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Discover the power of green noise: Enhancing vitality, wellbeing and sleep

Do you ever find yourself sitting in nature, listening to the breeze and rustling leaves, or the gentle flow of a stream? I do this often, and I've noticed that my nervous system quickly calms down. Almost instantly, I feel a sense of inner peace and can breathe more deeply. I've recorded these sounds many times to play back later when I need to reconnect with that inner peace. Recently, I discovered a trend in the wellness world that builds on this concept of using nature sounds to induce deep relaxation. It's called green noise, and when listened to with conscious intent, it can bring about a profound sense of tranquility.

Coloured sound waves
Sound waves of different frequencies illicit different physical, emotional and psychological responses.

The colours of noise

Before delving into the specifics of green noise, it's important we understand what is meant by the concept of colours of noise. In sound theory, noise is categorised into different colours based on its frequency spectrum. Each colour represents a different distribution of energy across the audible frequency range. The most common colours of noise include white, pink, brown, blue, and, of course, green.

Different colours of noise are thought to offer unique benefits due to their specific sound frequencies and characteristics. Here's a brief overview of the most common types:

White noise: contains all frequencies at equal intensity, creating a consistent, static-like sound. It helps mask disruptive noises, making it easier to fall asleep and improves concentration by blocking out background distractions and can soothe infants and help them sleep.

Pink noise: like white noise but with more power in the lower frequencies, resulting in a deeper, more balanced sound. It promotes deeper, more restful sleep, may improve memory and cognitive function and reduces brain wave activity, aiding relaxation.

Brown noise: is considered to have more lower frequencies than pink noise, producing a deep, rumbling sound like distant thunder or a waterfall. It can help with relaxation and stress relief and may also assist in falling asleep for those who find white noise too harsh, and for this reason is often used in meditation practices.

Blue noise: contains more energy at higher frequencies, producing a hissy sound. And thus it is more useful for masking sounds in certain environments. It has been thought to help with tinnitus management by its ability to mask ringing sounds.

What is green noise?

Often referred to as tonal noise, green noise incorporates a mix of calming sounds. It falls between the high-pitched hiss of white noise and the low rumble of brown noise. It is characterised by a balanced frequency spectrum, with slightly more energy concentrated in the middle frequencies. It enhances focus and productivity by providing a soothing background sound.

Examples of green noise

From the gentle rustle of leaves in a forest, to the rhythmic lapping of waves on a shoreline, examples of green noise, or green sound, abound in nature. Artificial sources of green noise include electronic oscillators, synthesisers, and recorded nature sounds processed to accentuate the desired frequency characteristics.

What are some of the benefits of green noise?

The benefits of green noise and its unique frequency profile has been shown to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve focus. Unlike harsher noises, such as white noise, green noise has a calming effect on both the mind and body, making it an ideal companion for bedtime routines and meditation practices.

Physically, green noise has been found to lower heart rate and blood pressure, inducing a state of deep relaxation conducive to sleep. Mentally and psychologically, it can help alleviate anxiety, soothe racing thoughts, and promote mental clarity. Spiritually, many practitioners believe that green noise facilitates a deeper connection with nature and promotes a sense of inner harmony.

It has been suggested that these sounds can reduce cortisol levels, helping to manage stress and foster a sense of calm by masking more jarring, stress-inducing noises common in modern life​ (Aura)​​ (Sleep Advisor)​​ (Dr. Axe)​. By transporting us to a more serene, natural environment, these auditory experiences help to reduce anxiety and foster a state of mindfulness and calm.

Why are nature sounds so relaxing?

Deeply rooted in both our evolutionary biology and the inherent qualities of these sounds, they possess a remarkable ability to calm both the body and mind and there’s good reason, here’s why:

Man meditating in nature
Green noise mimics the sounds of nature and can be profound in bringing a sense of inner peace.

Evolutionary connection

Survival and safety: Our ancestors lived in natural environments where the sounds of birds, flowing water, and gentle wind indicated safety and a lack of predators. Our ancestors relied on these natural sounds to indicate safety and survival, so our brains are wired to find them reassuring. These sounds became associated with calm and security, creating a sense of peace when we hear them.

Natural habitat: Humans evolved in nature, so our brains are naturally attuned to find these sounds comforting and familiar.

Predictable patterns

Rhythmic and gentle: Nature sounds typically have a consistent and rhythmic quality, like the steady flow of a stream or the rustling of leaves in the wind. These predictable patterns are easier for the brain to process and can induce a state of relaxation.

Non-intrusive: Unlike sudden or harsh noises, nature sounds are usually smooth and continuous, which helps to avoid startling the listener and allows for a more peaceful auditory experience.

