Sounds to Sleep To [Season ’23/24] – Most Relaxing Sounds to Help You Sleep and Gadgets That Might Help

by sleep gadgets, sleep wellness, sound and sleep

If you are having sleeping problems, and you can’t fall asleep easily without rolling around on your bed, you should look into the sounds to help you sleep better.

It’s scientifically proven that particular types of sounds will help you catch some sleep more easily, you just need to know which sounds to listen to.

sleep headphones girl
tv sets white noise

These sounds are usually referred to as noise colors and there are three most common types which are white, pink, and brown noise color.

Noise color sounds will help and remove any background noise thanks to the frequency levels used. It will put you to sleep more easily and will make sure you aren’t waking up during the night which is really important.

Types of Sounds to Sleep To

As you now know that there are three most common color noise sounds. But something you don’t know is how they work.

Also, you don’t need to necessarily sleep to these types of sounds, as they can also help you improve your concentration when needed or just help you relax after a long day of work.

White color noises for sleep

White noise are basically frequencies that are equally flat all the time. It might be hard to understand it, however, after a few examples, you will understand. They are great at removing the background noise which is really helpful during the night.

Waking up in the middle of the night is bad for your sleep since you are stopping the sleeping cycles each time you wake up. For example, a white color noise will help to remove the background noise and help you focus so you can fall asleep more easily while maintaining the sleep.

If your family members are noisy, or your neighbors are slamming their car doors way too early in the morning, white color noise could help you with that. It will remove the background noise and help you stay focused on the white color noise during your good night’s sleep.

white noise sleep machine
Examples of white color noise are:

  • Light sounds of rain
  • Hissing steam
  • Television static

There are many more examples, and I am sure light sounds of rain is a perfect example to understand the white color noise. Another example which many people will know is the static sound of the television when it’s set on a different frequency than it’s normally used to.

Most likely you get the idea, and you might wonder how does it actually help you to sleep better. Well, some people get sleepy just by listening to the white color noise.

It cancels the surroundings and your brain only focuses on that one particular type of noise. It helps you to concentrate and it will prevent your brain from overthinking things so it will help him relax more easily which leads to better sleep, and also you will be able to fall asleep faster than before.

Pink noise and sleep

Pink color noise is similar to the white color noises, however, it works a little bit different. White color noise uses higher frequencies which are equal all the time, while pink color noise uses lower frequencies at higher volumes.

People like to think of pink color noise as a white color noise, just with a bass sound added. It uses lower frequencies, however, it’s usually deeper than white color noise. For everyone who thinks that white color noises are harsh and thin, pink color noise might make them feel better. Pink color uses noises from all the spectrum at lower frequencies which makes the sound deeper and gentler sound.

While white color noise is one of the most known noises for improved sleep, pink color noise has the same benefits. It sounds different, however, it still provides better sleep by helping a person focus. Pink color noise doesn’t need to be used for sleeping purposes. It can be used for focusing on important things during work or studying for example. It also has the ability to alleviate headaches or even sooth babies and young children. Sleep sounds for babies and newborns are proven to help them sleep better.

Sleep sounds for babies and newborns is a common technique practiced by the parents nowadays.

Again, it might be hard to understand the difference between the sounds, and how do they actually work until you learn the examples and listen to them yourself.

pink noise waves frequency graph
Examples of pink color noise are:

  • Heavy rain
  • Rushing water
  • Strong wind through leaves
  • Air condition

While they still can cancel the background and benefit your sleep, they can be also used for focusing and relaxing. Heavy rain sounds for sleep and rushing water sounds are great examples, and they provide the difference between white color noises such as light rain sounds for sleep or static television sound.

Also, have you ever noticed how sleepy you get during the car rides on a highway, or train rides? It’s mostly because of the noise car or train produce when driving at the same speed. Although, temperature plays the big part as well. But a car or train consistent sound can be a good example of pink, or even maybe a brown color noise which I will mention later in this post.

Brown noise for sleep

Brown noise is the third color from the most common noise colors. It’s also the least researched one

Many people rely on the white or pink color noise, while brown color noise has a lot to offer as well. An interesting fact would be that the brown name doesn’t derive from a color name, yet from a person named Robert Brown. He discovered the Brownian motion that generates brown noise.

Brown color noise is similar to the pink color noise. However, it uses the low-frequency sounds but it takes them even further in order to create a noisy pattern.

It’s might be the reason why not many people like the brown color noise, however, there are still benefits for people who do like it.

Benefits of brown color noise would be better relaxation and meditation, improved focus, increased reading comprehension, and like other color noises, it benefits and improves sleep.

waterfall brown noise
Examples of brown color noise are:

  • Rushing water (like waterfalls or ocean waves)
  • Low Roar
  • Deep Hum
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Train Passing

You must have heard at least one of the examples, and it might not make sense right now such as how can the train passing be relaxing sounds for sleep, however, you would have to try it out and see for yourself the great benefits.

Usually, the deeper qualities of the noise are, the better they are for relaxation and sleeping purpose.

It’s up to you which type of sound you prefer more, and there isn’t the best or the worst color noise. It’s a matter of the personal preference, and there haven’t been done any studies to prove which type of sound is the most effective simply because of that reason.

