If you’ve been learning about ways to help you sleep better, then you’ve likely come across the term “white noise”, which is a type of sound with all audible frequencies that, for many people, helps drown out other distracting noises so they can rest easier. Using sounds for sleep can be helpful for those who live in busier areas since noise is much more of a factor.
While white noise machines are a well-known solution, there’s another noise color that’s been gaining more online interest: green noise. In this article, explain what green noise is and what it sounds like, as well as the potential benefits of it, particularly when it comes to sleep.
What Is Green Noise?
Green noise is within the frequency of white noise, falling at around 500 hertz. However, unlike white noise, it sounds more like nature, which is why it’s called “green. “
What Does Green Noise Sound Like?
If you’re unfamiliar with white noise, it sounds like a vacuum, fan, or maybe an air conditioner. Conversely, green noise might remind you of ambient noise you hear in nature, such as wind or rain, which is why some people find it more soothing for sleeping.
Benefits of Green Noise
Whether you plan to use green noise for sleep, during the day, or both, the potential benefits could make it worth a try.
Green noise sounds like nature, so it’s easy to understand how this sound can be very relaxing for many people. Remember how nice it is to sleep on the beach when the waves hit the sand? Or perhaps you love the soothing sound of a rainy day. This is exactly how green noise can help you wind down to fall asleep.
Could Reduce Stress
According to research, nature sounds1 can bring your heartbeat to normal and lower your stress hormone levels. This is helpful for sleep because stress can cause sleep problems2. Not only is this beneficial for your sleep, though, but it’s also good for your long-term health. Stress is linked to health complications3 like anxiety, depression, weight gain, digestive issues, headaches, muscle tension and pain, and cardiovascular problems like hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks.
Helps Block Other Noises
Do you live on a busy street, or does your family stay up late? If so, you may struggle to sleep as a result. Green noise can help by buffing out distractive noises, helping you focus more on the nature sounds than whatever is happening outside your room.
Cons of Green Noise
Could Wake You
Although green noise may help you fall asleep, it might also wake you up in the middle of the night. For this reason, we suggest you set a timer for your green noise device so that it stops at some point during the night to prevent it from disturbing you.
It Might Not Work for You
Just like with white noise, it’s not for everyone. While green noise may help someone fall asleep faster, it may not do the same for you. In this case, it’s good to test it out with a YouTube video or Spotify playlist you can play for a few nights to see if you like using it.
How to Use Green Noise for Sleep
- Go to bed early enough – Getting enough sleep is always important, and you can only do this if you go to bed on time. If you know you usually take too long to fall asleep, we suggest you go to bed early enough to give yourself time to doze off and still get enough sleep by the time your alarm goes off.
- Stay away from screens – Blue light4 can affect sleep quality and duration, so it’s important to stay away from it about before bed ideally for an hour or longer. Turn the screens off and consider using blue light-blocking glasses if you’re going to read before bed.
- Make sure your room is dark – Light can also wake you up, so we suggest you make sure your room is completely dark before playing any green noise and sinking into your sheets. Use window blinds or blackout curtains if your street is well-lit.
- Turn the volume down – Avoid having your green noise play too loudly. If the volume is too high, this could make it as difficult to fall asleep as any other noise. Rather, the noise should be more of a background sound.
- Set a timer – Although green noise can help you fall asleep, it might also wake you up in the middle of the night. For this reason, set a time limit so that the sound turns off after an hour or two when you know you’ll be asleep.
Oftentimes, many green noise apps and machines will also have other sound frequencies, including white noise. This can give you more variety in finding what sounds and types of sounds can help you sleep easier.
Green Noise Apps
Green Noise Machines
What is the Difference Between Green Noise and White Noise?
White noise contains all frequencies a human can hear in equal measure. This is a broad range, but most people know it as the static coming from television or untuned radio, fan, ventilation, or a vacuum cleaner.
Green noise is within the frequency of white noise, but it’s a more natural sound like the wind, ocean waves, rain, or a waterfall.
It’s hard to tell if one color is better than the other because this mostly depends on your preference. While some may help with work efficiency5, others can be more beneficial in putting you to sleep faster. In most cases, it’s best to try out several options to see which works best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does green noise do?
Green noise reflects ambient noises found in nature, hence the name. In most cases, it resembles the sound of the ocean, rainfall, a waterfall, or wind. This noise has a consistent pattern that could help you relax and reduce stress while blocking out external noises.
What color noise is best for sleep?
White and green noises are generally considered the best noises for sleep. Between these two, it depends on the specific person. Some people prefer white noise while others find green noise more soothing.
Is green noise good for your brain?
The research on green noise is limited, but we couldn’t find any data indicating that it could be harmful to your brain. However, nature sounds (like green noise) are linked to lower stress levels, which is helpful for your long-term health.1, 3
Olivera is a content writer for Sleep Advisor and is enthusiastic about sleep. She firmly believes in the benefits of daytime naps on top of getting a full 8-hour sleep at night.
- 1. J. Alvarsson, Jesper., et al. “Stress Recovery during Exposure to Nature Sound and Environmental Noise”. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2010. –
- 2. “Manage Stress”. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Last modified July 20, 2022. –
- 3. “Stress management”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified November 18, 2024. –
- 4. Silvani, Marcia Ines., et al. “The influence of blue light on sleep, performance and wellbeing in young adults: A systematic review”. Frontiers in Physiology. 2022. –
- 5. Lu, Shih-Yi., et al. “Spectral Content (colour) of Noise Exposure Affects Work Efficiency”. Noise & Health. 2020. –