The Best-Colored Noise to Sleep to, According to Experts

updated Jan 22, 2024
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You may have heard of white noise, but did you know that there’s a whole range of “colored noises” that can help you drift off to sleep each night? From gray to pink to brown noise, becoming familiar with these soundscapes could make a world of difference in your nighttime routine.

Quick Overview

Best Noise for Sleep

Although you’ve likely heard of white noise, which is great for those suffering from insomnia, there are several other colors of noise that can help with sleep: from pink noise, which is ideal for light sleepers; brown noise, which is good for people living in loud areas; green noise, which is perfect for those kept up by stress; and gray noise, which is useful for those with tinnitus.

To help sleepers figure out which noise color could work best for them, sleep experts at U.K. mattress company MattressNextDay compiled a list of which colored noises are best for the type of sleeper you are. You can check out their findings below.

White Noise

Best for: Those suffering from insomnia; toddlers; children with ADHD

Odds are, this is the colored noise you’ve heard of before. White noise emits an equal amount of all audible sound frequencies at once, blocking out other noise disturbances. However, because it emphasizes some high-frequency sounds, some sleepers might find it too noisy.

Because white noise blocks out pre-existing noise disturbances, it’s a common solution for those dealing with insomnia. However, it’s also been reported to help toddlers fall asleep, and to help children with ADHD improve on memory and verbal tasks.

Pink Noise

Best for: Light sleepers; people who wake up with low energy

While white noise features an equal intensity of all sound frequencies, pink noise creates a harmonious balance of high and low frequencies, mimicking sounds found in nature. This gentler noise can help light sleepers. Meanwhile, studies show that pink noise can help individuals spend more time in deep sleep, helping them wake up with more energy.

Pink noise is also one of the fastest-growing colored noises online — the term has amassed 35.3 million views on TikTok.

Brown Noise

Best for: People who live in loud areas; people struggling to drown out internal thoughts

Coined by a 19th-century botanist, brown noise emits higher energies at lower frequencies (think: strong winds and low thunder). Studies show that brown noise can help induce sleep and relaxation, which makes it a strong fit for those struggling to fall asleep in noisy areas or drown out their own internal thoughts.

Green Noise

Best for: People kept awake by stress

Green noise is actually a variation of white noise, full of sounds that call nature to mind, like ocean waves or trickling waterfalls. Because its frequency isn’t super high, it’s a good fit for those who like gentle ambient noise while falling asleep. Its ties to nature sounds are also a great fit for those seeking relaxation or struggling to unwind at the end of the day.

Gray Noise

Best for: People with tinnitus

Think of gray noise as a more balanced take on white noise, emitting noise at both high and low frequencies. It’s typically used to help people with tinnitus, whose sensitivity to everyday sounds can prevent them from falling asleep easily.