Korean J Adult Nurs.  2021 Feb;33(1):44-55. 10.7475/kjan.2021.33.1.44.

The Effect of White Noise on Sleep in Hospitalized Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  • 1Graduate Student, Department of Nursing, The Graduate School of Pusan National University, Yangsan, Korea
  • 2Professor, College of Nursing, Pusan National University, Yangsan, Korea


During hospitalization, sleep can be disturbed and the quality reduced. This study investigated the effect of applying white noise on hospitalized patients for improving their sleep quality.
In a randomized controlled trial design, participants were randomly assigned to an experimental group (n=30) or a comparison group (n=31), enrolled from rehabilitation medicine wards at a university hospital in South Korea. For three days of the intervention, the experimental group listened to white noise for one hour before sleep. The comparison group wore only earplugs before sleep. Sleep quality was assessed by the Verran and Snyder-Halpern (VSH) sleep scale as a subjective measure and the Fitbit ® wrist band monitor as an objective measure. Data were collected pre- and three days post-intervention. Data were analyzed by repeated measures ANOVA using SPSS/WIN 22.0 program.
The white noise group showed positive effects on subjective sleep quality (p<.001) compared to the earplug group. Among the objective sleep quality measures, sleep time (p<.001) and sleep efficiency (p=.003) were statistically significant, but there were no statistically significant differences in time of awakening, number of awakening, time of restless and number of restless.
Findings indicate that applying white noise could be considered as a useful nursing intervention to improve subjective and objective sleep quality in hospitalized patients.


Sleep; Wearable electronic devices; Noise; Inpatients
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