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We've all heard of white noise and how it helps people fall asleep, but now scientists have discovered how pink noise can make us sleepy too.
Unfortunately, insomnia and other sleep disorders have increased dramatically in the last decade, probably due to the prevalence of technology and a faster pace of life.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of adults do not get the recommended amount of sleep each night.
Here are just a few health consequences of lack of sleep:
- -Memory problems
- -Problems concentrating and thinking clearly
- Weakened immune system
- -Higher risk of developing diabetes.
- -Increases the risk of heart disease
- -Poor balance and coordination
- -Risk of gaining weight and obesity.
- -The risk of accidents increases
- -Anxiety and depression, along with other mental illnesses, can develop.
- -Interruption of hormone production.
As you can see, lack of sleep can affect many aspects of your health, and today, people seem to have more sleep problems than ever. Many doctors recommend white noise to help people sleep better, but now, pink noise appears to be promising as well.
Below we will explain what pink noise is and how you can incorporate it into your sleep routine to get a good night's sleep.
RESEARCH REVEALS HOW PINK NOISE PROMOTES BETTER SLEEP:
First of all, what the heck is pink noise? It works in the lower range of frequencies compared to white noise, so this produces deeper sounds with more bass.
Humans can hear frequencies ranging from 20 hertz to 20,000 kHz. Frequency means the number of times per second that a sound wave repeats itself, which determines the pitch of the sound. When we look at the frequency scale, 20 hertz is the lowest, so it will have a shallow tone. At the opposite extreme, 20,000 kHz is the highest pitch and frequency we can hear.
THESE ARE A FEW COMMON EXAMPLES OF PINK NOISE YOU MAY LIKELY HEAR AT SOME TIME:
- -Constant rain
- -The wind whispering through the leaves
- -Smooth ocean waves
- -Rumbling bass thunder
- -A low roaring waterfall
- -A fan on a low setting
Experts now believe that pink noise may even surpass white noise in its ability to help people sleep better, but they still need to do more studies comparing the two. However, in a 2012 study, participants who heard the pink noise while sleeping more soundly than the two who slept without any noise. This result came about because it slowed down the participants' brain waves, allowing them to fall into deep sleep for a longer period.
Pink noise can also positively affect memory. In a 2017 study, researchers played pink noise in sync with people's delta brain waves (corresponding to deep sleep) and found that people improved memory tests by 26% the next day. Additionally, a small study conducted in 2019 found that pink noise improved deep sleep and memory recall in people with mild dementia.
Also, pink noise can mask other noise that can make it difficult to fall asleep, such as cars or loud music. Not to mention, listening to the sounds of nature will automatically lower your stress levels and put you in a much more relaxed state, helping you fall asleep faster.
Here is a description of the different types of noise, classified by color:
In short, pink noise is like white noise, except it is much deeper. It works at lower frequencies and has a deep, booming sound.
White noise is made up of all frequencies. It is distributed evenly across the frequency scale, unlike pink noise, and creates an even hum.
Examples of white noise include:
- humming fan
- -radio or static television
- whistling radiator
- -air conditioning hum
Since white noise works together with all frequencies equally, sleep therapists often recommend it to help their patients sleep better, as it will easily mask other sounds.
Brown noise is even deeper than pink noise as it works at lower frequencies.
Examples of brown noise include:
- -anything with a low roar sound
- -strong waterfalls
Brown noise sounds similar to white noise to the human ear, but you can tell it apart because brown noise will have a deeper frequency. There are no studies on the effectiveness of brown noise for better sleep, but waterfalls and thunder can have a relaxing impact on some people.
Black noise simply means no sound. If you've ever been in a sensory deprivation tank, you'll know exactly how it feels. However, we usually don't have the opportunity to experience this in daily life, because even at night, we can hear the air conditioning or insects outside. However, if you have a soundproof room, you may experience the tranquility of the absence of sound.
If you frequently have trouble falling asleep at night and don't like noise at bedtime, we have some other suggestions for you. Experts have found that relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, can promote better sleep and lower the stress response.
Here are a few to try if you frequently experience insomnia or other sleep problems:
THE 2 TO 1 EXERCISE
Here's how to do this breathing technique: breathe out for twice the time you breathe in with the same breath. This breathing exercise benefits both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system is less stimulated during this breathing exercise, which increases activity in the parasympathetic nervous system. In turn, this slows the heart rate and relaxes the body.
Inhale as long as you feel comfortable; for most people, it is three to four seconds. Do this exercise while sitting upright in a chair with your spine aligned, or while lying in bed with your arms at your sides and your palms up. After inhaling, exhale for twice that amount of time. Count each breath out loud, not in your head, because you want to put your full attention on your breaths.
Contract your abdominal muscles and deepen your exhalations to expel excess carbon dioxide, increasing blood flow to your heart and lungs.
THE BREATHING EXERCISE 4-7-8
Otherwise known as relaxing breathing, this breathing technique helps some people fall asleep in just one minute. Creator Dr. Andrew Weil says that this technique is "a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system." As a practitioner of holistic medicine and health, Dr. Weil developed the 4-7-8 breathing method to help people sleep better and also reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
This breathing technique helps to settle the mind and body in the present moment, which can greatly help those suffering from anxiety and panic attacks. People with anxiety disorders have trouble relaxing their minds, but taking deep breaths helps us reconnect with our bodies. This breathing exercise also helps to expel excess carbon so the body feels lighter and more relaxed to sleep.
To do the 4-7-8 breathing technique, inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold for seven, and exhale with your mouth open for eight seconds. While doing the exercise, touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth in the area just behind your front teeth. Make sure to focus on regulating your breathing and try to exercise at least twice a day.
ALTERNATIVE NOSE BREATHING
This technique comes from a yogic exercise called pranayama. When you do this exercise, you will feel a deep sense of peace and calm as it helps balance each side of the brain for better sleep and relaxation.
First, place your right thumb on your right nostril and then inhale deeply through the left. When you have inhaled fully, remove your thumb and place your ring finger on your left nostril and exhale slowly and evenly. Repeat this exercise several times. Afterwards, you will feel more calm and you will be able to fall asleep more easily.
Remember not to focus on counting the seconds, but simply to focus on your breathing. Focus on how it feels to breathe deeply through each nostril and how feelings of relaxation begin to invade you. Don't put your attention on anything except your breath, because this brings you to your mind and body.
FINAL REFLECTIONS ON HOW PINK NOISE PROMOTES A BETTER SLEEP
While more studies need to be done on this topic, small preliminary studies have shown promise on how pink noise can promote better sleep. Many people around the world struggle with insomnia and other sleep disorders. However, soothing noises like waterfalls and rain can go a long way to soothe a troubled mind.
If you often have racing thoughts and trouble sleeping well, try apps on your phone or pink noise machines to promote better sleep. Many people find that listening to peaceful noises before bed helps them fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly at night.