Pink Noise May Enhance Deep Sleep

Whether it’s due to life’s worries, middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom or sudden hot flashes, with advancing age a sound night’s sleep can be increasingly elusive.

Most have heard about using “white noise” to help achieve a restful sleep.  Many people can’t fall asleep without the background noise of a fan or a calming recording of the sound of rain but new research has found that “pink noise” may be better at helping achieve a restorative night’s sleep.

Slow-wave sleep, important for memory and hormone regulation, is often interrupted in older adults but a new study has found that pink noise, in which the lower frequencies are louder can enhance deep sleep.

Researchers at Northwestern University found that when gentle sound, like a rolling waterfall,  was synchronized to the rhythm of brain waves, the mind was able to settle into a deeper sleep.  Adults over the age of 60 who participated in the sleep lab research performed three times better on memory tests after listening to pink noise at night.

Pink noise may be a good alternative to sleeping pills which do not provide the same brain benefits as natural rest.  If getting to sleep and staying asleep has become difficult, thinking pink may be worth a shot.   Check out the iTunes store to download a pink noise soundtrack or visit Youtube online here.

Pink noise can be the sound of traffic flow, the ocean surf or a heartbeat and has been used to increase productivity and concentration among employees in workplaces by blocking out background distractions.  It tends to be a bit deeper than white noise and can be very restful and pleasing to the ear.

To read the full study, visit the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience by following this link.