Is It Too Noisy for My Baby to Sleep?

Infant Sleep · Sleep Safety

There are two opposing opinions when it comes to what baby needs to sleep well: those who want everything quiet and those who think making noise is not only okay, but good because baby’s will learn to sleep through anything.

But the truth is somewhere in the middle (isn’t it always?).

What kind of noises can disrupt baby’s sleep?

It’s hard to remove all noises from a sleep environment, and keep in mind the womb was not a quiet place! However, there is a difference between low consistent noise and sudden loud or changing noises. Honking cars or sirens, dogs barking, door bells or phones ringing, loud talking or kids playing can all cause sleep disruptions.

So how quiet does it need to be?

The answer is: as quiet as you can make it and still live life. The same noises that would disrupt your sleep are likely to disrupt your baby’s sleep.

The Down Side Of Too Quiet

There is something to the belief that baby’s will adjust to noise levels. If you stop all life and noise at nap times, then small noises that he might otherwise be able to sleep through because they are commonplace will become disturbances that cause waking needlessly. A consistent type of noise we often recommend to families for sleep times is white noise. Naturally produced white noise from a fan or Dohm sound machine can buffer outside noises and aid in sound sleep.

The Myth Of Light Sleepers

Some parents will say they have light sleepers who awake at the slightest change.

Often, light sleepers are more affected by noise because of the conditions in which a child falls asleep.

When a baby is lulled to sleep through rocking or walking or nursing, a change in environment (such as from your warm arms to a cool crib) will jar them awake.  Similarly, if they are jarred awake in their crib because of a loud noise and they fell asleep in your arms, they may be confused and have a hard time falling back to sleep in a different place than they fell asleep initially. It’s not a creak in the floor or the sound of the door closing that woke them up all – it is a change in sleep environment and a change in onset of sleep.

This isn’t light sleeping; it’s that your baby isn’t falling and cycling through sleep independently.

Turning “Light Sleepers” Into Independent Sleepers

More important than the noise levels in your home or your surrounding environment is teaching your child healthy sleep habits.

Once you teach your baby how to fall asleep, even when they are jolted awake they’ll be able to settle again. These sleep habits aren’t just making for an easier bedtime and more rest for a tired parent; they are equipping them to live well rested lives.

The key takeaways when it comes to noise and sleep: 1. try to limit (where you can) loud noises during sleep times 2. maintain your normal every day noises so you aren’t tiptoeing around 3. consider enhancing sleep environments with white noise, and 4. healthy, sleep habits turn “light sleepers” into well rested babies!

Download Our Safe Sleep Guide