Brown Noise vs White Noise for Sleep, Relaxation, and Focus

Many of us have heard about white noise. It includes those occasions when our little ones fall off to sleep at the sound of the washing machine cycle, right?  But you might not be so familiar with brown noise.

So in this article, we will put brown noise vs white noise head to head and discover exactly what they both are and which is best!

So to find out everything about brown noise vs white noise, carry on reading to find the definitive answer!

Before we hit you with the details, let’s discover the mini takeaway first so you can benefit straight away from understanding the pros and cons of brown and white noise.

Brown and white noise can help to refocus your thoughts and relax you to drop off to sleep. Brown noise is a gentler, softer noise sounding similar to waves on a beach. White noise can be described as a steady hum. Both noises can help you to relax, sleep more easily and be used for concentration.

Ok so now we’ve got the short answer, so you can understand a bit more about these two colorful noise types! Let’s start by finding out exactly some background on colored noise!

What exactly is ‘colored’ noise

Most people may have heard of white noise, but you might be surprised to hear there’s a whole range of sound audible by the human ear described using a whole spectrum of colors!

Much in the same way the human eye recognizes color, different frequencies of sound are expressed using a range of familiar colors.

So although white noise is known fairly well as creating a soothing environment for sleep along with other sleeping aids, such as our super fabulous Dormi sleep headphones, there’s a range of other noise ‘colors’ which might have the same effect.

Why noise is referred to using colors

White noise was the first frequency to be named using the color spectrum.

The signal of white noise issues equal power when heard within other frequencies and is why it can help to ‘zone’ you out from other sounds which may disturb your rest.

That name was given by analogy with white light originally, as scientists thought it behaved similarly to white light. 

However, in recent scientific discoveries, that match was found to be not accurate.

After the naming of white noise along with white light, other colors such as red, blue, and pink followed as it was thought they similarly hooked up with the light of the same names.

In the white noise vs brown noise race, white noise wins hands down when it comes to heading the pack!

So although in this article we will help you uncover the differences between white and brown noise, so you can understand a little more easily, let’s find a little about the other colors too.

What types of colored noise are there?

The reason noise is described using different colors is mostly down to the fact that frequencies have individual properties.

It’s interesting to discover that the colored noise concept is quite similar to the concept of musical sound known as ‘timbre’.

These are the 4 most common ‘noise’ or more grandly referred to as ‘sonic hues’

  • White noise
  • Brown noise
  • Pink noise
  • Black noise

What is white noise?

So as we found out earlier, White noise includes all audible frequencies. The way it works is its energy is distributed in equal measures across all frequencies, so it has a ‘noise blocking’ effect.

Loud noises stimulate your brain and can wake you up even if you have no difficulty sleeping, as well as disturb you when you are trying to drift off.

The way white noise sounds is similar to white goods sounds that you might hear in your kitchens, such as a refrigerator or washing machine.

Its steady hum is described often as:

  • The static from a radio or tv signal
  • The hum of the air conditioner
  • The whirring noise of a fan

It’s even been described as a hissing radiator!

If you would like to discover more about other alternatives to help you drop off to sleep, head over to our other helpful article ‘Alternatives to Earplugs for Sleeping’

What are the benefits of white noise?

One of its chief benefits is that it’s used in all kinds of products to aid sleep such as white noise fans and units.

According to experts in sleep, such as Dr. Michael Grander, who is the director of a sleep and health program at Arizona university

“They create a blanket of sound around you that absorbs other sound waves so that little creaks and cracks and cars driving by don't quite make it to your brain and you don't respond to them,"

These are fairly cheap devices that can be set to gently hum in the background while you settle to sleep.

Best way to use white noise for sleeping

Our favorite way of utilizing the power of white noise for sleeping is by playing a white noise YouTube video or podcast on your phone or tablet and booking up by Bluetooth to our fabulously comfortable and stylish sleep headphones!

Since white noise contains all frequencies at equal intensity, it can mask loud sounds that stimulate your brain. That’s why it’s often recommended for sleeping difficulties and sleep disorders like insomnia.

So how does white noise rate against brown noise?

Read on as all will be revealed!

What is brown noise?

So interestingly, brown noise wasn’t actually named after the color brown, but by the man who discovered its properties!

He was a botanist who lived during the mid-1800s and is referenced as the man who discovered that particles do not move in a uniform way as previously thought, but move randomly. 

Brown noise is related to both pink and red noise and similar to white noise it randomly generates sound. 

The white noise works in that all frequencies are using lower energy, but with brown noise as the frequency rises. Energy decreases.

This decrease in frequency from a brown noise gives it a lower and more bass sound than white noise which resonates far higher on a treble register, which gives it a much ‘higher’ sound.

White noise vs brown noise benefits

Ok, so you’ve got the low down on these two colored sonic sounds, which of them has the best benefits? We will take a look into which color is best for sleep, relaxation, focus

White noise vs brown noise for sleep

So we understand that white noise can help you drift off to restorative sleep, but so too can brown noise.

In fact, due to its lower vibration similar to the roar of the sea, it might be the winner here when it comes to the colored noise which can benefit you best if you have trouble dropping off and staying asleep.

Brown noise as we found out earlier is related to pink noise, which could be described as a ‘softer’ noise than the mechanical hiss or hum of white noise. Pink and brown noise is often described as rustling leaves or the waves gently hitting the shore. 

So the sleeping stakes brown noise may just have the edge of white noise in the white vs brown noise debate.

White noise vs brown noise for relaxation

Although both these sonic frequencies based on the color spectrum both have properties that can calm and relax you, we think brown noise may just be the winner in the relaxation category too.

Who wouldn’t relax to the sound of waves gently breaking on the shore or the relaxing ‘barely there’ rustle of leaves!

The continuous and low vibration noise of both white and brown noise can be used successfully to help your mind tune out of anxious thoughts and help you resist ‘playing the day over and over in your mind.

White noise vs brown noise for concentration

White noise when used to help you concentrate or study can be helpful because it works your brain's auditory centers, which in turn could help concentration and memory.

Brown noise with its lower vibration is also good for relaxing the listener to help with focus.

So listening to both types of noises, either brown or white can help reduce background disturbance and therefore help you focus better.

And to finish on…

 So there it is! Everything you need to know about white and brown super color sounds which can both help you to focus, stop mind chatter, and can be played at night to help you relax and drift off to a restorative sleep!

Don’t forget to head over to our store for more help with sleeping with our carefully crafted sleep headphones to help you relax and fall off into a deep and relaxing night's sleep!

dormi sleeping headphones
Dormi Dream Bluetooth Headband Headphones For Sleeping

"The world's comfiest headphones for sleep and relaxation."

 Great for quieting busy minds
 Listen to music, white noise, podcasts, meditations, ASMR and more.
 Ultra-thin, HQ speakers provide premium sound quality with superior comfort
 Pull it over your eyes and it doubles as a sleep mask! 

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