It is a known fact that sleep is important, but how does certain types of sound effect our brain health later on in life? Recently, researches believe that “pink noise” may help with less memory loss as you get older. Here are the facts:

White Noise vs. Pink Noise

White noise is considered consistent noise that creates a masking effect which can block out any sudden changes in noise, which is why white noise machines are often used for infants or small children while they nap. Some examples of white noise would be a marching band or static on the television.

“- is a type of noise that is produced by combining sounds of all different frequencies together. If you took all of the imaginable tones that a human can hear and combined them together, you would have white noise.”

And Pink noise is:

Pink noise is defined as gentle, soothing sound whereby each octave possesses equal energy. In essence, pink noise is the background noise that we hear in everyday environments.

Some examples of pink noise would be waves crashing on the beach or leaves rustling in the trees.

Noise and Memory:

Numerous studies have highlighted the importance of sleep for memory consolidation – that is, the brain’s ability to convert short-term memories into long-term memories.

Dr. Phyllis Zee, professor of neurology at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern, recently published their results:

The goal of the present study was to determine whether acoustic stimulation in sleep can boost SWA and improve memory in older adults.

Slow-wave sleep (SWS) – more commonly referred to as deep sleep – is part of the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep cycle that is considered important for memory consolidation. As we get older, however, the quality of SWS can decrease.

Her study consisted of 13 older adults, aged between 60 and 84 years:

All adults were subject to one night of sham stimulation and one night of acoustic stimulation, which were around 1 week apart. The acoustic stimulation incorporated pink noise that was synced to their brain waves as they slept.

While memory recall improved under both conditions, the researchers found that the average improvement following acoustic stimulation was three times greater than with the sham stimulation.

In conclusion:

Overall, the researchers believe that their findings indicate that acoustic stimulation may be an effective way to boost sleep quality and memory in older age.

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