Can’t Sleep? Try Some ‘Pink Noise’ Tonight

March 25, 2014 Updated: March 25, 2014

Most of us associate good, deep sleep with a silent bedroom.

And yet, millions of people toss and turn in bed every night, despite switching off the light and turning off the noise. It is estimated that in America alone, about 70 million people suffer from chronic sleep problems.

Research shows that you could invite deep sleep by introducing more sound into your sleeping environment. During one study, conducted at China’s Peking University, scientists found that a whopping 75% of respondents reported deeper sleep when exposed to a particular kind of sound (compared to no sound): pink noise.

Pink noise is a steady, unbroken sound. This could be the pitter-patter of raindrops, the gentle blowing of the wind, or even the sound of a humidifier.

Why does more sound make us sleep better? A steady stream of noise helps block out sudden changes in sound. As Colin Lecher explains in Popular Science, “When a noise wakes you up in the night, it’s not the noise itself that wakes you up, per se, but the sudden change or inconsistencies in noise that jar you.”

How is pink noise different than the more well-known white noise? Pink noise is essentially white noise turned down in intensity, which makes it softer on the ear. (For a more technical explanation, you can read this article.) If pink noise doesn’t cut it for you, experiment with white noise or other types of sound.

Modern technology makes it easy to introduce these gentle sounds into the bedroom–at the touch of a button, you can download an App that recreates the sounds of nature, lulling you into sweet sleep.


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