Are you struggling to fall asleep because of the white noise surrounding your bedroom or are you concern that sleeping with white noise can be harmful to your health. First we need to discover what white noise is before we can figure out if it is really harmful to your health especially when sleeping.
What Is White Noise?
You’ve probably seen the snow screen on your old television which is accompanied with static sound when the TV has no signal. That is the sound of thousands of frequencies playing over and over in your ear.
When you hear that annoying sound especially at a loud noise level, you often want to turn it off as soon as possible. But did you know that white noise (when hearing it at a comfortable sound level) may actually help you sleep?
To put it in simple terms, white noise is an ongoing sound which includes every frequency that the human ear can hear, both high and low. As a result, it is beneficial for blocking out or masking particular sounds that can be disturbing.
This may sound surprising but most people that suffer from sleep disorders like: insomnia, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome make use of a white noise machine to induce sleep.
Is Sleeping with White Noise Harmful to Babies?
According to scientist there are certain benefits which can be drawn from white noise. New born babies may be able to fall asleep faster with white noise in the background.
White noise can block out household noise such as elder siblings. Some white noise machines have a heartbeat setting which mimic the mother’s heartbeat which may be comforting for infants.
White Noise May Aid Sleep
The most noticeable advantage of white noise for infants is the fact that it can help them fall asleep. If you are aware that your baby tends to fall asleep at noisy times outside of regular nap time or bedtime, they might respond positively to white noise.
Your baby might be use to being surrounded by noise, so a completely noiseless environment could have a positive effect when it comes time to sleep.
Potential Developmental Problems
Despite all the benefits, white noise machines doesn’t always offer risk-free peace and quiet.
In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) tested 14 white noise machines designed for new born babies. In this study they’ve found that all of them exceeded recommended noise limits, which was set at 50 decibels.
In addition to increased hearing difficulties, the study concluded that using white noise increased the risk of problems with language and speech development.
Based on the findings of the AAP, pediatricians suggest that any white noise machines should be positioned at least 7 feet away (200 cm) from your baby’s cradle. There for, you should also keep the volume of the unit below the maximum volume setting.
The Cons of White Noise for Babies
Babies Might Become Reliant on White Noise
Babies who are dependent on a white noise machine might sleep better during night or naps, but only if the white noise is always available. This could be troublesome if your baby is getting ready to take a nap and the machine is not working or not with them.
Examples include holidays, a night at grandparent’s house, or even day care. Such a scenario could become very disruptive for everyone involved.
Here are some of the key benefits individuals may achieve from hearing white noise:
Minimizing Risks of Anxiety
Approximately 18.1% of grownups suffer from a chronic anxiety disorder. Most people treat anxiety with medication, but there are long-term health repercussions of it. It is more plausible to treat anxiety with exercise, white noise and a strict diet. Dr. Ryan Howes, a psychotherapist, argue that white noise can be extremely valuable for treating anxiety and mental depression. He even uses white noise techniques in his practice to help patients feel more relaxed: “The white noise spewer also has a weird side-effect: these machines are particularly sold as sleep aids, and they work.
A warm, cozy, tedious little waiting room with the persistent “ssssshhhhhhh” of the machine spells nap time for numerous client-bringers, making for some uncomfortable “see you guys next week” moments. I’ve got no problem with waiting room napping, naps are healthy. If you are a patient in therapy, look for the white noise machine the next time you’re in the foyer and be grateful for the sanctity of your session. Unless you’re a big fan of horror movies, keep it off the heartbeat mode.”
Look Into the Benefits of a White Noise Machine or Indoor Fountain
Research has shown that sleeping with white noise can be very beneficial in help dealing with sleep disorders and the issues they create around your health. Using a white noise machine or even an indoor fountain to create low white noise levels can help you sleep more relaxed and improve your long-term cognitive health. To answer your question, is Sleeping with White Noise Harmful? Depending on what you want to achieve, your state of mind and sleeping patterns sleeping with white noise can be beneficial, but one shouldn’t be dependent on a white noise machine.