White Noise : Everything you need to know (sleep & relax)

Just as the color white is a combination of all imaginable colors, white noise is made up of all audible frequencies.

This is what makes it effective at blocking out all extraneous noise, regardless of its frequency.

People who use white noise to sleep, myself included, use this term as a “catch-all” to describe all ambient sounds: “white noise rain”, “white noise sea”, “white noise hairdryer” etc.

You should also know that there are other colors of noise, such as pink, purple and blue, which can also help you sleep (I’ll prepare an article for you soon).

In addition to helping adults fall asleep better, these noises are also effective for children and babies.

Let’s come to the…

Why listen to white noise ?

The most obvious benefits that come to mind regarding its use are the following:

Improve sleep onset and maintenance

It helps people fall asleep more easily and stay asleep during the night. In many cases, white noise and pink noise in particular have helped people improve their sleep. White noise machines and timer applications – especially those that gradually decrease the volume – are my favorite.

Some machines can also be programmed to run until morning but personally this tends to wake me up during the night. However, if I wake up for some other reason and can’t get back to sleep, I’ll turn the machine back on.

Effectively blocks sounds

White noise by definition contains all possible audible frequencies, which is what allows it to block all unwanted sounds. This is not completely possible with music since music does not cover all frequencies. The same is true for other relaxing sounds such as forest sounds, fire sounds, etc..

That’s why it will be useful if you live in a noisy area to block the outside noise.

Useful for your baby

In addition to helping adults sleep better, it has an equivalent calming effect on babies, very useful for naps and bedtime. According to many parents combining white noise and swaddling is particularly effective in getting their little one to sleep.

As they get older, young children with sleep problems – or those who are afraid of the dark – can also benefit from white noise when they go to bed.

Although white noise can help calm and help your baby sleep, it’s still a good idea to limit exposure, especially at too high a volume.

Practical travel aid

Anyone who travels frequently will have to agree with me on this point: it’s often complicated to sleep on planes, trains and other forms of transportation. If this is your case, white noise works wonders. Working as an anti-noise mask, you will no longer have the impression of being in a noisy and crowded environment but rather in your own little cocoon.

That’s why I always have a white noise application on my smartphone, it allows me at any time to find my little bubble no matter where I am in the world.

I’ve slept in dormitories with 12 people and seriously hearing even the breathing of the neighbor below is too much for me. So I put on my headphones and hop a little white noise, I fall asleep in the next 5 minutes.

Improves concentration

Sound therapy can be used to increase cognitive functions and sharpen concentration in some people. Listening to white noise during the day – especially during work – has also been found to be helpful, especially if you work in a noisy environment.

Right now I limit this kind of practice since I find myself dozing off on my computer especially if I use the same noise I used the night before to fall asleep.

Relieves tinnitus

Acting as a mask, white noise allows people suffering from tinnitus to relieve themselves. It will be more difficult to hear them because they will be literally muffled by the noise.

Calm your overactive brain

Most of the time when we can’t sleep it’s because we are thinking too much. Maybe personal problems or the stress of tomorrow’s meeting. In my case, once the noise is turned on, it’s like the voice inside my head has no choice but to shut up. I feel relaxed and sleep comes gradually.

This is all well and good but it leads us to ask ourselves.

Is white noise dangerous?

There is no real harm in using white noise to sleep. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful.

Basically, there are two factors to consider:

– If you turn the sound up too loud

– If you use it so much that you can’t live without it, addiction

A sound used to mask other sounds but used at too high a volume is not really a good idea for your eardrums. Be careful not to use too loud, especially if you are using these devices with a baby or child.

Their advantage can be their disadvantage as some machines can be very noisy especially if you keep it too close to you. Even if at the time they allow you to relax, they must be used with caution because anything over 85 decibels is a danger to your hearing, especially if you listen to it for more than 8 hours.

That’s why when I use white noise to sleep I always set a timer for at least 30 minutes. If I wake up during the night I just turn it back on. This is my way of doing things but you can do it any way you want. It’s the same when I listen to the sound of the dryer, the cycle is not going to last forever. So there will always be a time when it will stop.

But then…

How to generate white noise ?

There is different ways to generate and listen to white noise. The natural way would be for exemple to simply open your window when it’s raining or find a waterfall and relax next to it but it’s not very practical for an everyday use. Hopefully we live in a modern world and there are plenty of other ways as listed below.

White noise machine

The most common method is to use a white noise machine. Contrary to their name, some of these machines have the ability to generate different colors of noise: pink and brown are the most common. Many incorporate a collection of natural and ambient sounds.

What’s really nice about the technology of some of these machines is that they have the ability to repeat sounds over and over again for an hour or more without you noticing.

Other features can be added depending on the price. The more expensive models may include a timer, radio and even mixing functions. Beware of the lower priced models, some users complain of hearing the “loop” of the recorded sound repeating itself.

These machines can cost from 20 usd to over 100 usd. If you want more information on the subject, I invite you to visit the pages of the site dedicated to this:

White noise machine
Baby white noise machine


Smartphone apps

A wide range of sound therapy applications are available on smartphones and tablets. Depending on their price you can find applications more or less provided in content of relaxing noises.

Vacuum cleaner

When I was little my mother used to turn it on next to my crib so I could fall asleep. However, some vacuum cleaners can be really loud and leaving it on in your home may not make everyone happy. Unless it’s an opportunity for you to do a little cleaning for as long as you say.


If you’ve read my story, it should come as no surprise that I’m including it in my list. Dryers make more or less noise depending on their model. For me the ideal dryer has several hot air outlets and makes a very low noise, unfortunately the dryers becoming more and more modern, they tend to be less heated and be quieter with less air outlets.


Electric fans, as well as some ceiling fans, produce a soothing hum comparable to white noise. If the hum is loud enough, the noise should also be able to block out outside noise. And if you want to use your fan just for its noise, just point it at the wall, no need to catch a cold.


Even though listening to relaxing sounds with headphones is even more “enchanting” than with earphones, I don’t recommend it in bed, use your headphones instead. If you use your headphones to sleep, believe me, after a while they won’t look very good: I’ve already broken two of them like that. Fortunately there are special headphones that just cover the ears and are perfectly suited for use in bed and for white noise.


Youtube channels like mine (White Noise Geek Youtube Channel) are perfect if you want to experience white noise. With an high quality microphone, I record a large variety of sounds and test them myself to sleep, work, relax. I listen to white noise daily for couple years now so I kinda know what is good or not. It’s not rare that I decide to not publish a sound that I recorded because “I don’t feel it”.


If you suffer from insomnia or anxiety at night and can’t sleep without taking medication, there’s no reason not to try white noise.

It is a simple treatment that, if used correctly, has no known side effects. It is one of the best techniques you can use to improve your sleep. In any case, it changed my life.

Here is a rough summary of how it works: It envelops all the sounds you don’t want to hear by replacing them with a “shhhhh”.