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Background Noise for Your Best Night’s Sleep

— by Tempur-Pedic on Oct 27, 2023

couple sleeping in bed at night

Falling asleep and staying asleep is often more challenging than it seems. A partner or the room’s temperature might be sleep disruptors for some. For others, loud sounds like a neighborhood dog barking or sirens can keep them awake. While we can’t always control our surroundings, we can certainly do our best to cultivate a thriving sleep zone – and incorporating background noise is an excellent step in the right direction. In a 2023 survey, 52% of adults said they rely on ambient noise to get a good night’s sleep.* According to Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist specializing in sleep disorders, unwanted sound is the most commonly reported nightly disruption.** In settings that are too quiet, a snoring partner, passing traffic, or a dog barking becomes more noticeable to some individuals. By incorporating a sound machine into your nighttime routine, you can create a space that masks environmental noises that would otherwise interrupt your sleep.

For years, having a fan running was said to be considered white noise when, in fact, it isn’t. There are several types of background noises – or sound frequencies – called sonic hues. These hues consist of, but are not limited to, white noise, pink noise, and brown noise. The energy of the sound signal determines the color of the noise and, more specifically, the speed of sound. Let’s take a closer look at these different types of noises, their benefits, and discover whether background noise can help you get a better night’s sleep.

White Noise

White noise is the most commonly used background noise, consisting of all the frequencies any person could hear – around 20,000 tones – layered into one sound. White noise is typically compared to TV static, an air-conditioning unit’s humming, or a radiator’s hissing. Included on any sound machine or app, this sonic hue is preferred by many sleepers.

Pink Noise

Pink noise is deeper in tone than white noise, and while it also consists of all the same frequencies, they are not equally distributed. Pink noise is the subtle rise and descent of sound and is usually compared to falling rain, rustling leaves, or a gentle breeze.^^

Brown Noise

Brown noise provides higher energy at a lower frequency. Unlike pink noise, brown noise is constant. Some describe brown noise as the sound in an airplane cabin during flight, others as low roaring or loud waterfalls.

While research studies have resulted in conflicting data about whether adding background noise improves sleep quality, we do know that it has several key benefits. The first is that it can help block out disruptive sounds such as neighbors, vehicles, or roommates. Additionally, background noise and sound machines can help train your brain to know when it’s time to go to sleep.^

Introducing a sound machine into your sleep space is an easy way to improve your sleep and promote relaxation. However, if you’re not quite ready to invest in a sound machine, several apps for your Smartphone, YouTube videos, and more contain plenty of options, from white noise to nature sounds. The TEMPUR-Ergo® ProSmart® base could also be a great addition to your sleep routine. Featuring SoundScape™ Mode, you’ll unwind and relax to your favorite sounds in an immersive experience. Connect any smartphone or device using Bluetooth® wireless technology to surround yourself with crashing waves, deep white noise, or your favorite soft jazz songs to relax and drift off to sleep. The sound works with the base’s massage feature, which will pulse and vibrate in sync with the sound waves.

If you take the time to discover your ideal relaxation sound – whether white noise, instrumental music, or calming rainfall – it could make all the difference.


*The Sleep Doctor

**Everyday Health



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