Looking At the Different Types of Noises & Which Is Best for Your Baby
One of the most difficult parts about being a new parent is the inevitable lack of sleep. In a home with a newborn baby, the idea of a good night's sleep filled with restful dreams- may seem like a dream itself.
Luckily, some tools may help your baby fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. When lullabies aren’t working, and shushing has got you winded, try a white noise machine paired with a Dreamland Baby weighted swaddle. While ambient noise machines are used often, weighted sleep sacks, swaddles, and blankets are not as well known.
Trust us when we say that once you discover their magic, you’ll be spreading the word as you take on the world more rested. Before you hit the light at night, turn on the white noise and safely lay your baby to bed in their Dreamland swaddle. We know you’re tired, but keep reading to learn more about ambient noise and sleeping tricks.
Do babies sleep better with noise?
The right kind of noise and environment can definitely promote better sleep for most babies. One of the benefits of ambient noise is it masks more spontaneous noises that may otherwise startle your baby. It isn’t noise itself that wakes them; it’s the sudden loud noises like a dog barking or a distant train.
While we are sleeping, our brains do not stop processing sensory stimuli. Simply put, the noises that are annoying to us during the day are still annoying while we’re asleep. White noise dulls those stimuli to avoid disrupting sleep patterns. In a study done by the National Library of Medicine, 80% of babies fell asleep faster with the help of white noise. In this study, researchers followed two groups of babies through their sleep routines. In the first group, 80% of babies fell asleep within the first five minutes while listening to white noise. In the second group, where no white noise was played, only 25% were asleep in the same time frame.
Why does white noise help babies sleep?
Unfortunately, most infants aren’t born great sleepers. It takes time for babies to learn how to self-soothe and develop good sleeping skills. Ambient background noise can be helpful, this is why we have an instinct to “shush” babies when they cry. Aside from reminding babies of a noisy womb, white noise can aid in blocking external stimulating sounds like a truck blaring its horn or a toddler singing in the living room. This constant ambient noise essentially creates a safe space for the baby to comfortably doze off without outside interruptions.
White noise is the equivalent of white light, meaning an equal combination of all auditory frequencies that are blended and can easily mask other sounds. A sound machine or other forms of white noise can also serve as a sleep cue as baby learns their bedtime routine. Sound on, lights off, swaddled - these can all be helpful cues that it's time to sleep.
What is pink noise vs white noise?
Now that we know a little bit about white noise, what is pink noise? Pink noise is considered white noise but, more specifically, a combination of frequencies where lower-pitched tones are projected louder and higher-pitched tones are more diminished. Examples of white noise are a fan whirring or television static, while pink noise is more akin to the sound of heavy rain or wind in the trees. Pink noise is often considered to be more “natural sounding.” The sounds your baby has gotten acclimated to inside the womb (about as natural as it comes) - are considered pink noise. Here are some more examples:
White noise examples:
- Air conditioner
- Hair dryer
- Hissing radiator
Pink noise examples:
- Ocean waves
- Rustling leaves
What color noise is best for sleep?
While white noise is great for blocking out external stimulation, pink noise may be more relaxing and possibly promote more restorative sleep. There is no definite better or worse when it comes to the perfect sleep sounds, as each baby may respond differently. That said, it’s thought that because there aren’t as many frequencies hitting the eardrums at the same time, pink noise might be easier on those cute little ears. In any case, it’s recommended that a noise machine should be placed at least 6-7 feet away from the baby and played at a conversational level. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping a sound machine at around 50 decibels, about as loud as a soft shower. There are apps available for download on your smartphone that can measure exactly how loud your machine might sound in a baby's sleep space.
How long should babies sleep with white noise?
While there aren’t any set time limits, it’s recommended to set a timer on a sound machine or turn it off after the baby is in a deep sleep. Otherwise, infants can become dependent on the sounds and can have a hard time staying asleep without them constantly playing.
While there are no defined time limits as to when you should discontinue using white noise to help your baby fall asleep, the reason for it being helpful may change over time. Generally speaking, by six months of age, babies become more adapted to life outside of the womb, and their circadian rhythm develops. Around this time, any white noise may be more of just a signal that it’s bedtime vs. a reminder of the womb or a needed noise blocker. As babies become more adapted to the outside world, they also become more social. That means when they wake in the middle of the night (is that you, sleep regression?), they want to see your smiling face. Associating a sound machine with sleep can prove helpful, even past the newborn phase. Sleep cues are important in making bedtime a breeze.
From birth until about three months, babies need up to 17 hours of sleep per day. It can be difficult to accommodate the perfect sleep space at any given time, especially in a busy household.
While in utero, babies are constantly exposed to a variety of sounds. From blood rushing through the placenta to movement in the intestines and, the least gross, Mom’s heartbeat. This sweet lullaby of bodily functions combined can reach up to 90 decibels or about as loud as a leaf blower.
Remember that sound the ultrasound machine made when the wand was placed on your belly? That’s essentially what your baby grew accustomed to. Once infants are introduced to life outside the womb, the lack of a constant symphony of organs can take some getting used to. White and/or pink noise combined with a weighted sleep sack or swaddle will create a safe and secure environment that mimics the womb, thus aiding your baby in a restful night’s sleep. Dreamland’s weighted sleep aid products feature CoverCalm® technology that evenly distributes weight from your baby’s shoulders to toes to naturally reduce stress and give your baby the feeling of security and comfort. The feeling resembles a hug - without the need to hold your baby while they sleep. Evenly distributed weight is proven to help babies sleep. A study showed that 98% saw results in 3 days.
Founded by a busy mom of 3, when we say Dreamland was made for parents, by parents, we mean it. Dreamland Baby uses the highest quality materials and always makes safety a top priority. Our products are doctor-approved, safety certified, and of course - machine-washable!