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  • Abbie Rupert

How Music Can Help Your Baby Fall Asleep

For many parents, it's common practice to sing lullabies or children's songs to help their babies get to sleep faster and with less fuss. This makes sense, given that studies have found that humans are sensitive to music even from infancy. In a study published in the journal Psychological Studies, researchers found that happy music decreased arousal levels in babies, shifting drowsiness to sleep. Meanwhile, melancholic music was able to keep babies relatively still, possibly helping them get to sleep easier. Other past studies have noted that caregivers tend to sing to babies not only to put them to sleep but also during feeding, changing, bathing, playing, and traveling to calm them. When babies hear their mothers sing, they show focused attention and reduced body movements. While experts and researchers debate the legitimacy of the Mozart Effect — a phenomenon that proposed listening to Mozart or classical music resulted in better cognitive functions and intelligence for some time — the research on the impact of music and babies' sleep is more concrete. Below, we'll look at some more ways music can help your baby fall asleep.

Father and baby sleep next to each other

Repetitive structures encourage relaxation

One of the distinctive markers of a lullaby is a repeating motif — whether it's repetitive lyrics or a musical structure. This is because the repetitive nature of lullabies helps them enter a highly relaxed state, helping them fall asleep faster. Even without knowing the first thing about music, familiar notes or melodies in a lullaby can get a response from babies. Songwriter Bacon James explains a great way to make a song memorable is through catchy, instrumental-led melodies. The instrumentals in a song — or a lullaby — can create a base of familiarity and structure, providing young and infant listeners with an auditory guide that paces them through the song.

Singing to your baby builds closeness

Singing to your baby during bedtime creates a more personal and intimate experience. Actress and singer Keke Palmer, who recently gave birth to son Leo, shared that she sings to her son at bedtime as much as she can. From classics like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", to self-written songs about her son, with simple lyrics like, "Leo, you're my favorite boy." Palmer also shared that she wrote the song when she was pregnant and would sing it to him in her belly. Doing the same can ensure your baby will recognize your voice as they become more familiar with the world.

Soft music fosters restful sleep

Babies are very sensitive to sounds which is why it's important to play sounds at the right decibel. Doing so helps you optimize the sounds you play. For instance, when you choose to play Fade Away Sleep Sounds at a low volume, it can help your baby sleep as the sounds of white noise can also act as a soundproofing method, masking sudden noises of everyday life or voices from the next room. This prevents your baby from waking up unexpectedly or earlier than expected. In the same vein, playing melodic lullabies below 50 decibels protects your little one's hearing and creates the best atmosphere for restful sleep.

Lullabies can also reduce pain and stress

Finally, even if babies aren't necessarily exposed to stressors or pain on a regular day, the wrong meal timing or loud, rainy weather can disrupt their sleep — and, subsequently, yours. A study from the Journal of Clinical Medicine found that music intervention in pediatric patients can decrease pain levels, providing a significant analgesic effect in infants and children, and especially in newborn babies. The different types of pain that showed positive results from music include prick pain, procedure pain, and postoperative pain. Features such as rhythm and harmony also showed a significant effect on anxiety.

Written exclusively for

by Abbie Rupert


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