Infant Sleep White Noise
It’s just white noise, the same as any other. All of the many sound frequencies combine to form white noise. As 20,000 tones playing simultaneously, white noise might be compared to that.
I love white noise a lot, that much is obvious. Everyone, including myself and infants!
There are numerous unanswered questions regarding white noise in general, though, as with most things in life. So, the following topics will be covered in this blog:
Baby white noise: what is it?
Are sleep aids that produce white noise effective?
How white noise promotes infant sleep?
White noise generators: Are they secure?
White noise as a baby calming aid: advantages and disadvantages
The ideal white noise for newborns is what?
When should white noise be stopped?
Baby white noise: what is it?
There are several varieties available, ranging from sounds that resemble appliances like dishwashers, hoover cleaners, and fans to natural sounds like rain, ocean waves, and rainforests, as well as varied hues of sound (brown, pink, orange, etc.).
In short, the noise generator will produce a sound that drowns out other noises, preventing jarring awakenings from outside noise.
Are sleep aids that produce white noise effective?
Using white noise has the sole advantage of waking you up not from the noise itself but from the noise that suddenly appears! The benefit of a more stable environment is provided to our brain by hiding this.
White noise reduces the patterns or abrupt changes in environmental noises that our brains might pick up on because our brains continue to analyse sensory data when we sleep.
Thus, may white noise aid with sleep? Yes, absolutely!
Even sounds that might not be too bothersome during the daytime might become an issue at night, especially if they are sudden. Noises can wake you up just a little bit, interrupting your sleep patterns.
There are a variety of items in the home, like as televisions, dogs, and other people, as well as external sounds like storms, traffic, and metropolitan city noise, that can keep you awake.
Interesting fact: “This research is finding that noise events produce arousals at relatively low exposure levels, and regardless of the noise source (air, road, and rail traffic, neighbours, church bells), and environment” (home, laboratory, hospital).
The likelihood that nighttime noise is linked to cardiovascular disease and stroke in the elderly is supported by new epidemiological studies that add to the body of knowledge previously available. Also, the combined results of these research imply that nighttime noise exposure may have a greater impact on the development of cardiovascular disease than daytime noise exposure.
How can white noise aid with infant sleep?
The sounds that our bodies create, including those from our digestive systems or the rushing of blood through the placenta, become familiar to your kid while they are still in the womb. Because it is familiar to them, white noise is effective for soothing babies.
Because of this, when infants are born into an environment with a range of sounds, the quietness might be unsettling and make it harder for them to settle, not the other way around! The typical decibel level in your womb is around 80.
When you had an ultrasound, do you recall hearing a whooshing sound as soon as the wand was placed on your belly? If you could hear that louder, that is what your baby is hearing all the time.
Therefore, when they leave the very loud sound level of your womb and enter the world of silence, whispers, and tip toes, you may end up with a fussy, confused baby who would rather fall asleep in the car or at a loud party than in their quiet and still nursery; this is why white noise aids in sleep.
Dr. Harvey Karp, who developed the Snoo, used this as the basis for his five simple rules.
The five S’s—swaddle, side, shh (loudly), suck (pacifier/breast), and swing (motion)—all cause your infant to go into a relaxing reaction. You would use these by matching the sobbing level with your white noise/shh and motion until they started to quiet.
In order to get them to settle down or go asleep, you also need to reduce your activity and volume.
White noise generators: Are they secure?
You should test the decibel level of your white noise machine; you can do this for free by downloading an app to your phone and using it in their bedroom.
(I like to use dB metre or Decibel X as they give consistent measurements).
In hospital nurseries, a noise level of 50 dBA is advised for infants, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
This has nothing to do with safeguarding a baby’s developing hearing and was suggested in 1999 by the National Resource Center.
It was designed for neonatal intensive care units, or NICUs, with the main goal being “to preserve a major chunk of each hour for infant sleep.” Sleep is vital for preterm babies, and loud noises startle and frighten NICU babies more than they frighten and frighten full-term healthy babies, so the restriction is mostly in place to aid in premature babies’ ability to sleep.
That’s ironic because, of course, white noise devices are used by parents to aid with their infants’ ability to sleep. Even though the question of whether loud NICU noise could impair premature newborns’ ears was raised in the 1999 report, it was found that, “not surprisingly,” no consistent evidence of harm from loud NICU noise existed.
When does baby white noise become too loud? The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has set an exposure limit for workers of 85 decibels for eight-hour periods.
