Toddler has red circles under eyes: Not enough sleep?

November 05, 2016
  • Is she not getting enough sleep?
    1 / 4 Is she not getting enough sleep?

    Your toddler has red circles under her eyes, and you’re worried. What could be the cause?

    Eye bags may occur for several reasons, including natural complexion, sinus congestion and insufficient sleep, says Dr Natalie Epton, specialist paediatrician and neonatologist.

    If your young child is getting less than 11 hours of sleep at night, it is extremely likely that this is the cause. 

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  • Start a bedtime routine
    2 / 4 Start a bedtime routine

    International experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Health Service in the UK agree that the recommended sleep requirements at this age are 11 to 14 hours. 

    If you are struggling to get your child to sleep early, adopt a nightly bedtime routine. For example, aim for an early dinner at around 5.30pm to 6pm, followed by a bath and storybook time in bed, Dr Epton suggests. 


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  • No stimulating activities close to bedtime
    3 / 4 No stimulating activities close to bedtime

    Avoid TV or other screen time in the evenings close to bedtime, as these can be too stimulating and make it harder for your toddler to fall asleep.

    If she is used to sleeping at 10pm now, aim to gradually bring bedtime back by half an hour every week until she is consistently sleeping at around 8pm. 

    Related: Toddler won’t nap: how to adjust bedtime

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  • Don't wait till your child looks tired
    4 / 4 Don't wait till your child looks tired

    “In my family, my husband and I try to get the four-year-old in bed before 8pm, the seven-year-old by 8pm to 8.30pm, and the 10-year-old by 8.30pm,” shares Dr Epton.

    “Sometimes, it’s not possible, but that’s always the goal. That way, we also get some downtime together without the kids.”

    Remember that a tired child may become more hyperactive and resistant to going to bed; her behaviour may not be a good gauge, she adds. 

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