I’m a nationally published sleep expert, journalist, and the mom of three young kids. I’ve been helping tired families sleep since 2007 (more about me here). Subscribe to The Well Rested Family for fresh news and tips on keeping your bunch happy and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!


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Suprising Ways Overtiredness Hurts Kids

Get within two feet of a young child having a meltdown, and you’re sure to hear the word “tired” tossed around: “He’s really tired today. We stayed up late last night. He missed his nap. He’s just tired.”

But tantrums are just the tip of the tiredness iceberg. We know that overtiredness brings on crankiness and meltdowns in our kids. But did you know that overtiredness isn’t just a precursor to a foul mood? According to new research, overtiredness plays a role in a host of serious health problems, from ADHD to diabetes. It hurts kids academically, emotionally, and behaviorally. And sleep doctors—at least, the ones I interview for my magazine articles on sleep—say that chronic overtiredness is rampant among today’s kids.

That’s bad news for our children. Here are some surprising side effects of overtiredness—and five good reasons to help your kids get the sleep they need:

School Struggles

The National Sleep Foundation reports that sleep deprivation in children is associated with poor school performance and lowered test scores.

Weighty Matters

According to new research, sleep deprivation increases the risk of obesity two-fold in children and adults and is associated with excess body weight in both kids and teens.   

ADHD Imposter

Overtiredness can masquerade in a host of ADHD-like symptoms, and even lead to “faux ADHD,” a condition characterized by behavior problems and learning difficulties.

Too Tired, Too Wired

When kids are awake too long, an overbalance of adrenaline makes it difficult to reach and maintain deep, restorative sleep, so overtired kids have a harder time falling and staying asleep.

Fidgety Legs

Overtiredness worsens the symptoms of restless legs syndrome, a condition affecting 1.5 million children and adolescents.


For more surprising facts about how overtiredness affects children, check out my article “Desperately Seeking Sleep: Ten Surprising Ways Overtiredness Hurts Kids” in this month’s Western New York Family Magazine.

How much sleep does your little one need to stay out of overtired territory? These guidelines from Web MD are a good reference.

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