Brown Noise vs. White Noise: Which Is Best for Quality Sleep?

Quality sleep is vital for our overall health and well-being, and noise pollution can significantly impact the quality of our rest. While many people turn to white noise machines to mask disruptive sounds, there's more to the story than just white noise. Brown noise is the deeper cousin of white noise, with a sound profile that emphasizes lower frequencies while minimizing higher frequencies. Natural brown noise sounds like roaring river rapids, heavy rainfall and distant rumbling thunder, which many find pleasing to the human ear. This type of noise is named not only for a color, but also for Scottish scientist Robert Brown. In the 1800s, Brown observed pollen particles moving randomly in water and devised a mathematical formula to predict these movements. When this randomizing formula is used to generate electronic sound, a bass-heavy noise profile results. White noise, on the other hand, covers all the frequencies, from low-frequency bass notes to high-frequency chimes. It effectively masks sound inconsistencies, helping you drift into a peaceful slumber. Natural occurrences like sprinkling rain or a gentle breeze rustling through trees can be considered forms of white noise. It turns out that studies have shown that white noise will give you the best chance at an uninterrupted good night’s sleep because it’s more effective at drowning out distracting, unpleasant sounds in the background environment.