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Why Wayne Rooney Takes a Hairdryer to Bed

Why Wayne Rooney Takes a Hairdryer to Bed

Speaking on The Overlap podcast in early June, Wayne Rooney made a strange admission: “When I go to sleep I sleep with a hairdryer on, like, blowing in me face.”

Naturally, on hearing this, Roy Keane gave Rooney his well-worn death stare, and Gary Neville laughed out loud, but Ian Wright was quick to figure out the most likely reason why Rooney had developed this bizarre habit. The reason is that it produces something called white noise.

What is White Noise?

White noise is an immersive sound containing all frequencies across the sound spectrum, balanced at an equal volume. This results in a hissing quality similar to TV or radio static, or even a hairdryer.

The even distribution of sound frequencies makes white noise particularly effective at masking other noises, and this can have three benefits to the listener.

Stress Reduction:

Studies suggest that the consistent sound of white noise can have a calming effect on the brain, reducing stress and anxiety by ​​drowning out internal chatter and overthinking.

Better Sleep:

By covering sudden noises that might disturb sleep, white noise helps many stay asleep for longer without being disturbed. This is why Rooney’s admission came up in the first place; he recalled the time that he missed an England team meeting in 2003 because the white noise from his faithful hairdryer covered the sound of his wake-up alarm.

Improved Focus:

By masking background distractions, the steady hum of white noise creates a serene auditory environment that promotes concentration and minimizes distractions while you're awake.

What About Pink and Brown Noise?

Along with white noise, there is also such a thing as pink and brown noise. They work in a similar way, and it is suggested that they have similar benefits, but with a few key differences.

Pink noise prioritizes the volume of lower frequencies more than white noise, which gives it a deeper and softer sound, like rainfall or a big ceiling fan — clearly Rooney prefers white noise, otherwise he would have gone for this more practical piece of air cooling equipment!

Like white noise, pink noise increases calmness and improves sleep, however it’s not because it blocks out other sounds. Instead, the actual sound of pink noise has been reported to induce a kind of brain wave frequency that facilitates sleep!

Some research also indicates that pink noise can improve memory retention and cognitive performance, particularly in older adults.

Brown Noise, also known as red noise, prioritizes even lower frequencies, creating deeper, rumbling sounds similar to thunder or heavy rain. Like pink noise, brown noise is thought to mimic the brain's resting state, making it particularly soothing and effective at reducing anxiety and helping you to nod off.

Apparently, it’s been reported that it increases focus and concentration particularly for people with ADHD by providing additional auditory stimulation that their brains crave, without adding complex sounds that will cause distraction.

This is not an exact and proven science…

Let’s be clear, Wayne Rooney isn't the pioneer of using noise in this way, and research still needs to be done for scientists to really understand how and why these noises seem to have such a positive impact on listeners.

However, whether it’s an exact and proven science or not, lots of people are now using white, pink, and brown noise to help them zone in and zone out, including successful entrepreneur and investor, Tim Ferriss, along with the founder of The Huffington Post and Thrive Global, Arianna Huffington. In fact, this blog was written ‘under the influence’ of pink noise!

These noises and their perceived benefits are now so popular that even more variations — like blue noise, green noise, and black noise — are popping up on Spotify playlists for you to enjoy. So give them a listen and experiment to see whether any work for you.

- Happiest Health - The science behind why listening to white noise can boost focus for some
- Muse - What is white noise? Exploring its brain health benefits
- Verywell Mind - What Are Pink and Brown Noise and How Do They Affect Your Brain?
- Sleep Foundation - Can Pink Noise Help You Sleep?
- WebMD - White Noise, Pink Noise, and Brown Noise: What's the Difference?

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