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Adverse Effects of Children Falling Asleep to Music

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
Adverse Effects of Children Falling Asleep to Music
A close-up of a sleeping baby's ear. Photo Credit Brian McEntire/iStock/Getty Images

It may sound harmless -- letting your child drift off to dreamland on the wings of music -- but constantly relying on certain sounds to incite sleepiness could have a few drawbacks. While you should choose a bedtime routine that works best for your family, make sure you understand any adverse effects that could come from allowing your child to fall asleep to music each night.

Old Habits Sleep Hard

Music is often used as a way to soothe children before bedtime, and if it works for your child, you'll probably enlist the help of songs every night. But doing so could create a need to listen to music to get to sleep, warns the Australian Raising Children Network. It may not seem like a big deal when you're at home and have access to devices and songs, but if your child is away from home -- say, a trip to Grandma's -- he may not be able to sleep without his habitual routine of listening to music first.

Musical Headbanging

When you hear "headbanging" and "music" in the same sentence, you might remember that metal concert you went to in college. But when it comes to babies and kids, headbanging is the habit some children have of banging their heads against solid objects. If you have a child who bangs his head, you may notice it's more prevalent when falling asleep or when listening to music, notes the University of Michigan Health System. That means headbanging could be exacerbated when your little one listens to music to fall asleep.

Slumber Tardy

Sure, that classical song sounds soothing now, but not all music is soothing enough to help your child fall asleep and stay asleep. Issues with volume control and devices could actually cause an adverse reaction -- disrupted sleep. The University of Missouri Extension warns that the light and sounds from musical devices -- think iPods and stereos -- could actually keep your child awake, while fluctuations in volume may also cause a problem. If your child shares a room, you may also find that one child is amenable to music at bedtime, while it disrupts or delays another child's sleep.

Alternative Music

If you've decided that music isn't right for your child's sleep routine, consider using a white noise machine instead. It essentially drowns out household sounds and provides a quiet sleep environment for your child without any of the pitfalls. A white noise machine can be any device that makes a constant, quiet sound, such as a fan, a stereo set to static or even an app on your smartphone.

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