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Soundtrack for Better Rest: All About White Noise


If you have trouble falling, and staying, asleep, you’re not alone. From your neighbor’s music to a car door slamming to your partner snoring, any outside noise can wake you up or keep you from falling to sleep. We know—so annoying. You need your rest. (We know we do!)

At Leesa, we’re all about better rest. So, we’re here to help. Have you heard of white noise?

What is White noise?

Scientifically speaking, white noise is a consistent sound—an even mixture of all hearable frequencies.

But what does that actually mean? You know that loud, static sound your TV makes when the cable goes out? Have you ever heard static coming through the radio when you lose a station? That’s white noise. While that white noise probably annoys you when it interrupts your day-to-day life, white noise can have the opposite effect for sleeping.

Why does White Noise Help with Sleep?

When you’re woken up by a sound, it’s not necessarily the sound itself that wakes you up. Instead, it’s the sudden change in noise that interrupts your sleep.

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This is where white noise comes in. When you sleep with white noise, it creates a blanket of constant noise, blocking out any sudden changes in sound, so you keep sleeping throughout the night and get the rest you need.

White noise is especially good for light sleepers. It can also be really helpful if your partner’s snoring keeps you up at night. The constant sound helps you drown out distracting noises, relax, fall asleep and stay asleep.

Other Colors of Noise

Everyone’s ears are different, so it’s no surprise that some sleepers prefer snoozing to different noise colors. Yep, you read that right—there are different colors of noise.

It sounds weird, but it’s science. Basically, each color is a variation of white noise. While white noise is every audible frequency playing at the same intensity, other colors of noise are those same audible frequencies playing at different intensities. In some colors, more intense lower notes come through, while in others, you hear more intense higher notes. A few other popular noise colors for sleeping include pink, brown and blue noise.

  • Pink noise has more powerful lower notes than white noise does (with less intense high notes). This is a great choice for anyone who is sensitive to the higher notes in white noise. Pink noise can be heard naturally in ocean waves, rustling leaves and steady rainfall. Pink noise is used for more than just better sleep: many researchers claim that pink noise can increase productivity. Some companies even use it as background noise in the office.
  • Brown noise is even deeper than pink noise, with even lower, louder prominent tones. Many sleepers prefer brown noise because they find it less harsh than white or pink noise. It’s found naturally in rolling thunder and the sound of a roaring waterfall.
  • Blue noise is on the higher end of the sound spectrum, featuring prominent high notes and almost no bass notes. Blue noise naturally occurs in the high-pitched hissing sound water makes.

How do I Play White Noise?

From sound machines to apps on your phone, there are many different ways to get white noise while you sleep. If you’re not sure if you even like noise while you sleep, try turning your fan on high or using a box fan while you sleep at first. This may be enough constant, quiet sound to lull you to sleep. If you want a little more noise, try a sound machine, sound machine app or website. Just remember that white noise may not be right for every sleeper, so make sure you’re not playing white noise at the expense of your partner’s sleep. No noise at all may be your preferred way to sleep—that’s OK, too.

If you don’t quite like the sound of white noise but still want sound while you sleep, experiment with different noise colors. Maybe you prefer a deeper, pink or brown noise or a higher-pitched blue noise. Sound machines often offer “natural” sounds in addition to raw white or pink noise. Try the ocean waves feature (a naturally occurring form of pink noise) or a thunderstorm (natural brown noise). Find the sound that’s right for you so you can start resting better.

Finding the right soundtrack to your sleep is great, but a good night’s sleep starts with your mattress. While white noise may not be right for every sleeper, Leesa is. The Leesa Original Mattress is a quality foam mattress with Universal Adaptive Feel®—great for every body type and sleeping position. Our Leesa Sapira Hybrid Mattress combines the benefits of our premium foam with individually wrapped springs for a luxury feel and superior support.

White noise not your thing? Check out some of our other sleep tips and practices, including this cool stuff about the benefits of meditation before bed.

Ready for better rest? Upgrade your sleep with Leesa.