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Why White Noise and Red Light Are Our Favorite Choices for Baby Sleep

June 13, 2023

As the parent of a newborn, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Although nothing can deny the joy of being a new parent, sleep can sometimes be challenging, to say the least. 

While there isn’t really much you can do to avoid waking up several times with your baby for the first four or five months after birth, experts agree that by about six months in age, your baby is ready for a full, uninterrupted 8-hours of sleep (and by extension, so are you). 

This sounds great in theory, but as many parents know, it’s easier said than done. 

At Hatch, we’re dedicated to making sure everyone in the family gets the high-quality sleep they need. We’re parent owned and operated, and all of our sleep products are designed by parents, so we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how best to get everyone in your family sleeping peacefully. Through years of research and development, our team of in-house sleep experts have the answer when it comes to the perfect sleep combination for your baby: white noise and red light. 

We’ve spent years perfecting our baby sleep toolkit, and although there are many combinations that can work to soothe newborns during those rocky first few months and years of bedtimes, the mix of good old white noise and red light is still our favorite, for a few reasons. 

White Noise for Baby Sleep: A Familiar Sound

White noise is probably the most famous of the many soothing noises available for better sleep in both babies and adults. 

At its most basic, white noise is every frequency the human ear can pick up, played at equal strength. It differs from music or speech because it doesn’t contain patterns or melodies that our brains can recognize and focus on. 

White noise is great for soothing babies and promoting baby sleep because it’s an excellent imitation of the noises they heard in the womb. For this reason, they’re used to white noise when they’re born. 

The sounds of a beating heart, rushing blood, and breathing combine in the womb to create a natural white noise that scientists recently found ranges in volume from 70-90 decibels, and your baby was listening to it non-stop until birth. 

Keeping up the routine of soothing white noise also provides your baby with a relaxing cocoon of sound, and helps mask outside noises that would otherwise disturb their rest, like sirens, dog barks, or loud engines. 

White noise is a great, easily accessible option, but our experts also love more specific, body-based sleep sounds like actual womb sounds or rhythmic heartbeats. If you’re already using a Hatch Rest or Rest+ 2nd gen you have white noise and heartbeat sounds at your fingertips.  If you’re looking for more baby-friendly sounds, check out “Soothing Womb Sounds” and “Calming Heartbeats” only on Hatch Sleep Membership. 

Getting the Most Out of White Noise for Baby Sleep

By providing your baby with a calming audio blanket of white noise or realistic womb sounds every night, you’re lulling them back into the security of the womb while simultaneously keeping out disruptive noises they aren’t used to. 

To maximize the soothing power of white noise for baby sleep, here are a couple of tips. First, make sure the volume is no louder than around 50 decibels, since studies have shown that higher volumes run the risk of damaging your baby’s delicate, developing hearing. 

Second, it’s important that the white noise is continuous, since it mimics the non-stop internal noises they became acclimated to in the womb. 

With  Rest and Rest+ 2nd gen you can set white noise to play uninterrupted all night long. 

Red Light for Babies: The Best Sleep Option

When it comes to night light colors, red light offers a few benefits other light colors don’t. Red light helps little ones drift off and fall back to sleep after middle of the night wakeups. Here’s how: 

  1. Red Light Helps Regulate Melatonin Production: Melatonin is a naturally occurring chemical that helps babies (and everyone else) prepare for sleep. Some colors of light – especially blue light like the kind emitted by phone and TV screens – suppress the production of melatonin, making it harder to sleep. Red light, on the other hand, does not hinder melatonin production and can help block out other light frequencies, helping to regulate the level of melatonin your baby’s brain produces. As melatonin levels increase, our bodies naturally start to feel drowsier and more ready for sleep. This is especially important for infants because it’s a key way that little ones begin to develop their circadian rhythms, so keep a red night light in mind as your baby begins to develop their own sleep schedule. 
  2. Red Light Helps Eyes Adjust to the Dark: It’s just a fact of life that babies will need to wake up during the night. Late night feedings, diaper changes, and their natural sleep cycle mean that they’ll have to wake up in the dark on some, if not most, nights. Red light allows us to see better in low-light conditions than other light wavelengths, so you can keep the lights low during midnight changing or feeding sessions. These low-light conditions make it easier for your baby to fall back asleep, and are less intrusive since they won’t trigger the eye’s pupil to dilate. These low light conditions will also make it easier for you to fall back asleep, making it a win-win!
  3. Red Light Helps Fight Fear of the Dark: Waking up in the dark is often scary for little ones, which is the reason night lights feature so prominently in children’s bedrooms. A red night light, like the one on Rest, will help keep them reassured that they aren’t in a totally dark environment, keeping those nighttime monsters at bay. Even if they do wake up, red light will keep their melatonin levels regulated and their pupils dilated, making it easier for them to fall back asleep. 

Red light and white noise both have unique benefits when it comes to helping babies sleep. Rest is designed to combine these two elements, so you can set the mood for cozy sleep for your baby. 

If you’re looking for even more baby sleep tips, check out our list of tried and true tips, or learn about the many other ways Rest can help you and your baby get your best sleep.