is it ok for a baby to sleep with music on

Is It Ok For a Baby To Sleep With Music On?

Your baby has developed a sleep association with music. Some babies develop a sleep association with objects such as blankets, stuffed animals, or pacifiers. Sleep can also be associated with habits such as being rocked to sleep or falling asleep while feeding.

Older children can also have sleep associations such as drifting off while watching television or falling asleep with a parent.

Sleep associations are not always bad. For example, having a routine that helps your baby nod off can be very helpful in the first few months of life when frequent feedings and nighttime awakenings are the norms.

The best sleep associations don't directly involve a parent. When the infant awakens in the middle of the night, they fall back asleep (for example, with their blanket or soother) without waking the parent.

The tricky part about sleep associations is that they can be habit-forming and challenging to break. Waking up every three hours to feed and rock your two-month-old back to sleep is expected, but doing the same thing with your four-year-old can be tiring and frustrating. Some sleep associations are particularly problematic.

Thumb and finger sucking is an almost impossible habit to break later on and can have serious repercussions for teeth and palate and the thumb and fingers. Thumb-sucking should be discouraged as soon as it is discovered – a pacifier is preferable to the thumb as it is an easier habit to break.

Falling asleep with a bottle of milk is also problematic. There are significant nutritional and dental complications, but it also involves a parent waking up through the night to administer feedings. It is normal for infants to fall asleep while feeding in the first six months. After about six months, however, it is preferable to stop the feeding before your baby drifts off.

There are many different methods for breaking sleep associations. Typically this involves leaving your child alone in bed until they learn to fall asleep by themselves. In my experience, this is best accomplished between six and 12 months of age, although timing can vary depending on the child's personality and the family's needs.

Playing music while your baby falls asleep is not harmful and is unlikely to be a major problem unless you have to get up through the night to turn the music back on. Eventually, you may want to play music for your child at bedtime only, turning the music off when your child gets sleepy and allowing your child to fall asleep on his own.

Baby Nursery FAQs

Limit it to 30 minutes: Kennedy says not to let lullabies run all night because the brain stays attuned to sound and might not get into a deep sleep. Playing music for a half-hour after bedtime is good.

A study on the effects of background music and sleep quality found that children who listen to background music at naptime and bedtime had improved sleep quality. Another study concluded that “relaxing classical music is an effective intervention in reducing sleeping problems.

How your baby reacts to sound may depend on her temperament as well. Some babies are more sensitive to things around them so they may react more to loud noises. However, the everyday sounds of your home shouldn't faze her. She'll probably be able to sleep right through them.

It's tempting to keep the white noise going through the night, but it's not recommended. "Operate the infant sound machine for a short time," Schneeberg advises. She recommends using a timer or shutting it off once your baby is asleep, provided you're still awake.

The most common sleep props are nursing/bottle feeding, rocking, patting, singing, bouncing, pacifiers, and the presence of a parent (sitting in the room, laying with the child, co-sleeping, etc.).

The Science Behind Playing Music To Help Babies Fall Asleep

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The truth is that babies are not so dissimilar from adults. Although their brains aren’t fully developed, and their bodies are much smaller than yours, the basic structures of the baby’s brain are intact and functional.

Improved Baby Development

This includes the auditory cortex portion of their brain that processes sound, language, and music. Baby sleep music is becoming very popular, even while the baby is still in the womb. 

Your pediatrician and other baby experts tell you to talk to your child while it grows in the womb. This will help your baby to learn your voice. They even tell you to place headphones around your belly to play music for your baby to listen to while it grows.

This is because the auditory cortex is located in the temporal lobe of the cerebral cortex and is one of the first portions of the human brain to develop in utero. Due to these delicate stages of prenatal development, the hearing of sound becomes a very important way for you to stimulate and bond with your child.

Playing Baby Music in Utero

Playing music for your child in utero can help create the foundation of their reaction and appreciation for music once they’re born.

Using baby sleep music in utero will make it easier for you to use music as a way of helping your baby to fall asleep at night while they’re lying in their crib. The music will already be familiar to them. Therefore, it will create a sense of comfort and familiarity in your baby’s mind to help ease them into a state of relaxation that promotes a night of deep sleep.

