Sleep: A collection of quotations from Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner gave us many indications to help us understand sleeping and waking, through his research in Spiritual Science. In offering this collection of quotes from lectures and writings of Rudolf Steiner, we would like to encourage each of you to seek and find new approaches to the world of sleep, to your educational work and to your own development. We are grateful to the Rudolf Steiner Archive and Steiner Books for their kind permission to use the quotations in this collection. With greetings from the International Birth to Three Working-Group, IASWECE 


I will struggle getting my almost 7-year-old son to sleep by eight o’clock. It seems there is a magic window. If we eat by five and I start slowing down his activities by six, there is a good chance that he will fall asleep soon after reading stories at seven-thirty.

If I don’t have dinner ready until six or seven and slow down doesn’t begin until eight or eight-thirty, then he seems to get a second wind that keeps him
awake and active till ten or ten-thirty at night.

The next day is difficult for him. It is hard for him to get up, eat breakfast, and get to school on time. He is tired and more irritable the entire day.

What is happening?

“A child will flourish if there is a regular rhythm between the will working during the day when it is awake and the will building up the growing organism in sleep. Then the body can become that instrument for which the child was already longing before birth.”

(Norbert Glas, p. 76)


I will go through children’s sleep needs in different ages and how to best approach their sleep. To allow a good overview I will begin with newborns, and then move on to the 3-month-old child, then 3-6 months, and finally the 1-2 year old child. I will finish with some concluding advice about sleeping rituals that you may find inspirational and useful up until the child reaches 7-9 years of age. I will concludes with a loving encouragement to you as parents that you need to remember to take care of your own sleep too.