Can you teach baby to sleep through noise?

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Baby Sleep With NoiseA friend of mine just had a baby and she gave me the idea for this article because her family was urging her to “get the baby used to sleeping with noise”. If I had a dime every time someone told me part of my son’s sleep problems were because he needed to get used to sleeping with noise…well I’d probably only have $5, but still, it was really frustrating to hear. Let me be honest. I have NO SCIENTIFIC proof of what I’m about to say. YOU CAN’T GET A BABY TO GET USED TO NOISE AND SLEEP THROUGH IT. Okay, you might be able to help them not wake up with every little noise, but overall, your baby has a certain threshold where certain things will wake him up. Period.

Update 8/2011: There has now been a study indicating there may be scientific proof after all that some people are hard-wired to wake more easily with sound while others sleep right through it. Read more here.

When your baby is a newborn, he will spend most of his time in a deep sleep and likely sleep through almost ANYTHING! In deep sleep, it takes a lot to wake us up (adults included). Around 6 weeks old, he will become more social and start returning your smiles. This might be around the time the dog barking or that noise outside starts becoming interesting and he may not be able to sleep through as much, but usually he will still be in a deep sleep a lot of the time. By 4 months old, the way he sleeps changes a lot in when he goes into deep sleep and may be even more affected by noise.

Babies will vary as to how much noises interest them or wake them up and how quickly they can fall back to sleep if they do hear a noise. I can tell you that both my boys could not sleep through just anything and were not portable babies (I could not bank on them falling asleep on the go). But, my second son could fall back to sleep MUCH easier than my first. You might think I didn’t make enough noise with them, but let me assure you, my first son was in a very noisy daycare for 8+ months (before we got a nanny and kept him home, partially due to his sleep issues) and he NEVER “got used” to noise! I don’t care how many people tell me that I didn’t do something, he simply has always been worried he will miss something fun if he has to sleep and he all but went on a nap strike at daycare. Even as a 3 year old, at bedtime, he would claim he was not tired, say he didn’t want to go to sleep and then fall asleep 4 minutes later (I am not exaggerating!). He was no different as a baby and would fight sleep tooth and nail. :) So, with both boys we made sure we put the barking dogs away and gave them a quiet place to sleep, in the nursery and in their crib. We later bought White Noise Machines, to block out some of the household noises and encourage longer naps and better night sleep. My other friend’s baby was able to sleep through a lot more noise and on-the-go compared to my boys. It’s just luck of the draw.

So, next time someone tells you to get baby used to sleeping with noise, no, don’t walk on your tip toes, but please give your baby a quiet place to sleep if he needs it. I can tell you one thing, I certainly can’t sleep with my dogs barking outside my door or the radio blaring. I don’t expect my babies to, either.

Do you think a baby can learn to sleep through noise?

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40 Responses to Can you teach baby to sleep through noise?

  1. Jana Aitken says:

    When my son had colic we used alot of noise to calm him down. He is much like your oldest in that if he hears a noise he will wake up to see what is going on now that he is 2. I know this because he sleeps much less at daycare than at home. If another kid cries or something he wakes up. Some kids do not. At home we play white noise and have the room nice and dark. With this setting he can take a 3 hour nap. He is lucky to get a 2 hour nap at daycare.

    Our house is small so we use white noise to help drown out noise outside his room and this seems to work. He rarely sleeps well in the care and never in the stroller-just too much to see.

  2. Rose says:

    Thank you! Getting that piece of advice drives me nuts! With my first people would act like that was the reason she was such a poor sleeper. It couldn’t have anything to do with highly sensitive food allergies that made her sick the first 1.5 years of her life!

    I think the advice can actually back fire. It can create a child that is overtired and only sleeps when they collapse. Then you end up depending on sleep aids that they get hooked on… and you have an entirely new sleep mess to work out!

    Roses last blog post..Did My Prenatal Vitamins Cause My Daughter’s Allergies?