There is something magical about the sound of baby sleep music. Playing one of your favourite songs can help soothe your anger, focus your mind, and help you to find tranquillity and relaxation.

You know firsthand what the power of a good song or a familiar tune can do for your mind, body, and spirit. Babies experience this same calming sensation when their auditory cortexes are exposed to pleasant-sounding baby sleep music.

Like certain soundtracks can help lull you to sleep, like nature sounds or thunderstorm sounds, certain sounds can also soothe a baby’s brain. When used correctly, your baby can wind down and slip into a peaceful and deep slumber.

Not All Music Is Designed To Aid Your Baby In Falling Asleep

If your time spent in college taught you anything, it taught you that human beings are capable of falling asleep during the most chaotic and boisterous of situations. This isn’t true for your baby. Your baby can't fall asleep with heavy metal playing or with baby sleep music that possesses high pitches and deep bass.

These two types of sound, in particular, affect the auditory cortex in such a way that it acts as a stimulant rather than as a relaxant. Not all music is designed to aid your baby in falling asleep. If you’re looking for a few bits of advice on how to choose the best sleep music for babies to help them to fall asleep, you’ve come to the right place.

Baby Lullabies

Lullabies are a popular choice for parents. Lullabies are specifically designed to promote a sense of comfort and familiarity in your child at bedtime. You must be careful when choosing the lullabies to play during your child’s bedtime. Certain lullabies are designed to be enjoyed during playtime or a long car ride. 

Make sure you choose a collection of lullabies meant to be played during bedtime. These lullabies are created with soothing instruments and background ambience that won’t overstimulate your baby’s brain.

Classical baby sleep music is another popular choice of bedtime music for babies. Classical music contains no lyrics, which can be distracting and overwhelming for a baby’s brain, and also contains soothing, gentle instruments and tones rather than heavy percussion. 

The best type of classical music for your baby’s bedtime would be the kind that plays in elevators or that plays over the phone while a company has you on hold.

Another effective choice is spa music. When you go to the spa or the masseuse, there’s usually soothing baby sleep music playing over the speakers. 

Spas and massage parlours will typically play the music that incorporates natural sounds, such as waterfalls and rustling trees, wind instruments, string instruments, and piano. 

These sounds combined create a symphony of harmonic melodies that can tame even the most stubborn of babies.

Benefits Of Baby Sleep Music

The main purpose of playing music for babies at bedtime is to get them to fall asleep at a decent hour while ensuring that the sleep they receive is restful and refreshing. This is a noble cause, but playing music for your baby at bedtime can have some unexpected benefits.

Music played to help your child to fall asleep can help to reduce any growing or teething pains they’re experiencing. A study was conducted by a London hospital that yielded interesting results. It showed that children felt less pain while listening to music. 

The popular theory for this scientific phenomenon is that the emotional part of the brain is stimulated by music to a degree. It is suggested that music helps to distract the brain from responding to pain stimuli.

Baby sleep music speaks to the mind in ways that words cannot.

Playing music for your baby while they sleep can also help to increase their overall brain development. Baby sleep music speaks to the mind in ways that words cannot. This is true for babies as well as adults. 

Babies who listen to music while they fall asleep will be introduced to various emotional stimuli. These emotional stimuli will help your baby to increase its emotional intelligence.

As your baby feels more complex emotions, the world will become a richer place. Your baby will feel more connected to their surrounding environment and you. 

This gentle emotional stimulus will also help your child to understand itself better and to learn to recognize patterns. The recognition of patterns is the cornerstone of both critical thinking and problem-solving.

How to Use Baby Sleep Music

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It may seem like the act of playing music to help your baby to fall asleep would be a simple task without many details about which to worry. This is not entirely accurate. There are a few tricks for playing music for your baby that will make the process more effective and better received by your baby.


When it comes to playing music, the music’s volume is a vital detail that should be worked out immediately. It stands to reason that louder music would be too much stimulus for your child. 

Although the music is meant to calm and soothe, turning soothing music to an incredibly loud volume can cause your baby’s brain to become more active as it processes both the music and the loudness, distracting the brain from settling into sleep mode.


