White Noise: Benefit or Hindrance?

Do you need absolute silence in order to fall asleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation, 74 percent of Americans say a quiet bedroom is important to a good night’s sleep. In addition, 5 percent of Americans report using some sort of sound conditioner in their bedrooms to help them fall asleep and stay asleep at night.

White noise is a heterogeneous mixture of sound waves extending over a wide frequency range,  and research has shown that white noise can actually help those who have a difficult time falling or staying asleep throughout the night.

A fan or other white noise machine can help block out ambient noise and produce a soothing and relaxing environment that helps induce sleep.

Noise Masking

Boise Mattress vintage fan

According to an article I read on Sleep Junkies, when you add white noise or other similar sound to your sleep environment, you’re utilising a principle known as sound masking: an action that doesn’t necessarily drown out the offending sounds that keep you from sleeping, but just “masks” them by using the frequencies of a white noise signal.

Some people have often wondered or asked their physicians if the long-term use of white noise has the potential to be harmful, but so far, studies have produced only positive results. A study of the disturbance levels in intensive care units (ICUs) found that the patients’ episodes of wakefulness were reduced significantly when the ICU noise was mixed with a form of white noise.

No long-term studies have been made on the effects that white noise can have on humans, as of yet.

It’s Not Just for Sleeping!

A study unrelated to sleep, conducted by the Department of Psychology at the Stockholm University in Sweden, produced results that showed white noise is beneficial in improving concentration in ADHD patients.

It appears that even though there isn’t a long-running study that would suggest sleeping with white noise is either harmful or beneficial, it doesn’t sound like it’s a problem either. And in that case, those who need a small “jet” in their rooms to help induce sleep can continue without fear of harm!

Find a bed that makes you feel good,

Scott