21 answers

My Son Seems ALWAYS Seems Tired...

I've posted here once before and was really grateful to get so many helpful replies... I’m hoping perhaps someone has had a similar experience to this, too…

My son is 15 months old (although he was two months preemie, so he’s still like a 13 month old in many respects) and ALWAYS appears to be tired. He sleeps well, 10 hours almost every night (usually about 8pm-6am) and I think it is restful sleep because I rarely hear a peep out of him. He still takes two naps; morning nap is generally about 1 hour, afternoon nap is 1-2 hours. When he wakes up cranky, I usually try to get him to sleep a while longer, but that rarely works. He's fussy and cranky within an hour of being up. Even when he wakes up in a fantastic mood (after a longer nap), he still starts to act like he's ready for more sleep after about an hour! He just seems tired ALL of the TIME! I really don't want to revert back to three naps a day (I know many children are down to one per day by this point), but he acts like he really needs it. He just gets so tired and cranky, cries over the smallest thing, falls down and gets clumsy, rubs his eyes, yawning, etc.

He doesn’t get anything in his diet that I would think could cause this. We stay away from sweets (he doesn’t even get juice), and his sugar primarily just comes from natural fruits. He doesn’t get any “table food” sweets, doesn’t even know what ice cream or candy is, etc. Could it be something else?

As a preemie, he did have apnea (mostly during the first month of his life, which is typical for preemies), but he outgrew by the time he was about two months old. He’s been tested and we know that he’s not anemic. Since this has been going on for several months now, I asked our pediatrician about this at our 9 and 12 month check-ups, but she didn't seem too concerned about it. I asked if maybe he could have some type of allergies (which may explain his fatigue and rubbing of the eyes), but she said that children don't typically get seasonal allergies until they're 3-4 years old. She said that it's possible it could be another type of allergy (dust, pet dander, etc), but she didn't think it was likely. His 15 month visit is in a few weeks, so I'll bring it up again and see if she can offer any other suggestions.

In the meantime, I'm just not sure what to do! I feel like I spend several hours of my day trying to keep a tired little boy happy and entertained (which can be tricky even for 30 minutes sometimes!). If he is just tired, I'm not sure why he's not sleeping more. Could it be something else? Has anyone else had an experience like this?

Thanks so much for reading and any suggestions you may have...
J.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

You may want to find out if he has sleep apnea- when he stops breathing for a few seconds, his body wakes him up to remember to breathe and then since he is roused from deep sleep he doesn't get into that good REM sleep that lets us dream and regenerate. I know that sometimes tonsils/adenoids can cause sleep apnea, among other things. He may just not be getting enough quality sleep at night. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I would try putting him to bed earlier at night. This works wonders for my kids who, when really tired, tend to go to sleep earlier without a problem and sleep later. Kids go into sleep deficet (so most don't tend to make it up at the end of a sleep, they make it up at the start) when not given enough time to sleep so i would say try aiming for a 7.30pm bedtime to start and bring that forward to 7pm. This should allow him some more restful sleep and may help him wake up better rested from all his sleeps. Don't go back to 3 sleeps, just make his night time sleep longer. Good luck :)

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More Answers

J.,
Have you ever read the book Healthy sleep habits, Happy Child by Dr. Mark Weisblueth. It is a great book, a bit boring at times but very helpful and very informative. One thing I liked about it was there were lots of different scenerios from different people with different problems and he gave reasonable solutions. It is worth a try and I bet you can get it from Half Price books, if not it is everywhere.
After reading your problem one suggestion I may say is put him to bed earlier. I have a 15 mos old and a 2 1/2 year old and my 15 mos. old goes to bed at 7 (sometimes 6:30 if she is super tired, and cranky) and gets up around 6:30 then takes a morning nap for about an hour and an afternoon nap as well. My 2 1/2 year old just now started going to bed at 7:30 - 8 and she gets up at 6:30 as well. She also still takes an afternoon nap. My older daughter always went to bed at 7 until recently when we realized she just layed in bed reaidng books. However, she is so tired some days. Some kids just need extra sleep. Dr. Weisblueth says that the earlier you put them to bed the later they will sleep. I have found this to be so true. It sounds ridiculous but it works for us. It is worth a try. Keep his regular day time schedule but put him down at least an hour early. My husband works until 6:30 - 7 every day and hates it but has seen what I deal with when they go to bed too late. So he understands that the weekend is his time. Good Luck

