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The science of sound and sleep - white noise

De wetenschap van geluid en slaap

De wetenschap van geluid en slaap

Is your baby having trouble falling asleep or having trouble sleeping? Try rocking your baby to sleep with the right sounds to improve their resting time! The quality of your child’s sleep is not only essential for his or her development, but also for your personal well-being.

The use of soft, soothing sounds to lull infants and children to sleep is as old as motherhood itself. The first recorded lullaby dates back 4,000 years and is written on Sumerian clay tablets.

The practice of mothers singing to their children at bedtime is certainly much older. In fact, it is common to almost all cultures. "Lullabies belong to the instinctive nature of motherhood," explains archaeomusicologist Richard Dumbrill.

What studies have been conducted on this subject and what are the conclusions and hypotheses? And above all, what solution is the most suitable to improve your baby’s sleep when he is in his bed? We tell you everything!

What the science says about sound and sleep

The influence of the sound on baby sleep

In recent years, researchers have taken a closer look at the power of music on babies. These studies on sound and sleep have shown that it not only improves sleep for children of all ages, but also improves health and well-being on a number of measures.

At an early age, several studies have shown that music allows newborns to:

  • sleep longer,
  • breathe better,
  • eat better and gain more weight.

In one particularly rigorous and high-profile study, researchers examined infants in 11 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) over a two-and-a-half-year period. They studied the differences between those who were exposed to music overnight and those who were not. As a result, they found that infants exposed to music had significantly better feeding, behavioral signs and breathing.

Researchers’ hypothesis on the influence of sound on the baby’s sleep

Some researchers hypothesize that the rhythm of lullabies helps infants regulate their own natural biological rhythms.

In his book on the therapeutic power of music, Ted Gioia notes how human physiology is composed of a variety of rhythms ranging from heartbeats and brainwaves to sleep cycles and hormonal ebbs and flows.

Child development researcher Sally Goddard Blythe argues that most lullabies have the same rhythm - triple metre or 6/8 time - and thus mimic the natural rhythmic rocking of the womb.

Large studies of parents’ sleep practices have shown that a significant majority of parents use some sort of sound to help their children fall asleep. While many parents use music, sleep scientists say that simple white noise can be just as effective.

In an authoritative scientific journal, researchers recommend white noise to help block abrupt sound changes and create a peaceful sleep environment.

Another smaller study found that white noise can help young children fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, even in uncontrolled environments. In controlled environments like NICUs, researchers showed that newborns fell asleep three times faster with white noise than without.

Some researchers believe that white noise works best because of its hypnotic qualities, while others argue that white noise moderates sound changes in the child’s environment.

A 2005 study examined how white noise helps newborns sleep in a NICU. The researchers then found that it is not the loud sounds that necessarily wake babies, but it is the difference in sound levels between the background noise and the loud "peak" noise.

White noise helps babies sleep, according to the researchers, by "reducing the difference between background and peak noise." Regardless of how white noise works, the available evidence strongly suggests that it can be a safe and effective sleep aid for young children.

The CloudB solution for improving infant sleep

CloudB solution to improve baby sleep

CloudB sound products offer a variety of options for parents to choose the right sleep sounds for their baby. Our products offer both:

  • lullaby music,
  • white noise (such as waterfalls, ocean waves and soothing winds),
  • adjustable volume controls,
  • sleep timer that turns off sounds after a certain time.

These features follow the most rigorous and recent findings of sleep researchers who suggest that sounds should be :

  • set at the lowest level that can still moderate outside noise,
  • played primarily during the time babies and children are falling asleep,
  • customized to each child’s individual preferences.

These features allow parents to choose the right sleep sound experience for their baby while offering peace of mind that the sounds will never be too loud or last too long.

Give your baby a moment of calm after a day full of discovery. Use this solution at bedtime, and you’ll be amazed at the results! By improving their rest, they develop better and more serenely.


  1. Perry, N. (2013, January 13). The universal language of lullabies. BBC New Magazine. Retrieved March 14, 2014, from the database,
  2. Standley, J.M. (2002). A meta-analysis of the efficacy of music therapy for premature infants. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 17(2), 107-113.
  3. Standley, J.M. (2012). Music therapy research in the NICU: An updated meta-analysis. Neonatal Network: The Journal of Neonatal Nursing, 31(5), 311-316.
  4. Loewy, J. et al. (2013). The effects of music therapy on vital signs, feeding, and sleep in premature infants. Pediatrics, 131(5), 902-918.
  5. Gioia, T. (2006). Healing songs. Durham: Duke University Press.   
  6. National Sleep Foundation. 2014 Sleep In America Poll. Washington, D.C.: National Sleep Foundation, 2006.
  7. Meltzer, L. J. (2010). Clinical management of behavioral insomnia of childhood: Treatment of bedtime problems and night wakings in young children. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 8(3), 172–189.
  8. Forquer, L. M. & Johnson, C. M. (2005). Continuous white noise to reduce resistance going to sleep and night wakings in toddlers. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 27(2), 1-10.
  9. Spencer, J. A. et al. (1990). White noise and sleep induction. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 65(1), 135-137.
  10. Stanchina, M. L. et al. (2005). The influence of white noise on sleep in subjects exposed to ICU noise. Sleep Medicine, 6(5), 423-428.
  11. Hugh, S. C. et al. (2014). Infant sleep machines and hazardous sound pressure levels. Pediatrics, published online 3 March 2014

  1. Standley, J. (2012). Music therapy research in the NICU: An updated meta-analysis. Neonatal Network: The Journal of Neonatal Nursing, 31(5), 311-316.
  2. Sheldon, S. (2005). Principles and practice of pediatric sleep medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.

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