  3. Claire says:

    Thank you thank you thank you! Amen! I get so tired of hearing that from my in-laws and parents (is it an older generation thing? Is that one of those parenting dementia symptoms that folks get who haven’t raised kids in a long time? Like, “I don’t know why your baby isn’t sleeping thru the night yet, my kids were sleeping thu the night by 6 weeks old”)

    I didn’t try to raise my kids as sensitive sleepers! I started out by letting the house be at its normal noise level during naps, leaving their bedroom doors open, etc. But as soon the baby obviously wakes up due to noise, I’m done with that theory. Both of my kids are extremely interested in the world and everything that goes on in it, and don’t want to miss A THING. Now both kids sleep in hermetically sealed environments, white noise blaring, black out curtains, etc. Everybody thinks I’m crazy and annoyed with my “shushing” while they’re sleeping, but it’s the only thing that works!

  4. Nicole says:

    @Rose Thank YOU for the idea for the article! So true about the sleep aids.

    @Claire LOL! I know. Until people have to be the one who has an overtired child because you wanted them to “get used to noise”, they will think their theory works, when in reality they probably just have an “easier” sleeper. We can only dream. And, you’re right, I forgot about the room-darkening blinds we also added to my son’s room! I should add that to my nap article. Thanks for the comment!

    Nicoles last blog post..ADHD and Sleep

  5. Shannah says:

    Oh, I STILL get this about my Munchkin. My family is convinced the reason that he will only sleep in a dark room with white noise is because I just never got him to used to sleeping with noise. However, the REASON he sleeps in a dark room with white noise is because from the time he was an infant he just could not sleep through even the slightest noise. I remember one time my MIL was visiting and he fell asleep in his swing in the living room. She picked up a carrot and took a bite and he instantly jumped awake at the sound of her biting a carrot. When he was only a few months old, all it took was stepping on a squeaky board in his bedroom to wake him up at night. It got to where we would hop around the bedroom missing all the squeaky boards to check on him.

    And it’s also interesting that I have been that way for as long as I can remember. Here I am thirty (mumble mumble) years old and I have yet to “get used to noise”. In fact, I had severe insomnia after Munchkin was born and actually spent a lot of time seeing sleep specialists. I asked my physician specifically if there was a way to “get used to noise” as a sleeper. He said that there is not.

    Apparently recent studies have shown that people who are light sleepers have much more active sleeping brain patterns than those that are heavy sleepers. Our brains just don’t shut down all the way. He said, ” We have found that some people merely skim the surface while others dive deep into sleep”. So it sounds to me like it’s in a our brain chemistry and no amount of slamming doors when they are little is going to change that.

    Shannahs last blog post..FAVORITES Alphabet Flashcards (double-sided)

  6. Nicole says:

    @Shannah YES! I have read that too about the active sleeping brain patterns and I absolutely believe it. When I go to bed after working late, I tend to sleep in a light sleep mode where I’m not even sure I even slept. It drove me crazy when people told me to get my son to get used to sleeping through noise! I can’t believe you still get it at your son’s age! :D

  7. Corinne says:

    My paed said that my 1yr old son (who is a spirited, intense, persistant child) should learn to sleep with noise when I asked and it was so so so discouraging to hear that.

    The discussion with her came up because I was on the verge of purchasing ear muffs to help him sleep in noisy environment(s). We live on the 2nd level and close to miltary bases – it’s not unusual for me to spend 1 hour putting him to sleep and have him awake within 30 mins because of any of the following:
    (i) some maintainence vehicle parked downstairs and generating a whole lot of noise
    (ii) live firing exercises, courtesy of the army
    (iii) fighter planes taking off and then flying overhead incessantly – can last from 2 mins to 15mins and then repeating at regular intervals.

    If we’re out at shopping malls, which are invaribly noisy, getting him to sleep and to stay asleep is nearly mission impossible.

    I’m so glad to know that I’m not alone in this. I have not purchased the ear muffs because of what she said and now am wondering if I should do so? Nicole, any advice?