To put it into perspective, mild rainfall has a sound level of 50 decibels, average conversation has a sound level of 60 decibels, a hoover cleaner has a sound level of 70 decibels, and blenders and blow dryers have a sound level of 80 to 90 dB.
You can look at this graphic for additional comparisons
“Sound doesn’t start enhancing sleep until it reaches to 60 to 65 dB,” says Dr. Harvey Karp, founder of Happiest Baby on the Block and inventor of the Snoo.
Keeping a sound machine seven feet away from your child’s bed is advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
According to a study, infant white noise machines that were designed with babies in mind measured at decibel levels over the “recommended” limit when placed within a foot of their sleeping area.
Can white noise harm hearing, then? Don’t, however, play your white noise machine nonstop for eight hours right next to your child’s head. White noise: is there such a thing? Of course—that is why we measure decibels!
Since the degree to which noise interferes with sleep varies somewhat depending on the individual, some people are more sensitive than others. According to one study, a person’s capacity to tolerate noise is influenced by their brain rhythms.
White noise, however, is it harmful? only when it is too close or too loud. A good rule of thumb is to check it whenever you move the machine around the room or go somewhere so that you can be sure of how loud the white noise machine is in your child’s sleeping area. For example, you can turn on the sound machine while your child is in their bed or crib by placing your phone with the app open in that location.
White noise research has not been extensively explored, but what is known is as follows:
One 2009 study found that during the crucial period for the development of their hearing, rats exposed to 80 decibels of white noise for eight hours per day for two weeks experienced changes in the way their neurons responded to stimuli. However, the researchers did not examine inner-ear function or other facets of behaviour or cognition, so it is unclear what this means.
Another study discovered that while rats’ hearing was unaffected when exposed to 90 dB of broadband noise, it became compromised when subjected to 100 or 110 decibels of broadband noise for eight hours a day for five days.
The research mentioned above also touch on the potential for a language delay. According to Chang, infants pick up new information through taking in sounds from human speech.
The acquisition of speech sounds may take longer if they are compromised by computers or TVs. At the Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, New York, audiologist Frederick Ruffen explains, “What’s intriguing about this is that white noise slows down the maturing of the brain. The critical period, however, is extended once the noise has been reduced. The brain can mature later.”
While limiting white noise for babies may be crucial, according to Ruffen, parents should probably be more concerned about loud, obtrusive noises like loud music, horns honking, highway noise, and construction equipment.
He claims that this kind of noise damages hearing by causing auditory neurons to overdevelop. Also, unlike with white noise, the crucial period is not prolonged when the brain is subjected to these kinds of noise. According to Ruffen, once damage from these kinds of sounds has been done, it is probably irreversible.
According to the researchers, there are a variety of potential neural effects on the central auditory system, but a few of them include a decrease in neural inhibition (the capacity to filter out unimportant information), an extension of the amount of time it takes for the brain to process changing signals, and less accurate cortical representations (how information is represented in the brain).
A revelation to be kept in mind in light of the theories put out by the aforementioned researchers is that they are working on commercial technologies that they claim can have positive effects on cognitive functions.
White noise alone does not appear to be associated with worse outcomes, according to any direct evidence that has been reported elsewhere or in the review by the authors.
White noise has so many advantages that further study is required in order for parents to make an informed choice about how to utilise white noise for their newborns safely.
White noise’s benefits and drawbacks as a baby sleep aid
Using white noise has a lot of advantages! Pros include the following:
According to this study, using white noise put 80% of infants to sleep in under five minutes.
Memory enhancements when using “pink” noise, a different type of white noise
When sharing a room, this feature is crucial because it can block out household noises that could wake the baby up at night or in the morning.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether the brain reacts differently to various stimuli when we are sleeping depending on their importance. This hypothesis is supported by behavioural and electrophysiological data. Young mothers are awakened by their infants’ tiniest movements, for instance, and some auditory stimuli awaken people more than others, regardless of how intense they are.
has been shown to shorten the time needed to fall asleep, lengthen the time spent getting restorative sleep, and speed up the transition between sleep cycles
benefits for those who experience insomnia (decreases the time it takes to fall asleep)
The stimulation of lights, faces, and excitement stresses out babies. When someone needs to sleep, white noise produces a secure environment by obstructing stimulus.
During around 20 to 45 minutes, babies that are napping experience an arousal from sleep. White noise can be used to drown out sounds like siblings or the doorbell, allowing the infant to avoid them and take longer naps.
As it resembles the womb, white noise is particularly relaxing for babies.
It is a fantastic sleep association that is beneficial to incorporate into any sleep pattern while sleep training.
