virtual dreamer

nextI have written extensively over the years about the process of falling asleep and have sorted my journal into four areas of interest.

Pink, Brown and White Noise in Nature

Sometime late last century I was at a bar in San Diego with a girlfriend of yore. It was October 31st so there was the obligatory Halloween party atmosphere... a band, unhealthy h'orderves, and costumed drunk people. In the din of the club my date tilted in my general direction and semi-yelled "The band stinks!". Or that is what I thought I heard as my hearing was affected by the dull roar and the rubber alien head mask I was wearing. But, being a well-trained date, I took my cue and we left the bar. Outside the bar I asked her why she thought the band stunk. She corrected me. She did not say 'the band stinks'... she said 'I can't hear myself think'. Later that night, as we walked along the sands of the Pacific, a much more pleasant sound was heard. The sound of ocean waves. It was just as loud as the club ambiance but much more pleasing to our ears.


Ocean CliffHave you ever stood next to an ocean, with waves crashing, and felt a sense of peace wash over you? Maybe you have looked out a window on a rainy day and felt that 'far away' sleepy feeling. Some nature sounds produce tones that mask distracting noises. Audio folks have attached colorful names to this phenomena such as white noise, pink noise, brown noise, etc. While we know these sounds mask other audible noises I feel they also mask the inner noise we create in our own minds. These sounds take the form of not noise, but thoughts. Thoughts that worry us. Thoughts that keep us awake. I believe our big human brains naturally mute these thoughts when enveloped in the right audio environment ... like hearing ocean waves.


Examples of White, Pink and Brown Noise Melding into Nature Sounds :


White Noise becomes a rain shower:


Pink Noise becomes a waterfall:


Brown Noise becomes a wind storm:



Why do nature sounds mute not only external clatter but internal mental chatter? I don't know. Maybe it the vastness of the audio input to our brains. Much like looking at the ocean tends to put our lives in perspective, hearing the ocean can also overwhelm our day to day concerns. 


The cliché 'I can't hear myself think' has negative overtones. It is usually applies to a very loud place that you no longer want to be. But, just maybe, there is an upside to it. Over-thinking can be an insomniac's worst trait. An overactive mind has led to countless sleepless nights for me personally and there was a time that I would have done anything to be able to say , 'I can't hear myself think'. Nature recordings, with their innate ability to mask our thoughts, can make that happen.


We have some free MP3 downloads of Pink and White Noise here


Comments? email me