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What's The Difference Between White, Pink, And Brown Noise?

  • 4 min read

Portable Sound Machine: Pink Noise vs. White Noise

Good sleep is crucial for our health - both physically and mentally. Wanting a full night’s sleep is why many people choose to use a portable sound machine. If you’ve ever lived on a busy street or stayed in a noisy hotel room, only to be up most of the night due to the disturbances, you know how much it can throw off your day or even your week. Sound machines are a great option for providing you with relaxing sounds to help you get the rest you need.


But did you know that all sound is actually on a spectrum and that sound frequencies are assigned a color to help identify them? This means there’s a difference betweentrue white noise and the noise we actually want to hear from a sound machine. 


Colloquial White Noise

True “white noise” is a technical, unpleasant sound that is similar to a TV or radio static. It’s basically many frequencies of sound at equal intensity. In other words, it’s not ideal for a soothing sound to put you to sleep - quite the opposite! It’s disruptive. 

However, white noise in the context of sleep devices (colloquial white noise) refers to a mix of frequencies biased to the lower end of the spectrum. In this way, the sound is more pleasing to the ear while still masking environmental disturbances.

So when we think of white noise that isrelaxing to fall asleep to, what we are actually thinking of is closer topink noise

What is Pink Noise?

Pink noise is ideal for listening to while going to sleep because of the louder lower frequencies. So whereas true white noise has louder higher frequencies, pink noise keeps those higher frequencies more subtle and hidden.

SNOOZ Portable Sound Machines produce a sound that is closer to technical pink noise than technical white noise. For example, pink noise might include the sound of a fan, ocean waves, or rain in the forest. 

So again, when you see products advertised as white noise, what that actually means is they are referring to sounds closer to pink noise (since true white noise would be extremely bothersome). 

Other Noise Colors

Of course, there can be more than just white noise and pink noise - there’s brown noise, too. While less common, this type of sound has a higher intensity of lower-frequency sounds than pink noise (for example, an airplane cabin droning sound). In fact, there’s even violet noise, blue noise, grey noise, red noise, green noise, and many more. 

How Pink Noise (Colloquial White Noise) Can Help with Sleep

Pink noise (colloquial white noise) offers a wide variety of benefits to help you ease into sleep and stay asleep by producing peaceful, soothing sounds. These benefits include:

Pink Noise Masks Noise:

The intensity of lower-frequency sounds associated with pink noise makes it louder than many sounds you’d otherwise hear. This makes it more likely to drown out any street noise in the middle of the night, like birds and cars driving by. 

It Reduces the Startle Factor:

Pink noise/colloquial white noise reduces the delta between the baseline level of sound in a room and contaminant noise. Here’s an example: A bedroom is silent and a siren goes by at an imaginary sound level of 8. We would refer to thestartle factoras an 8. 

However, if the pink/colloquial white noise brings your room up to a baseline of 5, and a siren goes by at an 8, your new startle factor is now a 3. Why does this matter? Because it means you are less likely to be woken up in the middle of the night by the siren. 


It Provides an Environmental Cue:

It can help you fall asleep and stay asleep by reducing environmental disturbances and providing an environmental cue for sleep known as azeitgeber. It’s essentially a cue for your brain, a trigger, that it’s time to sleep (just like when the lights are turned off in a room when you go to bed). 

In addition to helping you fall asleep in your own home, portable sound machines can also help you with insomnia, meditation, and difficulty sleeping in a hotel room. 

Anyone Can Benefit

That’s right - anyone can benefit from the gentle sound of a pink/colloquial white noise machine, including adults and kids. Plus, you can even put your baby to sleep with a sound machine

Features of SNOOZ Portable Sound Machines

In addition to helping provide a restful sleep through white noise sound to anyone using it, the SNOOZ Portable Sound Machine has the following added features: 

  • On/Off Scheduler with a Fade In/Fade Out sleep timer
  • Volume control (volume level can be adjusted, enabling you to set lower frequency sounds with a remote control
  • Nightlight mode
  • First-ever nursery calibration 
  • Great price
  • Portable, small size

Types of Noise the SNOOZ Portable Sound Machine Can Produce

The SNOOZ portable sound machine can produce sounds that range from a light fan sound (similar to an oscillating stand fan) or a deep fan sound (that you might associate with an airplane cabin).

Rather than rely on looping recordings of background noise or nature sounds on your sleep machine, your SNOOZ White Noise Machine generates its sound in real-time so it never repeats and is truly random.

Ready to Fall Asleep - And Stay Asleep?

SNOOZ was designed to generate the best possible fan sound for better sleep. As a result, both the tone and volume of noise can be adjusted. Plus, unlike a fan, SNOOZ does not blow unwanted cold air, is travel-friendly, and uses a fraction of the energy. It also includes advanced features in the free iOS and Android companion apps.

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