How Humpty Dumpty can help soothe baby to sleep: Cheerful music is best at getting infants to nod off, study suggests
- Fast, happy music gets infants to nod off more effectively than slower one
- 100 babies shifted from drowsiness to sleep after being played happy music
- Sadder, slower music had less of an effect on the babies’ behaviour, study found
Parents trying to find the right tune to get their baby to sleep might want to pick something cheerful like Humpty Dumpty.
Fast, happy music gets infants to nod off more effectively than slower nursery rhymes such as Little Bo Peep, a study suggests.
The surprising result comes from an experiment involving almost 100 babies under a week old. Played happy music, their heart rates fell and the babies shifted from drowsiness to sleep.
But sadder, slower music had less of an effect when researchers measured babies’ behaviour after playing them lullabies.
Fast, happy music gets infants to nod off more effectively than slower nursery rhymes such as Little Bo Peep, a study suggests (file image)
Examples of sad songs, based on categorisations by the researchers, included Little Bo Beep, Hey Diddle Diddle and Little Miss Muffet.
Happy songs for babies – though the lyrics are melancholic – include Humpty Dumpty and Simple Simon.
Dr Emese Nagy, who led the research at the University of Dundee, said: ‘These findings suggest the emotion behind a lullaby… can affect how well it helps a baby to go to sleep. They may have innate reactions to music, even at such a young age.’
The research, published in the Psychological Studies journal, found lullabies of either type worked better for falling asleep than silence, with the babies more often closing their eyes when they listened to music.
Experts believe songs may lull babies to sleep because they become absorbed.
Last year a study also led by Dr Nagy found that babies in the womb love when their mother speaks to them.
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