My two-year-old is a great sleeper. It can take him a while to get to sleep after we put him to bed (what with all the singing and bear conversations that go on after we've left the room), but he will often sleep until eight o'clock in the morning: eleven or twelve hours.

The only minor issue with letting him sleep is that it interferes with naps: come nap time, he's not tired, so we often just power through the day and have him fall sleep really quickly in the evening. We're at the point now where letting him sleep longer and skip his nap is fine for everyone.

But this week, he's sick with a cough and cold. It's ten o'clock in the morning, and he's been in bed for more than fourteen hours. I know they say to never wake a sleeping baby, and he is sick, so my inclination is to let him sleep as much as he wants — but is there any good reason to wake him up and not let him sleep the day away?

  • 4
    not medical advice I'd let him sleep as much as he wants when he's sick. His schedule will be messed up anyway, because he's sick, so don't worry too much about that.
    – Joe
    Jan 18, 2014 at 18:32
  • Thanks Joe. He finally woke up around the fifteen hour mark (!). That's a record for him, I think.
    – Steve HHH
    Jan 18, 2014 at 21:43
  • My oldest is sort of like yours - hard to get down but can sleep a while once down. Unfortunately, when he's sick he often wakes up more, but he did have one ear infection where once we gave him advil and antibiotics he was out for over 12 hours straight at around 18 months.
    – Joe
    Jan 19, 2014 at 0:27
  • Your instincts are likely to be good, and what you decide to to will vary depending on how sick, how long, when and what he's eaten, whether you expect him to go back to sleep soon after you wake him for food or medicine.
    – Marc
    Jan 19, 2014 at 17:22
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    I'd not focus on schedule so much. There's a good biological reason for humans to be tired when sick or injured. During sleep, the body has more resources to deal with healing than when wide awake. Of course, it's still a good idea to wake him up for medicine (as per doctor's orders) and probably some fluids now and then.
    – arne
    Jan 21, 2014 at 10:08

2 Answers 2


It's usually best to go with the flow, rather than trying to be strategic to make what doesn't come natural when it comes to these things.

If I was in your shoes, I'd let him keep sleeping. If I was sick and you woke me up for no good reason, I wouldn't be particularly happy--would you?

I hope he feels better soon!

  • I agree. Some day a kid will grow up and have to use an alarm clock for school and then work. Until then, just relax and enjoy some sleep... (my opinion)
    – user6408
    Jan 23, 2014 at 12:44

Both of mine gave up naps at around 18 months old. This is earlier than most people I know, but that transition comes to them all eventually. You can resist it for a while, but not indefinitely. When it happens, they seem to extend their main sleep by an hour or two, and for the first couple of weeks they'll act a little ratty in the afternoon.

Certainly while he's sick, I'd be inclined to let him sleep as much as he likes. I'm sick; I'd bloody love a fourteen hour sleep; chance would be a fine thing!

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