The idea to replace the annoying night noise of cars outside the window or the spouse's snoring with other sounds seems illogical. However, white noise is a popular way to sleep well. We will tell you how sleeping in a noisy environment affects our health, what is white noise, how it is useful and whom it does not suit.
To feel how the noise interferes with healthy sleep, it is not necessary to fall asleep at a club. Even minor interference such as the clatter of cleaning equipment, music, the screams of passers-by on the street, or the snoring of a partner can seriously affect your well-being.
According to sleep experts, when a person is sleeping, noise is the first signal of danger to the body. Therefore, the brain is constantly busy processing ambient sounds. This prevents it from plunging into the deep phase of sleep when the body is completely resting. Even if a loud sound does not wake you up completely, it will return the brain to the phase of light sleep.
Most often, sleep disorders are experienced by those who live in large cities. People with sleep deprivation usually complain of daytime drowsiness, irritability, and lowered immune system.
When you constantly don’t get enough sleep, your body's ability to regulate stress hormones worsens which may lead to increased blood pressure. This not only increases your risk for heart problems and other health issues but may require high blood pressure treatment to avoid possible consequences.
If you constantly sleep with annoying noise in the background, you will notice that you become more tired, more likely to experience stress, and it will be more difficult for you to concentrate. Lack of quality rest can cause memory problems as well. Only in the phase of deep sleep does the brain process information received that day and forms short-term and long-term memory.
White noise is a combination of sounds with various frequencies that are played simultaneously. This is stationary noise which sounds monotonous, thanks to which it drowns out all other sounds. Since it covers so many sounds, it has the ability to mask the destructive noise of loud neighbors or a snoring partner while you sleep.
Physicists have come up with different colors to designate noise as it's easier to describe the statistical properties of sounds. In addition to white, there are also pink and blue noises. White noise got its name by analogy with the color white. The first combines the frequencies of the entire sound range, the second combines all existing colors.
In recent years, pediatricians advised using white noise in homes with newborn babies. It is believed that the baby in the uterus constantly hears white noise as the sound of the heart, the sound of flowing blood in the vessels, and the functioning of the stomach. Therefore, babies are already born with the habit of a constant monotonous sound which helps the baby calm down and sleep better.
Getting used to sleeping with white noise is easy even for adults. To do this, you can leave the fan, heater or humidifier turned on for the night. There are also special devices that emit white noise or you can simply play it on your phone or computer.
The main disadvantage of using white noise is that a person can become addicted to it. The brain will perceive this noise as a signal for sleep and in a situation where there is no source of familiar sounds, it will be extremely difficult for a person to fall asleep. To control dependence on white noise, experts recommend taking breaks from time to time.
Loud white noise can cause constant ringing in the ears and increased production of stress hormones. It’s better not to place the sound source near you and reduce the power to below 85 decibels.
Although we hear white noise from birth, it is not suitable for everyone. Someone just needs to sleep in silence. If a long, monotonous noise seems distracting to you, do not try to force yourself to get used to the white noise. There are other effective remedies for healthy sleep, such as earplugs.