young children.
What other color noises are there?
Color noises are determined by the sound frequency and energy distribution. In addition to pink, these are the best known:
White noise has all audible frequencies and, unlike pink, is distributed equally across all of these, creating a constant hum. Thanks to this characteristic, there is scientific evidence that it can mask sounds that stimulate the brain, which makes it recommended to treat sleeping problems such as insomnia.
Some examples of white noise are the static from radio or television, a hissing radiator, or a humming air conditioner.
In brown noise, also known as red noise, the energy is distributed in the lower frequencies, making it deeper than white and pink.
Although there’s no conclusive research to support its benefits at bedtime, there’s anecdotal evidence that it can relax and help you fall asleep. A low roar, a loud waterfall, and thunder are examples of this noise.
The lack of noise was called black noise and refers to total silence or silence during which random noise fragments occur.
While it’s true that it can be difficult to find absolute silence, it can help you sleep, as there are people who relax when there’s little or no noise.
Where to find pink noise?
To test whether pink noise can help you improve your sleep quality, you can connect headphones to your computer or smartphone and search platforms like YouTube, and you could even download apps like NoiseZ that include different color noises.
You could also get a sound machine. These generally specialize in a particular sound, so you should determine which one is most comfortable and effective for you before purchasing.
Pink noise for better sleep
Not all noise interrupts our sleep, and, as we’ve seen, there are colored noises that actually help us to sleep better. We’ve learned all about pink noise today, which is known to have all the frequencies of sound, but with an energy that’s distributed by the lowest ones, which originates a deep and balanced sound such as that of rain, sea waves, or the heartbeat of the ocean.
Given its soothing hue and ability to mask those abrupt sounds that interrupt sleep, pink noise helps you fall asleep faster, sleep more soundly, as well as improving memory and concentration.It might interest you...
- Papalambros, N. A., Weintraub, S., Chen, T., Grimaldi, D., Santostasi, G., Paller, K. A., Zee, P. C., & Malkani, R. G. (2019). Acoustic enhancement of sleep slow oscillations in mild cognitive impairment. Annals of clinical and translational neurology, 6(7), 1191–1201. https://doi.org/10.1002/acn3.796
- Zhou, J., Liu, D., Li, X., Ma, J., Zhang, J., & Fang, J. (2012). Pink noise: effect on complexity synchronization of brain activity and sleep consolidation. Journal of theoretical biology, 306, 68–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2012.04.006
- Papalambros, N. A., Santostasi, G., Malkani, R. G., Braun, R., Weintraub, S., Paller, K. A., & Zee, P. C. (2017). Acoustic Enhancement of Sleep Slow Oscillations and Concomitant Memory Improvement in Older Adults. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 11, 109. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00109
- Farokhnezhad Afshar, P., Bahramnezhad, F., Asgari, P., & Shiri, M. (2016). Effect of White Noise on Sleep in Patients Admitted to a Coronary Care. Journal of caring sciences, 5(2), 103–109. https://doi.org/10.15171/jcs.2016.011