2 moms found this helpful

Having 1 son with seasonal allergies diagnosed at 1 year AT MY INSISTANCE, and the other one passed the typical skin test at one year but is being treated for allergy induced asthma, allergies are there prior to 3-4 years.

I'm curious about the apnea. My 9 year old was diagnosed at 4yrs., and reviewed this past Spring. It's gone but Periodic Limb Movement was diagnosed from the second study. I have narcolepsy. If I eat too many carbs (sugar), it will force me to nap. Everyone is different, my limit is 5 grams at a meal and no more than 10 grams in a day of sugars from breads products, 1 raw fruit, and no more than 7oz. of real juice a day. I also can not handle turkey, apples or peanut butter. My dad (has apnea) however can handle cooked apples.

You're MOM, you feel this isn't just a typical baby habits. Ask more questions. The doctors often try quick fixes or what works for most everyone else. Thankfully, my insurance changed a few times and I chose to switch doctors a few more times. We have a wonderful team now that listens and knows when I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, and when we need to look into something further.

We also learned to avoid all dairy products. It's a stimulant to my boys and me. We sleep, but not well, and it makes my youngest and myself very moody.
Just my experiences...
I don't have a clue how the fact that he's a preemie figures into all of this. I just know that it does.
Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

I think you should really look into the allergies some more. My son did the same exact thing. He would sleep like 16+ hours a day, everyday. We found out he has ALOT of allergies. Children of all ages including your childs age get allergies. We had our first set of allergy tests before he was even a year old. Once we got his allergies under control his sleep did a complete 180. Another issue could be mold, you may want to have your house checked for mold. You could have them do an air test. Checks the air in your house. I had a family member that as an adult started doing the same things as our children and found out had a bad mold problem in one of the walls in their house. Just a thought. Kids are more sensitive to things than we are. As far as the allergies it could be environmental or foods. Does he show any other signs besides of the extreme fatigue and itchy eyes?

1 mom found this helpful

I would try putting him to bed earlier at night. This works wonders for my kids who, when really tired, tend to go to sleep earlier without a problem and sleep later. Kids go into sleep deficet (so most don't tend to make it up at the end of a sleep, they make it up at the start) when not given enough time to sleep so i would say try aiming for a 7.30pm bedtime to start and bring that forward to 7pm. This should allow him some more restful sleep and may help him wake up better rested from all his sleeps. Don't go back to 3 sleeps, just make his night time sleep longer. Good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful

Hmm, at this age, most sources say babies still need about 14 hours of sleep a day. My daughter usually sleeps 12 to 13 hours at night and then takes a nap in the afternoon for about 1 to 2 hours. Sometimes we have to do two naps if she wakes up too early or goes to bed too late. I would say that going back to three naps might not be a bad idea until he "catches" up on his sleep. They say it doesn't make any sense, but sleep begets sleep in small children, so the more rested he becomes, the better his nighttime sleeping should get. Ideally, I think this is where he is missing out on some sleep. Are you waking him in the morning, or is he waking on his own? Could you move his bed time up a little bit so he gets a little more sleep that way? If my daughter doesn't get her solid 14 hours or more, she is a bear! I hope these suggestions help :)

A.

