White Noise: what is it? It is efficient?
Sound can be very good to help you fall asleep. Calm sounds that give us peace are an excellent strategy to get a good night's sleep, especially white noise.
Many people would rather fall asleep than listen to the quiet sound of the white noise. It is a good solution for those who live in very noisy places and want to have a good night's rest. But what does this kind of sound really consist of?
What is White Noise?
White Noise is a set of low, medium and high frequency sounds, played at the same time and with the same intensity level.
White noise effectively disguises other surrounding sounds. It's as if, in the middle of a crowd, you put on headphones that cancel out external noise and take you to another dimension.
Believe us, this sound it's really good to disconnect!
We are not going to give you a Physics lesson, but if you want to know what this noise is in a little more detail, we can tell you that the white noise it has the same energy per cycle, which means that its frequency spectrum is completely flat (20 to 40Hz).
It's called white noise because it belongs to the white light spectrum, thus emitting bright white light.
This type of noise could be the sound of waves on the beach, the radio playing a Relaxing Music or even an announcer speaking in a calm voice, as in the famous radio show Pacific Ocean.
In resume, are those sounds that overlap the background noise.
How does it work?
White noise causes auditory capacity to reach its maximum level, which means that more intense auditory stimuli have less ability to activate the cerebral cortex during sleep.
This explains, for example, why some people are able to fall asleep faster if the television is turned on at a moderate volume.
Cuts out background noise, so white noise it is often used in ambulance sirens, so that we can immediately identify where they are coming from.
To produce this type of sound, each frequency within range of the human ear is reproduced in a random order and at the same amplitude. This results in a "shh" sound, which can also be associated with TV or to the radio.
A slamming door, for example, can interrupt your sleep. But it doesn't necessarily wake you up because it's a big noise. This type of sound will wake you up because there is a change from a soft sound (silence) to a loud sound (slamming door). This change does not happen with the white noise.
White noise works as a shield against unwanted and disturbing sounds, masking these changes in sound consistency. That's why it can be very useful for people who don't like to sleep in a completely silent environment.
What are the effects of White Noise?
White Noise proved to be effective in hospital patients. These environments are usually noisy and with background noise, which can disturb sleep.
Some studies suggest that the white noise can reduce the time it takes patients to fall asleep by nearly 40% compared to patients who don't hear it.
White Noise and Sleep
White Noise calms the brain, neutralizes and disguises sleep-impairing sounds such as barking dogs, traffic, someone snoring or an alarm clock going off. It works very well for people who suffer from insomnia, light sleepers, and who wake up easily in the middle of the night.
But how does this happen?
The explanation is simple. Our brain continues to process sounds even when we are sleeping. This is why hearing is the only active sense during sleep. Curious, isn't it?
White noise is a type of sound that diminishes the ability of intense auditory stimuli to activate the cerebral cortex and interrupt the break.
As we have already mentioned, the white noise is protective barrier to other sounds, contributing to a healthier and better night's sleep, as it induces an relaxing effect.
White Noise and Insomnia
As you read in one of our articles, Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep at night.
If you go through or have gone through this, then you already know that the next day can be very complicated: drowsiness and lack of energy.
White noise exists to help you reduce this problem. During the night, it will prevent your brain from being alert due to outside noises.
It can, therefore, be an excellent ally to fight insomnia. In some cases, the white noise it is so effective at inducing sleep, you can even avoid medication.
But, to further enhance these effects, you can (and should) also follow these tips:
- Keep the room as quiet as possible
- Don't listen white noise in a high volume
- Reduce bedroom lighting
However, if the insomnia keeps hitting you, it is important to point out that you should not fail to ask your doctor for advice.
White Noise helps to relax, especially on those stressful days when the mind doesn't turn off for nothing. In other cases, the white noise should be used as a complementary strategy for the treatment of sleep disorders.
White Noise in Babies and Children
White noise is a mixture of different tones of sounds mixed together. These sounds work in harmony to calm fussing babies and encourage sleep.
It can help babies and small children to fall asleep faster. Also helps children having difficulty concentrating to concentrate better during the classes.
Similarly, makes the baby feel safe and secure, as this type of sound is similar to what you heard in the womb.
