Sleep is one of the most important blessings that mankind has been gifted with. 8 hours of sleep is essential if you want to be active and productive during the day, but what if you have difficulty in falling asleep. Maybe you are disturbed by the slightest sound and wake up immediately. There are various stages of sleep and you are more likely to wake up in the early stages than the latter. A white noise machine is a device that can help you in combating your sleep demons. It produces a relaxing and soothing sound that helps people putting them in dreamland, literally.
The brain can still process sounds even if you are asleep. So sudden changes in sounds even a little can wake you up from your slumber. White noise can help you out and cancel or diminish the effects of these noises.
But first, we need to know what white noise is?
This noise is called white noise because it is a combination of all noises that a person can hear. Just like white light. White light is a mixture of different colors. White noise was discovered by scientists in the latter half of the 18th century. Imagine all the different types of sounds you have ever heard in your life and combine them.
This is the reason that white noise is used for sleeping because it can subdue or eliminate other sounds like a dog barking or someone slamming the door and not wake you up. Some people can only sleep when the fan is turned on because it becomes too quiet without the fan being turned on and their ears can hear even the slightest whisper. By turning on the fan you are actually using the noise, has some similarity to white noise, to put you to bed.
The noise of the fan and natural sounds such as the sound of rain, wind, seas, waterfalls and flowing rivers are similar to white noise and sometimes included in the white noise machine playlist. Next, we need to know how it cancels the other sounds.
WHITE NOISE CANCELLING OTHER NOISES
Imagine you are in a place where there is no one around you and there are peace and quiet. Then two people come in talking with each other. You can hear what they are saying and your brain can process these sounds. You can understand what they are saying.
Now two more come in, you have difficulty in understanding each person’s individual voices and what they are saying. More and more people come in and that place is full of people thousands of people. You cannot pick up what each person is saying. All you can hear is what you would hear in a stadium or concert which is about to begin. This noise, what you are hearing, is white noise.
Similarly, when trying to sleep this noise helps the same way as you cannot pick up and decipher sounds which will disturb you in your sleep. Now there are machines which produce white noise. You don’t have to wait for the rain to produce white noise. There are machines which can do that for you.
WHITE NOISE MACHINE
White noise can be produced in a variety of ways there are various sources. There are machines made specifically for white noise but you can produce this noise from other sources. Air conditioner and a fan can be a great source of white noise plus it will keep the room cool especially during the hot and humid summer season.
Another great way to produce white noise is on the radio. You can adjust the radio between 2 stations so that you hear nothing but a hissing sound. Also, there are apps and websites which you can use to produce white noise. It is not recommended to look at your phone or a computer screen before you go to bed but if you are going to use it then use it to put you to bed. No need to use the TV to produce white noise as the television lights are harmful in putting you to sleep.
There are also machines that are specifically designed to produce white noise. They can either produce white noise by running a fan or play it in a loop. Either the way they are better than all the methods mentioned above if you have trouble going to sleep. You can put the white noise machine anywhere in your room, under the bed, on the floor or somewhere but not near your pillow or under it. This is because you want your white noise machine to cancel other noises, not constantly be the racket itself and keep you awake all night.
WHAT DO THE RESEARCHERS SAY?
There has been a lot of research conducted in white noise. A study was conducted in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Iran in 2016. The patients were divided into 2 groups. One group of patients was made to hear normal sounds of the hospital, while the other group of patients had a white noise playing for them of 50 to 60 decibels. The results were interesting. They reported that the group which had white noise playing for them had a better quality of sleep than the other group.
In similar research conducted in London but this time the subjects were newborn babies. This research was conducted in 1990. Similar to the previous research they divided the babies into 2 groups. 20 babies were in their cots in complete silence and for the other 20 babies, white noise was played through a white noise machine. The machine was placed 30 cm from their heads. The result of their research was that 80% of the babies, which amounts to 16, were asleep in 5 minutes when the white noise started playing. While only 5 fell asleep at the same time for the group with no white noise. They also came to the conclusion that lower frequencies were effective in putting babies to bed.
Sleep is very important to feel fresh and energized. If you can’t sleep properly it will affect your work, your daily routine and you will feel lazy and lethargic all day. So if you are a sound sleeper and any kind of disturbance does not affect you then good for you but if the slightest sound can wake you up then white noise machines can be really helpful in canceling that dog bark, door shut or even the sound of cars if you live in the busy side of the town.