1 mom found this helpful

You may want to find out if he has sleep apnea- when he stops breathing for a few seconds, his body wakes him up to remember to breathe and then since he is roused from deep sleep he doesn't get into that good REM sleep that lets us dream and regenerate. I know that sometimes tonsils/adenoids can cause sleep apnea, among other things. He may just not be getting enough quality sleep at night. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

A couple of ideas. Since you mentioned sleep apnea....my oldest daughter seemed to get up really early and take a nap longer than I expected. But, once we got her tonsils removed, I was amazed. She began to sleep better and longer. She had huge tonsils and they were blocking her throat so she only had half as much breathing room!

The other thing to remember is that he may be one who requires a lot of sleep. I am like that myself and as I get older, I've noticed I take a long nap during the day even though I've slept a good 8 hours. Also, when they grow, often times they need more sleep, too. So, you may just have to let him get those good naps in.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

If you've had him checked out by his pediatrician then I think it's just a case of some babies sleep more. I had one that didn't sleep at all and, heaven help me, I didn't think either of us would survive it. Then I had another that loved, and still loves, sleep. It is the darndest thing and makes sending him to his room impossible.

One thing that has helped my with my babies when they seem over-tired is to give them a bath and let them play and be soothed in the water, or to take them outside. Both have seemed to give them a little extra bit of energy. Maybe if you gave him a snack after he wakes up. Something with some protein in it or some of the fruit with the natural sugars to help give him a little energy boost.

I know how hard it is when you have unhappy little ones so I hope you get some good stuff on here that helps!

L.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.! I'm so glad you posted this!! I, too, am a mom of a preemie, who was born 2 months early! He's now 27 months old and he's just like your son with the sleeping issue. He sleeps 12 hours a night and takes a 2-4 hour nap every afternoon. He, too, within an hour or so of being up, seems cranky and tired. When he's like this, I can lay him down for a nap, and he WILL go to sleep. I spoke to his nurse practioner about it a couple of months ago, and she had some blood work done. It turned out his iron was a little bit low, which will cause fatigue. However, he's ALWAYS been like this with sleep and even now that his iron is up, he's the same way. So we spoke to the NP again and she said you know, some toddlers just like to sleep. I have wondered many times if it has anything to do with his prematurity. He has been delayed in everything, is in speech therapy and is being evaluated for a mild form of autism. I am thinking more and more that this is just part of his personality and routine. I'm not gonna complain. My 2½ yr. old niece won't nap very often for my SIL and she gets frustrated because she knows her daughter is tired and needs a nap, but lil miss refuses. Our oldest son never took naps at this age either, so it's nice having one on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Speak to his ped. about it, but you may find it's just part of who he is. If you want to talk and compare notes, feel free to contact me at ____@____.com!

1 mom found this helpful

I would not rule out allergies. Your doctor is not correct about the allergies. My whole family has allergies and we all had it from a very young age. If you think it may be an allergy, I encourage you to take your child to The Allergy Center or Ear, Nose and Throat. Both are great with children.

My family has gone to Ear, Nose and Throat in Fort Wayne for three generations. My girlfriend takes her three little ones to The Allergy Center, and they treat her family very well.

There are several allergies meds that treat indoor and outdoor allergies. Try Claritin for Children and Zyrtec for Children. Most children react very well to Claritin for Children. I take the adult version of Zyrtec and it's the only thing that has effectively treated my indoor and outdoor allergies my whole life.

1 mom found this helpful

I would have his iron levels checked. If he seems tired all of the time sometimes that is a sign of low iron. I would call his pediatrician and schedule an appt. to have blood work done. He is getting plenty of sleep for sure so I'd check into that. I went through this with my middle son and I took him to the doctor and they took some blood and found that he had low iron. They put him on an iron supplement and he did fine. He is fine now and we haven't had anymore trouble with his iron. He was almost 2 when I went through this with him. He is now 7.
D.

I am 31 and have been married for almost 12 yrs. My husband and I have 3 boys ages 10,7, and 4.

