The Benefits of White Noise

White noise for sleep is often soothing sounds like rain or ocean waves.

White noise and sleep sounds are a popular way to help babies and young children sleep. As parents, we treasure our moments of peace and quiet. As a result, we’ll find as many ways as possible to help our children slip off into dreamland. So why are sleep sounds so well loved as a sleep aid? What makes white noise work so well?

What is white noise?

So, what is white noise in the first place? White noise is, in definition, a combination of many different sounds. When those sounds come together, your brain can’t pick out any particular sounds, turning them into what we know as white noise.  Sleep sounds are a variation of white noise. They’re typically rhythmic and soft. Examples include noises like rain sounds or ocean waves. Most white noise machines include a few soothing sounds, as well as true white noise, like static. Child-friendly sleep sound machines also offer a heartbeat mimic in addition to other sounds. This can be especially useful for newborns, who are used to hearing a heartbeat.

White noise makes sense for a lot of reasons. Before babies are born, they’re exposed to a wide variety of muted daily noises. When we put them to bed, it’s suddenly much quieter and can be unfamiliar to them as a result. Sleep sound machines allow the bedroom to be restful without being silent. While this doesn’t work for all babies, it typically works for most of them and can be effective in helping to relieve sleep difficulties. Another way that sleep noises can help is by blocking out other noises. Sudden loud noises can startle babies and young children awake, so by providing a soft, steady noise, loud noises become less distinct.

How do we use it?

White noise can be used for any sleep time, including nap time.

Now that we know what white noise is and why it’s effective, how do we use it? If you choose to use a sleep sound machine, keep the time you are using it to a minimum. Many sleep sound machines have automatic timers, which will prevent the machine from running constantly. While offering the obvious benefit of not needing to creep back into the nursery to turn it off, this feature has other uses too. It helps your child fall asleep without interfering with normal sleep patterns once they’ve drifted off. Turning the sounds off after a short time allows your child to become accustomed to regular nighttime noises and prevents them from becoming reliant on the noise to stay asleep. Make sure that your machine is placed away from the crib and that the volume remains low. It’s important to remember that sleep sounds are meant to mask other noises, not completely drown them out.


If they’re used properly, white noise machines are a great way to help your child sleep. White noise is an effective sleep aid for many people, even adults. Is your child having trouble falling asleep? Are you having trouble getting them into a routine? I can help. I have training and expertise in a wide variety of sleep solutions for many different circumstances. I’d be happy to help you get some sleep too, so let’s chat!