  8. Nicole says:

    @Corinne As I said in my article, I think for some babies it’s simply impossible to “teach” a baby to sleep through noise. Many of us are just naturally lighter sleepers and there’s not much you can do about it. I’m not sure if the ear muffs will work, but it might be worth a shot with how loud it is on base. Good luck!

  9. Kommon Cents says:

    Wow, I kept scrolling, waiting to see a post by someone with some sense, yet all I encountered was more and more people in concurrence with this article. I mean each and every one of you sounds the exact same. The conclusion I have drawn from this: certain people here have simply found solace in the knowledge that there are similar people out there who are tired of hearing from others (others meaning the majority of the world who are aware that children can be conditioned to not be light sleepers) about their children who now cannot sleep through a whisper. When I was a baby, my mother would always make sure everything was completely quiet while I was sleeping. As a result, I cannot sleep through hardly ANYTHING. College was a nightmare (I have been wearing ear plugs ever since), and I have to sleep with a white noise machine on every night. I could go on with more things that have resulted from this quiet sleep; however , needless to say, I made sure that when my son was born that he would not wind up with the same fate. I kept the radio on while he would sleep, and what do you know, now at the age of 19 and at college himself, he does not have any of the same problems I still have to this day. As a baby he even slept through an earthquake as well as a car bomb explosion (while we were in Peru). Obviously those are not everyday occurrences where we live (Atlanta suburbs), but I am glad he does not have to put up with what I do as a result of “quiet sleep.” While I’m sure there are some legitimate problems that some parents will run into every now and again concerning sleeping and noise levels, it is definitely possible to condition small children to not have this problem. All you have to do is try it. I hope I did not offend any of the sEnSiTiVe readers out there, I was just merely appalled at the lack of the other side of the argument, and thus I figured I would contribute.

  10. Nicole says:

    @KommonCents Thank you for chiming in! It is my belief that not all babies can be “conditioned” to sleep through every little noise. Just as you made sure to make lots of noise when your baby slept, mine was around LOTS of noise for 8+ months and could NOT sleep. The dogs woke him up. Even just walking in his room, sometimes. I understand that you believe you taught your son to sleep through even a bomb exploding, but did you ever stop to think that he is just that way and different than you? I do agree you shouldn’t make the house noise-free such that you won’t even walk around the house for fear of the floor squeaking, but I don’t think we should expect babies to sleep through inordinate amounts of noise if they are simply “lighter sleepers” either. That’s all this article was about, but I do understand you disagree with it and that’s okay. You might change your mind if you have more children who aren’t as adaptable as your son. Thanks again for commenting!

  11. Shannah says:

    Actually, Kommon Cents, I’m not a very “sEnSiTiVe” reader, but I’ll admit it’s a bit hard not to be offended by your response. Telling people they have no sense and “all you have to do is try” and that the “majority of the world” knows their experience to be false is not helpful at all and is actually insulting.

    I’m very sorry for your sleep issues. It’s apparently very frustrating for you, and I’m very glad your son doesn’t have those issues. However, the fact that many of us have found comfort in knowing there are others out there with light sleepers does not mean we have no sense. It means our experience has been different than yours.

    I too have been a light sleeper all of my life. My brother, on the other hand, could sleep through a nuclear holocaust…and we were raised under the same roof. My mother’s middle sister sleeps light as a feather while my mom and her oldest sister sleep like rocks. They too were all raised under the same roof, even sleeping in the same bedroom. Even after living in NYC for 5 years with my bedroom window facing a busy street corner, I never learned to sleep through the city noise. No amount of exposure to noise or conditioning in all my 36 years has improved my sleep. And by the sound of your post, I would say you have had the same experience.

    Indeed, I did make efforts early on to desensitize my son to noise for the same reason you made the effort with your son. I took the “majority of the world’s” advice and made sure to make noise while he was sleeping. In the beginning, I left his bedroom door open while we watched TV and talked and cooked in the kitchen outside his room. However, no amount of us making noise did anything but keep him awake and frustrate us all. Even stepping on a squeaky floor board in the hall made him jump awake. He never slept soundly until we shut the door and quieted his room. Once we did that, he slept like a dream and was a different child altogether.

