Q: My 8-year-old is tired all the time even though she gets 11 to 12 hours of sleep a night. Is this part of growing up, or should I address it with her pediatrician? I wondered if she might be anemic, but I have read this is rare in children.
A: It's not uncommon for children to feel tired occasionally. Many factors can lead to tiredness. A busy schedule, not getting enough sleep at night and even being hungry can all make a child tired. But if a child is consistently feeling tired, especially when he or she is getting enough sleep, it is a good idea to talk about it with a pediatrician. In some cases, tiredness may be a sign of an underlying problem.
Being tired at the end of the day is normal for most children, especially those who are active. Children also may feel tired when they get hungry between meals. In those cases, all it usually takes to relieve their tiredness is a healthy snack. For many kids, the best way to prevent daytime tiredness is a good night's sleep. Children generally need at least 10 hours of sleep a night to function best during the day.
Interestingly, school-age children don't usually complain of daytime tiredness or
A variety of
More prolonged or significant tiredness could be a sign of
Rarely, chronic fatigue may reflect a more serious underlying condition, such as
As you mentioned, parents frequently bring up
In your child's situation, I suggest first confirming that he or she is, indeed, getting at least 10 hours of restful sleep each night. Check to see if snoring, restlessness or other sleep disturbances may be interfering with healthy sleep. Make sure your child is eating a
Also, talk to your child about any difficulties he or she may be having at school or other social, emotional or learning problems that could be at play. Check for other symptoms of illness, allergies or asthma too.
If changing sleep habits and diet does not help, or if you suspect a sleep disorder or other medical problem could be to blame for the fatigue, talk to your child's pediatrician about your concerns and have the situation evaluated.
Dr. Chris Derauf works in community