What is White Noise?

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Published On
09 May, 2022
Read Time
2 minutes

By definition, white noise is a 'noise containing many frequencies with equal intensities', but what is it and how exactly does it work?

After your little one has spent so long in the womb, it can be very stressful being exposed to the noisy outside world. White noise is a parenting phenomenon and a tool commonly used as an effective way of comforting distressed and crying babies.

White noise is a calming, continuous sound that's mostly used to mask unwanted noise and mimic the continuous sounds your baby hears in the womb. People sometimes compare white noise to the static that comes from an untuned radio or television. It reduces stress, soothes them to sleep, and stops them being woken by loud or sudden background noises.

The truth is, it's not just for babies, parents can benefit from it's snoozy sound too!

What about pink noise?

From our work with the sleep lab, we found that low frequency sound is more efficient than higher when trying to relax. Pink noise is the most balanced and natural of all sounds - it's like soothing background noise. It encourages deeper sleep whilst enhancing slow brain wave activity which is critical for memory and learning efficiency.

According to the Sleep Foundation "like white noise, pink noise is a broadband sound containing components from across the sound spectrum. Pink noise contains sounds within each octave, but the power of its frequencies decreases by three decibels with each higher octave. As a result, pink noise sounds lower pitched than white noise. Researchers have compared the sound of pink noise to the noise produced by a waterfall. Studies have found that pink noise can enhance deep sleep and improve cognitive performance."

How can you incorporate sound into your baby's bedtime routine?

If you're interested in using sound to soothe your baby, you can consider making it a regular part of their bedtime routine.

Because we are creatures of habit (and babies are no different), it's a good idea to begin getting your little one ready for bed at the same time each evening. Be sure to look out for their sleepy cues, and keep the environment around them calm.

You can lead with a warm bath and some cosy story-reading, and once they're ready to catch some ZZZ's, you can dim the lights, and switch on your soothing sound device to help them doze off.