Listening to background noise to help you concentrate, zone out or fall asleep isn’t exactly a new concept. Many people find it hard to fall asleep and have tried everything from breathing exercises to ASMR, but right now, TikTok users are raving about brown noise.
Sound therapy has been used and promoted for years, specifically white noise therapy which is said to help manage health conditions like tinnitus and ADHD. However, the latest TikTok sleep trend, brown noise is said to be more effective than white noise for helping with sleep and health issues.
But what is brown noise and can it actually help you sleep? We did some digging to find out. We’ve tried a few viral TikTok sleep hacks to see if they work, so check these out if you want some sleep tips.
What is brown noise?
Brown noise, also known as red noise, is a type of sound that contains all frequencies and sounds from every octave of the sound spectrum, according to Sleep Foundation. Brown noise produces deeper low-frequency tones that sound similar to rumbling thunder, heavy rainfall and waterfalls.
There are many different types of sound or noise, including white, brown and pink noise. What sets them apart from one another is the pitch or frequency of the sound. White noise is an evenly spread sound that has a mix of low, mid-range and high pitches, which gives it a consistent humming noise. Pink noise is lower than white noise and sounds similar to wind and light rain. Brown noise is the deepest version of sound that you can get, and it’s this deepness that seems to have captivated TikTokers.
So, what is TikTok saying? Many TikTok videos have been posted in the past few weeks, most of which have been tagged #brownnoise. Users are praising brown noise and commenting that it’s slowed their thoughts, improved their sleep and helped them focus. The majority of TikTokers posting about brown noise also make videos about their experience with ADHD and are saying that brown noise is helping with some of their ADHD symptoms.
Can brown noise help you sleep better?
The science behind brown noise helping with sleep is pretty limited and research still needs to be done surrounding the benefits or disadvantages. Having said that, the deeper sound of brown noise compared to that of white and pink seems to be the main factor that has many TikTokers excited.
At T3, we’re not health professionals so we did some research around brown noise to see if it can actually help you sleep and relax. According to webmd, more research into brown noise needs to be conducted but it “might help lower symptoms if you have ringing in your ears, and it’s also shown to improve thinking skills.” Other experts say that the deeper and lower frequency of brown noise is more soothing and grounding than white noise and can help slow the brain down.
One TikTok page that’s commented on brown noise is the profile, Adhd Assist. In one post (which you can see above), the page listed brown noise benefits which include enhanced relaxation, drowning out distracting noises, stronger ability to focus and falling asleep easier.
Brown noise: does it actually work?
So, does it actually work? Having a bit of noise while you sleep definitely has its benefits. Many of the best sleep apps use sound and meditative exercises to help users fall asleep, so we’re not surprised that brown noise is being championed for this. White noise machines are also very popular and a Frontiers in Neurology study found that adults fell asleep 38% faster with ‘sound administration’ rather than normal environmental noise.
While many TikTok videos champion brown noise for helping with health concerns, there isn’t really enough research to definitively prove its benefits. Like most sleep tips and hacks, whether brown noise works for you is dependent on your sleep patterns and schedule. If you find it easy to fall asleep, you might not need any brown or white noise to help you with this. However, if you find it difficult to drop off or relax before bed, experts say there’s no harm in trying out brown noise to see if it improves sleep quality and relaxation.