Pink noise gets its particular moniker because light with a similar power spectrum would appear to be this shade. As explained by Live Science, white noise and pink noise both contain all the frequencies that are audible to humans but the way their signal power is distributed among those frequencies is different. The power per hertz in pink noise decreases as the frequency increases and every octave carries the same power or a consistent frequency. To the human ear, pink noise is perceived as “even” or “flat.” So, what does pink noise sound like?
Pink noise can be found in numerous biological and physiological processes including our heart rate variability. Examples of pink noise in your surroundings are leaves rustling in the trees on a windy day, waves crashing on the beach, and rain steadily falling.
Listen to a couple of pink noise examples below!
Pure Pink Noise
Pink Noise Inspired by Nature
Pink Noise & Sleep
What does pink noise sound like? For some, it sounds like a peaceful night of sleep.
In a study featured in Neuron in 2013, German scientists played pink noise in sync with eleven participants’ brain waves so that it played when their brain activity registered deep sleep. Compared with no noise, the pink noise corresponded with a longer period of deep sleep. The subjects were also able to recall almost twice as many word pairs shown to them the previous night after sleeping with pink noise versus no noise. While the number of deep sleep cycles remained the same, the pink noise appeared to prolong deep sleep and to increase the size of the subject’s brain waves during that period, as shown by their EEG readings.
Two more recent studies indicate that pink noise has a positive impact on deep sleep and memory. More research is needed to determine how the benefits of pink noise compares to white noise and other noise colors outside of the confines of the research environment.
If you’re curious about pink noise and how it can impact your sleep quality, try it out for yourself. Finding what works best for you may require some experimenting, put the potential pay off is well worth it.