The placement of the device that will play music for your child goes hand-in-hand with the volume.

The further away the music device is, the louder you will have to set the volume so that the baby can hear it. Try placing the device next to the crib or a few feet away from the crib. This will ensure that the music isn’t an overwhelming force that would arouse rather than soothe the baby’s senses.

Doing so also encourages your baby to sleep in the crib.


Psychologists and sleep experts suggest that you play music for your baby a few hours before bedtime but not all night long. As soon as your baby seems to be falling asleep, turn off the music.

This prevents the music from becoming a sleep crutch for your baby. This means that your baby will become so dependent on listening to music to fall asleep that they’ll need to listen to it anywhere they fall asleep, creating complicated situations.

The duration of the music should last a couple of hours leading up to bedtime. This will help get them into the right emotional and mental state for sleep without creating a dependency issue.

Playlist Versus Repetition

This detail is a personal preference that will differ from baby to baby. Your baby may respond more positively to a playlist of different bedtime songs. Alternatively, your baby may prefer to listen to the same song repeatedly. Experiment with both and see which one yields better results.

Choose The Best Music to Put Baby to Sleep

Babies need to learn everything, including how to fall asleep at a decent hour. Some newborns may nod off easily, but for others, baby sleep music may be just what they to quiet down for bed. 

Music can be an important part of sleep rituals and, as such, a pivotal part of sleep training, giving obvious and soothing cues signifying that bedtime has arrived. That said, baby sleep music is a tool that should be used specifically and carefully. 

The wrong kind of music used inappropriately can cause more problems than it solves. The key is to end the music before the kid falls asleep and make it as boring as possible.

Leaving babies to drift off to the wrong kind of music, or even any music, can work against parents. “We think that music is not so useful to help a baby sleep.

Music, if used every night, will become a ‘sleep onset association’ for the baby, and then the baby comes to depend on this music for the transition into sleep. 

Then, no matter where the baby sleeps – at their grandmother’s, at daycare, at a hotel and so on – they may need it there, too, so it has to be available all the time.”

Understanding Baby Sleep Music

  • Music can become a crutch – music can help a baby fall asleep, but if the child becomes dependent on it, they don’t have a lot of options when they are trying to fall asleep away from home.
  • Full sleepers are sound sleepers – it’s possible to train a baby to sleep under various conditions, with typical ambient noise and with very few sleep crutches. 
  • Sleep rituals can incorporate music – sleep rituals help signal to a baby that bedtime is here. Lowered lights and music can help ease this tradition.
  • Elevator music preferred – dynamic music arouses the senses by design. If parents incorporate music into the sleep ritual, soft lullabies, soothing classical music, or ‘spa music’ are better choices.
  • White noise blocks sound better – if the ambient noise is too distracting to a baby, parents can block it out with a sound machine. One that runs continuously is a better option than one that runs on a timer.

Inappropriate sleep onset associations are also known as sleep crutches or sleep props. They are stimuli or conditions that babies cannot replicate themselves, and so when they awake in the night, they lack the tools to help them relax and fall back asleep. 

Instead for teaching a baby to be a full sleeper, able to sleep under various conditions with typical ambient noise and with very few sleep crutches. 

That doesn’t mean the music has no place at bedtime. Bedtime rituals are still important, and they can incorporate music. Some parents use music and lowered lights, for example, to mark the transition from family after-dinner time to bedtime-routine time. However, the wrong choice of music can stimulate a baby to wakefulness, making bedtime harder instead of easier.

If the ambient noise is too much for a baby to cope with, parents may need to mask or block it. Music may seem like a good option, but a white noise machine may be a more useful fit.

If music is being used to block sound, we think a sound machine is probably a better choice since the sound provided by this machine is so consistent. A sound machine that clicks off after a set period may also trigger an awakening, and if the baby is dependent on it to fall asleep, it may become another sleep crutch that keeps them awake in the middle of the night. So if a white noise machine is necessary, it should run continuously.


Bedtime is a time to recover from daily stresses and can allow your baby to bond with you. Keep in mind that your baby is used to hearing your voice. Your voice is the most melodic, soothing, and comforting sound that it knows. Don’t hesitate to sing to your child to create your baby's sleep music.

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