Fact: 30-38% of adults have insomnia. And, if you’re one of these people, you should consider using a white noise machine.
A white noise machine can help boost both sleep quality and depth. Since it can mask other sounds, it can help induce sleep - and get you back to sleep too.
This machine can also help you relax. This means a white noise machine could significantly reduce the anxiety that keeps you up at night.
Read on below if you’d like to learn more about this ingenious device!
A white noise machine is a device that produces a noise that calms the listeners, which in many cases sounds like a rushing waterfall and a wind blowing through. White noise pic.twitter.com/HboaYiTtc7— Got your Deal (@GotyourD) April 18, 2022
What Is White Noise, Anyway?
White noise is a ‘color’ of noise that contains a mix of frequencies audible to the human ear. These frequencies range from low, midrange, and high.
For reference, frequency is the speed at which sound waveforms vibrate per second.
White noise gets its name from the colors of light wavelengths. It has all the frequencies in the visible range, hence its given name.
Some experts describe white noise as ‘20,000 tones playing simultaneously.’
It forms a ‘hissy shh’ sound to put things into a clearer perspective. It’s similar to what you’d hear from your TV or radio whenever it’s tuned to an unused frequency.
Does White Noise Help You Sleep?
Yes, of course!
In a nutshell, white noise works by masking the noise around you. That way, your cerebral cortex - which is in charge of your sleep cycle - isn’t ‘stimulated’ as much.
Additionally, it helps induce relaxation, making you fall asleep faster (and sleep better.)
Thanks to these effects, the best white noise machine can help improve:
Sleep quality is a measure of how well you’re sleeping. It’s based on four things, namely:
- Sleep latency, or how quickly you fall asleep
- Sleep waking, or how often you wake up at night
- Wakefulness, how long you stay awake before drifting off to sleep
- Sleep efficiency, which is the amount of time you actually spend asleep on your bed
According to research, better sleep quality is one of the things white noise can help you achieve.
This was proven in a study of 31 critical care patients who experienced sleeping difficulties. They were evaluated through the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PQSI.) This test explores sleep quality and sufficiency, among many other things.
The higher the PSQI is, the worse the patient’s sleeping problem is.
Results show that those who had 40-50 dB white noise therapy an hour for three nights had lower scores. From an average of 5.17, their PSQI decreased to 4.53.
On the other hand, those who didn’t undergo therapy demonstrated worse scores. From an average PSQI of 5.20, most scored a whopping 11.23 at the end of the study.
Apart from improving sleep quality, white noise can also help bring deeper sleep.
Similar to sleep quality, sleep depth refers to sleep’s restorative and reparative qualities. Needless to say, it’s crucial to get deep sleep as the body needs it to:
- Release growth hormones that help with tissue, muscle, and bone repair
- Regulate glucose metabolism
- Replenish energy stores
In a nutshell, deep sleep helps with:
- Cognitive function and memory
- Brain development
- Language learning
- Motor skills development
The good news is the best white noise machines can help you get the 55-97 nightly minutes of deep sleep. Apart from helping you gain good sleep quality, a study has shown that it can also help you achieve deep sleep.
Having deep, good quality is one thing. Getting to sleep is another thing.
Unsurprisingly, the best white noise machine can also help you with sleep induction. Since it relaxes you and masks the distracting sounds around you, you’ll find it easier to ‘begin’ sleeping.
This effect is widely seen in many studies, notably of infants.
Results show that 80% of those exposed to white noise could fall asleep in as fast as 5 minutes. This contrasts with the control group, where only 25% of the babies could sleep spontaneously.
Getting Back to Sleep
If you’re a light sleeper - or if you need the bathroom a lot at night - you may find it harder to get back to sleep. Again, the best white noise machine can help you quickly get back to your sleep.
As mentioned, this all boils down to the machine’s ability to mask the sounds around you. It can reduce your chances of being woken up in the middle of your sleep.
There’s also the benefit of relaxation.
The machine’s soothing noise can help your mind ‘wind down’ easily. Doing this will help control the release of cortisol and adrenaline in your body. If left ‘rushing,’ these hormones will keep you wide awake.
Anxiety is strongly linked with sleep disturbances. This distressing feeling of worry and unease is one of insomnia’s top driving factors.
And even if you do manage to sleep, you can wake up still feeling anxious in the middle of the night.
A white noise machine can help you manage anxiety by masking the sounds that make you feel stressed. Secondly, it can help you feel more relaxed - resulting in a calmer mind and less muscle tension.
Is White Noise Good?
Since it can help you get the sleep you need, white noise can essentially help you attain:
- Better concentration and productivity
- Improved decision-making and judgment
- Enhanced work engagement
In a nutshell, getting the right amount of sleep can help lower your risks of:
- Cardiac disease
- Diabetes mellitus
What Are the Side Effects of White Noise?
Although the best white noise machines for kids do work, they come with some drawbacks.
While white noise machines are good at masking sounds, some may find them irritating. The continuous low-frequency buzzing may prove annoying to kids and adults alike.
If your kids (or you) are used to nightly white noise, then you may find it harder to sleep without it anymore.
Fortunately, there are compact size white noise machines available. You can easily take them wherever, whenever.
Possible Developmental Delays
Although more research is needed, some believe that white noise may lead to developmental delays.
As established, white noise can mask a lot of sounds. In the long run, this may make your child unable to categorize the other sounds they are hearing.
