Can You Teach Baby to Sleep Through Noise?

Baby Sleep With NoiseA friend of mine just had a baby and she gave me the idea for this article. 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! Here’s what I’ve learned in my years of experience helping families with their sleep…


Okay, you might be able to help them not wake up with every little noise, but overall, your baby has a certain hard-wired threshold where certain things will wake him up. Period.

When your baby is a newborn, he will spend most of his time in a deep sleep and may even 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 that noises start becoming interesting. 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 regarding when he goes into a deep sleep and he may be even more affected by noise.

Babies will vary as to how many noises interest them or wake them up and how quickly they can fall back to sleep if they do hear a noise.

Both my boys could not sleep through much noise at all and were not portable babies. (I could not count 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, I did! My first son was in a very noisy daycare for 8+ months. (This was before we got a nanny and kept him home, partially due to his sleep issues). He NEVER “got used” to noise! 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 many times.

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. 🙂

With both of my boys, we made sure we put the barking dogs away and gave them a quiet place to sleep. The nursery was calm and quiet. We later bought White Noise Machines, to block out some of the household noises and encourage longer naps and better night sleep. Another friend’s baby was able to sleep through a lot more noise and on-the-go compared to my boys. It’s often just luck of the draw!

So, the next time someone tells you to get baby used to sleeping with noise, don’t walk on your tiptoes! But please do try some white noise, and give your baby a quiet place to sleep if he needs it. I can tell you one thing, I certainly can’t sleep with 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?

The Baby Sleep Site® is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other product affiliate programs. If you click on a product link and make a purchase, The Baby Sleep Site® may (but not always) receive a small commission from the company selling the product, but will not affect your purchase price. We only recommend products that we believe are quality products and are good for our readers.

Holistic Sleep Solutions from The Baby Sleep Site®

e-Book bundles

Do-It-Yourself: Just getting started with your research but you want to stop Googling? Choose from any of our e-Book bundles for practical advice you can put to use TODAY!  

Become a VIP Member

Do-It-Mostly-Yourself: Would you like to continue learning with the option of chatting with a sleep consultant? We have a perfect solution! Become a VIP Member for access to all of our premium content, “ask the author,” audio courses, live weekly chat, and more!

Get a Personalized Sleep Plan

Work With a Sleep Expert: Tap into over a decade of experience with thousands of families before you! Get a Personalized Sleep Plan® just for your unique situation, get guidance and answers to all your “what if?” questions while you work through your plan, and benefit from expert support along the way. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard “I wish I had done this sooner!” Not sure? Read these stories from well-rested parents.

Don’t lose another wink of sleep — GET STARTED TODAY with our gentler, kinder approach to healthy sleep!

Since starting in 2008, we’ve gained over 10,000 comments on our blog!

At this time, we’ve turned the comment sections off. We would, of course, love to hear from you! For help with your specific sleep problems, please learn more about our DIY resources or our sleep consultation services. Or, consider emailing us for a fast and helpful response!

40 thoughts on “Can You Teach Baby to Sleep Through Noise?”

  1. 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!

  2. 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.”

  3. @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!

Comments are closed.

FREE Guide: Five Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night

Join over 450,000 parents around the world & sign up today to receive the guide and our Baby Sleep Newsletter absolutely FREE!