    So while your experience was that your child had no problems with noise, there are those of us who have had a very different experience. And it wasn’t that we didn’t try. It’s that our children are likely wired different than yours, and that my brother is wired different than I am, and my mom’s middle sister is wired different than her other two sisters.

    Because of my experience with my son and myself and my family, I tend to agree with the research given to me by my neurologist–that people who are light sleepers have more active sleeping brain-wave patterns, and that they can not be changed with exposure to noise.

  12. sunnyday says:

    I am in total agreement. My son has never slept through noise and it’s very difficult to get him to sleep around a lot of people, like if we’re out somewhere. It’s very frustrating to be judged by other people as if we did something wrong. I’ve been told that my son is training me and basically that we screwed up b/c he doesn’t sleep through a lot. I love how everyone thinks they are the expert on your baby. I never realized until I had a baby how many people have opinions they like to push on you, and they are for sure that they are right and you are wrong. Just because someone has an experience with their baby doesn’t mean that another person will have the same experience. Babies are all unique. I wonder if SOME of the babies described here could be high-needs babies, although I’m not saying they all are. I recommend reading Dr. Sears information online about “high-needs” babies. They are notorius for not sleeping well. I believe my son fits into this category and I’ve found it very helpful to learn as much as I can about how he “thinks” and acts so as to best know how to handle certain situations, such as light sleeping. Of course, medical reasons for not sleeping well should first be ruled out. It’s very encouraging to know I’m not alone in this issue!! They just need a quiet environment to sleep and that shouldn’t be something they’re deprived just so they can fit into a preconceived idea of what they “should” be like, or what someone else’s baby was like.

  13. Katie says:

    This article has been very helpful to me, My daughter is 14 months old, and you cant even open her door to check on her without her waking up. When she was younger (7 or 8mo) she slept in the room with us, her bed next to ours and we could talk and laugh and watch movies and she would be sleeping like a rock, but once i moved her to her own room with no tv and no light on, she has been sleeping light ever since, it could just be a coincedence in the time i moved her she might have been at the age of a sleep change. I just have fear because i am expecting baby #2 and in fear that when this baby wakes up as a newborn every 2 hours in the night, She will do the same. im not sure how to get her used to atleast a little noise so i wont have 2 babies up all night..

  14. sunnyday says:

    to Katie: it sounds like your baby got used to having the noise around her and now she’s not used to the quiet. Maybe you can leave a radio on in her room or a fan? We use a radio with nature sounds. Just a thought. Or if she likes the light, you could leave a small lamp or nightlight on. worth a try. I hope it works out for you, I only have one baby right now and it’s hard enough with the sleep issues, I can’t imagine having two up at the same time. We’re up every 2 hours!

  15. Gobliness says:

    I am so glad there are others!! I had my baby sleeping In the lounge for the first 10-12 weeks of her life and she slept beautifully…then things changed. A creaky board, a clanged plate, an u usually loud cough and she was awake. Today she is an amazing sleeper, if she is in either continuous quiet OR continuous humming noise. Any out of the blue loud noise will wake her up but I can have her sleep through a loud humming wedding because all noise meshed. At home all sleeping areas are down one vend of the house while living areas are at the other so she sleeps in relative quiet. Door shuts loudly or the dog barks too long and loud and she is awake. Tried keeping the tv and radio on but any sudden noises like sirens or shouts from shows wake her up.

    All babies are different, and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t tried to get their babies used to noise but I know plenty who it just did not work for and equally as many for whom it did. I wish people would remember that babies are just people. Adults all sleep differently, why on earth would it be different for a baby??

  16. Gobliness says:

    I would just like to add that my bub spent her first three weeks in a very noisy special care nursery which I tried to emulate when we brought her home…she just doesn’t like sudden loud noises, her and one other bay would wake up with the door buzzer and the nurses predicted a startled but said to try anyway…they were right, she startled easily no matter what I did.

