Many people rely on the soothing sounds of what we call ‘white noise’ to help them drift off to sleep and stay asleep. Made up of a variety of sound waves that extend across a wide frequency range, white noise masks other more jarring and inconsistent noise that may occur when you’re sleeping, allowing you to continue to sleep uninterrupted. However, it turns out that white noise’s more comforting, balanced and lesser-known cousin, pink noise, might offer more health benefits – especially for older adults.
Researchers at Northwestern University published the results of a small study exploring the effects of pink noise on adults over 60 in 2017. For the over-60 crowd, sleep can become much less valuable for memory consolidation because when we age we experience far less slow wave sleep, the kind that helps us piece together memories. While white noise combines sounds of multiple frequencies, pink noise more evenly distributes sound. With pink noise, every octave has equal power, making it sound more natural to the human ear. By syncing pink noise to the rhythm of the subjects’ brain waves, scientists discovered that this sound stimulation significantly increased deep sleep periods and improved memory retention.
While more involved studies are needed to conclude the long-term benefits of syncing pink noise with brain wave rhythms, there is hope that this process could ultimately yield an affordable solution providing the same health gains without a sleep lab. But regardless, simply listening to pink noise can definitely aid in general sleep improvement and relaxation, which is music to everyone’s ears.
If you’re interested in experiencing pink and white noise as well as the differences between them, try this Spotify playlist. You can also use a playlist like this one to create a restful atmosphere in your showroom.
This article originally appeared in Sleep Retailer eNews on July 12, 2018
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