11 fascinating facts every parent needs to know about children’s sleep

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Sleep becomes a big part of your life when you are a parent. Let me rephrase that – trying to get your children to go to sleep (and stay asleep) becomes a big part of your life.

These 11 facts about children’s sleep will not only fascinate you, but hopefully also hold the key to a sounder sleep for your children, regardless of their ages.

toddler sleep routines

1. Children spend 40 per cent of their childhood asleep.

And the other 60 per cent is actively spent asking you to make them a snack, tie their shoelaces or wipe their bums.

2. Infants may sleep a lot, but new parents can expect to lose over +1000 hours of sleep during the first year.

This equates to 44 full days.

3. Children’s sleep problems occur in 35 to 40 per cent of children.

This includes problems from nightmares, night terrors, bed wetting and snoring, as well as anxiety and social problems that may impact children’s sleep.

4. Activity promotes sleep.

The best way to get kids to sleep better at night is to wear them out. Children need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. I know – I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

5. Sleep deprivation is actually more dangerous than food deprivation.

Someone can go around 2 months without food but it only takes 11 days to die from sleep deprivation. Read this mum’s terrifying account of what happened after not sleeping ten days postpartum.  

6. There’s such a thing as sleepy foods.

These are foods with high-glycemic carbs containing alpha carotene, selenium, lycopene, potassium, magnesium, tryptophan, and calcium. So pass the bananas and low fat yoghurt for a bedtime snack. And stay away from high fat and spicy foods which can negatively impact sleep.


7. Premature infants experience longer REM sleep cycles than full term babies.

The average infant’s sleep cycle will include 50 per cent REM sleep and 50 per cent non REM sleep (usually around 50 minute per sleep cycle). However, premature babies will have 75 per cent REM sleep.

This decreases to around 30 per cent REM sleep by the age of six months.

8. Teenagers sleep pretty much the same as a five-year-old.

Both require around 10 hours of sleep per night. Check out our sleep guide to see how much sleep your child needs at every age and stage.

9. Young children don’t dream.

According to psychologist David Foulkes, one of the world’s leading experts on paediatric dreaming, children are actually dreamless for the first few years of life.

Considering babies’ limited pool of experiences and their brains’ immaturity, Foulkes and other neuroscientists believe that dreams don’t develop until after the baby stage has passed.

10. Your child’s sleep position can tell you something about their personality.

According to British sleep expert, Chris Idzikowski, how your little one sleeps says a lot about him or her! Sleeping curled up on their side could suggest your little one is sensitive and shy.

Those sleeping spreadeagled tend to be good listeners and outgoing while sleeping on the front suggests your little one is nervous.  A “soldier”, who sleeps on their back, tends to be considered a perfectionism while those who sleep on their side like a log are considered to be relaxed and social.

Idzikowski doesn’t comment on what type of personality is linked to the child who prefer to sleep on top of his parents, preferably with a foot in his mum’s face…

11. There’s heaps of products that promise to help your infant sleep.

But do they work? Come and see what the experts and real mums think about these magic sleep aids:

Sweet dreams!

Try our Healthy Kids Smoothie!


The Healthy Kids Smoothie has been specially made as a healthy snack for kids and is ideal if you have fussy eaters or want to ensure your children have a nutritious and healthy smoothie snack. It also has a 4.5 Health Star Rating when made with skim milk. Plus it contains NO added sugars.

The sugar content in The Healthy Kids Smoothie is from NATURAL sugars from the lactose in the milk and is FREE from added sugars. WHO recommend aiming for 5% added sugars in the diet and this product provides NO added sugar

  • The Healthy Mummy Kids Smoothie is rich in carbohydrates and protein and is a natural energy packed smoothie made for kids.
  • It contains 16 essential vitamins and minerals and when combined with milk, provides children with 50% of their Calcium RDI. 
  • It also contains probiotics needed for healthy guts and is free from fructose.


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