    Also, I am one of 6 children myself, 3 of use sleep through anything, the other 3 are light light sleepers. I am the oldest and a very light sleeper which mum thought was because the house was quieter with just me. That was until she had her last child who is as light if not lighter sleeper than I. He had no choice but to sleep in a noisy house full of inconsiderate siblings. As a result he

  17. Gobliness says:

    Continued from last post (sorry)… As a result he barely slept and was a very nervy miserable baby and child, he needed quiet when there never ever was any. So it is clearly not a matter of not trying, it is dependent on the baby a lot of the time, not just their environment.

  18. sunnyday says:

    @Gobliness: Thanks for that post! That’s a good way of looking at it, babies are people and people (adults) all sleep differently so why wouldn’t babies sleep differently. People can be so quick to judge parents, as if they’re doing something wrong. LIke you said, more than likely, it’s just the baby, not the environment or whether they’re youngest or oldest, or the parents.

  19. DaddyOfA1yearOld says:

    I have a 1 year old boy who is a marginally lighter sleeper than my daughter was (who is now 4 1/2). When she was first born, we lived in a small house and her room was immediately adjacent to the living room. We were told by my mom that we should never be ‘quiet’ while she napped or slept to avoid getting her used to silence, which (in her opinion) would make it much easier for her to be waken up by house noises. As such, we made it a point to enjoy action movies on our surround sound at +25 nearly every night for the first couple of months and we never had a problem with her waking up to sudden but relatively quiet noises, like doors or talking on the phone in the next room.

    With our son, his room is in the quietest place in our (new) house, and I have noticed that he consistently wakes up with the same type of low level house noise that never wakes my daughter up. For instance, their rooms are above the garage, and opening the door in the morning usually wakes him up but not her.

    I am making a baby noise CD today that I’m interjecting low-level sudden noises throughout with a relatively steady but constantly changing white noise, so he will hopefully get adjusted to sleeping through a variety of different types of noise — but not so much *constant* noise as much as periodic, low-level, sudden noises. I have never heard someone say “my kid wakes up every time that there’s a low-level, constant white noise in my house”. Reading the above comments it’s almost always “my kid wakes up when there’s this noise or another”.

    I’ll repost my findings in a week or two to see if this helps!

  20. Jessica says:

    Well I have been teaching my daughter to sleep through noise with success. My son (age 5) will sleep through anything, which I feel is as a result of being taken out in public since he was little- I taught him to fall asleep in restaurants, church, people’s houses etc. My daughter (both my children are adopted) came to us at 1y and was unable to sleep through any noise at all. I couldn’t even check on her at night, just opening the door would wake her up completely. She couldn’t fall asleep anywhere except a dark, silent room. If you walked past too noisily she would wake up. Now, 15 months down the line, she is able to sleep with an open door and the passage light shining into her room. She is still a light sleeper, and vigorous noise will startle her, but she has adjusted well. I began by opening her door and then just walking out again. Sometimes I’d go into her room, say hello and walk out. Sometimes I’d just hit the door as I walked past, enough to teach her to fall back asleep with ease and learn to habituate. Children are able to habituate to noise- if they can’t do this, there is something neurologically wrong. (Numerous clinical studies on fetal alcohol syndrome babies can substantiate that).

  21. Nicole says:

    @Jessica Interesting! Are you teaching her to sleep through noise, though, or simply conditioning her to go right back to sleep if she wakes? To me, that’s a difference. Also, as children get older, their sleep deepens and it’s harder to wake them. Think of the child who falls asleep in the car and you can pretty much pick him up, move him all around, and put him to bed without waking. My son could not sleep with his door open as a baby, but does so now. I definitely agree you can condition babies to go right back to sleep if a little noise wakes them (similar to how I have to go right back to sleep if my husband’s snoring wakes me), but I don’t know that you can teach them not to wake up in the first place. What studies are you referring to? Thanks for the comment and sharing your experience!

