Urbana, Illinois,
10:41 AM

Pink noise can help with sound sleep


Key takeaways:

  • Pink noise includes all frequencies, but the high ones are dampened.
  • You can use a smart speaker, smartphone app or YouTube video to try pink noise while sleeping.
  • Good sleep is linked to better heart health.

Here’s something new to try if you want to sleep better and, in turn, have better heart health: pink noise.

Abraham Kocheril, MD, is director of cardiac electrophysiology at OSF HealthCare Cardiovascular Institute in Urbana, Illinois. He breaks down how pink noise differs from other background noise types you may have heard about.

  • Brown noise: Lower frequencies are emphasized. Thunder is an example.
  • Blue noise: Higher frequencies are emphasized. Think of a hissing garden hose.
  • White noise: This includes all the frequencies in sound. It’s usually used to drown out other sounds, but it may not be the best for sleep since high frequencies are harsh to the ear. Examples include a vacuum cleaner or the hum of an air conditioner.
  • Pink noise: This includes all frequencies, but the high ones are dampened. Examples include waves hitting the shore, leaves rustling in the trees and rainfall.

               “It’s kind of the answer to white noise,” Dr. Kocheril says.

“A study showed people get deeper sleep with pink noise,” he adds. “One of the important things about deep sleep is that’s when you lay down memories.”

Why it’s important

Dr. Kocheril says people are sleeping less and getting less good, deep sleep. They may be stressed, live in a noisy area or just have poor sleep habits. As a result, their memory suffers.

“[Pink noise] could be a healthier way to sleep. It could reverse some of the trends in society,” Dr. Kocheril suggests.

And while pink noise and heart health aren’t linked, good sleep and heart health are.

“People who don’t sleep well tend to have more anxiety and heart rhythm disturbances,” Dr. Kocheril says. “Sometimes you can diminish things like atrial fibrillation [an irregular heartbeat] by sleeping well or getting more sleep.”

Give it a try

Want to give pink noise a try tonight? Dr. Kocheril says it’s as simple as finding a smartphone app or YouTube video. Try different versions of pink noise until you find one that works. Dr. Kocheril says most doctors won’t have much to say on noise-aided sleep. Save a doctor visit for more serious sleep concerns.

Learn more

Read more about getting good sleep and keeping your heart healthy on the OSF HealthCare website.

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