Top 5 Reasons to Soothe Your Baby with White Noise
A baby’s sleep patterns are one of the most vital for their development, yet the roughest on newborn parents to get used to. Along with these new routines, come many parenting methods to try to soothe their babies to sleep, the best one yet, white noise.
There are common parenting methods that use similar techniques to white noise, like shushing a baby when they cry to soothe them, or noticing how your baby falls asleep quicker when the radio is playing in the background. While a parent might just accept these facts as weird quirks of their little one, there is a scientific reason behind it.
When we look at the studies that suggest that white noise has a direct relation to sleep, we see that the noise is operated at a decibel level of 70 to 75, which is much below the thresholds of concern. In these studies, it was found that white noise evoked a response of normal newborn newborns in both non-REM and REM. In both sleep modes, white noise increased the amplitude and decreased the latency of the SER's late components, which translates to deeper and calmer sleep.
Why Does White Noise Work For Babies?
White Noise Reminds Babies of Home The fetal life in the womb was not as quiet as you might think! From the sound of the blood pumping through the growing uterus to the sound of the mother’s beating heart, the sound a fetus is exposed to in the intrauterine life ranges anywhere between 70 to 80 decibels. White noises are said to be identical to those they heard while still in their mother's womb. More specifically, white noise for baby sleep aids in the creation of a comfortable environment for the baby similar to that of the uterus.
Quiet Doesn’t Equal Comfort All parents are guilty of muffling their steps and hushing their tone to help their baby sleep, but given the fact that a newborn was used to some background noise in his uterine life, this could be doing more harm than good. Although parents take extravagant measures to keep the calm around their newborns, this silence can leave them feeling isolated and slightly anxious. White noise allows this space to be filled with comfort rather than silence.
It Teaches A Child To Sleep At some point, a child will begin to associate sleep with the white noise, which is a benefit considering that babies aren’t naturally talented sleepers. The relaxing effect of the white noise machine might progressively fade away after 3-4 months. However, by that time, the baby will have established the link between white noise and the bliss of sleep making their habit of sleep an easier routine to manage.
It Deepens The Baby’s Sleep Babies are known to have their sleep interrupted often. Most parents put their baby to sleep fully expecting to hear their cries in 20 minutes or so. The reason for that is that the baby’s sleep centers are not fully matured yet, so babies keep jumping from one sleep cycle to another, experiencing sleep arousals in their intervals, which is usually every half hour or so. Since white noise increased the amplitude and latency of somatic evoke response in a child’s sleep cycle, it helps the baby experience the full depth of his sleep cycle, which means fewer interruptions!
It Muffles Other Sounds While a certain amount of noise can help your baby sleep better, sudden loud sounds naturally have a different effect. As the baby’s exposed to the white noise, his brain doesn’t pay much attention to other noises going around in the house meaning that when you accidentally drop a dish in the kitchen, your baby will stay fast asleep rather than waking up frantically.
As you can see, white noise has been proven to help babies fall asleep, stay asleep longer, and deepen their levels of sleep that they are experiencing which will ultimately allow for proper development and for you as the parent to get some rest as well.
Chelsea Meece is a Certified Holistic Health Coach who specializes in Self-Care and Boundary Setting. Outside of Coaching, she is a Freelance Writer who has been published internationally and a Backpacker of 8 Countries and over 1000+ Miles On-Trail.
Wolff, P. H., Matsumiya, Y., Abroms, I. F., Van Velzer, C., & Lombroso, C. T. (1974). The effect of white noise on the somatosensory evoked response in sleeping newborn infants. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 37(3), 269–274. https://doi.org/10.1016/0013-4694(74)90030-3
Cherney, K. (2019, May 3). The Pros and cons of using white noise to put babies to sleep. Healthline. Retrieved December 23, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/white-noise-for-babies