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Sleep Disorders

My 14 month old sleeps too much



My son (14 months) sleeps as often and for as long as he can! We wake him at 8 am to get dressed for the school run. On the way back he is restless and niggly because he wants to sleep. At a push I can keep him awake until 10 am but he is usually back alseep by 9:15. He will sleep until I wake him at 2:30 to pick the children up, by 4pm he is getting restless again to get to sleep but we struggle with him to keep him awake until 7pm. Then he sleeps all night. Our lives are revolving around his sleep as I know I can`t go out when he is needing to sleep as he screams and screams until he can have his warm milk and lay down at home. He has development delays which doctors haven`t really looked into but on physical examination cannot find any reasons why, but are fllowing him up regurlaly. Some days he will only have a couple of hours sleep but more often than not he is constantly wanting to sleep. When he initially wakes up he is full of energy, but it doesn`t seem to last long before he is wanting sleep again.


This is an interesting question. It appears that your son may be sleeping up to 18 hours on some days, which is longer than would be expected at this age. Another important point is that your son appears to have some developmental delays for reasons that are not clear at present.

Additional important parts of the history include whether your son snores when asleep, whether he appears to have excessive movements during sleep, and if you have a family history of sleep apnea or narcolepsy.

There are a number of potential causes for excessive sleepiness in a child your son’s age. Excessive sleep time and lethargy may be a sign of a central nervous system (brain) abnormality, so the child’s neurological examination, head circumference and anterior fontanel size would be important. Among the illnesses that may present with excessive sleepiness include infections, anemia, metabolic disorders, and primary sleep problems such as obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy.

I would suggest that your son be evaluated by a pediatrician and possibly a pediatric neurologist for careful history to guide further investigations.

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Response by:

Mark   Splaingard, MD Mark Splaingard, MD
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University