Could noise actually give a better night's sleep?

If you’re having trouble sleeping, you may have heard the thoughts that listening to sounds like white noise or ocean sounds may help. These sounds can actually help promote relaxation and reduce stress, which can lead to better sleep and there are options available for you to try.

Your reaction to sound is unique and individual, so experiment with different sounds to see what helps you relax. You may find that gentle, rhythmic sleep sounds are most effective or that you prefer something melodic. Try out several until you find the one that works best for you.


White noise is a mixture of all sound frequencies at once, at the same level of intensity. White noise provides a stream of sound that is steady and even, which may help reduce your brain’s reactivity to spikes in volume from environmental noises like slamming doors or car horns.

White noise can be related to sounds of a whirring fan, hissing radiator, humming air conditioner or television static can be soothing.


Brown noise is a low-frequency sound with a distinct, rumbling quality. It's often used to mask ringing in the ears and promote relaxation or focus. Examples of brown noise include rushing waterfalls or rivers, heavy rainfall, and rumbling thunder.


Pink noise contains all the sound frequencies that humans can hear, but at different volumes. Unlike white noise, which represents all the frequencies equally, the higher frequencies in pink noise are less intense.

Pink noise can reduce brain waves and increase stable sleep. Plus, pink noise helps you spend more time in deep, slow wave sleep which improves memory recall and makes you feel more refreshed when you wake up.

To generalise, these sounds are thought to be helpful for sleep because they create a consistent, calming background noise that can help mask other sounds and promote relaxation. However, it's worth noting that not everyone responds to these sounds in the same way, and some people may find them distracting or irritating. It's also important to use these sounds at a volume that is comfortable for you and to avoid using them at levels that could damage your hearing.