Why is 3 a.m. so scary

Common problems of childhood sleep

Problems falling asleep and staying asleep often occur in the first two years of life

Most children develop a reasonably stable rhythm between sleeping and waking during the first six months of life. With the help of the nightly bedtime ritual, they gradually find their way to sleep better and better on their own, and if they wake up briefly repeatedly at night - which is quite normal in infancy - they are usually soon able to go back to sleep without any significant help from their parents.

But some children also have a hard time doing it. They may be naturally restless, have difficulty regulating their behavior according to their age and level of development, or generally find it difficult to find a rhythm.

Often, however, the cause of sleep problems with falling asleep and staying asleep lies in already established habits. They have crept in - perhaps completely unnoticed - and make it difficult for the child to learn to fall asleep and sleep through on their own. For example, once a child has got used to being carried or driven around until it falls asleep, it usually needs the support of its parents when it wakes up at night. Often, even as a toddler, they still ask for such elaborate sleep aids every evening.

Even if after the first months of life the sleeping times simply do not want to settle in, it is often the case that the child - for example due to a lack of routines and structures in the daily routine - may find it difficult to find a stable rhythm overall. Most of the time, regular meal times have not yet established themselves. If such an unstable rhythm becomes stable, it may be difficult to fall asleep even in toddlerhood, the child still wakes up several times at night and is noticeably tired during the day. Such rhythm-related sleep disorders can be very persistent and over a longer period of time - often with medical supervision - consistent adherence to fixed sleeping times is required.