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Why Lullabies Work

There’s a reason mothers softly sing to their babies, and it’s not because their grandmother told them to. It’s because they work! Yes, lullabies are scientifically proven to work. But, have you stopped to wonder why? In this post, we’ll shed some light on the subject!

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October 15th, 2021

A new study by Marieve Corbeil, a doctoral candidate at Université de Montréal, has confirmed something parents and caretakers have known intuitively for thousands of years: lullabies are the best way to calm an infant. According, to her report, infants remained calm twice as long when listening to a children’s song, which they didn’t even know, as they did when listening to baby talk. Hence, validating the effectiveness of lullabies.

But, why do lullabies work? 

Lullabies help lull babies to sleep for three reasons: they help regulate the emotions of the baby or child, they work to foster a stronger bond between child and parent, and lullabies help establish a routine.

1. Regulate emotions

Music helps regulate emotions of both children and adults. When a child is upset at bedtime, it makes sense that a parent would turn to something to help control those emotions – transforming a negative emotion such as fear or tiredness into a positive emotion.

Furthermore, music can stimulate certain emotions through specific neural connections. Lullabies successfully create the emotional atmosphere necessary for a peaceful bedtime.

2. Create a stronger bond between parent and child

Neuroscience is behind this opportunity for bond-building, and it has to do with a hormone known as oxytocin. This hormone might be familiar to mothers as it is all known as the “contraction hormone of labor” or the “breastfeeding hormone.” Oxytocin is also known as the hormone of love.

Interestingly enough, this hormone is also present at  lullaby-time. According to science, Oxytocin is released during singing, and this is why it helps to build stronger bonds in a relationship.

But, how does this relate to lullaby signing? Simple! A stronger bond between parent and child makes a lullaby more successful in putting the child to sleep because the child is more likely to rest easy in the presence of someone they love.

3. Establish a routine

Lullabies also work because they help establish a bedtime routine. Sleep experts constantly remind exhausted parents to establish a routine. Going through the same motions every night helps the child adjust from day to evening. 


This article is a re-post of “Why Lullabies Work, According to the Experts” with minor modifications, published on parent.com

 

 

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