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Benefits of White Noise for Babies’ Sleep

When babies are born, they face a whole new world. For a start, the life outside the womb is a much quieter place. According to research, the uterus is very loud—loud enough to cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. This change in the environment for babies can significantly affect their sleep time and sleep pattern. Fortunately, thanks to white noise machines, parents can considerably improve the babies' sleep time.



What is White Noise?

White noise refers to a type of noise that is formed when all the frequencies of sound that occur naturally to the human ear are combined at a similar level or frequency. Several examples of white noise exist around us in our daily lives. Natural sounds like rainfall or waterfalls are good examples of white noise. The sound produced by a working fan or spectators in a football field can also be regarded as white noise.


How White Noise Can Help Your Baby Sleep

White noise doesn’t help your baby sleep directly. What it does is that it drowns out all other forms of sounds or noise in the environment, and provides your baby with womb-like sounds. Since newborns are already familiar with sounds in the womb, providing them with white noise can be comforting and relaxing to them, thereby making them fall asleep with ease. Also, since babies are easily distracted by noise from the environment, the repetitive nature of white noise technologies can serve as an excellent way to keep your baby asleep longer than usual.


Is White Noise Safe for Babies?

Provided your white noise machine does not exceed the standard output of 50 decibels, you can conveniently and safely use it to put your baby to sleep. One primary concern shown by parents is that exposing their babies to white noise machines for too long might lead to hearing issues and that babies might find it hard to sleep on their own in the absence of white noise. However, experts have moved to allay such fears by pointing out that as long as babies listen to other sounds from their environment apart from white noise, they will be just fine.


Here are some helpful suggestions you should implement when using a white noise machine:

  • Place the source of noise as far away from the infant as possible

  • Play the white noise at a low frequency

  • Always operate for a short time


Benefits of White Noise for Babies

It Reduces Stress

For newborns, adapting to the new environment can be quite stressful at first. Since they are constantly stimulated by things like light, sounds, new faces, etc., babies can easily get stressed out.


White noise can create a safe space for your baby by blocking out external sounds from the environment and other sources of stimulations.


It Helps Babies Sleep Better

White noise introduces babies to sounds that they are already familiar with from the womb, thereby functioning as an effective sleep stimulant for them. It helps them sleep with ease and allows them to sleep longer than the expected 20-45 minutes. With the aid of white noise, parents can easily block out all unusual noises disturbing the baby’s sleep, while introducing them to a more familiar sound that helps them sleep better and longer.


It Helps Babies Cry Less

Over time, experts have discovered that the "shushing" sound we make ourselves can calm a crying baby. Shushing is white noise on its own, but for it to effectively help calm a crying baby, it needs to be louder than your baby’s crying. 


It Can Serve as a Sleep Cue for Babies

When you repeatedly use the same white noise sound for your baby before they fall asleep, they tend to start associating it with bedtime. 


White Noise Machines

Some popular white noise technologies in the market today are:

Marpac Dohm Classic

First invented in 1962, the Dohm was originally called the sleeping mate and has been cherished by generations ever since. The classic model features the signature fan-based natural white noise with two-speed options for adjustable tone and volume. Learn more about the history of YogaSleep, the manufacturer who produces and sells the DOHM machine. Learn more about the variety of DOHM sound machines for your baby.

Lectrofan

Lectrofan uses a custom-designed analog circuitry to generate warm, robust non-looping white noise that practically never repeats. Learn more about Lectrofan Classic.


Bottom Line

In today's world, we are surrounded by technology; from the moment we get out of bed until we put out the lights. Although these technologies help make our lives easier, they can also hinder our night's rest, as well as that of our babies. 


With the use of white noise machines, experts have successfully found a way to help babies (especially newborns) sleep better and longer.


About the author

Mira Rakicevic, Sleep Expert

Before I started working as a sleep expert, I always envied people who were passionate about their jobs. Now I finally have an opportunity to do something I truly enjoy, and no, I can’t sleep at work! For me, it’s definitely as good as it gets—as I spend a considerable amount of time lying down on various mattresses, testing sleeping products, and reviewing them to help guide you to your ideal sleeping situation. Plus, I work tightly with other sleep experts and doctors to provide you with valuable information and helpful advice about sleep.

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© 2019 by Desiree Baird, LLC
Pediatric Sleep Coach, Seattle WA

Disclaimer

Desiree Baird, pediatric sleep coach/consultant, does not offer medical advice, services, or treatment to its clients. If you are concerned about a medical issue related to your child(ren) you are urged to contact your doctor or pediatrician immediately.