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Can white noise help sleep?

10-03-2012

It sounds counterintuitive but if you are having trouble sleeping you might need more noise, not less. Received wisdom suggests that the less noise the better when it comes to trying to get to sleep and staying asleep, however, it all depends on what the noise is and the ambient and occasional noise levels of your bedroom.

White noise has been found to help people get to sleep and stay asleep. It masks other noise which might disturb you and ensures that you have a constant, and therefore acceptable, noise level.

So what exactly is white noise? White noise is composed of many noises at random, meaning that it has no rhyme or patterns. It is the auditory version of the static you see on your TV.  It is generally composed from sounds of all frequencies, meaning that it is able to mask any and all other sounds. It doesn’t have to be played loudly in a room to mask the majority of other sounds that might disturb you.

Because white noise is so random and goes across the sound spectrum, it overloads our auditory senses, neutralising all sounds. There are a number of white noise albums or you can get your own white noise machine which will help you to sleep.


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