Did you know pink is a color in the sound spectrum? This relaxing combination of frequencies can help people sleep better and improve their memory. See why listening to pink noise is beneficial for your bedtime routine and your brain.
What Is Pink Noise?
Like white noise, pink noise contains all the sound frequencies humans can hear from 20-20,000 Hz. However, the higher frequencies in pink noise are emphasized less than the others in the sound spectrum. “Specifically, pink noise contains the same overall intensity in each octave, but the volume of individual pitches decreases by 3 decibels with each higher octave1.
Because the lower frequencies are more accentuated, pink noise creates a gentler, calming sound that people find soothing and relaxing. It’s no surprise as pink noise is found during wind and rain, in birdsong and throughout urban landscapes.
Pink Noise Improves Sleep
The use of pink noise to help sleep quality is becoming more popular and for good reason – it has science to prove its benefits. In one sleep quality experiment, subjects were tested during two separate sleep times. The first part of the study had the subjects sleep with pink noise playing and a second phase when there was no noise during sleep. When exposed to pink noise, participants showed enhancements in the percentage of stable sleep based on EEG (electroencephalogram) and cardiopulmonary assessment2.
This study also demonstrated that pink noise reduced brain wave complexity. The more alert we are, the more complex our brain waves are. But when we are sleeping, our brain wave frequencies slow down at certain stages. These lower frequencies are a necessary and helpful part of our natural sleep cycle.
Not only is sleep quality better with pink noise, but our brain function can also be improved. Pink sound during deep sleep has been proven to help the brain with memory integration3. Participants received one night of acoustical stimulation with pulses of pink noises timed when their slow brain waves began increasing. Based on before-and-after verbal memory tests, the “overnight improvement in word recall was significantly greater with acoustic stimulation.”
Pink noise has many potential benefits and can be easily integrated into the Light Awake alarm clock. Please take a look at the in App store for pink noise options to play before and during sleep.
2. Zhou, J.; Liu, D.; Li, X.; Ma, J.; Zhang, J.; Fang, J. Pink noise: Effect on complexity synchronization of brain activity and sleep consolidation. J. Theor. 2012, 306, 68–72. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022519312001798?via%3Dihub3. Papalambros, N.A.; Santostasi, G.; Malkani, R.G.; Braun, R.; Weintraub, S.; Paller, K.A.; Zee, P.C. Acoustic Enhancement of Sleep Slow Oscillations and Concomitant Memory Improvement in Older Adults. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 2017, 11, 109. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00109/full