What not to do
However, there are some mistakes that are commonly made when using white noise to trigger sleep in the baby:
Stop using white noise because the baby is already sleeping well
White noise can greatly improve the quality of sleep, even in "easy-babies". In addition, white noise can help prevent sleep disruptions, which usually change the baby's general condition, especially between 4 and 12 months.
Sleep rhythm may change suddenly after the fourth trimester. Sleep can literally turn 180 degrees. This happens for these reasons:
- The calming reflex fades away: This reflex is nature's "reset button" to calm crying and induce sleep. It disappears in such a way that, white noise, which could be pleasant at first, can become just the opposite.
- Babies become very social: When they wake up during the night, they want to see smiles and be comforted in their parents' arms.
- The period of swaddling comes to an end: This method of wrapping the baby in swaddling clothes, to make him feel calmer and more connected to his parents, is temporary. This weaning can make the baby wake up more easily.
- The appearance of teeth. The discomfort caused by teething can be enough to deprive your baby of sleep.
The good news? The right white noise often helps parents get around all these problems. In a short time after using it, your baby will begin to associate sounds with the pleasure of sleep.
In addition, as babies move through childhood, sound helps them sleep even with external noise, such as a hairdryer, a TV on or a truck driving on the street; and with internal changes, in the case of mild constipation or feeling hungry.
White noise is not all the same nor does it always have the same effect. In reality, there are two types of white noise - high and low intensity - and only one induces sleep!
The white noise considered high it is “hard”, shrill and irritating: sirens, alarms or screams. These sounds are great for getting attention (and even calming your baby's cries), but they're anything but sleepy.
On the other hand, the sounds of low intensity they hum and are hypnotic, like the noise of a car or an airplane, of falling rain, or of a boring lecture.
These sounds are not meant to capture attention, but they are perfect for lulling. These are the sounds that babies hear most in the womb, which is why they are the most suitable for falling asleep. They are filtered through the amniotic fluid, which makes loud sounds fade.
Loud sounds like a hairdryer, vacuum or exhaust fan are great for calming the hustle, but humming sounds, like rain falling on a roof, are much better at inducing sleep.
On the other hand, music, the sound of the heartbeat, waves or sounds of nature are not as indicated to improve the quality of sleep, contrary to what one might think.
Babies don't like to sleep quietly! Before they were born, all babies were calmed by the sounds they heard in the womb. That's why a very quiet room can be unsettling for little ones and not conducive to sleep.
White noise is like a baby's audible teddy bear: comforting and an indicator that it's time for bed.
To increase your baby's connection to white noise and to help calm the crying, you need to decrease your calming reflex. To turn this reset button on, a strong sound must be emitted and as loud as the cry. One way to do this is to put your mouth close to the baby's ear and make a loud sound like the famous "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh".
Once the crying begins to subside, you can keep the calming reflex on, playing white noise sounds at an intensity approximating a light bath (65 to 72 dB).
For example, if your baby wakes up crying, you should automatically increase the white noise to calm him down and then lower the intensity of the white noise to a deep sound.
- White noise should not be used all day. Just have it on hand to help you sleep or calm the noise.
- Listening to normal house noise for many hours a day helps children explore all the interesting sounds around them, such as speech or music.
- Some people also use the two similars of white noise: pink noise and brown noise:
- Pink noise it's basically a little bit deeper than white noise
- Brown noise it's even deeper, an extra low-pitched sound.
- Still, the white noise remains the best for sleeping!
- Parents already intuitively use the right tone to calm their baby's cries. They start by making a loud, hissing sound and then gradually lower the pitch and volume as the baby relaxes.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics says that white noise is very helpful in calming a crying baby. There are also studies which demonstrate that white noise significantly decreases crying time and encourages sleep in colicky babies.
Where to find White Noise?
White noise can be generated through technology, such as a fan, an air conditioner or even a hairdryer.
If you don't have any of that, there's an easier way to do it: using applications that play those sounds. Everything is just a touch away.
We recommend these applications white noise for all:
If, on the other hand, you can't take it anymore and you want to put your baby to sleep, here are some examples of white noise indicated for babies:
You will see that the lack of sleep will disappear in the slightest! Experiment!
Each person is comfortable in a certain auditory spectrum, and this level can change when we want to relax or stay focused. However, it is essential to experiment until you find the best sound for you.
While some sounds can help your brain focus on what's really important, others can help you switch off and relax, which is perfect for a good night's sleep.