In general, children need to sleep more than adults, primarily due to the body’s developmental and growth requirements. However some parents may frequently complain of excessive sleeping in their children. Estimates suggest that the problem of irregular sleep is fairly common with approximately 40% of children having some type of sleeping trouble.
The sleeping pattern of children varies depending upon their age. During the first month of life, an infant may sleep for about 15 to 16 hours in a day, while infants between 1 month and 1 year may sleep for 12 to 14 hours. Children between the ages of 1 to 3 years may sleep for about 11 to 12 hours in a day, while older children up to the age of 6 years may need a minimum of 10 hours of sleep. Children above the age of 12 years usually sleep for 8 hours in a day.
While the sleeping pattern of children may differ, excessive sleeping or getting too little sleep can interfere with the child’s developmental growth and performance.
What Causes Excessive Sleepiness In Children?
Ideally a child up to the age of five years typically takes nap at least once a day for an hour or two and sleep through the night. However there are certain reasons for excessive sleeping in children,
- Bed wetting in children can interrupt their sleep and this in turn can result in excessive sleepiness due to repeated sleep interruptions.
- Fear or excessive environmental disturbance can also interfere with sleep patterns. Excessive noise, hot weather, etc can lead to sleep interruptions and cause excessive sleepiness.
- Abnormal sleeping position is also considered to be a cause for sleep irregularities, which in turn can lead to excessive sleepiness due to fatigue.
- Night terror, emotional problems and stress in children are also considered to be factors that may contribute to excessive sleeping.
How To Treat Excessive Sleeping In Children?
Here are some lifestyle modification tips that can help in regulating sleep pattern in children and prevent excessive sleepiness during day time,
- Develop a consistent bedtime routine. Ensure that your child goes to bed by a fixed time, say 8 pm each day. Avoid any interruptions or alteration in the sleeping time.
- Don’t do anything too stimulating before sleep like playing a game or watching TV. Let your child unwind before going to bed. This will ensure that your child will fall asleep at a fixed time each day.
- Ensure that your child is well fed and should go to bed on an empty bladder. This will avoid sleep interruptions caused due to bed wetting or waking up at night due to hunger.
- Some children may require soothing or comforting before going to bed. Read a bed time story or put on some soft music.
- Be patient with your child. Some children may take longer than usual to fall into the routine and don’t do anything to upset your child. A warm water bath or body massaging is very relaxing and can help putting your child to sleep.