Do White Noise Machines Help You Sleep?
They are designed to help control the levels of noise that are present in the environment to create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere, but do white noise machines help you sleep? They are to sound what air conditioners are to temperature, and can be an invaluable device to have around the home, especially if you find yourself being distracted and unable to concentrate because of irritating noises.
In this article we will be looking at how these machines work and who stands to benefit from them.
What is a White Noise Machine?
At first it may seem counter-productive to add extra noise to your room to aid you with sleeping, but by drowning out distracting noises and replacing them with calmer sounds you can create a perfect sleeping environment.
The main reasons sounds affect the way you sleep is because of their irregularity, and your brain’s interpretation of them being a potential threat. It is the sudden change or inconsistency of a sound that disturbs you, not the fact that there is a sound in the first place. White noise machines emit a constant sound, and make it far easier for your mind to rest.
These machines are particularly helpful for people who find it difficult to get to sleep and, depending on the white noise machine you choose, can emit a wide range of calm soundtracks. They are also helpful for reducing the annoyance of snoring, keeping your noisy office cubicle more suitable for work, and even for reducing the effects of tinnitus.
How Do White Noise Machines Work?
The reason why white noise machines have an effect is by covering up the unwanted sounds in the room and replacing them with other, more consistent ones. Depending on the product, this is done by traditional white noise, which is a constant emission of tones across all frequencies.
For example, a note you may be familiar with from music is a middle C, which is about 261.6 hertz. A white noise machine will emit the same volume of this note as it will of every other one within the hearable range of a human and, as a result, create consistency across the whole band and reduce the effects of other noises that are present within that range.
The Different Types
There are further variations on this idea. Pink noise, for example, is louder at lower frequencies than higher ones and can be better for those with tinnitus or who dislike the upper sound ranges. You can also get violet noise, brown noise, and a series of others that target specific audible frequencies, with some people preferring them to white noise, which is constant across the board.
Some white noise machines opt to use relaxing sounds and tones instead of a true white noise. These are similar to what you might hear during a massage, with whale song or rainfall, for example, but the crucial thing is that it’s a predictable and un-obtrusive noise that allows your brain to adapt to it and not be surprised.
One Main Sound
Think of it like this. If you are in a dark room and shine a torch on the wall, your attention focuses on the lit area. If you do the same thing, but this time with the main light switched on in the room, then the effects of the torch are far less pronounced. This is because the addition of the extra light source makes little difference in combination with the rest of the light in the room, and your brain is less distracted by it.
The exact same thing happens with sound, and a white noise machine is the same as having the main light switched on. It floods your sensory inputs with information on all frequencies, which is easy for your brain to exclude and let you relax. Any further sounds will just get caught up within all of this, and hardly be registered.
Will a White Noise Machine Drown out Snoring?
With all of the anti-snoring products available on the market, white noise machines are the least obtrusive choice you could make. One of the top reasons for disturbed sleep is due to the noises being made by a partner, so if those effects can be minimized it leads to a much better night.
Rather than trying to stop the snoring at the source, like breathing adapters try to do with limited success, white noise machines emit sounds at all of the frequencies that are within a snore, so your brain is not as surprised by it as it would have been otherwise. This means that, while you will still hear someone who is snoring, the noises they make will be far less abrasive, and you will be able to easily relax and sleep.
The Final Verdict
Do white noise machines help you sleep? Absolutely. There are a number of products available that aim to drown out unwanted noises, and even more products that claim they will help you sleep. A white noise machine does both, and can be used for anything where you need your concentration to be at its strongest. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.