Review finds quality of evidence is poor and noise may lead to more disrupted sleep
Whether it is nature sounds, the whine of a hairdryer or the incessant hum of a ceiling fan, white noise apps have been downloaded by millions of people around the world in the hope of getting a better night’s sleep. However, research suggests there is no good evidence that they work, and may even be making things worse.
True white noise is the hissy fizzing sound of all the frequencies that humans can hear being fired off randomly and at the same intensity. In recent years, numerous apps and devices have been developed that use it – or other “relaxing” sounds such as the hum of a fan or crashing waves – to help people fall asleep.
White noise as sleep aid may do more harm than good, say scientists