The Key to Improved Focus, Optimum Relaxation and Easier Sleep Could Be Colour Noise

Colour noise could be the key to improved focus, optimum relaxation and easier sleep.

Are you someone that sleeps with the A/C on – not just because you want to neutralise the room temperature, but also because you want to hear the calming humming sound it makes? Do you find that the only way you can actually focus on schoolwork is by listening to white noise? Well, this is the science behind ‘colour noises’. 

‘Colour noises’ have taken the Tik Tok world by storm. People are constantly looking for new and easier ways to clear their overworking minds and avoid going mad at everyday sounds. Hence, the idea of ‘colour noises’ has appeared on Tik Tok, offering a quick and accessible channel to de-stress. 

Listening to white noise has been a longtime remedy for scatterbrains, but since its resurgence on TikTok, more colour noises have been studied – particularly, pink and brown. 

But like most things, these colour noises work effectively depending on an individual’s personal preference. 

There are three different colour noises you can use to shape your mood, to keep calm as well as to sleep.

General tips for using colour noises

Every person is different, so responses to colour noises may be different. However, the recommended maximum volume for playing white, pink or brown noise is 50 decibels. Essentially, play it soft enough for you to hear it. If any colour noise is played over 85 decibels, you may risk ringing in the ears and hearing loss.

Colour noises are best played through a sound machine or an app. A sound machine is typically larger and more expensive but may come with better sound quality than an app. Sound machines come in a range of prices – from $20 to over $100. Ensure that you do your research before making a purchase.

Using a sound machine is beneficial if you prefer to sleep away from your phone. However, an app may be practical if you are travelling, have minimal space or don’t simply don’t want to spend.

Sound machines and apps often feature a timer that allows individuals to set the duration for the colour noise that will be played. For relaxation and sleep purposes, set the timer to one hour on your first go – if you find that you need it to play for longer, adjust as you wish. For study, synchronise it to the length of your study session.

What exactly are colour noises? 

Dual board certified psychiatrist and sleep medicine doctor, Alex Dimitriu, MD, spoke to Bustle and said, “noise, whatever the colour, refers to the sound of various, random frequencies.” 

Sounds are distinguished by their intensity, frequency and energy waves, and thus are ascribed certain colour descriptors as points of differentiation. 

How exactly do they work?

The combination of upper, mid-range and low frequencies work to block out other sounds in your environment and keep them from interfering with your brain. This is why colour noises are typically used by students who can’t concentrate or by insomniacs whose minds tend to race before going to sleep. 

In turn, you reap the rewards of optimum relaxation, improved focus and easier sleep.  

Brown, Pink and White Noise defined 

Brown noise

Best used for: FOCUS


Brown noise is the deepest colour sound of the three. It compounds all noise frequencies like white noise but places more stress on lower frequencies. By using lower frequencies, in contrast to pink and white noise, brown noise is less screechy, thus more pleasant to the ear. Unlike white noise, brown noise is named after Robert Brown, a botanist who lived in the 1800s and discovered ‘Brownian motion’. 

Brown noise is likened to the sounds of a rumbling of a waterfall or distant thunder. 

Waterfall - brown noise

Pink noise

Best used for: RELAXATION


Pink noise is a steady sound that emphasises lower frequency sounds rather than the high-frequency sounds found in white noise. Many find this more relaxing to listen to as it is less piercing to the ear, and more enjoyable to the heart. Opt for pink noise if you’re looking for a middle ground to the colour noises as it accentuates higher frequencies than brown noise but less than that of white noise. 

Imagine pink noise as the rustling leaves, deep whooshing wind or gentle waves crashing. 

Wind - pink noise

White noise

Best used for: SLEEP


White noise is a fusion of all the different levels of audible frequencies, at the same intensity. Think of the light spectrum which combines the rainbow of colours together – this is how white noise works. 

Despite the amalgamation of noises, it is just as pleasing to hear. Generally, white noises are man-made sounds. You can find white noise from a whirring or static TV as they both are a mixture of various sounds happening at once.

TV static - white noise

To further enhance your sleep quality, read our guide here.

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Janelle Porciuncula


Janelle is an ambitious writer who is constantly chasing the hottest topics in pop culture news. She loves spending quality time with her loved ones, eating out at new restaurants, listening to podcasts, sipping on matcha lattes and Moulin Rouge. She dreams of visiting France someday so that she can finally practise the language.

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