1 mom found this helpful

I would ask the doc to test him for hypothyriodism. Untreated it can make you very tired, cranky, and cause sore muscles. That could be why he doesn't always sleep for a full nap. Just a thought. So as not to worry you, hypothyroidism is treated by simply taking 1 pill every day. That's it! Good luck with your little guy! Shannon G.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi! I have 3 children, 10, 7 & 5. My middle child has Type I Diabetes. He was diagnosed 11/4/06, about two weeks before he turned 6. One of the symptoms of Type I (which is different from Type II) is feeling very lethargic. I thought my son had the flu. He had all of the symptoms, except for vomiting. I found this info on the web...his symptoms were drinking fluids alot, feeling lethargic, weight loss & urinating frequently. My son had never been a bedwetter, but he had started wetting the bed and getting up at least once during the night to use the bathroom. This would be hard to tell with your son, given his age, but if his diapers are soaked more than usual, that could be an indicator. Just something to think about and discuss with your doctor. They determined he had Diabetes by doing a urine test to determine his blood sugar level, 70-130 is normal and his was over 600. Good luck!! Debbie

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like I am being an alarmist, I really don't think I am but have you had his thyroid and blood tested? I would talk to my physician and see if his thyroid is working properly and have his blood tested for high or low sugar.
Lack of iron can make you tired, so can an over abundance of it. Sugar in the system works the same way.
Just a suggestion.

My son was not born premature and is about 19 months now. Most days he will sleep 10-12 hours at night and take a 2-3 hour nap during the day. I think he just is a good sleeper (like me)...
If you're worried, maybe you should get a second opinion from another doctor?

Well, if your Dr. says he's fine physically then maybe it's like they say, "we grow in our sleep when we are children", this little fellow has some catching up to do and maybe this is his time to do it. My youngest granddaughter went through a spell around that age when she seemed tired all the time, now she's 2 1/2 and you are lucky if you can get her to lay down for a nap. If the Dr. isn't worried and all the tests came out ok, I wouldn't worry to much...just enjoy the time now because it won't last for long and then you'll be wishing you could get him to nap! :)
Good luck and bless you and yours.

My son, who is now 5 y/o, slept 14-16 hours a day until he was 4. Even now weeks that he still will sleep that much every day. 10-12 hours at night and then a 3 hour nap in the afternoon. He did have enlarged tonsils which they recently took out, but the doctor was never concerned with the amount of sleep he got until after he was 4 y/o. I was grateful enough that he would take 2-2 hour naps instead of 3-1 hour naps. He has also slept like a rock since he was born. I would put him to bed with a house full of people and he would go to sleep and sleep right through it. I'm not sure if there's any similarities or an underlying cause in either case...just wanted to let you know our not alone :)

I don't now if this helps or not, but I have found that my son virtually can't sleep too much. He sleeps from 7:30pm until 8am and once in a while even later. He is down to one nap now that is 2-3 hours, but at your son's age he was still taking a 2-2.5 hour nap in the morning and a 2 hour nap in the afternoon.
I don't know if you can bump his bedtime up a little each night until he's getting more sleep or try to add to his naps...
Hope it gets better!

Has he ever been checked for heart conditions? I know this sounds crazy but as a child I was athletic and always tired!!! I mean drop dead tired. I was an internationally competitive figure skater in great shape. My parents thought that I was just complaining, but at 33 years old I have been diagnosed with a mid systolic "click" (heart murmur) due to a bicuspid aortic valve and an ascending aortic aneurysym. I was tired ALWAYS because my heart was not functioning normal due to the valve. And nobody ever took a good look at my cardiac function until my father and his mother were diagnosed with the same problem. It may be a long shot, but maybe it is due to something genetic that your pediatrician is not looking for yet. Good Luck!!!!

Your little guy could need some more fresh air and sun shine or he could just be getting ready for a growth spurt.Is there friction in the household, argueing or yelling? he may just be trying to escape it. For your child it may just be normal.You have had him tested you said so I wouldn't worry too much.No two children are the same. Maybe he needs more protien in his diet.Good luck.

What your dr told you about allergies is incorrect because my son has been on Singulair since 9 months old for seasonal allergies.....

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