Tips for healthy sleep for children

Good sleep is an important prerequisite for a child's healthy development. Here you can find out how much sleep we need as children 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 for children
      4. Conclusion

        1. Sleep in childhood

        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 particularly important 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 as we get older. 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, as development and growth take place primarily 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, or “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 during the day and night.

        smartsleep Schlafmagazin Entwicklung des Tagschlafes bei Kindern

        In the first months and years of life, children slowly adapt to the natural day-night cycle, sleep gradually shifts from day to night and the total amount of sleep also slowly reduces. Small children aged up to 2 years sleep at best between 11 and 14 hours, and for children aged 2 to 5 years, up to 13 hours of sleep at night is usually recommended. In the following years, the average amount of sleep required continues to decrease 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 for children

        Children would probably like to forego going to bed in the evening. It is all the more important to support them in healthy sleeping habits and to ensure that children really get regular, sufficient and restful sleep.

        #1 Regular sleeping times & daily structures

        An orderly daily structure and regular sleep times can help children adapt to the natural day-night cycle and develop a consistent sleep 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 through the night.

        It often happens, especially with children, that they are not yet tired at the scheduled time for 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 already in our genes. Children can sometimes need more or less sleep at individual 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 get in the mood for sleep through small rituals, for example a bedtime story.

        #2 A lot of exercise and exercise during the day

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

        #3 Peaceful 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 wind down and prepare the child for the coming sleep period. Spending time together before and during bedtime also provides a feeling of safety and security and can help to relieve fears and excitement. Regular reading, singing or telling stories in the evening not only strengthens the parent-child bond, but also ensures a calm mood before going to bed.

        #4 A pleasant sleeping environment

        In a quiet and familiar sleeping environment it is easier for children to truly find peace. A familiar environment, your own pillow and your favorite cuddly toy or a cuddly blanket provide a feeling of security and can counteract excitement, tension or fears in the evening. There should also be a comfortable room temperature in the bedroom and noise and bright lights 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 equipment

        smartsleep Schlafmagazin Kleiner Junge schläft ruhig auf einem weichen Kopfkissen

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

        However, the common ergonomic pillow models are usually far 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. Properly chosen sleeping equipment can help to support the healthy posture of the head and spine and enable children to sleep comfortably and peacefully.

        4. Restful sleep for healthy development

        Sleep is usually a secondary priority, especially for children - because there are so many exciting things to discover during the day that the 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 especially happens when they sleep! It is therefore all the more important to support children in healthy sleep so that they can develop optimally and discover the world with new energy day after day.

        5. Conclusion

        • Children are in important phases of development and growth and, depending on their age, still need up to 17 hours (babies), up to 13 hours (toddlers) or up to 11 hours (older children & teenagers) of sleep.
        • Regular sleeping times and sleep routines give children security and prepare them for a peaceful sleep in the evening.
        • An active everyday life with lots of exercise and sufficient exercise ensures pleasant exhaustion in the evening and thus supports natural tiredness and sleep pressure.
        • A pleasant, cozy sleeping environment promotes security, relaxation and a feeling 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 poor posture and tension in the cervical 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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