For the most part, babies are able to sleep anywhere and everywhere, making it difficult for them to be sleep deprived. (Though your own sleep deprivation would have you think otherwise.) As they get older, however, their sleep habits become a bit more unpredictable and things like playing late into the night, schedule changes from traveling, or coming down with the occasional sickness can throw off their sleeping habits altogether. Learning the signs of sleep deprivation in toddlers can help you prevent it in your little one, ensuring they get the rest they need to be healthy and active.
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). most preschool aged kids need anywhere from 11 to 13 hours of sleep per night including an afternoon nap. The NSF also noted the importance of predictability and routine when it comes to toddler sleep, so if they've had any sudden schedule or developmental changes you can expect their sleep habits to be thrown off a bit.
Luckily, if you're noticing these signs of sleep deprivation, the issue is usually easily reversed with a bit of schedule tweaking and maybe a few extra naps. If you're not sure whether or not your toddler is getting the right amount of Zs, here are a few signs to help you figure it out.
1. They're More Grumpy Than Usual
Although this feels like stating the obvious, toddlers who are overly tired will be excessively crabby with no other indication that anything else is wrong. According to Baby Center, if your tot is excessively and regularly grumpy (more than just the occasional melt down,) they may not be getting enough sleep.
2. They're Hyperactive And Have Difficulty Concentrating
After the grumpy phase comes hyperactivity. What To Expect noted that, ironically, kids become more energetic as they get more tired. If you notice your child becoming overly energetic and having difficulty concentrating or doing one thing at a time, they may be sleep deprived.
3. They Fall Asleep Randomly
After the hyperactivity, your kiddo may crash — anywhere. Toddlers have been known to fall asleep while they're eating, while they're playing, or other places they typically wouldn't when they're not sleeping enough, the aforementioned Baby Center piece noted.
4. They've Been Sick, Teething, Or Had Another Issue That Makes It Difficult For Them To Sleep
Sometimes there are other circumstances that cause kiddos to sleep less than usual. Teething, sickness, growth spurts, and other normal toddler developments can put a damper on their usual sleep habits. Another Baby Center article pointed out that schedule changes can throw of a child's sleeping habits, so if something has been out of their range of normal, chances are they might be sleep deprived.
5. They Sleep In Longer Than Usual
Although this might not be the case for every toddler, some children overcompensate for missed sleep by sleeping in extra-late the next day. This can cause other schedule changes like stay up later than usual and perpetuating the problem.