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White, pink, blue and red noise, what they are and their benefits

September 17, 2023
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White, pink, blue and red noise, what they are and their benefits

Like colors, sounds also have the power to induce calm, serenity and well-being and even treat some disorders such as insomnia and anxiety. But not all sounds are the same and different sounds have different effects. Today we are talking about this very interesting topic.

Sounds of different colors

You may have heard of white noise, considered the panacea for treating insomnia, even in children. But there are also other types of noise, such as green noise, pink noise, blue noise and brown noise. The difference is in the frequencies and intensities that characterize them. So let's try to understand how different noises can come to our aid.

White noise, what it is and benefits

White noise is the sum of all the frequencies that the human ear can perceive and acts by masking other sounds. White noise is that of a running hairdryer, the ocean, or even static electricity from radios and televisions. When white noise is placed in an environment, it helps improve cognitive functioning and memory, even in children with ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But white noise also improves the quality of sleep, helps combat insomnia and anxiety and reduces nocturnal awakenings in adults and children. White noise, since it masks other sounds, can be helpful in case of external noises such as traffic, but also internal noises such as snoring and even tinnitus. In young children with colic it helps reduce symptoms, since there is less crying during the day and more time spent sleeping at night (Lu et al, Noise Health, 2020 - Afshar et al, J Caring Sci, 2016).

Then, listening to white noise allowed almost all of the newborns involved in an experiment, around 80%, to fall asleep within 5 minutes, compared to 25% who fell asleep spontaneously in the absence of sounds (Yoon et al, Sensors, 2022).

Pink noise, the noise that calms

Pink noise, like white noise, includes all frequencies but, in this case, the lower frequencies present themselves with more intense energy. In nature, pink noise is the rustling of leaves or falling rain. Pink noise helps adults and elderly people improve sleep quality, inducing stable sleep and masking other disturbing sounds (Lu et al, Noise Health, 2020). Pink noise is able to stimulate brain waves that are recorded in the phases of deep sleep, which is regenerating sleep and which consolidates memory (Yoon et al, Sensors, 2022). In addition, pink noise can calm the heartbeat (Kasicka Jonderko et al, J Smooth Muscle Res, 2007). Since the human ear is very sensitive to high frequencies, pink noise is generally considered more pleasant and softer than white noise (Yoon et al, Sensors, 2022).

Red noise, here's how it can help

Brown noise, also called red noise, is deeper than pink and white noise and in nature is that of a waterfall. It helps improve planning and judgment skills, self-control, coordination and attention without getting lost in distractions (Lu et al, Noise Health, 2020).

Blue noise against anxiety

Blue noise has a prevalence of high frequencies and can therefore appear more shrill than other noises, in nature we can find it in the chirping of cicadas (Kasicka Jonderko et al, J Smooth Muscle Res, 2007). It helps calm anxiety and fall asleep in those people who are not very sensitive to high frequencies and who prefer it to white noise (Yoon et al, Sensors, 2022).

Green noise to improve mood

Green noise is in the middle of the sound spectrum and is reminiscent of flowing water in a stream or blowing wind. Sounds of this type improve well-being and mood, attention, concentration and cognitive functionality (Luo et al, Front Psychol, 2021).

Where to listen to these noises and warnings

In addition to capturing these sounds in nature, there are videos and devices that can recreate them based on individual needs. If you wish, the Relax Area section of the app offers a wide choice of sounds of different colors. You can benefit from listening to them for a few minutes or for longer sessions, at any time, whenever you want. Remember to always set the volume low, never exceed it thinking you will have greater results because the risk is ruining your hearing. Keep any devices at least a few feet away from the bed. Finally, it is important to underline that noises of different colors can help in different cases but that it is also essential to resort to some precautions. For example, to improve the quality of sleep, try to keep the room dark and avoid abundant meals in the evening hours and above all not close to the time you go to bed, trying to keep at least 3 hours between the meal and sleep. For general health, of body and mind, practice moderate physical activity and try to follow a healthy and balanced diet, which improves mood and cognitive functionality.

Then there are some essential oils, such as rosemary, which supports memory and attention, and lavender, ylang ylang and bergamot, alone or, even better, mixed, which promote good rest (McDonnell et al, J Altern Complement Med, 2019).

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