Pink Noise or White Noise for a Restful Night's Sleep?

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This article originally appeared on Medical Daily.

Is pink noise the new white noise? It just may be, according to a new study.

When sleeping, white noise refers to anything that gives you a consistent sound throughout the night. This could be anything from a fan, air purifier or white noise machine, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

11_20_sleep_apps_01 A new study suggests pink noise may be more effective for a restful night's sleep than white noise. Radharc/Alamy

But, a new small study, published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows pink noise may be even more effective than white noise. Pink noise is said to resemble water and sound more balanced and natural than white noise, TIME reports.

The study involved 13 older adults with an average age of about 75 years old, who spent two consecutive nights in a sleep lab. During one of those nights, the participants listened to pink noise through headphones.

Their memory was assessed both nights by a test they were given before bed and asked to repeat in the morning. Turns out, the pink noise not only helped with deeper sleep, but those who listened to it had better memory recall.

The pink noise effectiveness relies on timing, senior author Dr. Phyllis Zee told TIME. The sound was played through headphones when the subjects were in a slow, deep sleep. This was determined by electrode caps the participants wore that detect brain  waves.

The  authors note this is a small study and that more research should be done to determine the long-term effects of using pink noise to boost memory and improve sleep.

A noise machine may be just the thing to provide that quiet, undisturbed rest you need that's key to healthy sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. 

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