My 4 1/2 year old daughter loves to sleep. When she was younger I couldn't get her to sleep at night so we completely stopped her naps. Now, she is in preschool and will go about her normal day. She will stay awake until about 2:30 and come 2:30 I will find her asleep on the couch or chair. She can be outside playing and I will run inside the house to get something only to come outside and find her asleep on the porch swing. She even says she loves to sleep.

She is an extremely hard sleeper and very hard to wake up. I've seen times where I've turned on the fire alarm to see if she will wake up, as it scares me if there were to be a fire someday and she doesn't hear it. She will open her eyes and then fall right back to sleep. When she naps, she can nap until almost 5pm and then won't fall asleep until 10 or 11pm. She will play in her bed by singing, until she falls asleep. There are days where she will not take a nap and falls asleep at 6 or 7pm and sleep all night. In the morning she is very hard to wake up and takes her about 45 minutes to actually wake up, but that's with me constantly going into her room to wake her up by rubbing her back, talking to her, opening the shades to her window, etc. I try everything, by then its extremely rushed for her to get ready for school and most of the time has to eat breakfast that they provide at the school.

I'm worried she is either getting to much sleep or going to bed too late and not getting enough sleep. But if I add up her naps plus hours slept during the night it seems like she's getting enough sleep.

What else can I do to keep her awake? She is constantly on the go playing outside or inside or doing crafts, its not like she's sitting there bored!


3 Answers 3


A rule of thumb for how much sleep your child should be getting: at 4 years old a child needs about 11 hours 30 minutes sleep. At 5 years old she needs 11 hours. Both of these are overnight with no day time naps.

I got those numbers from this UK NHS website. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Childrenssleep/Pages/howmuchsleep.aspx

Sleep is very important to a child's wellbeing. There's no set amount of sleep that all children of a particular age need, but here's a guide to the approximate hours of sleep they should aim for.

You can see the use lots of qualifiers: no set amount, guide, approximate.

One thing that helps is to develop a routine and stick to it every day. So, for example, don't have a different routine for the weekend. You'll normally see "sleep hygiene" discussed when someone has a problem falling asleep in the evening, but it is useful to help people wake in the morning too.


Some important parts of a sleep routine include:

• go to be at the same time every evening, and get up at the same time every morning

• have a ritual every evening for about 30 minites before going to bed. Examples could be having a warm bath, reading a calm book, brushing your teeth.

If you try all this and you think there is still a problem you might want to see a doctor. One thing that will help the doctor is a "sleep diary" - spend a couple of weeks noting down when your child goes to sleep, wakes up, if they have any wakes in the night, or any naps in the day.

  • 2
    I'm with Dan on this. Make a diary for a few weeks. Then look at it if you see something obvious. If you are still worried, ask a doctor if this is within what's normal. Otherwise: "sleep hygiene" is the best you can do.
    – sbi
    Jun 4, 2015 at 8:49

No it's not a problem.

She's getting enough sleep. She's active when she's awake. And she's happy when she sleeps.

There are many places in the world where her afternoon-nap-late-to-bed pattern applies to adults too!

Obviously, it might be a 'social' problem if she is supposed to be at school and awake. But (I'm biased), that's a problem with society, not with her. (We were very fortunate that our child's first teacher was totally un-fussed about our daughter not turning up in the afternoon if she fell asleep at home - she said she'd rather have pupils sleeping in their beds than at their desks)


I think the key to solving your problem is to prevent the irregular afternoon naps. Then your daughter will be able to be more regular in her sleep and you'll be able to adjust her bedtime to a time that allows her to get up in time for school more comfortably.

What else can I do to keep her awake? She is constantly on the go playing outside or inside or doing crafts, its not like she's sitting there bored!

Three things:

1) At some point in the day, slightly earlier than 2:30, give her some quiet time by, for example, reading a book with her.

2) Starting around 2:15, get yourself organized so you don't have to leave her alone when 2:30 comes around. Do something quite exciting starting at about 2:25. For example, do a cooking project! Wash some plastic dishes together! Do some finger painting! Etc., etc.

3) Try giving her a low carb lunch. This can be helpful in preventing those mid-afternoon doldrums.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .