Tips for healthy sleep in children

Good sleep is an important prerequisite for the healthy development of a child. You can find out here how much sleep we need in childhood and what we can pay attention to in order to optimally support a child's relaxation and sleep.

Table of Contents

      1. sleep in childhood
      2. The optimal sleep duration for children
      3. Tips for healthy sleep in children
      4. Conclusion

        1. Childhood sleep

        Sleep plays a central role in our mental and physical health, forms the basis for our performance and is the most important regeneration and repair period. Good sleep is therefore of great importance, especially at the beginning of our lives and in childhood, when we are in the crucial phases of human development and growth. The individual need for sleep varies from person to person and also changes with age. How much sleep children of different ages really need, what distinguishes a child's need for sleep from that of an adult and how we can effectively support children's sleep, we will now clarify.

        2. The optimal sleep duration for children

        Babies and toddlers need significantly more sleep than teenagers or young adults, since development and growth take place particularly through the regeneration and repair processes that take place at night. While we sleep, growth hormones are released, the immune system is formed, and impressions and information are processed and stored. For this reason, newborns sleep up to 17 hours a day and spend a large part of this time in REM sleep, the "dream sleep". Since a newborn baby does not yet know a day-night rhythm, these hours are usually divided into 5 to 6 sleep phases for day and night.

        smartsleep Schlafmagazin Entwicklung des Tagschlafes bei Kindern

        In the first months and years of life, children then slowly adapt to the natural day-night cycle, sleep gradually shifts from day to night and the total amount of sleep is slowly reduced. Small children up to the age of 2 years sleep between 11 and 14 hours at best and for children aged 2 to 5 years up to 13 hours of night rest is usually recommended. In the following years, the average amount of sleep required continues to fall and a fixed rhythm without daytime sleep sets in. For children up to the age of 13, 9 to 11 hours of sleep is considered optimal.


        Recommended sleep duration

        0 – 3 months

        14-17 hours

        4 - 11 months

        12-15 hours

        1 – 2 years

        11-14 hours

        3 – 5 years

        10-13 hours

        6 – 13 years

        9-11 hours

        14 – 17 years

        8-10 hours

        3. Tips for healthy sleep in children

        Children would probably prefer not to go to bed in the evening. It is all the more important to support them in their healthy sleeping behavior and to ensure that children get regular, sufficient and restful sleep.

        #1 Regular sleeping times & daily structures

        An orderly structure of the day and regular sleeping times can help children to adapt to the natural day-night cycle and to develop a fixed sleeping rhythm. Then the body can prepare more easily for the rest phase in the evening, which not only has a positive effect on falling asleep, but also on sleeping peacefully through the night.

        Especially with children, it often happens that they are not even tired when they are supposed to sleep. Even at a young age, a person's individual need for sleep can vary greatly, because it is controlled by our natural biorhythm and is actually in our genes. Children can sometimes need more or less sleep at their own sleeping times. Then going to bed should not be forced. Instead, it can help to promote the child's natural tiredness through quiet and relaxing activities or to slowly put them in the mood for sleep through small rituals, such as a bedtime story.

        #2 Lots of exercise & workload on the day

        Sufficient activity during the day is a good prerequisite for a peaceful sleep. A lot of activity, play and exercise in the fresh air help to use the child's energy sensibly during the day and to ensure a pleasant state of exhaustion in the evening. Of course, children should not only be challenged physically but also mentally and at the same time have enough time to process the numerous new stimuli. Then tiredness and the natural sleep pressure increase in the evening and support a relaxed falling asleep.

        #3 Quiet sleep routines & evening rituals

        smartsleep Schlafmagazin: Kinder-Schlaf Vater liest Tochter am Abend eine Gute Nacht Geschichte vor

        Children often find it difficult to accept the end of the day and to end exciting play and activity opportunities. Fixed evening or bedtime rituals signal that it is time to calm down and prepare the child for the coming sleep period. The time together before and during bedtime also conveys security and security and can help to resolve fears and excitement. Regular reading, singing or storytelling in the evening not only strengthens the parent-child bond, but also ensures a calm mood before going to bed.

        #4 A comfortable sleeping environment

        In a calm and familiar sleeping environment, it is easier for children to really calm down. A familiar environment, your own pillow and your favorite cuddly toy or a snuggly blanket convey a feeling of security and can counteract excitement, tension or fears in the evening. The room temperature should also be comfortable and noise and bright light should be avoided. A light, dimmed night light or certain scents can also contribute to a child-friendly, cozy sleeping atmosphere and get you in the mood for a relaxed sleep.

        #5 The Right Sleeping Gear

        smartsleep Schlafmagazin Kleiner Junge schläft ruhig auf einem weichen Kopfkissen

        A comfortable mattress, a suitable pillow and a comfortable duvet contribute significantly to a good night's sleep and a comfortable sleeping environment. Especially in the ongoing development phases or in the case of acute growth spurts in a child, it is also important to ensure a healthy posture during sleep in order to prevent malposition of the spine in childhood and to prevent pain or tension in the morning.

        However, the current ergonomic pillow models are usually much too hard and high and do not allow for a comfortable sleeping position, because the physical constitution of a child differs significantly from that of an adult. Special children's mattresses and children's pillows, on the other hand, are adapted to the comparatively narrow shoulder width and the lower contact pressure and have a lower height and size. A sensibly chosen sleeping set can therefore help to support a healthy posture of the head and spine and enable children to sleep comfortably and peacefully.

        4. Restful sleep for healthy development

        Sleep usually takes a back seat, especially for children - because there are so many exciting things to discover during the day that evening and night often come much too early. Children absorb many new stimuli and impressions during the day, which first have to be sorted, processed and stored in the brain - and this happens especially during sleep! It is therefore all the more important to support children in sleeping well so that they can develop optimally and discover the world with new energy day after day.

        5. Conclusion

        • Children are in important development and growth phases and, depending on their age, still need up to 17 hours (babies), up to 13 hours (small children) or up to 11 hours (older children & teenagers) of sleep.
        • Regular bedtimes and sleep routines give children security and prepare them for a peaceful sleep in the evening.
        • An active everyday life with plenty of exercise and sufficient workload ensures pleasant exhaustion in the evening and thus supports natural tiredness and sleep pressure.
        • A pleasant, cozy sleeping environment promotes security, relaxation and a sense of well-being and thus allows for a good night's sleep.
        • Special children's pillows and mattresses ensure a healthy sleeping posture and prevent incorrect posture and tension in the neck and spine.

        Greetings and see you soon!


        Liebe Petra,

        ja, ab einem Alter von 3 Jahren kann ein Kissen bereits sinnvoll sein. Das hängt jedoch stark von der körperlichen Entwicklung und den Schlafbedürfnissen des Kindes ab. Am besten ist es, die Verwendung eines geeigneten Kissens einmal auszuprobieren und zu testen, wie sich das neue Liegefühl für das Kind anfühlt.

        Liebe Grüße

        Alisia Steiner 28. July 2023

        Hallo,mein Enkelkind ist 3 Jahre geworden.
        Ist das Kissen für ihn auch schon geeignet?Mit freundlichen Grüßen Petra Farla

        Petra Farla 28. July 2023

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