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Sleeping Too Much

I’m inquiring for my 2 ½ year old son. He has been sleeping about 16 hours a night and a long nap during the day as well. While most parents would be jumping for joy (and we are) I am starting to get a little concerned. I figure it’s just a growth spurt, but wanted to check with someone who has a medical degree! ;)  He hasn’t had a fever or anything; he just seems so sleepy.
Cause for concern or continue jumping for joy?? I appreciate your help!

According to Nelson’s Textbook of Pediatrics the average two year old sleeps 11 hours at night with a 2 hour nap. This is consistent with the typical Gordon two year old.

Your son is sleeping more than average. This may represent the higher end of the “bell curve”. Meaning more than average, but still normal. Unfortunately, normal sleep ranges are not readily available.

How long has he been sleeping more? If it is a couple weeks or less it could be a viral illness or a growth spurt. Grandmothers have talked about “growth spurts” for centuries. It was only recently that medical researchers confirmed that children to indeed grow in spurts.

Is he eating and acting well? Is he continuing to grow well? Are there any other symptoms? In my practice, I have diagnosed tired two year olds with both Mono (usually with a history of sore throat and fever) and with hypothyroidism (usually with constipation, weight gain and dry skin as well). While rare, your son may have a medical reason for his fatigue. If the fatigue has been present for more than a couple weeks or if their are other symptoms it is best to discuss it with his doctor.


Return to sleep information - sleep for children


Written June 2011 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician

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