More than just static

More than just static

Pink noise helps improve memory and promote deep sleep

We’re college students. That means we all have a few things in common. We overload our schedules with extracurricular activities, have piles of work for classes, and are stressed trying to figure out our futures.

The one time we can escape from all of these external pressures that are weighing down on us is at night, when we can finally fall asleep at an ungodly hour after we finish everything.

But if you’re a naturally anxious and stressed person like me, falling asleep can be a challenge. I have a hard time turning my brain off at night. It’s hard for me to relax and fall asleep. No amount of melatonin or a heavy weighted blanket helped me fall asleep earlier.

Then I discovered a natural remedy that actually helped me fall asleep.

Pink noise.

Now I know what you’re thinking. What is pink noise? And is it actually effective?

The short answer is that pink noise is a combination of high and low frequencies. Because it is a mix of high and low sounds, pink noise is more balanced and natural than the more famous white noise. Pink noise consists of all the frequencies we can hear, but it is more intense at lower frequencies which makes it a deeper sound. There are lots of sounds in nature that pink noise are similar to like rain and wind and heartbeats.

Research conducted at Northwestern University has proven that playing pink noise while you sleep actually helps improve memory. The studies also found that playing more natural music or sounds helps improve sleep, and sleep consequently improves your brain and body.

A 2017 study discovered a positive correlation between listening to pink noise and deep sleep, which is a sleep that supports memory and makes you feel more refreshed in the morning. A different 2012 study found that a steady pink noise helps slow down brain waves which increase a sound sleep.

I never Googled or researched pink noise before I started listening to it before bed. There was just a period of a few days when I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep at night so I would still be awake at 2:30 in the morning.

After a few nights of this, I just typed “sleep” into the search bar of Spotify. I found some meditation playlists and acoustic guitar albums. But the playlist that caught my attention the most was one simply called “Pink Noise.”

If I’m being honest with you, I didn’t really expect it to work. I turned my volume up and played the first song “Soft Pink Noise – Mid Boost” and I was very abrasive. It was very rough and jarring. It was a very granular sounding and was a very harsh frequency. I almost turned it right off and moved on to something else. But I gave it another try. And I’m so glad I did.

I skipped to the third song “Pink Noise (LPF4k6dB) 5 min” and turned the volume down to half-way. Instead of using headphones, I put my phone on my bedside table. I laid down and closed my eyes.

I fell instantly to sleep. And when I woke up to my alarm in the morning, I felt very rejuvenated. I was the most energized in the morning that I had been in ages. I didn’t feel groggy or muddled. I felt revamped and refreshed.

I was surprised, but I wasn’t about to jump on the bandwagon just yet. I hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep the previous days and it was late when I turned it on. But I tested it out the next night and it had the exact same effect.

Pink noise is hard to describe itself because it is just sustained frequencies. But it is easy to explain and describe how it makes me feel.

Pink noise is very soothing. It feels reassuring. For someone who is very anxious, pink noise makes me feel comforted. Knowing the sound is constant, stable, and doesn’t change much is soothing and tranquil.

Pink noise is sleep-inducing because it makes me feel calm and relieved. It is a comforting sound to have playing in the background when trying to sleep because it is enough noise to make you feel secure and drown out unnerving silence. Even though it can seem harsh and shrilly at first, if you find the volume that works for you personally, it can seriously help you fall into a deep, restorative sleep.

People will find different volumes and frequencies of pink noise more relaxing. Everyone’s ears hear slightly different and find certain frequencies more relaxing. If you find the right combination for you, pink noise can truly change your sleeping habits for the better.

As an anxious person who has trouble sleeping, I now live by pink noise. I have played it every night for the past two months and will continue to play it for the foreseeable future. I never realized that something seemingly so straightforward, effortless, and arbitrary could impact me in such a beneficial way.

Now, instead of taking multiple doses of melatonin or going though restless nights where sleep eludes me, I turn on pink noise and fall asleep in the blink of an eye.

~Emma Dixon, CNUTV Director~


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