Why Does White Noise Help Babies Sleep

If you’re struggling to get your baby off to sleep and are looking for a safe, and scientifically proven solution to help them drift off then you should try using white noise.

I’m sure you’ve heard bits of information about background noising helping babies sleep, and adults for that matter. But as far as I can find it’s never well explained.

In this article however, I will explain what white noise is. As well as answering the question,  ‘why does white noise help babies sleep’?

Does White Noise Really Help Babies Sleep Better?

Most parents are skeptical of something working with their child until they see it for themselves. I get that. I’m exactly the same.

I have two pieces of good news for you that should convince you enough to try white noise for yourself.

Firstly, a study into White Noise and Sleep Induction carried out in 1990 showed that 80% of babies fell asleep quicker while having white noise in the background.

This wasn’t a large study by any means, but the large percentage on the side of helping babies sleep is a positive result.

Secondly, I’ve used a white noise machine myself when my baby started sleeping in his own room after some restless nights and it made a huge difference.

We had some serious difficulty getting our little one to settle initially. Then he would wake up periodically, I think primarily being disturbed by any noises in the night.

The white noise machine cut down the time it was taking to get him off to sleep from anywhere around 30 minutes to just a few.

He also started sleeping through almost every night. Except waking for feeds of course, and the occasional disturbance. But that’s to be expected.

So I’m a believer because I’ve used white noise and seen it work for myself. I always recommend trying a white noise machine when I talk with friends and hear they are having difficulty with their baby sleeping through.

There are few things better than a sleeping baby, right? It means you’re getting a good night’s sleep too!

What Is White Noise and What Does It Sound Like?

Most people have heard of white noise and associate it with the sound of static or some other similar sounding noise.

While static is an example of white noise, it’s certainly not limited to just static sounds. There is a lot of different kinds of white noise that are a lot easier on the ears.

White noise has a flat spectral density, and throughout the audible frequency range between 20-20,000 hertz it maintains the same amplitude.

It’s called ‘white noise’ because like white light, white noise is a mixture of all kinds of frequencies that we’re able to hear.

Because white noise includes all frequencies it’s used to block out sounds you may not want to hear. Hence why this article is covering how it helps babies sleep.

Here is a YouTube video of white noise if you want to try it with your baby you get an idea of what it sounds like:

Why Does White Noise Help Babies Sleep?

While you might need complete silence to sleep soundly, you have to remember that while babies were growing in the womb they had loud noise 24/7 as blood was flowing through the placenta.

They find this noise relaxing and comforting in the womb. You may have noticed your child falling asleep in the car, while you’re hoovering, or when the TV is on. It’s because they still associate the noise with comfort.

White noise brings back all the feelings of comfort they would have had in the womb for most babies, this is why it’s so effective at helping them sleep.

When to Stop Using White Noise for Babies?

There is no right answer for this question. Every baby is different and will respond differently to white noise machines and need it longer, or shorter than others.

There is a small risk that they will develop a dependency on having noise to sleep, but in my experience, this isn’t likely and is something you can always work to resolve.

I started reducing the use of white noise when my child was 6 months old. As he was waking less for feeds and becoming more active in the day tiring himself out I found he needed the noise less to settle.

Just start reducing the use of noise and turning it off in the night to see how your baby responds and take it from there.