Last Updated on February 9, 2023
If you’re a new parent or thinking of becoming one, it’s likely that you’ve heard of white noise. On the surface, it can come across as a bit unappealing. But believe me when I say that there is nothing more comforting to your baby than the sound of white noise – and they will sleep better if they are hearing it.
According to the Baby Sleep Site, babies are born with an instinctive sound preference that makes it hard for them to sleep in a regular environment. If they have any issues with sleeping, white noise can help them feel more relaxed and able to drift off.
“White noise is an artificially created sound that has an equal energy level throughout the frequency range, which means that there is no difference between sounds in terms of loudness or softness,” explains Dr Shukitt-Hale of Baby Sleep Site.
White noise is ideal for getting your baby to sleep. It will help soothe your baby from an early age, and by using it consistently, there is a higher likelihood of your baby falling asleep faster and on its own.
The Benefits Of White Noise
So, is it healthy to sleep with white noise? The answer is yes! Take a look below to see the many wonders and benefits of using white noise for babies to fall asleep:
Helps to promote better sleep
Babies who sleep hearing white noise are more likely to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up less often. It’s thought that the soothing sounds of white noise mimic the noise heard by baby inside the womb for the past nine months. Therefore, it can help babies relax and calm down, especially newborns.
Helps baby fall asleep again during the night
Many parents will attest that it is almost impossible to keep their little ones quiet when they wake up in the middle of the night hungry, upset or needing a nappy change. Therefore, white noise sounds played in the background during nighttime feeds will help your baby sleep again or stay calm during these activities.
Can be used for special needs children
Some babies are extra sensitive to loud sounds and certain noises. Some of them may be unable to stay asleep when there is too much activity or household noise around them. White noise sounds at a low volume can help these children stay asleep.
Can help relieve anxiety
White noise sound machines are also a reliable way to help soothe children with anxiety disorders such as separation anxiety, non-verbal autism, and social phobia. It can be used as part of the treatment plan in therapy sessions with children diagnosed with these disorders.
Helps you with recovering from surgery or illness
Some illnesses can cause severe distress in babies, leading them to lose sleep, hallucinate, or behave erratically. Listening to white noise can help recover from these illnesses by providing calming sounds that soothe the child. They can also be helpful in reducing stress by keeping them calm, which is a vital part of recovering from surgery or illness.
Can be used for babies with sensory integration difficulties
Those with sensory integration problems often struggle to make sense of the world around them. Children with this type of problem can benefit significantly from white noise as it creates a pleasant atmosphere for them to fall asleep without fussing or complaining.
Can be used for children with autism
Children with autism sometimes behave in ways that are oppositional and frustrating for their parents. A white noise device can help soothe fussy babies during tantrums and calm them down before putting them to sleep.
Can help in the prevention of reflux
If your baby has been diagnosed with reflux, you may have heard that this condition can interrupt her sleep time since it affects her digestion and other bodily functions. However, you may not have suspected that the sound of the white noise machine can also improve the digestive health of your child. It is well-known that irritating noises not only cause trouble sleeping but also hinder digestion. Hence, white noise machines are a great way to help your baby sleep peacefully while also preventing reflux.
Can improve your child’s development
Aside from helping babies sleep, white noise machines can help improve cognitive function and assist in the proper formation of neural pathways in young children by allowing them to hear soothing sounds while they sleep.
Can be used by children with hyperactivity syndrome
Children with ADHD often become restless and uncontrollable when it comes to bedtime. They also have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. When your little one is restless, he will most likely be fussy at night and not settle down until he has woken up again! This is why babies with ADHD benefit greatly from white noise machines as they help them to relax, which in turn helps them sleep better too.
Baby White Noise Must-Know Basics
So, how do you generate white noise?
White noise can be easily created by using a noise machine which you can buy online or in most electrical stores. If you don’t feel like picking up a noise machine, you could also use a free app such as White Noise Lite (download for ios here, or for android here). You can also find videos on YouTube, such as the one below.
Is it better to sleep in silence or with noise?
It is sometimes hard to decide which is better for kids—sleep in silence or sleep with noise. It is a personal choice that each parent must make on their own, and the benefits of both sound sleeping and silent sleeping are evident. For those who are wary of the subtle sounds within their homes and noise from outside, white noise machines provide a safe environment for your child to sleep.
When should I stop using white noise?
Most parents stop using white noise once their baby has turned 2, but you may want to continue using it even when your baby gets older. These machines can be used in almost all ages and environments and for any type of sleep. Therefore, you can keep using them for your toddler, preschooler or school kid too. Many adults who have difficulty sleeping also respond positively to these sounds because it provides a more peaceful and relaxing atmosphere for them to sleep.
Can white noise be damaging?
White noise should be played at low volumes, and not too close to baby’s ear. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it should be played no more than 50 dB and kept at least 7 feet away from the baby. For reference, according to Decibel Pro, 50 dB is as loud as a quiet conversation, a quiet suburb, a quiet office, or a quiet refrigerator. If you exceed recommended noise limits, it can cause more harm than good.
Should white noise play all night?
No, you should turn off your device as soon as baby falls asleep. You can play them for short periods, perhaps for a further five minutes or so, but not all night. Sometimes you’ll fall asleep with white noise on before baby, which is why a white noise machine with a timer or a Sleep setting on the TV is helpful.
White noise vs other sounds for babies
Some adults who have difficulty sleeping swear by listening to music, while others enjoy playing the sound of rustling leaves or rain in the background (also known as pink noise). Some people even find the sound of running water or a fan relaxing. This practice can filter through into parenting; however, clear studies indicate that newborns respond better to white noise when played at the correct volume.
Playing white noise helps promote sleep, soothe fussy babies during tantrums, and calm them down during interrupted sleep periods.
And regardless of whether you have a sound machine, radio or tv for white noise, they are all a great way of getting babies to fall into slumber peacefully without worrying about noisy and irritating background sounds. Also, as you can see from the above, there are many benefits to playing white noise.
Leave us a comment below if you have tried any type of baby white noise ideas before. We would love to hear your thoughts and if it was a success or not.
Sources and References
- Infant Sleep Machines and Hazardous Sound Pressure Levels – publications.aap.org
- How White Noise Can Help Your Baby Sleep – happiestbaby.com
- Baby White Noise: How It Can Help Your Baby Sleep – motherandbaby.co.uk
Ash is a proud father of two wonderful kids; a hyperactive young toddler and her sports-crazy older brother. When Ash isn’t running around doing fatherly duties, he’s researching and writing up articles on improving the well-being of children and their parents.