Masking unwanted noise

Sound masking: Nature sounds can effectively mask more jarring and disruptive noises, such as traffic or city sounds, creating a more serene auditory environment. This helps in reducing overall stress and promoting a sense of calm.

Physiological response

Lowering stress hormones: Listening to nature sounds has been shown to lower cortisol levels, the body’s primary stress hormone, which can reduce feelings of anxiety and tension.

Heart rate and blood pressure: These sounds can also help in reducing heart rate and blood pressure, contributing to overall physical relaxation.

Mental restoration

Attention restoration theory: Exposure to nature and natural sounds can help restore mental energy and reduce cognitive fatigue. This theory suggests that nature provides a restorative environment that allows the brain to relax and rejuvenate.

Mindfulness and presence: Nature sounds can enhance mindfulness practices, helping individuals focus on the present moment and cultivate a state of inner peace.

By tapping into these evolutionary, physiological, and psychological mechanisms, nature sounds provide a powerful tool for relaxation and wellbeing.

Nature sounds typically have a consistent and rhythmic quality…these predictable patterns are easier for the brain to process and can induce a state of relaxation.

Research and scientific-evidence-based studies supporting green noise 

There is limited research exploring the therapeutic effects of green noise on sleep and relaxation. Some studies have shown that exposure to green noise can increase slow-wave sleep, enhance sleep continuity, and improve subjective sleep quality. Additionally, green noise has been found to reduce symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, and stress in various populations. However, there still needs to be much more research conducted in order to prove conclusively the benefits of green noise or any colour of noise for that matter. 

Associate Professor Wayne Wilson, from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Queensland stated in an interview with ABC News Online that “as well as there being no agreed standards for different colours of noise, what you use to play audio on can make a big difference to what you hear, with the same sound played through a small bluetooth speaker being heard very differently to when it's played through a high-end surround sound system.” I would add the same could be said for listening to sound meditation recordings versus experiencing a sound meditation with acoustic instruments in real life, the efficacy of the sound is impacted through the quality of the speaker and headphones.

Snooze time: Green noise and sleep

Anecdotal evidence indicated by numerous individuals have reported significant improvements in sleep quality and overall well-being after incorporating green noise into their nightly routines. Its calming effect on the nervous system helps quiet the mind and create a conducive environment for falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night. While more research needs to be conducted, if you are someone who experiences difficulties sleeping there is nothing lost in giving it a go: why not listen to some recordings of green noise or real life sounds in nature and decide for yourself whether it enhances your sleep.    

Sound therapy and green noise

In sound therapy, green noise or sounds of nature blend seamlessly with many of the other used therapeutic sounds. This combo creates a powerful duo to intensify the reduction of stress and anxiety, improve focus, and enhance sleep quality. Since the natural elements of green noise resonate with our innate connection to the environment, it provides a deeply comforting and grounding effect that can significantly improve mental and emotional wellbeing particularly when combined strategically with higher and lower frequency sounds. Instruments that mimic nature are already used as part of a sound therapy session and have the ability to induce the same, if not greater, outcomes as artificial green noise with the use of instruments such as rain sticks, ocean drums, dry leaves and rattles.

Whether you're struggling with insomnia, anxiety, or simply seeking a moment of peace in a hectic world, green noise may just be the answer you've been searching for. So, why not give it a try tonight, it could be as simple as opening your window and listening to the sound of rain outside, or listening to the sounds of birds chirping in the morning, and experience the transformative power of sound for yourself.



1. In simple terms, frequency is how often a sound wave repeats in a second. Higher frequencies sound higher in pitch, while lower frequencies sound lower.

2. Tonal noise typically contains a noticeable - or discrete - continuous note which can include hums, hisses, screeches or droning sounds.

If you would like to experience the benefits of green noise in the form of an in-person sound therapy session why not send us an email and discover how, or if you are ready, you can book now.


This article was written by Nicole Sultana, she holds a Post Graduate Degree in Spiritual Care, a Bach. App. Science in Sports Science/Human Movement, is a Certified Therapeutic Sound Practitioner and a Death Doula. She is the founder of Sound Consciousness, a company who provides wellbeing strategies and therapeutic sound practices to help individuals reach peak levels of performance whether they wish to excel in their professional lives, be the best partner they can be, or wish to create the life of their dreams. 


If you enjoyed reading this article leave a comment below and share the article with others who may benefit. The more we share our collective experiences the more we help each other learn, grow and heal. Heated discussion is always welcomed, please remember to be respectful and kind at heart. 

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