Using White Noise Machines for Better Sleep
White noise is the noise that you get when you combine sounds from all different frequencies. This means that if you take all the sounds that it is possible to hear with a human ear, put them all together and play them at once, the resulting sound would be what we call white noise. This is similar to how white light is essentially made up of all the different colors that we can see. It is this similarity with white light that led to the word “white” to describe the combined frequencies of sounds.
How Does It Work?
Because it contains all sound frequencies, white noise can be used to cover up or mask other sounds. You may or may not have had the experience where you turned on a fan to try and drown out sounds from cars passing by on a busy street, for example. In a situation like that, the noise that the fan produces has a very similar effect to that of white noise.
Let me use another example to try to explain how white noise works to mask sounds. Imagine that you are talking to someone – you will obviously be able to distinguish their voice from yours, correct? And even if you were talking to two or three different people at the same time you would still be able to tell who is talking just by the sound of their voice. Now how about if you were listening to a thousand people speak all at once? Would you be able to distinguish any voices? No you would not. All those people talking at the same time is like white noise playing all sound frequencies at the same time; when all noises are playing at the same time like that it becomes nearly impossible for you to distinguish individual sounds. That is essentially how white noise works to mask surrounding sounds.
Now that we have a pretty good idea of how white noise works to mask sounds, let’s have a look at how it works to help you sleep better. Using a white noise machine to get a better night’s sleep is by far the most common reason that people get one of these devices. The constant, monotonous, and soothing sound that is produced by a white noise machine promotes a calm mood and encourages listeners to feel more relaxed. This makes it very easy to fall asleep despite any unpleasant surrounding noises.
As discussed earlier, white noise will also drown out distracting sounds; because these surrounding sounds are masked, you will typically be able to sleep undisturbed. Any sudden noises that would usually cause you to wake up will also be masked by the white noise from your machine. People who normally have trouble sleeping find white noise very lulling, and this is why it is often used to help babies to fall asleep.
White noise can and will be able to help most people sleep better, but there is a small percentage of the population that will not benefit from the noise-blocking ability of the machine. For those people, white noise will actually amplify their ability to hear individual surrounding noises. Chances are, however, that you are not one of those people as they represent only a tiny faction of the population. So the majority of people will be able to sleep better at night using a white noise machine. What’s even better is that these machines are usually very small; you can take them with you wherever you go, enjoying a restful sleep and waking up energized.