Why can’t I sleep in total silence?

Ever since I was a kid I have always had a fan on while I sleep. Through my own experiments I have discovered that without a fan I wake up to any sudden noise, and the sleep was actually not a restful. When I sleep with a fan I sleep like a rock the white noise in the background drones out all the other sound, which is actually a bad thing for me because I never hear my alarm in the morning. After researching this I found that the brain craves sensory input, and having a constant white noise in the background actually allows your brain to stop thinking as much so it can rest. The white noise feeds the brains need for sensory input and allows a person to sleep better. Seth S. Horowitz, a neuroscientist said that you still hear while you are asleep (Popular Science). So the reason that I am a heavy sleeper is because the white noise cancels out all the other noises, which allows me to sleep through most things.

Which is more effective: White noise or Pink noise?

It really comes down to personal preference, but a study recently discovered that when exposed to pink noise while sleeping there is a “significant enhancement in the percentage of stable sleep time compared to the control group” (NCBI). The control group in this case is the people sleeping in silence.

White noise is also effective when attempting to sleep. In a study done with newborns, 80% of the newborns fell asleep within five minutes due to the white noise (NCBI). Comparing babies and adults maybe be a bit of a stretch, but as I said before it is all about personal preference. Getting a good night sleep is critical for everyone especially college students. Sleep lose can actually decrease academic performance (University Health Center). Sleeping is very critical to a healthy lifestyle without it you do not feel one hundred percent, so if you find yourself having trouble sleeping try using some white noise or even pink noise.











8 thoughts on “Why can’t I sleep in total silence?

  1. Shannon Bridget Obrien

    This is so funny because I came here for summer session where I had a fan on everyday. When I went home in-between summer and fall semester I couldn’t sleep without the sound of the fan. It’s good and bad because I am kept cool but I can sometimes wake up with a dry throat because of the dust circulation. Here is a list of the pros and cons of sleeping with a fan on.

  2. Erika Michele Cristiano

    This blog was very interesting to me. Personally I cant fall asleep unless I’m listening to music or if I have the TV on. I never really understood why I just always felt comforted and relaxed by the sound of music or my favorite show. Its interesting to see that this is common with others sleeping habits as well. Here is a video I found of relaxing sounds to fall asleep to Video

  3. Caitlin Emily Whelan

    I found this interesting because I always wondered why parents put on white noise for their newborn to fall asleep. I never understood why that was done. It is weird because when I was younger I would be able to fall asleep with the television on, music blasting, lights on, etc. Now, I can only sleep in the pitch black and complete silence. Even the sound of a fan or a little light on distracts me so much. I guess I cannot sleep with white noise or pink noise. I thought this article was interesting on why it is hard for me to sleep at night!

  4. cfl5109

    I can relate to this post because ever since I was little I went to sleep every night listen to music. Even as I got older I still listened to music as I fell asleep every night, it put me to sleep, as you said, i couldn’t sleep unless I had music on. However, as I have grown up more I don’t need music anymore, maybe its because the sound of my fan has taken place of the music, but it seems as I’ve grown older, I’ve also grown out of the habit of falling asleep with music. I would be interested to see a study where multiple subjects were exposed to different noises while they fell asleep such as music, fans, the sound of rain, or other nature sounds and then it was recorded how deeply and soundly they slept when exposed to each noise!

  5. Caroline Gail Stacks

    I found this interesting because when I was younger, it would typically take me a very long time to fall asleep. At that time, I was sleeping in complete silence. It wasn’t until I was about 12-years-old that I started keeping a fan or a sound machine on every single night before bed. Ever since then, I have found myself falling asleep within 5 or 10 minutes of hitting the pillow! I thought that it was just something that only applied to a few people, as neither my siblings or my parents ever slept with any noise. When I got to college, I found myself having trouble falling asleep again, but I wasn’t sure if it was because I was anxious or because of the noiseless room. But now I know I’ll have to go back to a fan or turning on some kind of noise! I use a website that you can also get as a free app, and it has tons of noises to choose from so you can modify it to fit your personal preferences, as you were talking about in your post!

  6. Millie Rachel Dweck

    I can really relate to this blog! When I was younger, I couldn’t fall asleep in science. I would hear every crack in the floor and freak out. So since about a few years ago, I would have to have the TV on in the background in order to fall asleep. Now, I’m not sure if I am just more aware that not every crack is not a murder coming into my room, or I’m just more tired!

  7. Mia Rose Del Nunzio

    I found myself relating to your blog A LOT. I am also someone who must have white noise while I sleep. While at home I have a ceiling fan in my room that clicks, this may sound as if it would be annoying, but to me it is very relaxing. Now that I am in college, I have upgraded to a box fan and I find myself extremely relaxed while I sleep as well. I always wondered why this was, so thank you for sharing and educating me on what was happening when I was lying awake for hours without my clicking ceiling fan to put me to sleep.

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