  22. Kathleen says:

    There is scientific proof on this! They did a study at I think Harvard or Stanford just a few months ago. Those who are light sleepers release fewer “rods” in the brain when they sleep, and those who are heavy release more. Apparently these rods help block noise from being received in the brain. You can google it if you want more details, I may not have described it perfectly. They have no idea why, but it’s a physical difference and trying to train your children or yourself to tolerate more noise is pointless.

  23. Nicole says:

    @Kathleen Thank you for letting me know! I found the link here: http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/641946.html I’ll also update the article above. Very interesting!

  24. Erica says:

    Thanks for posting this. I too am a parent who has continually been told that I should have “conditioned” my daughter to sleep with noise. I still don’t know who is right, but it is nice to know that I’m not the only one who is annoyed from hearing this. I’m a very light sleeper, and part of me just thinks that my daughter takes after me. However, I will admit that I have utilized white noise and blackout curtains to assist her with sleeping. It’s kind of a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” scenario, since she had trouble sleeping through noise when she was an infant, and that is why I started with all that stuff in the first place. She had colic, and sleep time was sacred. I wasn’t willing to mess around. Also, I might mention that she was NEVER one to fall asleep in public, and when she fell asleep in the car, she awoke instantly when the car was shut off. We are dealing with issues now because I have put her into a toddler “school” at my work where she has a mandatory nap that just isn’t working due to her sleep issues. Hence my interest in this blog.

  25. Joy says:

    Despite all my efforts to provide a calm and quiet
    environment for my son to sleep in we have
    construction next door. It’s either sleep or go crazy.
    Bless my little guy. The first few days (maybe even
    week) he jumped/startled at all the new sounds.
    He IS however able to sleep through the noise now.
    I mean pounding, beeping, drilling, scraping,
    screeching, humming and oh yes a continual stream
    of cinderblocks, radiators, scrap metal being dumped
    into dumpsters. Some days and moments are quieter
    than others and when the noise picks back up he
    remains asleep. He is currently 5 months and we
    started working on our naps a month ago. I stuck with
    it, though cannot wait until this construction is over!

  26. Joy says:

    A couple additional notes: He does not do well with people talking. This he finds too distracting. And of course new noises make him startle though be can get back to sleep on his own. He has had loads of practice!

  27. Nicole says:

    @Joy Very interesting! Thank you for sharing and I hope the construction is over, soon. :)

  28. E says:

    This will be a fairly big issue with me when I do have kids cause I don’t want to have to be this (you got to be quit) for the baby to sleep parent. Walk on eggshells always be super quiet for the baby. Screw that, they need to learn to sleep in noise and especially if were out and about it’s not on the damn babies time.

    I refuse to let the baby dictate my life schedule when were out and about. If were at some party, a friends house etc it’s when us parents are ready to go not when the kids are (tired). The kids/babies aren’t going to ruin the parents life. If kids are tired (just like when I was a kid) you went to sleep on that persons couch or maybe the bed where the guests coats are. To many parents these days freak out way too much about oh the babies tired we need to RUSH home just to put them down. Way too many parents are like RUSH RUSH home just to put the baby down. SCREW that!! It’s ok to let your babies cry if it’s just like a tired cry cause they will cry and eventually become so tired they will just fall asleep blah blah blah.

  29. Nicole says:

    @E Haha! I knew exactly how I’d raise my kids before I had them, too, but it goes really differently than you think. :) If you’re out and about and your baby is cranky, it’s not much fun anyway, so they may dictate your schedule more than you think. But, if your baby doesn’t get cranky, then maybe they won’t! You just won’t know until you get to know your baby and what works for you, the baby, and your family. It’s a lot different having an 8 year old sleep on a couch than an 18-month old, too. The age of the child makes a huge difference. Good luck!!

  30. Wow, what a blog! I mean, you just have so much guts to go ahead and tell it like it is. Youre what blogging needs, an open minded superhero who isnt afraid to tell it like it is. This is definitely something people need to be up on. Good luck in the future, man

  31. Brooke says:

    @E-

    Geez E, I’d hate to be your child. Maybe you should read up some info by one of the best pediatricians out there, Dr. Sears.

