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Do Gifted Children Need Less Sleep?


Updated November 02, 2009

Question: Do Gifted Children Need Less Sleep?
My 12 yr old son falls into the gifted range. Even as a baby he never seemed to require much sleep but he really struggles with insomnia now. He wants to sleep but can't seem to "turn off his brain." Is this common with gifted kids?
Answer: One of the first things parents of gifted kids notice is that their children don't seem to need much sleep. Of course, they might not know when their child is an infant that the child is gifted, even though other signs of giftedness might be there. What they do know, however, is that their kids don't seem to sleep as much as other kids do. The hours they sleep during the night are less, their naps are shorter, and the age at which they give up naps comes sooner.

Although gifted kids seem to be able to function quite well with less sleep than their age mates, they can sometimes have a difficult time getting to sleep. Many kids describe it as being unable to shut off their brains. They simply can't stop thinking. They get interesting thoughts and pursue them. Questions pop up and they contemplate answers. They wonder how something works and ponder the reasons. It generally doesn't help to turn off the lights or tell them to get to sleep. If they could, they would!
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