Ocean sounds for sleep are a great example of brown color noise.

Crashing Ocean Waves - an example of brown noise

How Does a Sleep Machine Work?

Sleep machine is a device which produces mostly one or more types of the color noise.

It’s a white noise that people have found it’s the best color noise for improved sleeping. White color noise has the ability to reduce and remove the background noise which benefits and allows people to have a quality good night’s sleep.

Usually, when you’re woken up by a noise in the middle of a night, it’s due to the inconsistency in the same noise. That’s why white noise is good for sleep since it blocks out other inconsistent noises by providing quality consistent background noise which will help you fall asleep faster as well.

sleep therapy sound machine

Sleep machines are made to produce quality consistent white noise for a better sleep. Although, as I have mentioned sleep machines are mostly made to produce white color noise, however, you will be able to find sleep machines that can produce other types of noise such as pink or brown.

It’s very simple to use a sleep machine as it has only a options to adjust the noise for your personal preference. There is usually a power button with timer included, volume button, and some sleep machines have the option to choose between a fan sound or white color noise.

Fan sound is more likely to be a pink color noise, however, some people can’t fall asleep without the sound of a fan, so that’s why most of the sleep machines come with that option. It’s also a great way to have a sleep machine which is able to produce white and pink color noise.

Overlooked tip – cover the basics with a good  blankie

You can experiement with relaxing sounds for sleeep, but that only covers after you’ve made sure you hav ethe basics covered.

One of the basic is temperature under the blanket – you need to be warm but still allow for breatheability for bodytemperature regulation. If you think this might be a problem for you, you should probably take a look at our guide on best warm winter blankets here.

How do noise-cancellation headphones and sleep earbuds work?

Noise canceling headphones and earbuds will take care of the problem by canceling the loud high-frequency noises. They mostly come in active or passive types.

Any type of headphones or earbuds work by providing some kind of noise reduction, thanks to their material which cancels the most of the noise. However, if you would want to completely cancel the outside noise to be able to clearly hear and enjoy the music or even enjoy the silence, you would need active noise reduction headphones or earbuds.

A good example of an active noise canceling headphones would be the ones that pilots use. They look bulky and maybe funny, but they give the pilot ability to hear the radio clearly over the loud airplane engine.

The issue is that good noice-cancelling headphones and earbuds are expensive – we recently did a prject to find the best budget noise-cancelling headphone and earbuds under $100 and $200 – you can see it here.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Active VS. Passive Noise-Cancelling Sleep Headphones

Active noise canceling headphones or earbuds can do everything passive ones can, however, they have improved structure barriers that block the high-frequency sound waves.

There is a microphone placed inside the earcup which listens to the sounds that can’t be blocked passively, and then it has a little speaker which produces sound waves to block the external sounds. Thanks to the little speaker which produces sound waves, external sound waves can’t disturb our ears.

Although there is a little bit more technology involved in making the active noise canceling headphones, they’re still necessary for people who are battling with high-frequency noises on daily basis.

Also, if you are a regular flier, you might have come to conclusion by yourself that you should probably invest in a good pair of active noise canceling headphones.

Passive canceling headphones are mostly used by the workers who work with machines that produce high-frequency noises, especially inside the room. They use passive canceling headphones not to completely remove the external noise, but mostly to protect their ears from the noise.

Noise canceling earbuds are a great solution if you can’t fall asleep because of the different noises such bed creeks, or birds outside the window.

If you don’t like listening to any kind of noise such as fan sound during your sleep, you could probably help yourself with a good pair of passive earbuds.

Either if you decide to go for active or passive noise canceling headphones or earbuds, investing in one pair is really worth it and can help you sleep better with no noise, and they will also protect your ears from the high-frequency noise.

How Does a Sleep Sound Pillow Work?

No matter what’s the reason you can’t sleep – sleep pillow sounds might help you and fix your problems.

Sleep Pillow is an app available on both Android and iOS smartphones, which comes with a lot of sounds specially designed to help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.

Serious sleep disorders might not be solved with the Sound Pillow app, however, if you are simply stressed or can’t sleep in the silence – relaxing sounds of this app will be perfect for you.

There are a lot of different sounds to help you sleep, and you will be able to set the timer as well to stop playing the chosen sound after some period of time. Sounds are expressed through photos, and for example, water sounds will be expressed with a photo of ocean or rain.

It’s mostly about the personal preference, and that’s why the Sleep Pillow is a great app for practicing and experimenting.

In my opinion, ocean sounds for sleep which can be found inside this app, are really great soothing sounds to get a good night’s sleep. However, on the other hand, many people prefer storm and thunderstorm sounds as their soothing sounds.

sleep pillow app logo big


  • Bob Ozment

    Bob has been testing and writing about all things sleep (and especially blankets, air mattresses and folding beds), for 8+ years now. before that, he worked as a Quality Assurance Manager with one of the bigger names in the sleep industry. He holds a masters degree Statistics, Actuarial & Data Sciences from the central Michigan University at Mount Pleasant. He's one of the people who designs our producing testing and statistical models. He’s a stomach sleeper, but nobody’s perfect.