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Why White Noise Works For Better Sleep

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

We all know that kind of person who can sleep through a hurricane, screaming baby or nuclear bomb. Heck, you might even sleep next to someone like that. But, not all of us can be so lucky. In fact, for some of us, even the slightest noise can wake us from an otherwise deep slumber. If this is you, the idea of adding noise — like white noise — to your sleep routine might be something you’ve tossed away into bin of crazy ideas. But here, we’re going to take a look at what white noise is, why it’s helpful, and how you can use it to try and get a better night’s sleep.

What is white noise, anyways?

White noise might sound like this abstract concept, and well, it kind of is. White noise is a mix of different frequencies played in sync with the same amplitude. Inherently, this broad spectrum of frequencies masks background sounds. Think of the constant humming sound your fan makes when it’s blowing air — it’s like that. A white noise machine then generates its own sound signal that plays in a repeating loop to create a sort of sound-mask that distracts you from other noise, like the sound of your neighbors rolling out the trash cans or your dog barking late at night.

How can white noise help you sleep better? As psychiatrist David Neubauer of Johns Hopkins Hospital Sleep Disorders Center explains, “When it’s completely quiet, people with insomnia or other sleep difficulties focus more closely on small noises, which can interfere with their getting to sleep." White noise then helps blend those distracting external sounds that would normally keep you awake into the background — almost creating a ‘sound cocoon,’ as Dr. Neubauer calls it.

Helpful white noise machines for your bedroom

If you’re the kind of person who wakes up to the slightest noise at night, a white noise machine might be able to help you get to sleep easier and stay asleep longer. There are a few different types of white noise devices which you can choose from.

1. A regular fan

One of the oldest white noise ‘tricks’ in the book is a regular old house fan. The constant hum created by a fan is a great, steady distraction and mask to the other noises that creek and scare in the middle of the night. If this works for you, that’s great, because we’ll bet you’ve got a fan lying around somewhere in your house already. But some of us are more neurotic than others, and sometimes, especially with older fans, you can suss out a pattern in the sound of the fan, which kind of defeats the purpose of white noise. No worries; you’ve got other options.

2. White noise apps

Are we ever without our phones anymore? Not really. And developers know that. There are a bunch of apps, as well as podcasts on Spotify and Amazon, that are 8-hour tracks of pure white or color noise.

3. White noise machine

Because it consists of a wide range of frequencies, white noise itself can actually sound harsh to our ears. For this reason, white noise itself might not be relaxing for everyone. Today on the market you can find different white noise machines that produce this static, looping sound that blocks out other noise. Really good machines will also offer ‘pink’ and ‘brown’ noise which are similar to white noise, but not as harsh, as they’re comprised of different sets of frequencies.

4. A sound machine

The same concept of white noise can be applied to the effectiveness of sound machines, as they also can be used to block out or cover up other distracting sounds. There are hundreds of different sound machines (and apps) to choose from — from the sound of crashing waves to rain, babbling brooks and rustling leaves. Not only can these sounds calm you down and help ease you to sleep, but they can be used throughout the night to mask street noise or anything else that might prevent you from catching zzz’s.

White noise isn’t the only thing you need for a relaxing sleep environment

Alright, so we’ve covered up your partner’s snoring and the noise of the city outside. But the thing is, you can be as relaxed as possible with white noise and still not be able to sleep if your mattress and/or your sheets are chintzy. People with insomnia, anxiety or depression deal with chemical activity in the brain that makes it really hard to stay asleep.

For these people, like, everything has to come together in order to sleep well. That means your bed is a huge player in this game. We’re talking silk pillowcases, organic cotton sheets, blackout curtains, and supportive mattress materials. We’re also talking about being a bit of a control freak with the thermostat. When it comes to troubled sleepers, failing to cover even one of your bedroom bases can result in shallow, interrupted sleep that, after a while, makes daytime just as huge of a bummer as nighttime.

Custom beds help you make the most out of your 8 hours

Custom memory foam mattresses are good for people who toss and turn, or people who are woken up by the slightest movements of their pets or partner(s). Memory foam absorbs movement, so your sleep buddy can thrash around on the other side of the bed without waking you up constantly.

For beds on boats or in beach houses, choosing to customize your mattress with natural latex construction instead gives you the long-term water, mold and mildew resistance you need to be sure your bed stays a healthy place even in a wet environment.

The other thing about having a bed custom made for your unique needs is the ergonomics of the comfort. Uncomfortable mattresses will have you waking up all the time with a tingly hand, a stiff back or a kinked neck. Bespoke mattresses don’t do that. They’re designed by you and made for you, so they should be exactly what you need in terms or comfort and support.

Another big factor is your bedding. And just like a custom mattress is better than a box one, custom bedding is superior to what you find in stores. Everyone sleeps at different temperatures, and everyone also has different preferences for the weight and material of their blankets. High thread-count cotton sheets custom made for your bed are your best bet at a cool and comfortable sleep.

If you get that white noise machine and you’re still not sleeping well, it’s probably time to think about upgrading your mattress. Custom Mattress Factory creates one-of-a-kind, handmade mattresses that can be customized to any construction, size and shape; and we’ve got you covered on those custom-made, high thread count, organic cotton bed linens, too.


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