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The tv is outside my 12 year old daughter's bedroom. She likes me to sit up until she falls asleep (which is not difficult). I pull the door to and we agree on a maximum volume that makes her feel comfort that I am sitting up, yet not so loud as to disturb her. I generally shut the door if I am sitting up late.

Often, when I go to bed at a reasonable hour, she wakes up and comes into my bed. So I have tried putting the tv on a sleep timer, so it automatically switches off.

I'm not interested in why she is like this, I have a good understanding of her and the core issues need to be dealt with, but are not in the scope of this particular question.

My concern is the long term effect on my daughter needing some background noise to sleep.

Is there any research on this?

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2 Answers 2

Many fully-grown adults require a certain amount of noise to sleep (hence the sleep function on your TV and on many alarm clocks that include a radio function as well). I did find one study (and admittedly only read the abstract) that showed that background music can result in delayed sleep and sleep with less depth. However, the study was more focused on whether music helped the listeners to stay awake after sleep deprivation. It also had a very small study group, so the findings may not be all that reliable anyway.

Many sleep training books actually suggest using white noise for babies and toddlers (which I realize, your daughter is not, but I know of adults that also use such devices) that are learning to self-soothe to help prevent waking, but white noise is quite different from the talking, sound effects and musical combinations one might hear while the TV is on. Perhaps adding a fan for its noise, a musical device that can play recordings of waves, or rain or whatever into her room, or a white noise device could help a little as a way of transitioning from needing to hear the TV to just to needing a little background noise that is soothing to her.

Counter-intuitive, but. . . I gather from the statement:

Often, when I go to bed at a reasonable hour, she wakes up and comes into my bed

That it isn't really about the noise as much as it is about knowing where you are or what you are doing. If that is the case, maybe going in and giving one light kiss on your way to your own bed would be a nice way of communicating that information to her. "I'm going to bed now, but I'll just be in my bedroom after this point." If she isn't awake, she might still pick up on the cue sub-consciously and feel more secure. If she is awake, she is getting the info she needs to feel more comfortable and fall asleep anyway? Might be worth asking her what she thinks of the idea at least.

You've asked another question that makes me think you are already getting the kids to work on staying out of your room (or that this question is retro-active) so I'll leave that part of the equation to that other question.

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It doesn't sound too serious so do consider if you want to press the issue.

If you do, try a couple of things. Let her stay over at friends. Make sure they know beforehand not to give in on the TV-demand. "Sorry dear, that's not how we do things in this house!".
See how she fares. This will tell you if it's a physical necessity or behaviour that she can turn off.

You give her a number of 'volume points' each week. She is in charge of distributing them over the days - if she chooses a higher volume on Monday, she has less 'points' left for the rest of the week. Reward her with Grand Icecreams on Sundays when you discuss how many points you'll take away the next week. This is easier to do during the day when the stress of getting to sleep is still far away.

So, she remains in charge, you reward her, and gradually you work to lessen her dependence on the TV together.

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