Signs That Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


The symptoms of insufficient sleep in kids may surprise you.

Healthy sleep is vital, especially in babies, toddlers, young kids, and teens. That's because inadequate slumber—and low-quality snoozing—threaten healthy development and growth. In addition, poor sleep in children has been linked to behavior problems, obesity, high-risk activities, and other serious issues.

So as a parent, you (of course!) want to make sure that your kid is getting enough zzz's. But how, exactly, can you tell if your child isn't clocking enough time in the sack?

Some symptoms, like constant yawning or droopy eyes, are easy to recognize in a child. But others aren’t as obvious. Check out these common signs, which change as your little one gets older.

Young Children (Babies, Toddlers)

  • Is cranky, whiny, or fussy, especially in the late afternoon on a regular basis
  • Acts especially clingy, needy
  • Displays fidgety, antsy, or hyperactive behavior
  • Has trouble sharing, taking turns
  • Is not talkative, taciturn
  • Wakes up groggy; falls asleep after being woken up and needs to be woken again
  • Wants to lie down or nap during the day
  • Falls asleep during short car rides
  • Has difficulty changing from two naps to one nap a day
  • Snores

Kids In Elementary School

  • Is Hyperactive
  • Falls asleep at inappropriate times
  • Needs to be woken in the morning, sometimes multiple times
  • Lacks interest, alertness, motivation, and/or an attention span
  • Seems drowsy at school or at home during homework
  • Has academic struggles
  • Has trouble falling asleep
  • Falls asleep during short car rides
  • Experiences night terrors/sleepwalking for the first time
  • Needs regular naps
  • Exhibits loud snoring, breaks in breathing, or extreme restlessness at night
  • Has anxiety about being separated from you during the day and night


  • Has extreme difficulty waking in the morning
  • Is chronically late for school
  • Experiences mood swings
  • Has trouble concentrating
  • Feels unmotivated
  • Acts irritable in the early afternoon
  • Falls asleep easily during the day
  • Has academic troubles
  • Sleeps for long periods on the weekends
  • Is hyperactive or aggressive
  • Acts nervous
  • Consumes excessive amounts of caffeine
  • Uses drugs
  • Seems “Out of it” or confused