It’s 2:00 a.m. and you’ve tried drinking herbal tea, smothering your face in pillows, listening to Enya and even counting some damn sheep. Yet sleep will not come. Disgruntled insomniacs, science may have found a new prescription for you: pink noise.
“Pink noise” is a sound much like rushing water or wind rustling leaves—it’s basically a balanced, steady mix of high and low frequencies. (FYI, it gets its name because light of the same frequency appears pink in the spectrum.) Essentially, pink noise is a more quiet, natural-sounding static than its more popular cousin, white noise—and hence, more relaxing for the brain.
A recent study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience followed the patterns of 13 elderly adults over two nights in a sleep lab and found that “slow wave oscillations” (translation: deep sleep patterns) increased when pink noise was played intermittently throughout the night. Participants also performed substantially better on a memory test the next morning. Pretty darn cool.
Wanna give it a shot? Head to YouTube before you hit the hay tonight. It’s a pink noise treasure trove.