Sound plays a vital role in our lives, and it can have a significant impact on our sleep. The right type of sound can create a peaceful and relaxing environment, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Nevertheless, there are certain sounds that can be disruptive and in some cases even cause insomnia. Fortunately, sound is not singular and there are many types and frequencies to choose from.
Brown noise, also referred to as Brownian noise, is a specific type of sound that has a lower frequency and a deeper tone in comparison to white or pink noise. It’s characterized by a frequency range that is similar to the sound of a waterfall or ocean waves, and these sounds can have a calming effect on the mind and body.
If you’re not familiar with sound frequencies and how they are categorized by different colors, we’ll go into some of the different sounds in a bit more detail but we also wrote an article that will break down everything you need to know to find the right type of sound for your needs.
For now we’re going to focus on brown noise, its potential benefits for sleep, and how you can use it to get a good night’s rest.
Understanding Brown Noise
Before we dive into the benefits of incorporating brown noise into your sleep routine, let’s take a closer look at what it is and how it differs from other types of sounds.
When we talk about different color sounds, the first one that comes to mind is white noise. White noise is a type of noise that has a flat frequency spectrum and is characterized by a high-pitched sound, and is easily the most popular and well known sound frequency, partially because there is more discussion about it than most other sounds. If you’re not sure what white noise is, think about the sound of a fan or radio static when you’re trying to tune it to the right stations. It can actually be quite effective in masking out other sounds in the environment and many people use it not only for themselves but also during their babies’ sleep times to create an atmosphere of calming silence.
Pink noise is another popular colored sound and has a frequency spectrum that is similar to white noise but with a lower pitch. It is often compared to the sound of rain or wind and is effective in helping people relax, fall asleep faster, and stay asleep throughout the night.
Just like white and pink noise, brown noise is used to mask out other sounds in the environment. However, it has a frequency range that is lower than white and pink noises and is characterized by a deeper rumbling sound similar to that of a thunderstorm or waterfall.
The main difference between brown, pink, and white noises is their respective distribution of energy across different frequency bands. White noise’s energy is equally distributed across all frequencies, while pink and brown noise have more energy in lower frequencies – brown noise even more so.
The Science of Sleep and Sound
Now that we have a better understanding of brown noise, let’s take a look at the science behind how sound can affect sleep.
The right amount and type of sound can also help improve sleep quality by masking disruptive noises and creating a peaceful and relaxing environment.
Some studies have shown that room acoustics of different frequencies and decibel (dB) levels can affect the quality of your sleep. For instance, a study published in the Noise & Health International Journal found that a sound frequency of 50 decibels or lower was associated with better sleep quality while frequencies of 60 decibels or higher were associated with lessened sleep quality.
Needless to say, this isn’t great news for people living in cities and metropolitan areas where car horns, trains and other environmental sounds are sometimes higher than those numbers. Luckily, on the scale of sound frequencies, brown noise has a decreased decibel level which means that it is a low and undisturbing sound.
What does all of this mean? Simply put, it’s been shown that brown noise can be very effective in helping individuals fall asleep faster while having a significant impact on sleep overall, reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and increasing the amount of time spent in deep sleep.
How to Use Brown Noise for Sleep
We all want better quality sleep, now that we know brown noise can help achieve a deeper and more restful night, how do you get access to these sounds? Sleep specialists recommend you use brown noise for a duration of 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed and throughout the duration of your sleep so that the calming, relaxing effects continue to have positive effects throughout the night and help to keep you asleep. The 12 Hour Sound Machines podcast is a great resource where you can play 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep-aiding brown noise right from the smartphone, desktop or laptop you already use.
Another thing to consider is that not all brown noise is created equal so it’s worth trying to find the right type of brown noise that works best for you. Some people may prefer the sound of a thunderstorm, while others are more partial to the sound of a running fan so we have a number of different sounds for you to choose from.
Additional Benefits of Brown Noise
Brown noise also has other positive effects on our overall well-being, one of which is its stress reducing properties. Some scientists are even finding evidence that the effects of brown noise specifically in those who experience stress and anxiety find those symptoms reduced after an extended period of sound exposure which is likely due to the calming effect it can have on both the mind and body.
If in addition to improved quality sleep and stress relief, you are looking for ways to improve your concentration and productivity, you might want to try tuning in while you’re working because brown noise can also help mask other noises in the environment, making it easier to focus on the task at hand.
To Wrap Up
With its ability to mask other sounds around you to help you fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer while also having positively reducing stress and anxiety, improving focus and productivity, and benefitting tinnitus symptoms, brown noise is an ideal sound if you are looking for a way to incorporate colored noises into your overall wellness and sleep routine. Our podcast makes it easy to get started – just press play, and see how fast you fall asleep.