Given that it is a sleep association, it can help you and your baby get through sleep regressions and, if you share a room, it may even help your baby sleep through the night.
In order to transition from a cot to a toddler bed, you can use a nightlight like the Lectrofan Kinder along with white noise.
Drawbacks to utilising baby white noise
The machine might unintentionally be excessively loud. It could be necessary to doze off periodically (dependent) Not all infants react to baby white noise.
This is not always a terrible thing when we talk about it getting dependent. If your child has other sleep associations or if you use a lovey, they should still be able to fall asleep without it.
Without it, they can find it more difficult to fall asleep and sleep less soundly. It’s possible that they won’t be able to snooze as long or sleep through the night without it.
It is acceptable to occasionally sleep without it as long as it won’t have to be something they routinely do without; otherwise, the benefits of better sleep will still apply.
Just another (good) sleep association that may be incorporated into a routine to let youngsters know it’s time to go to bed!
Which white noise tone is most suitable for infants?
Choose white noise generators with fan and non-repeating white noise that are dynamically generated using an algorithm to provide really random noises.
While some white noise generators and phone apps employ repetitive sound files to awaken your brain, others use real fans, which are unable to produce noise loud enough to drown out background sounds. But those aren’t the best for falling asleep.
Instead of helping you sleep better, your brain will recognise the pattern and become more active, waking you up more frequently!
There are a number of options available, but a dohm from yoga sleep or a lectrofan from sound of sleep will be your best bets.
There are even portable ones that can be used in the car (securely, not as a projectile in your infant’s car seat), which can assist in converting the car seat hater into a car seat lover. It could be possible to find the secret to a restful snooze if you combine that with a drive down the motorway.
Speaking of being on the move, using it while travelling and sleeping in strange places is helpful! It makes it a secure environment for them to sleep in by simulating their home.
As our environment remains the same or has not changed when we perform our biological safety check, you may not need to intervene as often if you have white noise playing continuously throughout the night. This will make it easier for you to fall back asleep.
We would have a harder time getting back asleep and your child will likely signal (probably very loudly, almost in a panic) for you to come aid them. This is in contrast to falling asleep one way, with sound, and waking up without it.
White noise comes in a variety of “colours,” in addition to natural sounds like the ocean, rain, storms, rainforests, etc. The majority of those will be produced in a way that loops or has a pattern, which might make it harder for you to fall asleep.
Therefore, you should pick whichever option makes you feel the most rested when you wake up and does not hurt your ears.
You can always try out various sounds on YouTube until you find the one that feels the most comfortable to you, at which point you can either buy a machine that plays that sound (instead of trying out many different machines) or choose a machine that has a tonne of different sound options to choose from!
The effects of tinnitus have been demonstrated to be lessened by white noise, fun fact (ringing in the ears)
How long should white noise last?
If you don’t want to, you actually are not required to cease using white noise for babies. If necessary, you may easily wean yourself off of it by setting the volume down a little each night until you stop using it before bed.
But I wouldn’t advise turning it off suddenly (like after a 30 or 45 minute timer). For the sake of better sleep, it is recommended to leave it on entire night or not at all.
During times when the electricity goes out or perhaps they need to sleep in a separate room, it is advantageous to have a backup white noise machine that runs on batteries if you have one that is plugged in.
If you have very noisy toddlers or dogs running around the house, you could also use the backup as a “extra” white noise machine outside of the room of a sensitive child! In addition to white noise, a cat napper can become a long napper by sleeping with their door closed (for fire safety)!
CONCLUSIONS REGARDING INFANT WHITE NOISE
Using infant white noise to quiet a fussy baby is a terrific idea. It serves as a sleep trigger and is a terrific addition to your nap and bedtime routines.
That makes it incredibly simple to sleep while travelling and in strange locations as well!
Of course, always exercise caution and utilise it responsibly (measure the decibel levels and keep it far enough away that it is comfortable for you and your baby).
You can be sure that using white noise is a terrific habit to get into whether you’re a parent of an older child, a new infant, or even just yourself!
It can improve sleep quality even if your child already sleeps well, which is always a good thing, especially if they are under four months old.
And here’s a pro tip: if your baby is very fussy during the witching hour, don’t be afraid to increase the white noise for a little amount of time to add extra calming—absolutely it’s okay and effective!
Shhh… I’m growing: noise in the NICU
Facilitation of retention by white noise
Phase Noise of SAW Delay Line Magnetic Field Sensors
Aviation Noise Impacts: State of the Science
Visual Perception: Seeing motion signals in noise
How Much the Eye Tells the Brain