Is The White Noise App Worth The Money?

It's no secret that better sleep can often lead to a better life. The things that happen to your body when you don't sleep can be pretty debilitating. Chronic illnesses like diabetes, depression, and heart disease have all been linked to sleep deprivation. Feeling excessively sleepy during the day can even cause car crashes, just like driving under the influence (via NHLBI).

"Sleep affects almost every tissue in our bodies," sleep expert Dr. Michael Twery tells News in Health. "It affects growth and stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health." 

Needless to say, sleep is pretty important. In addition to fixing your sleep schedule, there are a variety of tools that can help you get better rest. There are obvious fixes like good mattresses, pillows, and lighting. Technology can play a factor as well. Apps like White Noise bring users a variety of relaxing sleep sounds to help make the most of your sleep. But is the White Noise app actually worth the money?

White noise helps cancel background sounds

While white or other ambient noise hasn't been proven to improve sleep, having some background noise can help aid relaxation. Micheal Gardner, the director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, mentioned that white noise can help simply because it blocks out other sounds. 

"White noise machines work through a process called sound masking or noise masking," Michael Gardner told CNN. "They create a blanket of sound around you that absorbs other sound waves so that little creaks and cracks and cars driving by don't quite make it to your brain and you don't respond to them." 

Some experts, however, suggest that the risk may be greater than the reward. The Guardian suggested that the continuous noise may not give your inner ear enough time to rest after a busy day. Professor Christian Cajochen told the outlet that unless you sleep in a noisy environment, it may be better to nix background noise. 

"Any acoustic stimulus, being continuous or not, has the potential to interrupt the sleep process," Cajochen said. "I would rather recommend mindfulness apps like Sleepio, since they are based on good evidence coming from research in sleep medicine, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia."

People love the White Noise app

White noise machines might not work for everyone, but for those who do like white noise in the background, the White Noise app seems to be a hit. On the Apple App Store, White Noise is ranked 4.8 out of 5 stars and is the #8 app in the entire Health and Fitness category as of this writing. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive, praising the app for its affordability and variety of features. The app offers access to over 25,000 sounds and 50 HD stereo clock sounds. According to TMSoft, you can even create your own ambient sound playlist, complete with a sleep timer feature. Several reviews, including one from Gizmodo, are impressed that the app still updates so long after its initial release.

The White Noise App made it on Gizmodo's list of pricey apps that are worth the money. The app is only $0.99, but there are additional in-app purchases you can make to upgrade your experience. According to the App Store, you can record and loop your own sounds, program alarms, and play sounds even if you leave the app.

While the reviews are almost completely positive, consistent noise while you sleep may not be the best option long-term (via The Guardian). This app can be an affordable option to use every now and then, but it may be better to search for other options if you're having a hard time getting good sleep. After all, the effects of getting a good eight hours of sleep are probably worth a dollar.