White noise, that serene shhhhhh noise created by the fan or air conditioner, is a special type of noise that occurs naturally in the environment. Similar to white light, white noise is a kind of noise that includes “all audible frequencies” — because of this special feature, white noise is excellent at masking or blocking out other noises, making it a special ally in the battle for a great night’s sleep.
In this guide, we’re going to count down five reasons why a white noise machine will help you get a better night’s sleep. All of the reasons we’re describing here apply particularly to the Classic LectroFan, one of the most popular white noise machines sold in Australia, which features twenty non-looping white and fan noises and a sleep timer, for the best night’s sleep.
1. White noise masks noise pollution.
As mentioned, white noise machines contain “all audible frequencies”. In the same way a bright white light can block out all other colours of light, a white noise machine can block out noise pollution. This includes snoring, noisy neighbours, rattling windows, traffic, or that toddler upstairs who has just learned to run and saves its marathons for three a.m.
This makes a white noise machine a great solution for urban living. If you find your sleep is interrupted by random outbreaks of noise in the night, a white noise machine can instead create a flat, even sound atmosphere. The brain can get used to that mild shhhh noise, which will block out random noise pollution and allow you to sleep better for longer.
2. White noise creates the same soothing feeling we associate with rain, wind, or the ocean.
Think about your ideal night’s sleep. A warm log cabin somewhere, metal roof, gentle rain. Or maybe a bed and breakfast along the coast, where the waves and the wind can be calmly heard. If this sounds like you, a white noise machine can create that soothing atmosphere anywhere.
Most white noise machines come programmed with a variety of fan and white noises, allowing you to find the appropriate volume and tone to maximise feelings of calm. By creating this kind of gentle atmosphere, the white noise machine makes it easier to get to or maintain sleep. This noise is consistent and long-lasting, without relying on the randomness of weather patterns to create an effective sleep atmosphere. It can guarantee that same noise over an entire eight hour sleep period, consistently and effectively, every night.
3. White noise helps prevent brain chatter.
There’s nothing worse than putting your head down on the pillow and remembering an email you have to send, an argument you had with your best friend in year three, or a time you embarrassed yourself in 1996. Brain chatter is a natural feature of our busy, interconnected world — but sometimes it’s a terrible enemy to sleep, and the brain has its ways of filling a quiet bedroom with all manner of intrusive thoughts.
Enter white noise. A white noise machine gives you a gentle external stimulus to focus on instead. Similar to meditation, having this light shhhh sound can help prevent your brain cycling through interrupting thoughts, allowing you to instead create the focus and calm necessary to drift to sleep.
4. White noise helps establish an effective sleep routine.
According to Health Direct, one of the most important elements of a good night’s sleep is having a consistent sleep routine. This means trying to go to sleep in the same way, at the same time, every night. This is because the body is a creature of habit. By doing things in the same order, at the same time, the brain subconsciously begins to produce the hormones that shut down the body for sleep time.
Some simple elements of a sleep routine include: having a consistent bedtime, showering before bed, having a ‘no phone buffer’ about thirty minutes and — yes, you guessed it — a white noise machine. As discussed, a white noise machine creates a calming atmosphere. After a few weeks sleeping with a white noise machine, the sound of white noise will begin to be associated with restful sleep by the brain, creating a ‘virtuous cycle’ whereby you find yourself sleeping better and better with the white noise. For more information on healthy sleep routines and sleep hacking, see our guide here.
5. White noise prevents ‘quiet room’ anxiety.
Particularly for individuals who have grown up in the city, there’s nothing more disconcerting than a quiet room. Similar to an adult version of the fear of monsters under the bed, a quiet room can ironically disrupt sleep even worse than snores or rattling windows. This is why so many people sleep with the fan or air conditioner on, even in winter!
A white noise machine provides a simple solution to this issue. At the lowest volume, it creates a comfortable degree of noise to treat this anxiety. It’s almost like having a sound version of a night light, creating enough security to allow your mind to rest and slip into a deep sleep.
A white noise machine can be an effective solution for improving your sleep. It allows you to mask disruptive noises with something soothing and comfortable, with an added bonus of having a meditative quality great for dealing with unnecessary brain chatter. As a starting point, we always recommend customers consider the classic and best LectroFan ($89.95, white and black models available). It’s got twenty non repeating noises, all digitally generated, and a high performing equaliser than ensures the same sound quality at all volumes.