It’s no secret that music can play a part in inspiring emotions – it can give you a boost first thing in the morning, make you dance around your kitchen in the evening and put a smile on your face at pretty much any time of day. When it comes to getting your child to sleep, music can be a big help to soothe your little one into a peaceful sleep. Including it as part of your little one’s sleep routine can make a big difference.
But why is music such a welcome addition to your child's sleep routine?
Creating a relaxing environment
From the moment that you bring your precious newborn home, they’re overloaded with new experiences. This can be overwhelming to their developing senses, making it especially important to create a calm, relaxing environment in order to give them the soothing atmosphere they need to nurture their sleeping pattern. Soft music played each night can not only relax your child, but it can also help to create a sense of routine for your little one. Acting almost as a trigger, letting them know that it's time for bed, it's the perfect way to add another sense of familiarity - which can leave your baby feeling more secure and in turn more relaxed.
The reason that lullabies are so effective (and popular), is the physiological effects they can have on your child. Naturally, our bodies will respond to the rhythm and tempo of the music we listen to, meaning that slow, soft, repetitive music will actually slow our heartbeats and allow for deeper, calmer breathing. The swaying rhythm of a lullaby is purposely close to the child's own heartbeat, and the quiet sounds are important to calm down a baby after a day of potentially loud and chaotic sounds. Slower music will lower what are known as ‘threat responses’ in your baby, so they’re far less likely to be activated, which makes their bedroom feel both safer and more secure.
When to play the music
We recommend putting on your favourite lullabies/background sounds around half an hour before your child's bed or nap time, allowing them to absorb the music and "wind down", before you actually put them to rest. The familiar routine will let your child know bedtime is coming soon, making it less of a shock when it's time to be put down for sleep. If there is a risk of noise or factors which may disturb sleep, then it is recommended to leave the music on throughout the night. As the music can drown out other sounds which may disturb, such as wind and rain (or noisy neighbours), the music acts as the most effective, consistent distraction from this.
There are loads of apps out there offering sleep sounds for your little one. Here are some of our favourites:
Sound Sleeper: White Noise
Available for IOS and Android and with over 5 million downloads so far, this app has a large selection of white noise, sounds of nature and lullabies to calm your baby.
White Noise Baby Soother
Available on the Apple Store, this app has everything you need to help your little one nod off, with sleep sounds and lullabies, and it even doubles as a nightlight by using your phone/tablet screen to provide a soft and gentle light with colours.