What Does Sound Have To Do With Sleep?

Sleep and sounds don't always go so nicely together. Ever try to sleep through a marching band or your toddler's whining?

Well, guess what, baby often has a hard time with it too, especially when he's going from one sleep stage to the next. During this sleep transition time, he has a partial awakening. Some times he'll go back to sleep, and sometimes
(like if a noise catches his attention) he'll decide that nap time is over. And, if it's been a long day and you've just spent the last 2 hours trying to get him to take this 20 minute barely worthy to be called a nap, you may just cry! So what to do about noise and sleep?

Here are a few different ways of dealing with this 'sound' issue.
  1. Some people figure out when partial awakenings will likely happen and try to be quiet at this time. I don't know about you, but this sounds pretty annoying--and pretty much impossible if you have other children in the home. If you want your toddler to feel even more annoyed about this new crying thing that's taken away his mommy's attention try telling him to be quiet all day!
  2. Then there's the people that wise up and use white noise. One of the greatest inventions ever, if you ask me. You can see my thoughts on white noise here as well as how to use it correctly.
  3. Other people keep on with life like normal and try to get their child used to the normal sounds of daily life. Sounds like a good idea, right? Not really. This usually results in a period of time (which, take note, might be an indefinite period of time!) filled with bad naps and night time sleep. Eventually some children will get used to sleeping through a variety of noises. But most won't. They'll wake up to a noise and then feel rested enough to start playing. Others will wake to a noise and still be tired but want to take part in what is going on. I don't know if you've noticed yet, but most kids would rather hang out with you than sleep by themselves!

For those with a really young child you're probably feeling pretty lucky because your child will sleep through just about anything. Guess what. I've got some big news for you. It's only a matter of time! Check back with me when your child is 3-4 months and we'll see where you're at then ;)

Related Posts:
Where should my baby sleep?
Getting the Right Temperature
What impact does light have on my child's sleep?
Should my baby sleep with white noise?
Sleep Attire
Varying The Sleep Location


  1. Hello , my baby is 6 months old she is very sensitive to any noise and wake up and get a bad nap which makes her cranky and harder to be settled again , what can i do to make her more flexible , i don mean to put her in a really noisy place but i mean how can i get her to adapt with few noises natural daily noises outside her room , but i don want to disturb her sleeping that will hurt me much i don like to see my baby suffering and tired , is there any gentle method ? thanks

  2. Anonymous,

    Unfortunately some babies are more sensitive to noise than others and while you can try to help them get used to noise, they will probably never be great with it, at least not until they get a bit older (most older kids will naturally do a bit better with noise).

    To get her more used to noise you can slowly introduce a small amount of it. If you use a sound machine you could slowly turn the volume down over several days/weeks. You could also try putting a radio on very quietly and turn the volume up a little bit over several days. While doing this it is very likely that you will have some bad naps for a while until she gets used to the noise. Sorry :( But if you do it really slowly she will adjust the best. Most likely she will get get better with noise, it will probably take some years though--probably not what you wanted to hear!

  3. Hi. Dunno if youre still active. Hopefully you are. I am wits end. I have. 8w old son and he used to sleep streches pf 6-8hrs. Not anymore now he wakes up every hour at night. And i try everything.
    He has great naps. Eats every 3hrs Has a bath nighttime routine and goes to bed around 10pm. He wakes up from his last nap at around 8:30-9pm. From 10pm to 2a he sleeps. Then it's crying. I try to feed him and he refuses. Burp sometimes and then pat him down to sleep. And from 2a every hour until 7a he wakes up. I try holding him to sleep he used to love that and slept longer but nothing now still waking up every hour. And he doesnt want to feed until 7a. And yes i offer. Usually its a diaper change. That happens and still 1hr later he is up. Diaper is dry.
    I am miserable. Tired and non patient with my older son. Help!
    Could it be gas? Sometimes its poo. I offer the potty and magic. But then one hour and he's up.
    He goes to bed awake every nap. Every night and gets himself to sleep