will relaxing music help my child sleep better?
Adding music to your kid’s bedtime routine can make a big difference. Whether you play white noise, bedtime lullabies or nature sounds, music is an effective way to soothe your child into a peaceful night.
Music is great at influencing our mood – it can give you a boost during the morning commute, help you relax during your lunch break, or make you dance around your kitchen while making dinner. It’s also a great way to unwind at the end of the day and tell our bodies that it’s time for bed. Sounds like white noise and ocean waves can enhance a sense of calm and relaxation, which is just as useful for kids as it is for adults.
why is relaxing music a welcome addition to your child's sleep routine?
Listening to relaxing music can lower our blood pressure, slow our heart rate, and reduce anxiety – which in turn helps us get a better night’s sleep. Music can decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and improve overall sleep quality.
The music we find relaxing varies per person, but one factor to consider is the tempo. Studies have shown that music with a slow rhythm, between 60 and 80 beats per minute, mirrors our resting heart rate. Our bodies are more likely to synchronise with slower, soothing sounds. Relaxing music promotes better sleep by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
creating a relaxing environment
Creating the perfect bedroom is essential for sleep, especially for babies and young children who are overloaded with new experiences. This can be overwhelming to their developing senses, which is why it’s so important to create a calm, relaxing environment for them. This gives your child the soothing atmosphere they need to nurture their sleeping pattern.
A comfortable bed, gentle lighting and soft bedding are great, but sounds are also a key element in creating a relaxing environment for your child. Nighttime lullabies played each evening helps to establish a bedtime routine for your little one, letting them know that it's time for bed. Music is also the perfect way to add another sense of familiarity with their bedroom – which can help your child feel more secure and in turn more relaxed.
The reason that lullabies are so effective at sending kids to sleep is the physiological effects they have. 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 their heartbeat, and quiet sounds are important to calm down a child after a day of loud and chaotic sounds and sink into their bed. Slower music will lower what are known as their ‘threat responses’, so your child is less likely to be activated, which makes their bedroom feel both safer and more secure.
when to play the music
Play your chosen music around half an hour before your child's bed or nap time. This allows them to absorb the music and "wind down" before you actually put them to bed. Everyone’s response to sound is unique, as it can evoke positive or negative emotions. When you’re looking for relaxing music for your child to sleep to, pay close attention to what relaxes them and how their body responds.
Adding music to their sleep routine will let your child know bedtime is coming soon, making it less of a surprise when it's time to be put down for sleep.
If there’s a risk of noise while they sleep, you can leave the music on throughout the night. White noise is especially effective at drowning out loud sounds. This steady stream of sound is thought to reduce your brain’s reactivity to spikes in volume, so environmental noises like car horns, slamming doors or overnight road works are less likely to be heard. Other sounds work too, including nature sounds and soundscapes.
There are loads of apps out there offering sleep sounds, bedtime lullabies and white noise for babies. Here are some of our favourites:
sound sleeper: white noise
Available for iOS and Android and with over 5 million downloads so far, the Sound Sleeper has curated white noise for babies, as well as sounds of nature and soothing 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. The app even doubles as a nightlight by using the screen to provide a soft and gentle light with colours to visually soothe your baby.
The highly rated sleep app, Calm, is recommended by therapists, mental health experts and psychologists. Made for adults and children, there’s a range of bedtime stories and relaxing music.
Relaxing music is a great way to help children fall asleep, as the soft tempo of the music slows down their heartrate and lets their body know it’s time to rest. Experiment with different sounds until you find the right kind for your child, then add it to their bedtime routine and let it work its magic.