As a new parent, we know you want the best for your baby. Ensuring your little one gets enough sleep is essential for their growth and development, however, helping your baby fall asleep and rest peacefully during the night can be pretty challenging. So much so, you likely often find yourself asking what you can do to ensure your baby sleeps better.
The answer might be simpler than you think! Sleep sounds, often referred to as ambient noise, are growing in popularity for their ability to calm even the fussiest of infants. Not sure what ambient noise is or where to get started? That’s okay – we were in your shoes and want to share with you what we have discovered along the way about the importance of sleep sounds for babies, the impact of ambient noises, and the benefits of using calming sounds for sleep. We’ve also got some tips and best practices for using calming sounds to create a soothing sleep environment for your baby.
What was it that Ralph Waldo Emerson said? “There never was a child so lovely, but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.”
Understanding Baby Sleep
It goes without saying that babies need a lot of sleep. But how much is enough? It’s found that newborns may need up to 16 hours a day, while older infants typically need somewhere between 12-14 hours a day. Although this might sound like a lot, this sleep is essential for their growth and development as it allows their brain to process information, consolidate memories, and produce hormones that promote growth.
However, as every parent knows, getting a baby to sleep and keeping them asleep can be an incredibly daunting task. Babies are very sensitive to their surroundings and are easily disturbed by noise. From traffic outside your window to the sound of your neighbors or the tv in another room, surrounding noises can interfere with your baby’s sleep and disrupt their rest. And as most parents know, if your baby is not sleeping — you’re not sleeping.
As a result, many parents struggle with sleep-related issues like difficulty falling asleep, frequent night wakings, and short unplanned naps during the day which also counterintuitively leave you feeling even more tired. Sleep deprivation is no fun, so to ensure you are able to show up as the most well-rested parent you can be, it’s important to ensure your baby gets the undisturbed sleep they need, so you can too.
The Impact Of Sleep Noises On Baby Sleep
Coaxing your baby into a good night’s sleep is vital yet it can also be a very difficult thing to accomplish with lots of external distractions, especially if you have other children who go to sleep at later times or you use your baby’s bedtime to get stuff done around the house. Even babies can get a case of FOMO sometimes, but incorporating sleep sounds that are shown to help drown out other noises can help you with what we know feels like “mission impossible”.
Found to help babies and adults drift easily into dreamland, sleep sounds range in intensity and benefits which is great because every baby’s sleep needs are different so there are options to choose from when it comes to what works best for your family. The idea behind ambient sleep sound is to create a peaceful and relaxing environment.
Since babies are easily agitated by sudden loud noises, they often wake up multiple times during the night. If it happens often enough, sleep deprivation issues can arise and pose negative effects on a baby’s health, including behavioral problems and cognitive difficulties.
The good news is that finding the best type of ambient sound for your family does not have to be as daunting as actually trying to get your baby to sleep.
Calming Sounds for Sleep: Types and Benefits
There are several types of calming sleep sounds, the most popular of which are white noise, nature sounds, and even the noise from some household appliances. Each of these groups of sounds has its own benefits and can all be used to create a peaceful and relaxing sleep environment.
Types of Sleeping Noises for Babies
White noise is a sound that covers the entire audible spectrum. It’s ideal for blocking out background noise and distractions due to its consistent, soothing tone that can calm and relax your baby. Some ‘industrial’ sources of white noise are the sounds of a fan whirring, airplane cabin noises, and TV or radio static sounds. These are very effective in blocking out sounds like city traffic, snoring, and other environmental noises that can disturb sleep.
Nature sounds, such as the sound of ocean waves, rainfall, or the chirping of birds, are great calming sounds for sleep. Being in nature can create a sense of relaxation and tranquility that many people find to be comforting and soothing, but it’s not feasible for most families to plan their baby’s sleep routine to take place in the great outdoors, so these relaxing properties make nature sounds ideal for sleep therapy even for babies.
Household appliances like a washing machine, dishwasher, or vacuum cleaner are also calming sleep sounds. Humming at a constant frequency, these noises are often used to create a sense of security and steadiness. You probably wouldn’t think to look at your household appliances to use as distraction blockers because these sounds are often seen as distracting in and of themselves, however, they have been shown to promote a peaceful sleep environment.
Which of these sounds to choose to use for your baby depends on your preferences so we recommend that you give each group a try to find the right one that soothes your baby best.
Best Practices for Using Calming Sounds for Sleep
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of the mentioned calming sounds when tucking your baby to sleep.
1. Start Early
It’s never too early to start using calming sounds for sleep. If you can, start playing the sounds while your baby is still in the womb. This can help them become familiar with the sounds and associate them with sleep. Not to worry if your little one has already made their entrance into the world. Ambient noise can still be effective even when introduced at later stages of childhood.
2. Experiment with Different Sounds
Not all babies respond to the same sounds, so it’s important to experiment with different types of calming sounds to find which one works best for your baby.
3. Find an Easy to Access Resource
Incorporating sound into your baby’s bedtime routine doesn’t have to be challenging or costly. You can get access to ambient noises right from the palm of your hand or your nearest internet accessible device. A great budget-friendly and convenient tool for creating a calming sleep environment for your baby is a podcast that plays ambient sleep sounds for babies for extended periods of time so there are no interruptions that could jolt your baby from their much needed slumber.
4. Play the Sounds Consistently
To get the best results from your chosen sleep sound, it’s important to play it consistently, especially during naps and bedtime. This helps your baby become familiar with the sound and associate it with sleep.
5. Avoid Playing the Sounds Too Loudly
While the baby’s sleep sounds can be irreplaceably helpful, it’s important to avoid playing them too loudly. This can have the opposite effect and actually disrupt your baby’s sleep. Start by keeping the volume low and then adjust as needed.
Now Let’s Go Catch Some Zzz’s
Getting enough sleep is essential for your baby’s growth and development, as well as your own. However, helping your baby get to sleep and stay asleep can be challenging, especially with all the distractions around. Calming sleep noises can be a powerful tool for creating a peaceful and relaxing sleep environment for your baby with the power to mask disturbing surrounding noises and help your baby fall asleep faster and stay calm throughout the night.
With a great range of sounds to choose from, you can play around with different options to find the perfect ambient sounds to help your baby sleep better. Give our tips a try to improve your baby’s sleep and healthy development, so your whole family can thrive!