Problems with childhood sleep are familiar to almost all parents. Either the child is difficult to put to bed, then he wakes up every 20 minutes, or refuses to sleep in the crib. Establishing a newborn’s sleep is a lot of work, but sometimes a baby, indeed, can be taught to fit in at eight o’clock, fall asleep without breast and sleep all night for 10-12 hours. But in this article, we’ll talk about an essential helper for parents trying to get their baby to sleep – white noise. Sleep counsellors often advise using this tool when laying down a newborn, and most moms who use white noise say it works.
For some people, white noise is a prerequisite for good sleep. Many people cannot plunge into night dreams if the familiar “shhhhh” does not sound in the background. Many find it difficult, if not impossible, to sleep without their white noise machine. To them, complete silence is a distraction. While this may sound counterintuitive, devices that produce white noise have been popular sleep aids for years. But why does the replacement of everyday sounds with other noise have such a fascinating effect on us?
The idea of replacing one noise with another to help you sleep better seems ludicrous. What’s the point of this? “I can’t sleep because of extraneous sounds, so I’ll turn on another extraneous sound.” It’s strange. Nevertheless, many people claim that they are not able to fall asleep generally without white noise.
In simplest terms, white noise is a sound that can be used to hide background sounds. Because of its ability to drown out potentially distracting sounds, white noise is often recommended as a sleep and teaching aid. For example, people who find it difficult to fall asleep without a fan working in the bedroom may not respond to the cool breeze of the fan, but its soothing sound.
With years of extensive research showing that chronic insomnia can lead to brain damage, doctors often recommend white noise devices for sleep deprivation treatment. Also, white noise is sometimes used as an alternative therapy in the treatment of tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ears that can lead to sleep disturbance. But how can white noise help people get to sleep?
Beneficial for our survival, our sense of hearing still works while we sleep. Science suggests that instead of the background noise itself, that sudden changes in the background noise, that jars us from sleep. By creating a sound masking effect, white noise blocks out abrupt changes in sound, helping people fall asleep and light sleepers to stay asleep.
In what has become the “sleep industry,” the term “white noise” is used as a general description for any background noise that is constant and unchanging. Other relaxing or comforting sounds available on today’s so-called “sleep machines” include soothing sounds of nature like gentle rain, ocean surf, distant thunder, and chirping crickets.
White Noise: This type of sound can be within the varying range of the spectrum, from high to low-frequency sounds. Although the types of these sounds can differ in frequencies, we often perceive them as louder than the two other noises.
Examples: Waterfall, gentle stream, unused frequency in the radio, “shushing” sound
Pink Noise: These are sounds that are mostly balanced on the frequency spectrum, muffling the high frequencies but still maintaining a moderate level above the low frequencies.
Examples: Light to medium rainfall, leaves rustling, electric fan
Brown Noise: These noises are comparable to the lower-frequency sounds in the natural environment. It can be defined as deep-sounding, sometimes appearing strong on certain intervals.
Examples: Strong waves in the ocean, thunder sounds, large waterfall
WHITE NOISE FOR NEWBORNS
As an adult, you probably fell asleep more than once to white noise, for example, the noise of the road when the window is open, or a fan operating in the apartment. This is white noise – background sound, in which there are high, medium and low frequencies, they are evenly distributed and sound at the same volume, without any drops. In our life, we are always faced with such noise. This is the hum of the crowd, the noise of rain, a waterfall, the murmur of the river, the sound of a hairdryer, vacuum cleaner, air conditioner, fire crackle and others. But if such noise does not always have a calming effect on adults, for a newborn this monotonous sound is more familiar than silence and helps to calm down.
The explanation is simple; all the time while the baby was in the mother’s womb, he was not in absolute silence. He heard how his mother’s heart was pounding, how she was breathing, how the blood was running through her vessels, her bowels were noisy, as well as many sounds from outside: conversations, music and much more. All this noise sounded constant and measured. The infant is accustomed to such a background, so the silence in which the parents are trying to put the child to sleep can scare him. By the way, many mothers themselves imitate white noise when they rock their child, saying “shhhhhh.” Most children sleep well in a stroller for a walk – just in time for the white noise of the street.
White noise can work during daytime dreams of a child and nighttime sleep if you want to “mask” extraneous sounds. Its use is most effective in the first 12 weeks of a newborn, but studies have not revealed any age restrictions on its administration. Simply put, if you haven’t introduced white noise to your child before six months, it’s never too late to try.
It helps the child to calm down: If the child cries for a long time, and the mother cannot calm him down with either motion sickness or breastfeeding, she cannot distract him in any way, then turning on white noise can help. Many mothers tell stories of how the children were suddenly soothed when they entered the bathroom, where water was running from the tap.
Speeds up falling asleep: This was confirmed by studies conducted when most newborns were able to fall asleep under white noise for five minutes, while in the control group without using noise, only 25% of babies fell asleep during the same time.
It Improves the quality and depth of sleep: When using white noise, the newborn does not wake up every 20 minutes, which mothers often complain about. The problem of fragmentation of sleep is solved; it becomes longer, the baby gets better sleep.
Helps to mask extraneous sounds: This is incredibly familiar to mothers who already have older children who prevent the youngest from falling asleep with their games.
Repairs from neighbors, loud noises from the street or guests in the next room – all this also prevents the newborn from sleeping peacefully. The included white noise will mask these sounds and help solve the problem.
Helps to relax and unwind mom: Better quality sleep with white noise gives mom more time for herself to relax and have some me-time after a hard day.
Want to learn more about Sleep?
Check out: ‘100 Hacks to Help you Sleep Better eBook’ AND ‘How to Sleep Better: The Ultimate Interactive Guide for Improving Your Sleep’