Sleep is a treasure. Sleep is both a need and luxury we cannot live without, regardless of age.\r\n\r\nA good night's sleep in addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle keeps us happy, healthy and well.\r\n\r\nThe US Department of Health and Human Services has a comprehensive list on the benefits of good sleep. In addition to rest, good sleep aids our alertness, boosts our immunity, keeps us cheerful, helps us control our weight and reduces stress, among many other benefits.\r\n\r\nAdditionally, according to the Sleep Foundation, sleep enables our exhausted minds to process, solidify and consolidate the huge amounts of information streaming through our brains daily, even as our body rests. In turn, this process subconsciously streamlines our thought processes, making teachable moments a constant learning curve which we use to better improve ourselves.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSo in short, in sleep, even as we rest, we grow. Take away our sleep, grumpy indeed we will be!\r\nSleep Quotient\r\nHow much sleep do we need?\r\n\r\nWell, that depends on age. According to the Sleep Foundation, our sleep requirements are:\r\n\r\n \tNewborns (0 - 3 months) - 14 -17 hours\r\n \tInfants (4 - 11 months) - 12 - 15 hours\r\n \tToddlers (1 - 2 years) - 11 - 14 hours\r\n \tPreschoolers (3 - 5 years) - 10 -13 hours\r\n \tSchool Age Children (6 - 13 years) - 9 - 11 hours\r\n \tTeenagers (14 - 17 years) - 8 - 10 hours\r\n \tYoung Adults (18 - 25 years) - 7 - 9 hours\r\n \tAdults (26 - 64 years) - 7 - 9 hours\r\n \tOlder Adults (65+ years) - 7 - 8 hours\r\n\r\nLooking at this, depending on age, the minimum amount of sleep time we need daily is about a third of our day. And that is quite a bit.\r\nSnug As A Bug In The Rug\r\n\r\n\r\nRealising the value of sleep and our natural hunger for it, it may come as a surprise that for some, sleep does not come as easily as it should. It may come as a bigger surprise that sometimes it is the little ones, who find it hard to sleep. And the biggest surprise of all, some Mums may face difficulties sleeping and maintaining that sleep, so essentially needed.\r\n\r\nYou would think that tending to baby and all that daily running around would put you to sleep as soon as your head touched the pillow. Being bone tired, sleep should not be a problem, either. But, as soon as your head touches your pillow, you come wide awake, sleep scuttling away.\r\n\r\nPerhaps your experience is the opposite, you manage to drop into sleep as soon as your head touches the pillow only to be woken up by the slightest sound.\r\n\r\nMoms, you are not alone. Even your little ones may experience this. Not to worry though, as this article may be of help.\r\nWhite Noise For Your Baby\r\n\r\n\r\nStudies have shown the use of white noise aids sleep. While it does sound counterproductive, white noise proponents stand solidly by it.\r\n\r\nSome of you may relate to this example.\r\n\r\nYou are asleep in the dead of night. The whole house is quiet. Then, BAM! The electricity goes out. While the cut happens with a whisper, you awaken like a shot.\r\n\r\nWhat woke you?\r\n\r\nThe dead silence which followed the cut, when the air conditioner or fan shut off - that was what woke you.\r\n\r\nThe hum of the air conditioner, or the whir of the fan is a version of white noise. Being a constant in your background, you hardly noticed it, until it was gone.\r\nHow Does It Work?\r\n\r\n\r\nWhite noise is ambient noise which works by cutting out other background sounds. One example of white noise is the steady hum of your trusty air conditioner although that is merely a whisper in the decibel scale.\r\n\r\nTo use white noise as a sleep aid, it should be played continuously during sleep time so sleep is undisturbed by any louder sounds. White noise works to drown out or mask other sounds.\r\n\r\nFor instance, when white noise is played at a constant level, the noise of doors slamming, children playing or honking cars are phased out, your ears honing in and picking up the constant drone of the noise, focusing on it even as it lulls you into sleep.\r\nPut It To The Test\r\nMy daughter was a finicky sleeper. She was the youngest child in a house of 3 rambunctious boys. It did take some planning when it came to her sleep. Using white noise helped her sleep and also maintained her sleep pattern, which allowed her to thrive in her early years.\r\n\r\nNewborns thrive on white noise.