During the first several years of your little one's life, the amount of sleep he gets can change dramatically. Some parents may become concerned that a child is oversleeping. In some cases, your child's sleep habits could be indicative of a more serious problem. It is also possible that the amount of shut-eye your child gets is actually a normal amount.
How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?
Kids win this round: While adults are advised to get eight hours of sleep a night, kids younger than 12 need at least 9.5 hours, says KidsHealth, a child development site. However, some kids may need as much as 10 or 11 hours of sleep every night to function at their best. If getting plenty of sleep each night does not seem to cause your child any problems, she is probably getting the rest she needs.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Between 2 and 5 percent of children and teenagers are affected by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to Boston Children's Hospital. Children who have OSA may wake frequently during the night and, as a result, sleep longer. Overweight children may need to lose weight in order to reduce the symptoms. In some cases, surgery or the use of a CPAP machine during sleep may be necessary. If your child oversleeps and also experiences hyperactivity, irritability and difficulty at school or home, take him to his doctor for an evaluation.
Other Reasons for Oversleeping
Sleeping too much can be caused by a variety of problems. Children who are recovering from illness or who have recently been deprived of sleep may oversleep. If a child is feeling stressed or depressed, she may experience sleep problems, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Problems at school or home, or a sudden change like a move or a death, may contribute to oversleeping. Ask your child's pediatrician for an evaluation.
Find ways to reduce the stress in your child's life, as this could be contributing to oversleeping. Talking about problems with a school counselor or another mental health professional may be beneficial. A doctor may also prescribe medications to treat any underlying problems causing your child to oversleep. Never attempt to medicate your child on your own, such as giving your child caffeine in a bid to reduce sleeping.
- KidsHealth: What Sleep Is, and Why All Kids Need It
- Healthy Children: Childhood Depression: What Parents Can Do To Help
- Boston Children's Hospital: Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Healthy Children: Depression
- Healthy Children: Winter Blues - Seasonal Affective Disorder and Depression
- KidsHealth: Why Do I Need To Sleep?
- Photo Credit David De Lossy/Digital Vision/Getty Images