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Facts on How Music Affects Babies & Toddlers While They Are Sleeping

by Debra Pachucki, studioD

Music benefits child development in a variety of ways. Playing soft, relaxing music at bedtime promotes comfort, quality sleep and brain development, and can even promote learning as your little one soundly snoozes away. Put classical music on at a low volume overnight or during naps to provide your youngster with all the benefits music has to offer your sleeping baby.

Sleep Like a Baby

Playing soft background music before bed or during naps improves sleep duration and quality, according to a 2004 sleep study published in the "Journal of Music Therapy." Relaxing music calms the nervous system, which results in slower breathing and heart rate -- both of which can help induce sleep.

Boost Brain Development

The National Association for the Education of Young Children advocates music experiences in early childhood because music supports the formation and development of important brain connections that children establish in the first three years of life. Northwestern University notes that sound makes its way into a person's mind, even in his deepest sleep. This kind of passive listening music experience promotes memory, language learning, pattern recognition and sequencing in young babies and toddlers.

Learning from Mozart

A famous 2003 study conducted by Rauscher, Shaw and Ky sought to determine the explicit relationship between music, sleep and spatial task performance. The results, which were published in the October 1993 volume of "Nature" journal, showed that exposure to classical music produces what's known as the Mozart Effect -- that is, the effect that classical music has on people's intelligence. Soft classical music during naps or at bedtime will not only help your little one to sleep soundly and support healthy brain functioning, but can also boost intelligence and even lesson the effects of epilepsy.

Cozy Comfort

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, relaxing music and soothing sounds have a positive health effect on preemies, while KidsHealth notes that relaxing music comforts and soothes babies and toddlers. Music at bedtime can help babies and toddlers feel safe, relaxed and calm, while music during naps can help energy levels decrease and encourage the body to prepare for sleep naturally. Music can also soothe and comfort older babies and toddlers who demonstrate separation anxiety or hyperactivity at sleep time.

About the Author

Debra Pachucki has been writing in the journalistic, scholastic and educational sectors since 2003. Pachucki holds a Bachelor's degree in education and currently teaches in New Jersey. She has worked professionally with children of all ages and is pursuing a second Masters degree in education from Monmouth University.

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