Many people suffer from insomnia, and some people use listening to music to help them fall asleep, but the melody of music sometimes affects the cultivation of drowsiness, so some people will listen to “white noise” to fall asleep. Parents who don’t want their baby to be bothered by other sounds are also turning to white noise.
Although it has the word “noise,” it does not affect sleep. What is the principle behind it? Here’s how white noise can help you fall asleep and what it can do for your health.
What is White Noise?
White noise refers to the sound with consistent frequency within the measurable frequency range, such as repeated playback of ocean waves , rain, etc., and this consistency can create an effect of covering other sudden sounds , That is to say, when the surrounding noise changes, it is not easy to hear, such as the snoring of others, the barking of dogs, or the sound of cars passing by outside the window , etc., which can prevent sleep from being disturbed. And even if woken up, white noise can make it easier to fall asleep again.
White noise can help you fall asleep.
According to a study on white noise in the Journal of Caring Sciences, patients with coronary heart disease (Coronary heart disease) who played white noise in their room had better sleep quality than those who did not play white noise in the room. Also sleep longer. As a result, many researchers believe that because white noise can mask ambient sounds, it can help patients fall asleep and stay asleep, even in noisy hospital environments.
In addition, Frontiers in Neurology pointed out that white noise can also have a sleep-aid effect on patients with insomnia. Studies have found that insomnia patients who fall asleep with white noise can reduce the time of many light sleep stages. And overall sleep quality and duration are improved.
Potentially (Harmful) Effects Of White Noise For Infants And Adults
Many people let the white noise machine play all night to help their baby fall asleep, but such a habit may have some negative effects on health:
Delayed brain development
A report in the journal Science pointed out that white noise may delay brain development. The study looked at the effects of white noise on young mice and found that the auditory cortex, the part responsible for hearing and learning language , did not develop properly when exposed to white noise.
Unable to detect tinnitus
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) pointed out that white noise can mask the symptoms of tinnitus , which can easily delay treatment. Tinnitus is a noise inside the ear, and the type of sound varies from person to person. However, it is not easy for people who use white noise machines to know that they have tinnitus.
Generally speaking, it is normal to experience short-term tinnitus if you hear loud noises, but long-term tinnitus may indicate other health problems, such as high blood pressure (Hypertension) or anemia .
Reduce spatial sensitivity
According to a study published in Cerebral Cortex, early exposure to white noise reduces auditory spatial sensitivity in adults. If you let your baby listen to white noise for a long time, it might make it harder for his brain to recognize sounds and places when he grows up. To this point, white noise for infants is not suggested for regular use.
The study found that the neurons responsible for spatial sensitivity in the auditory cortex of the brain were damaged in mice that grew up listening to white noise.
Alternatives of White Noise For Infants
If suffer from sleep disorders, it is best not to watch television two hours before bedtime, to avoid using blue-light electronic screen products, and to avoid drinking caffeinated beverages after the afternoon. If the insomnia cannot be resolved, please consult a professional physician for more information.