Possible Safety Risks
Sure, it’s good to get a deep sleep. But on the flip side, achieving this may make you ‘less sensitive’ to danger.
For example, you may not hear a burglar trying to break into your house.
While it shouldn’t deter you from using the white noise machines, keeping your house secure before sleeping would be advisable.
How to Safely Use the Best White Noise Machines
The good news is you can easily avoid the risks and side effects above. All you have to do is follow these safety tips on using your white noise machine.
Read the Instructions
Before using your white noise machine, make sure you have read the full instructions. This will help you use it correctly.
Keep It Low - and Far
According to a study, 85 dB - when played for more than eight hours - can increase the risk of noise-induced hearing loss.
Using your white noise machine at the lowest volume possible will help avoid this. Simply put, it shouldn’t be louder than your normal conversation or the sound of a running shower.
If you’re using it to soothe your baby, place it at least 200 centimeters away from the crib. You can move it even further if you want.
Most importantly, don’t put the machine on the crib or the rail.
Turn It Off
If your baby has already gone to sleep, turn the machine off. If you don’t want to ruin your sleep cycle doing this, then go for a device with a timer feature.
As mentioned, your baby may develop a dependency on white noise machines. To prevent this from happening, make sure to wean use after the first six months. By this time, their sleep schedule should have consolidated into a routine.
This will allow them to sleep on their own easily and reduce their chances of developing dependency.
How to Choose the Best White Noise Machine
If you want to get your hands on the best white noise machine for your kids, then you need to consider these six factors:
As mentioned, a volume of 85 dB can potentially cause hearing problems. This means you’ll want a white noise machine with sensitive controls and volume options.
White noise machines usually work two ways: playing recorded sounds or generating white noise.
There’s no superior option between the two, so the choice will ultimately depend on you. If, for example, you want to listen to other noises, you’re better off with the recorded sound option.
Even if your machine produces good white noise, you may end up awake thanks to all its flashing lights.
That said, you’d want to choose a model with minimal lights or lights that can be easily turned off. You could go for a machine with lights that change color or intensity if you prefer.
If you’re a jet setter, you should opt for a portable machine, which will allow you to take it wherever (and whenever) you go.
You may also want to consider a machine with smart features.
Some come with USB ports, clock screens, or nightlight features. Some can be integrated with apps, making them easier to control and turn off remotely.
The most important feature to look for right now is a built-in timer. That way, you don’t have to wake up from your sleep just to turn it off.
Remember: you get the price for which you pay.
A cheaper model, for example, often only comes with 2-3 volume settings. This could be risky for babies since their ears can only tolerate softer sounds.
At the end of the day, you’d want a model that gives the best bang for your buck.
How Do You Build a Good Sleeping Environment?
Apart from getting a white noise machine, you also need to make your bedroom more sleep-friendly. Here are tips on how to do so:
Be Cool - and a Little Humid
Research shows that a temperature of 60 to 670F will keep you asleep. This won’t make you sweat, but it won’t make you shiver, either.
A 30-40% humidity rate is beneficial, too, especially during the cold, dry months.
Keep the Lights Low
Extraneous noise is not the only thing that keeps you awake. There’s also light (especially the blue light in your phone,) which can disrupt your sleep.
So apart from using your white noise machine, try to keep your room dark. This combo will absolutely help you sleep faster - and better.
Use Blackout or Window Shades
If you’re a night shift worker, then you ought to get the best blackout roller shades you can afford for a restful sleep.
Ideally, you should pick a product made of tightly-woven polyester fabric and a black insulating liner. These components can help block sunshine and ambient light from interfering with your sleep.
The right smells, just like the right sound and lighting, can help you achieve better sleep.
Like a white noise machine, aromatherapy can help you enjoy a more relaxed state before sleeping.
If you’re new to this, the Sleep Foundation recommends the following:
- Lavender oil, which calms the nervous system
- Roman chamomile oil, which may help reduce anxiety
- Cedarwood, which contains a compound that has a sedative-like effect
- Clary sage oil, which may help reduce stress levels
- Bergamot oil, which can improve sleep quality when mixed with Sandalwood
Clean Your Area
If your room is full of clutter, it’ll make it less relaxing.
So, if you want your white noise machine to work without fail, you should clean and organize your space! As they always say: out of sight, out of mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can White Noise Be Harmful?
Only if the machine is too close - or if you’re playing it at a high volume.
This risk often applies to babies whose ears are not yet that ‘developed’ for hearing.
That’s why you need to be careful when choosing white noise machines for babies. Avoid those that can emit as much as 85 dB. The recommendation, for now, is no more than 50 dB.
When Should You Stop Using White Noise?
For babies, it’s best to wean them off after six months of age.
There’s no reason to stop using a white noise machine for adults unless you lose hearing because of it. This shouldn’t happen, though, as long as you follow the above tips.
Is It OK to Play White Noise All Night?
Experts suggest operating the machine for a short time. Some recommend less than an hour, although some advocate for 3-4 hours nightly.
To follow these limits, set the machine’s timer accordingly. That way, it turns off automatically after a given time.
White noise machines, without a doubt, are truly beneficial. For one, they can help improve sleep quality and depth. They can also help induce slumber, or help you drift back off to sleep.
Given these benefits, it pays to get your hands on the best white noise machine possible.
The good news is Kyle & Bryce offers a wide variety of such products. You'll find them all here at surprisingly affordable prices, from compact-sized ones to kid-friendly models.