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A toddler sleeping all day without fever may just mean a growth spurt or just a worn out little one. Toddlers tend to play hard and sleep hard. They are also doing a lot of growing between the ages of 1 and 3 and this is hard work for them. While it can be quite normal for a toddler to sleep more sometimes, there are times when you may need to have them checked out. Read further to see the different reasons why your toddler may be sleeping most of the day, and when you should let your doctor know.
Toddlers can sleep through the day without being sick, but it may still be a worry. Here are some of the normal conditions that may make your little one extra sleepy:
Toddlers need about 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. If your toddler is not sleeping through the night, they will sleep more during the day to get that time in. This happens even after you have put your little one to bed and they wake up 3 to 4 times a night. Their body will tend to make up for the loss of sleep time at night, by being more sleepy in the daytime.
Growing is hard work for toddlers. When a growth spurt occurs, you may notice your toddler sleeping all day, no fever and no other signs of illness, but they may eat more when they’re awake. Growth spurts usually last around a week, then you may notice your toddler is taller and feels a bit heavier when you pick them up.
Toddlers need periods of activity alternating with periods of rest during the day. If they are kept too busy without rest periods one day, they may spend the entire next day sleeping and making up for lost sleep the day before. This can also occur in toddlers that have a busy schedule and are involved in extra-curricular activities like play groups, sports, music lessons, or preschool.
If you leave your toddler with a sitter while you work, they may shut down periodically and just sleep. While it is not depression like adults get, they may sleep to avoid having to deal with you being gone. Other signs of this are extra clingy when you are around, being withdrawn around people other than you, night waking, and fussiness.
When in an overstimulating environment, a toddler may “shut-down” due to mental exhaustion. You may notice your toddler is more sleepy in places like amusement parks, sports events, shopping areas, or family gatherings.
The following conditions are some of the abnormal reasons you may notice your toddler sleeping all day no fever, but something may not be quite right:
Anemia is a lack of hemoglobin in the red blood cells. This component carries oxygen to the body tissues and may make your toddler extra tired. Other signs of anemia include pale skin, lack of appetite, fussiness, fast heart rate, muscle weakness, and complaints of feeling dizzy.
Even without a fever, your toddler could still be ill. Some viruses or bacterial infections can come on without fever and make your toddler extra sleepy. These include stomach flu, colds, food poisoning, ear infections, sinus infections, strep throat, and even influenza. If you have any question that your child may be ill, see your pediatrician as soon as possible.
Toddlers need a variety of fresh foods from all the food groups. Too many snacks, processed foods, or fast food won’t give your toddler the nutrition they need for healthy growth. Vitamin and minerals also give them the energy they need to get through the day. Deficiencies in nutrition will cause lethargy, weakness, and can cause them to sleep more than normal.
While it is rare, Type 1 Diabetes can affect some children. High blood sugar can make a toddler or child very sleepy. This needs to be evaluated and treated right away to prevent complications. Other symptoms include increased thirst, increased urination, extreme hunger, sores that don’t heal, and weight loss.
Your toddler may have a condition known as “cyclic neutropenia,” which is a low white blood cells count. This can cause fatigue with no fever. It can happen after certain illnesses are treated with antibiotics that lower the white blood cell count. It usually happens in a cycle every 6 weeks. Some children need gamma globulin injections to repair the immune system function.
Rarely, a toddler sleeping all day no fever or other signs of illness could be childhood cancer. Any change in physical behavior that doesn’t go away should be addressed by your doctor to rule out cancer. Other signs may include headaches, lumps under the skin, frequent illness (leukemia), unexplained fevers, weight loss, and loss of appetite that lasts more than a few days.
If you notice your toddler sleeping all day no fever, no other symptoms, and it only lasts a day or two your toddler is probably just needing more rest. Contact your child’s doctor if it lasts more than a few days or you notice other symptoms like:
If your child is otherwise acting normally, call as soon as possible and make an appointment. If you notice your child is having trouble breathing, turning blue, or doesn’t respond when you try to wake them, call 9-1-1 right away.