When you have a new baby, you’re always looking for ideas to get a good night’s sleep (for the whole family)! But what if the answer was simpler than you thought? That’s why I’m pleased to host award-winning singer, songwriter, and composer Jane Roman Pitt on the blog to explain why lullabies can be one of the most effective tools for restful nights.
Do Lullabies Work?
I recently read Arianna Huffington’s book, “The Sleep Revolution.” Everything she said made sense: shut off the computer and cell phone well before bedtime, try meditation, and avoid caffeine late in the day.
However, life changes with a new baby in the house, and there are many nights that everyone is wide awake because your little one is having trouble sleeping. All the tricks that might have helped you sleep better won’t necessarily work for a baby.
However, there is one tool that wasn’t mentioned in the book, but is highly effective for everyone: music. Lullabies really do work — and this soothing music has a powerful effect on babies and grownups alike.
According to Ivan Hewett, in the London Telegraph, “As soon as a lullaby begins, a soothing sense of order infuses the infantile consciousness. The swaying rhythm is close to its own heartbeat, and the quiet melodious sounds a blessed relief from the world’s usual racket . . .” This was based on research done at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital showing that singing to babies soothes them, reduces their heart rate and lessens pain.
Lullabies have been around for a very long time — about two million years, says University of Washington Professor Ellen Dissanayake, author of Art and Intimacy: How the Arts Began. She proposes that lullabies might have been the first form of human vocal communication. In every era and every language lullabies provide comfort and communicate the message: “I love you and I’m here for you.”
Does this mean endless repetitions of “Twinkle Twinkle” every night? Just what is a lullaby, anyway? A lullaby is music that is soft, sweet, and soothing — and any kind of music that fits this description will work.
I first got the idea for this album from my grownup son, a new father at the time. When I mentioned my plan to record lullabies, he told me that Tom Waits’ “Midnight Lullaby” was his favorite song to play for his baby daughter. Why? Because he loved the song himself, and enjoyed listening to it night after night. My son’s friends agreed that by listening to their own favorite music, they felt relaxed instead of annoyed by the time the baby was asleep.
Lullabies that grown-ups will enjoy too:
So pick out your own favorite music that is soft, sweet, and soothing, and both you and your baby will quietly drift off to sleep. Sweet dreams!
About the Author: Jane Roman Pitt is an award-winning singer, songwriter, and composer—and a doting grandmother—living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her most recent album, “Road to Dreamland: Unexpected Lullabies for All Ages” has received a Gold Award from the Parents ’Choice Foundation. Jane’s website is www.ladylullaby.com.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored guest post.