  32. Debbye says:

    @ Perawatan- Thank you for your kind words! We hope you keep reading!

    @ Brooke- Dr. Sears is a great resource for families. Thanks for sharing!

  33. JessDK says:

    @E,

    Parenting is a great lesson in selfless-ness. You don’t have to have children if you don’t want to. Because they will change your life forever! And for the better. I used to believe that kids should not affect my adult fun. BUT, then I grew up. And my son came along. And he’s changed EVERYTHING! And I’m glad to have him in my life. Sometimes it’s hard to give up some things I’ve come to enjoy, but having my son healthy and happy is so worth the small sacrifices. I love him. As a parent, you love your kids….

  34. Debbye says:

    Hi Jess-
    Thank you for sharing! That is So true! :)

  35. Suzan says:

    Thank uuuuu! Reading this made me reliefed and assured me am on the right track. I heard that comment million times. It made me think i do sth wrong in the way i deal with my baby’s sleep habits. I thought if i couldnt sleepwith the doors slapping or people talking loudly then my baby would not too. When i tried to put him in such environment all i got was an over tiered baby. White noise and a quite room is just perfect for him.

  36. Bri says:

    Wow. This article and the comments were enlightening. I have a 9 month old and her sound machine just stopped working. It is a big decision for us whether we want to try to let her sleep without it. She seems to be a light sleeper in that some mild noises wake her even with the sound machine. However, the first night with no machine has gone well. Decisions, decisions.

    By the way, I love the person who wrote in about what they will do when they have kids. Why would they even be reading this??! Funny.

  37. Victoria Roe says:

    Thank the Lord for this advice! All my 3 kids have been light sleepers and just like Nicole Johnson I tend not to even enter my 6 month old son’s room before going to bed for fear of waking him with a creaky floorboard etc!!However, I do have a relaxing cd on repeat for the whole time he sleeps just to drown out any sudden background noises of people outside or dogs barking etc.So take note in-laws and parents that it is not just me being paranoid – my kids are light sleepers just like me and as Nicole says I can’t sleep through dogs barking etc so neither should my kids!!

  38. Debbye says:

    @Suzan- Thank you for writing! Like mother like baby in many light sleeper cases! :)

    @Bri- Good point about the previous comment! I hope whatever you chose to do about the white noise worked out well! Please share if you have a chance!

    @Victoria Roe- SO true! Our kids had no chance of being solid sleepers as my husband and I are such light sleepers! We often use white noise in our room at night too! Thanks for writing!

  39. Lucine Drake says:

    Thanks for your blog. I am very interested in this topic as I’ve found it raised a couple of times just in the past week- first my accountant advises me how proud he is that he raised his twin boys napping with plenty of noise, then a new mother who mentioned she wanted to “train” her newborn to get used to sleeping in noisy situations. So I looked for the research. What I’ve found, as others have, is that there isn’t much, so we have to extrapolate based on the research we do have. We know that there is light sleep and deep sleep, that we are more easily awakened during light, and less so from deep. We know that in research-based situations, those who are submitted to noise and other disruptions will go more quickly into deep sleep, which is a sign of sleep deprivation. We also have preliminary findings that there are individual differences in noise tolerance during sleep. We also know that the ration of light v. deep is different based on the age of the child. Newborns are terribly difficult to keep alert–just a qualitative difference, no training required here :) What I extrapolate from all this is that submitting a child to noise with the expectation that it will train them to sleep through it might result in what appears a child that successfully sleeps through the noise….what is actually happening is that the child is going more quickly into deep sleep due to sleep deprivation. So now the question is: why are you trying to train your child to sleep through loud noise? Is it for your convenience, or is the quality of your child’s sleep more important to you? Personally (and the research shows) that quality sleep is critical for physical and mental development and wellbeing. Say no to “noise training.”

  40. Debbye says:

    Hi Lucine,
    Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts on the matter! We’ve all got to do what is right for our baby, our family, and what works for one will not work for another! You are certainly right about some of us needing to say no to “noise training!” And we should follow our best parental instincts too!
    Thanks again!