Many people have trouble falling asleep because their brain focuses on every noise. Whether the neighbor’s dog is barking, there is traffic in the distance or your spouse is watching television in another room, any noise can keep your brain working overtime and not let you fall asleep and stay asleep. White noise is a great way to block out normal sound so that your brain can relax and prepare for sleep.
What is White Noise?
White noise is a random process or signal with a power spectral density that is flat. It has been defined as a mixture of sounds from every frequency. Basically, white noise is a mixture of every possible sound that the human body can hear. If a random signal has a flat spectrum of sound over the widest bandwidth possible in its medium, it is classified as white noise. Just as white light contains all colors of light, white noise contains all colors of sound. All of the sounds from different frequencies mix together to create a sound that the brain cannot pick individual noises out of. Common sources of white noise include television static, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners and fans. The sound of waves crashing on the sand and continuous rain are also considered white noise.
White Noise Masks Other Noises for Better Sleep
Most people find white noise to be soothing and relaxing. The constant sound allows the brain to slow down and relax. Countless studies have shown that people hallucinate when they are in sensory deprivation tanks because our brains crave sensory input. That’s why any noise that breaks the stillness of the night will activate your brain and cause you to wake up, especially if you are a light sleeper. Even heavy sleepers will wake if the noise is especially loud or unusual. White noise is effective in helping people fall asleep and stay asleep because it gives the brain a constant signal so that it doesn’t seek out random noises for stimulation during quiet times.
Studies have also shown that white noise is effective in helping people who are in hospital intensive care units sleep better. It is more effective for helping people sleeps than adding foam insulation between the rooms. Foam insulation absorbs sound, but loud or unusual noises that are often heard in hospitals cannot be absorbed by insulation. White noise is becoming increasingly popular in hospitals because it is very important for people who are in the hospital to get adequate rest so that their bodies can heal. The problem is that patients have trouble sleeping when they hear normal hospital noises such as doctors, nurses and other patients. Playing white noise over a sound system in the hospital has been shown to improve the quality of sleep for most patients, aiding in their recovery.
White noise serves to block individual noises from being heard and understood by the brain. This keeps your brain from waking up your body whenever you hear an individual noise. Your brain can easily follow a conversation between two or three people, but when there are a thousand people talking the brain can no longer pick out individual sounds. Your brain interprets white noise the same way that it interprets the roar of a crowd. White noise is soothing for everyone, especially babies who miss the constant white noise of blood rushing through the body and the sound of their mother’s heartbeat.
Babies and White Noise
Babies are accustomed to a noisy environment before they are even born. Parents and other people usually think they should be quiet while the baby is sleeping, but babies who are used to sleeping in noisy environments tend to sleep better than those who have become accustomed to silence. Placing a white noise machine in your baby or child’s room will help them sleep better for the same reasons that it helps you sleep better. They will be less likely to be startled and wake up to sudden sounds. White noise also makes babies feel safe and comfortable because it is the same type of noise they heard constantly in the womb. The sound of white noise will mask the noise that you and other members of the household make, allowing you to be productive when the children are sleeping.
Other Uses for White Noise
White noise is very effective for helping people fall asleep and stay asleep. It can also be used for blocking out noise while you are trying to concentrate at work. Most offices are busy and employees are easily distracted by ringing phones, conversations between coworkers and other normal noises that don’t demand their immediate attention. People with ADD have found white noise to be especially effective for blocking out unnecessary stimulation and allowing them to focus on the task at hand.
Various white noise generators are available both in stores and online. These machines play white noise at a consistent level, and most of them allow you to adjust the volume level so that it is comfortable for you. Some play sounds that are similar to ocean waves crashing on the shore, while others sound more like a fan. Most white noise machines are portable and easy-to-use.
About the Author: OnlineClock.net are the creators of a white noise alarm clock at Moods.OnlineClock.net. This is a web-based alarm clock that lets you choose many different kinds of soothing white noise and background sounds to help you fall asleep faster and more peacefully. It’s free for everyone to use, so try it right now!