The Whir of Slumber: Fan Noise and Sleep

The Whir of Slumber: Fan Noise and Sleep

We’ve entered a new phase of public perception when it comes to sleep. Not long ago, many people would have looked at drug intervention as the only option.

In terms of non-medicinal advice, most couldn’t really offer you much beyond anecdote. Not that anecdote is useless, but it’s not exactly systematic.

This is all a fairly long-winded (pun!) way of illustrating the idea that rather than simply look at your sleep, your body, your mind.

As some unknowable beast you can simply adapt to— adopting strange habits and behaviors—why not try to actually understand it as best you can? You might gain surprising insight and knowledge.

Now, my Mother has a sleep quirk that she seems to have passed on to me. Like many people, she cannot sleep without the noise of a fan.

Unfortunately, my father finds it annoying. So let’s take a look into this one. Why might this be the case?

What does fan noise accomplish for her, and others like myself and what does it have to do with White Noise? Can she stop listening to Fan Noise for my father?

Does fan noise help sleep
Does fan noise help sleep?

Does fan noise help sleep?

Yes and No. As it stands, Fan noise helps some people fall asleep, and others not at all.

But the question then becomes looking at noises in a systematic way. What exactly does fan noise do?

Well the answer to that is that it acts as a monotonous sound that helps to sooth and often send people to sleep.

Many people know this noise as “White Noise” and understanding it could help you change or improve your habits.

The Whir of Slumber: Fan Noise and Sleep

Is Fan Noise White Noise? 

What is fan noise? Well obviously we don’t need to define that. Everyone knows the sound a fan makes. But, what exactly is White Noise? Is the sound a fan makes just a type of White Noise?

Well, again, yes and no. White Noise has a technical definition, which is “equal energy per frequency.” 

Colloquially, we think of White Noise as a monotonous and soothing sound that can drown out other noises. But actually white noise is just one category of these types of sounds.

Other categories include Pink, Brown, and Black, and they are organized based on frequency and energy distribution, which are a bit technical.

Fan noise actually seems to fall under the category of Pink Noise, though sum sources list it as White Noise. That said, it’s not necessarily soothing for everyone. 

The Whir of Slumber: Fan Noise and Sleep

Is it better to sleep in silence or with noise?

This one is a bit tricky. The real question is what is better to fall asleep to? In other words, what is the better sleep aid?

The answer depends on the individual. But there is ample evidence that if you’re struggling falling asleep, it might be a good idea to try out some of the various sound types available.

There’s been research that indicates White Noise is extremely helpful falling to sleep, and recently there’s been a look into if Pink Noise could be even more helpful, stimulating memory and other benefits.

What are the different Colors of Noise? What color noise is best for sleep?

As stated above the different colors typically mentioned are White, Brown, Black and Pink.

Each with slightly different characteristics. Prototypical White Noise would be electronics things like radio or television static, or or other electronic humming like an air conditioner.

Pink noise is deeper and has been described as more natural and soft. For example, raindrops, waves or other rhythmic natural sounds.

Brown (or Red) noise can be described as deeper still, and noises like waterfalls, thunder, or storms fall into this category. Black noise is a bit of a cheat. It’s actually silence, or mostly silence.

The question of what color is best for sleep depends on the individual. But there has been research, as mentioned above, that White and Pink noise are the most conducive to healthy sleep.

It might be a good idea to try out different types of all these noises. To see if you can find a sound that works for you, or a sound that works for both you and your partner.

Once again technology has risen to meet the challenge, and there are many apps out there that can help you find just the right sleep sound. 

The Whir of Slumber: Fan Noise and Sleep

What is the best fan noise app?

Or, what is the best White Noise app, or even what is the best sleep sound app? Personally, I would recommend ShutEye.

The app offers an extensive amount of options. If you absolutely love the sound of a fan ShutEye has many options.

Exhaust Fan, Antique fan, table fan and more. But if you want to experiment than that’s where I think apps shine. 

You can pick from tons of different categories. Both natural and otherwise. Pink noises like soft breezes and rainfall, and Brown noise like thunderstorms and waterfalls. I’ve really enjoyed looking through their wide selection. 

Besides these options, ShutEye even offers users a “mix” option, where you can create a personal mix of sleep sounds that you can easily adjust. I’ve come to enjoy a Thunderstorm/Table fan mix. 

Whatever app you choose, I highly suggest you do some experimentation. Many people simply passively accept their sleep issues instead of trying to understand and deal with them. My father, for example, has his own quirk.

For my entire childhood and beyond he couldn’t sleep anywhere except the couch no matter how hard he tried, and he merely accepted it.

Unfortunately, it turned out the reason this worked for him was actually due to the couch sleeping position covering up a serious back issue that went untreated for most of his life.

My point here, is that if my father had listened to his body, tried to understand his issues with sleeping, he would have been able to live a much more comfortable life than he thus far has.

Disruptions or adaptations in sleep are often important. Likewise, behavioral changes are often under appreciated in terms of the positive affect it can have on your sleep, and thus your life. 

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