Using White Noise to Mask Sleep Interruptions

Using White Noise to Mask Sleep Interruptions

If you have difficulty getting to sleep and are easily disturbed, you may want to consider using white noise to help mask noise that seeps into your resting place. This type of sleep therapy is known to help people who are awakened by peripheral noise, such as traffic from the street or a noisy neighbor.

White noise can help mask these other noises so that you can sleep through them, ideally enabling you to achieve a more restful slumber and the benefits that come with it. White noise is also useful for those who have trouble sleeping when it’s “too quite.”

What is white noise? It’s not simply soft ocean waves or the soothing sounds of the autumn wind blowing through the trees. Technically, it includes all sound frequencies within the range of human hearing combined.

It’s similar to the color white being produced from a combination of all other colors, which may be why they call it white noise. The “noise” is random, meaning it doesn’t have rhyme or reason unless it’s manipulated.

It doesn’t follow a pattern like normal sound does. Rather, it’s mixed up and in constant transformation, creating the “swooshing” effect that our ears absorb. According to experts, the reason why white noise is so soothing is because the masking effect produced covers all other sounds – from high to low pitches.

If your sleep is being disturbed by a dog barking outside, white noise theoretically can help muffle, mask, or cancel-out that sound. On a whole, white noise sounds relatively high-pitched to us (though at a “hum”).

The reason why it doesn’t keep us awake is because the noise essentially overloads our auditory systems and for most of us, provides a distraction from competing sounds. It prevents us from zeroing in on any one sound, so we simply become “numb” to them all.

While we may think of white noise as being tranquil sounds from nature, it’s actually closer to the sound a fan makes. Pure white noise can be “tuned” to more closely resemble these soothing, familiar sounds.

An ocean wave gently rolling onto shore or a light rain against the windowpane are sounds now easily found on white-noise CDs that are sold in stores, which also holds the advantage of volume control and repetition. Set your CD on repeat and let the white noise help you sleep through the night.

Other forms of white noise include a ceiling or box fan, static from a radio or a furnace or air conditioner with a low hum. There are also actual white-noise or sound-conditioning machines, which serve a specific purpose of helping you find the sleep you crave.

Some white noise CDs contain a number of different “scenes” to choose from. All are composed to create an oasis of relaxation and ultimately promote sleep. Find the one that best lulls you to sleep and end those days of feeling tired, drowsy, and irritable.