A couple of days ago, I was talking to my sister on the phone, and she commented on hearing our grandfather clock chime. I told her that I like the sound, except if I am trying to take a nap in the living room. She asked if we hear it in the bedroom, and I said “No, there is too much white noise”.
White noise is similar to white light. White light is made up of light of all the different colors or frequencies of light waves. White noise is sound made up of all the different frequencies of sound waves. Think about the sound a fan makes, or the sound you get when you turn a radio dial off of a station. White noise is good at masking other sounds, because the other sounds get mingled with the white noise, and you can no longer pick them out. My husband and I were at a hotel last week, and the people next door were making a lot of noise. We turned on the fan, and the party next door no longer intruded. White noise is also used to mask tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.
I use a CPAP machine, which helps me breathe at night. It blows air into my nose, and the sound it makes is white noise -white noise # 1. In our bedroom at home, we also have a HEPA air filter running- white noise # 2. Then there is the humidifier we run during the winter-white noise # 3. These three sounds surround me, no other noises intrude.
When trying to get to sleep, I often focus my mind on the white noise, and it helps to block out thoughts as well as sounds. It is like mindfully focusing on a blank sheet of paper- nothing is there to distract me. You can buy machines that make white noise to use in your bedroom, or to take with you on trips to block out other noises. These machines usually have several sounds to choose from besides the white noise, including ocean waves and rain. Choose whatever sound you find most soothing and relaxing.
Just don’t overdo it with the white noise. Many years ago, before I started using the CPAP, we had one of those sound machines, which we set to play sounds of a bubbling brook. We also had an air filter and humidifier going. My brain kept trying to hear the brook separately, and I had a hard time relaxing, which was the whole point of the sound machine. We ended up getting rid of the sound machine, and just letting the other machines provide our white noise. Ahhh, peaceful sleep.