\r\n\r\nIn utero, your baby has not lived in silence. She has heard the rushing stream of your blood in your veins, the boom-boom pounding of your heart, the sound of your voice and its many intonations, as well as the other sounds in the environment you live in. After birth, these noise levels drop and baby is left to sleep in a quiet room. Some babies manage but for others, the silence is deafening, making sleep difficult.\r\n\r\nPlaying white noise for your baby in the background lulls them into slumber and helps them sleep easily and deeply.\r\nWhich Noise Is Best?\r\n\r\n\r\nFor many of us, our version of white noise for your baby could be a whirring fan or the constant hum of an air conditioner. However the noise levels of household appliances cannot be increased, should the current decibel level prove insufficient. That being the case, other options need to be considered.\r\n\r\nIf you are looking to buy a device specifically for baby, Motherhood.com has some choices.\r\n\r\nFor adults, there are other white noise devices available on the market, if you prefer.\r\n\r\nHowever, devices work in a local setting. One device can be used in one place at a time so if you need white noise for different areas in your house simultaneously, investing in a few devices may be necessary.\r\n\r\nAlternatively, you can download an app for that purpose. Place your smartphone wherever you need the noise played. Using an app for white noise is convenient especially when travelling since our phones go everywhere with us.\r\n\r\nApps for white noise are plentiful. Within them, you can choose sounds appropriate for babies or adults. Apps also give you the option of choosing the type of noise you prefer to hear, for example, whirring fans, airplane journey, clothes dryer, rain fall, running stream, etc. With a little trail and error you will surely find the best noise for all who need it at home.\r\nSo Far, So Good\r\n\r\n\r\nSo far white noise sounds like a dream come true, especially for Moms with fussy and fidgety babies.\r\n\r\nThere are, however some factors you need to take note of. There is quite a bit of information on the Web which you can glean and these listed here are just some of those considerations.\r\nHard Habit To Break\r\nHuman beings are truly creatures of habit, our little ones are no exception, think smelly blankets and treasured toys, for example.\r\n\r\nOnce we are used to certain comforts in our lives, it becomes a hard habit to break.\r\n\r\nWhen babies are so used to the soothing background of white noise, it can be a little tricky to get them to sleep without its soft blare in the background. Weaning them off can be a long process although it may get easier as they age.\r\nQuantum of Decibels\r\n\r\n\r\nWhite noise is meant to cut off background sounds to enable sleep. This may lull us into thinking that nap time does not need quiet time at home. So those awake carry on as usual.\r\n\r\nTo counter the usual noise, we may be tempted to increase the decibel levels of white noise so as to drown out the usual house sounds.\r\n\r\nThat may not be in the best interest of your little one's hearing.\u00a0 Keep noise at a moderate to low level and enlist the cooperation of all at home to keep nap times respectfully quiet.\r\nChoices, Choices\r\nStudies have been done on white noise to check the effectiveness and, while the participants were few and very young, the results do look promising.\r\n\r\nSince parenting does have its moments of trail and error, perhaps there is no harm in giving white noise a shot if you find your little ones finicky and fussy, having difficulty in falling asleep. It does not work for everyone but knowing how valuable downtime is for you, this may be worth a shot.\r\n\r\nAdditionally, you can also benefit from white noise.\r\n\r\nSince white noise apps or devices come with a plethora of sounds to choose from, you can switch the sounds as you go about your day. The sound of running water is apt when meditating, for instance.\r\n\r\nLots of people work with noise in the background.\r\n\r\nSome people leave the television on while they clean or cook. Others may have the radio playing in the background while they work. These do not distract, rather they help us focus on the job at hand. Working in total silence can be deafening and some people find that uncomfortable. Those of you who work this way, know what I mean.\r\n\r\nIn chancing a try, you may well find white noise the best thing for baby, you and the family. Give it a shot and see if it works for you.