Expert Q&A

I made the mistake of letting my son listen to music one night as he fell asleep, and now he won’t sleep without it! Is there anything wrong with using music to fall asleep?

Congratulations! Your son has discovered how to treat his nighttime restlessness without drugs! For many years, behavioral experts have used "white noise" (rain, ocean sounds and soft static) to treat children’s sleep problems. Rarely, however, does a parent have to worry about bedtime use of nonviolent music to calm the nerves. It is not considered addictive, and as long as the volume is low (below 85 decibels), no hearing damage can occur. If the music has lyrics, make sure they are repetitive and calming. And if your child insists on using headphones, choose the loose-fitting kind over earbuds that are put inside the ear canal.

Dr. Frank Barnhill is a family physician practicing in South Carolina. He is the founder of and has written Mistaken for ADHD.

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