‘In turn, it also helps protect your ears from any disruptive background noise, such as a car driving past your window, which can prevent you from falling into a slumber.’
‘However, many people are unaware that different coloured noises have different benefits and can be used to solve many sleep problems.’
Coloured noise you should listen
Best for those that suffer from insomnia or for children with ADHD. Insomnia is the most common issue for one in 12 Britons diagnosed with a sleep problem. But white noise is a good mask for those with insomnia, as it’s an equal amount of all audible sound frequencies at once.
Martin Seeley, said: ‘Think of white noise as a clean white sheet for your ears that blocks out all other noise disturbances. It sounds like the faint static of a fan or TV static. However, this type of noise isn’t for everyone, as it emphasises high-frequency sounds which can be too noisy for some people.’
That being said, white noise has been reported to help toddlers fall asleep. Like TikTokers have also stated about brown noise, white noise can benefit children with ADHD and improve their performance on memory and verbal tasks, easing anxiety.
Best for light sleepers or those that wake up with low energy. Pink noise creates a harmonious balance of high and low frequencies, which mimic natural sounds.
Martin Seeley, CEO and sleep expert at MattressNextDay, says: ‘Pink noise uses deeper sounds than white noise, so it can appear more soothing and gentler on the ear. Studies have also found that pink noise helps you spend more time in deep sleep, which means you wake up with more energy.’
Best for those living in loud, busy areas or struggling to drown out internal thoughts at night. Brown noise is deeper than pink, as it has higher energies at lower frequencies.
Martin said: ‘While there is much less research on how brown noise can help you sleep, and there isn’t a definitive answer as it impacts each person differently, it has been reported to induce sleep and help with relaxation.’
‘With brown noise, you can hear every frequency the ear can detect, creating an immersive experience that smothers other thoughts, meaning you can focus on one clear thing – such as relaxing, reading or sleeping. This also makes it the best-coloured noise for those that struggle to drown out their internal thoughts at night.’
Best for those that are stressed and struggle to switch off at night. Green noise is a variation of white noise in the middle of the spectrum. But as its name suggests, many sounds are what we would consider nature. Think of it like ocean waves.
Green noise frequency is not particularly high – the higher the frequency gets, the more sensitive we are – so it is good for those who like ambient noise in the background when trying to sleep.
‘Some great examples of green noise can be the sound of water on a beach or trickling waterfalls – anything that is attuned to nature and promotes relaxation. If you are struggling with stress in everyday life, this noise could help restore some sense of calm,’ says Martin.
Best for those that have tinnitus. To describe grey noise would be similar to white noise but more balanced, as it produced noise at high and low frequencies. As every person hears differently, grey noise sounds different to each ear. But it is used to help drown other sounds and for people with tinnitus who are sensitive to everyday sounds.
Best for those that have tried every coloured noise option but prefer something higher pitched. While not often used widely as sleep support, that’s not to say blue noise can’t aid with sleep for some people.
‘Blue noise is, essentially, noise that contains all the audible frequencies, but the high frequencies are amplified. Think the opposite of the low frequencies of brown noise, as this noise is akin to a hissing tap. Though it might not sound very relaxing, sleepers who aren’t as sensitive to higher-pitched sounds may prefer blue noise,’ says Martin.
Top six tips for using coloured noises
Test out the different noises using sleep apps or Spotify
Alongside the Spotify recommendations, you can download apps that share different sounds and noises, which lets you test which works best. Some examples are SimplyNoise, Rainy Mood and even the Calm app.
Try headphones when playing different sounds
If you need to block out external noises, headphones or even noise eye masks might help you understand the different sounds to sleep to. You may also need to experiment with different volumes to find the right level to send you off to sleep.
Check if the apps you are using loop the sound
If you are listening to a particular app and it loops the sound (so you can listen to it throughout the night), this can disrupt sleep so try to find one that doesn’t do that or does it subtly so as not to interrupt your quality of sleep.
Give yourself time to adapt to the noise
If you, or your partner, are trying a different type of noise to sleep, give yourself time to adapt. I suggest two-three nights, so don’t worry if you struggle the first night.
Follow a sleep schedule
To get this right, I recommend following a sleep schedule to get the most out of your ‘new sleep.’ What we mean by that is going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, including on your day or days off, to get yourself into a good schedule.
Prioritise your bedtime routine
This is unique to each person but if you find you sleep better after a warm shower, 30 minutes of exercise or reading a book, make sure you take the time to prioritise that to ensure you get the best quality rest.